My Sister

Six years older than me, it was my job to make my sister’s life as miserable as possible…and I’m sure she can attest to my high skills in this department. Flashback: I remember (although quite evil and I am regretful about it still), one Saturday morning while our parents went on their weekly trip to the grocery store, my brother, sister and I were horsing around and I ended up breaking a very expensive lamp…when my parents returned home, I cried and blamed my sister for it. My mother believed me and punished my sister. I don’t believe the truth was ever revealed while my mother was alive, but I’m sure she knows now! :/

Wherever my big sister went, I wanted to go! I would cry and whine to our mother until she made my sister take me with her. One of those places was youth group. I knew she had tons of friends there and they always had so much fun, I wanted to be part of it. I wanted to be with the big kids!! I was in middle school at this time and my sister was in high school. Because of other bratty younger siblings like myself, the youth minister decided to create a middle school youth group. I was finally part of my own group of friends and was having just as much fun as my sister was.

A few years later, when my mom was sick and dying, I was 14 and my sister was 20. My sister became like mom…

20+ years have passed since those days and I can only look back and see how my sister has always been with me. Even when I ran away to Florida and did not speak to her for over a year, she was with me.

She may not agree with the following statement, but my Savior and I know it is true; throughout my entire life I praise God for my sister’s protection. I praise God because my sister was the one who introduced me to my Savior and the Ultimate Protector, Healer and Comforter! I love you more than you will ever know, Lisi!!  Happy Birthday!!

Purpose in Suffering

But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. – 1 Peter 3:14-17

I have been struggling a lot lately with all the “suffering” in my life; how nothing has ever been easy for me. I don’t know where I learned that things should be easy, but it’s a lie I have believed for a long time. And last night, I was really struggling with some things, but a friend of mine shared with me that possibly focusing on how things “should be” is a distraction of “what is” and possibly “to come”. When she said that, I became excited on that possibility and it gave me a fresh sense of seeking what the Lord has for me this week while Jake and I are in Florida.

During my Jesus time this morning, in 2 completely different resources, the topic of suffering came up and it gave me such reassurance that there is a blessing in all I have experienced, will experience, and should not be disheartened through it all.

I know this is isn’t the normal “Christmas” kind of post, but I pray it encourages you like it has me…

The following are excerpts from the study I am doing Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Today was Lie #37 – “I shouldn’t have to suffer”:

    Many modern-day evangelistic efforts have promised sinners unending peace, joy, a home in heaven, and a prosperous life between here and there, if they will simply come to Jesus. That kind of preaching stripped of the call to discipleship and cross bearing, has produced a generation of soft, flabby “disciples” who have no stomach for the battles of the Christian life. When their hopes are dashed by the inevitable trials and tribulations, they whimper and whine and make a dash for the quickest escape route.

    The message that was preached by the Lord Jesus Himself and by the apostles who followed Him was a call to take up the cross; it was a call to sign up for battle; it was a call to suffer.

    The apostle Paul taught that suffering is an essential course in God’s curriculum for all believers: “We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22 KJV).

    The Truth is, God is far more interested in our holiness than in our immediate, temporal happiness – He knows that apart from being holy, we can never be truly happy.

    The Truth is, it is impossible to be holy apart from suffering. Even Jesus Himself, during His years here on earth, was in some unexplainable way made “perfect through suffering” (Hebrews 2:10); and “although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8). We say we want to be like Jesus, and then we resist the very instrument God chooses to fulfill that desire.

    …Peter goes so far to insist that suffering is our calling – not just for some select group of Christian leaders or martyrs but for every child of God: “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:21).

    True joy is not the absence of pain but the sanctifying, sustaining presence of the Lord Jesus in the midst of the pain. Through the whole process, whether it be a matter of days, weeks, months, or years, we have His promise:

The God of all grace, who called you to his
eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered
a little while, will himself restore you
and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
1 Peter 5:10

The second resource God used to deliver this message was in Dr. Charles Stanley, In Touch daily email, which was entitled, Learning Obedience through Suffering. Below is the last line that really hit home for me and it could have been a better closer for this post as well. Merry Christmas!

The only reason you and I have salvation is because Jesus always did what pleased His Father—had He rebelled in that one area, all hope for lost humanity would be cancelled. If His obedience in suffering resulted in such a great benefit, just imagine what is in store for us when we do what God wants.

Suitable Helper

In Genesis, God said it wasn’t good for man to be alone. So, He created a “suitable helper” for him. Adam was asleep while Eve was being created. Ever wonder why Adam needed to be asleep? Was it because God knew removing a rib would be painful or maybe God knew that if Adam was awake, he may miss that Eve was the one created for him? And how long was he asleep for? Was it a short quick nap or a several year sleep?

In line with all that, I can’t help but see how the Lord is preparing me to be a “suitable helper” someday. The Lord knows that desire is there, but He also knows that there are several things in my life that need to be addressed and others that need to be accomplished prior to Him presenting me to my “Adam”. Of course I would prefer it to be sooner than later, but I know God’s timing is always perfect and I am a big work in project!

Quick analogy: Would you go to a doctor that didn’t complete the time needed it took to properly learn how to care for you? Sure, it’s great when you see their desire to be a good doctor, but the desire isn’t always enough…it takes time and training, too.

Its the same thing with me…my desire is to be that suitable helper. But like the doctor analogy, just because the desire is there doesn’t mean the knowledge is. It’s going to take some time and just maybe this move is my “going away to college” to gain that knowledge. I just pray my “Adam” doesn’t wake up too soon! 🙂

December 1

It’s the 1st day of the last month of yet another year; December 1. It came so fast. I look back at this year and I see how You have sought me, courted me, dazzled me, completely swept me off my feet! As each day passed, I fell deeper and deeper in love with You. My heart beats faster just thinking of You!

You have been with me forever and yet, this year has been “the” year I truly learned to rest, to trust, to love! You have deepened my love for missions. My love for nursing. My love for Your people. My love for my son. My love for my future husband. And I guess most importantly my love for myself because You live in me; I am Your daughter, Your tabernacle.

You have used people, places and some drastic decisions to reveal Yourself and Your plan for my life. Each person, each location, each situation, You handcrafted for me! And I can’t praise You enough for taking such care in designing each moment just for me!

As another year draws closer to its end, I can’t hep but wonder what adventures we will have next year. But as exciting as that thought is, I know that those days are not promised, as tomorrow isn’t, so tonight, I will rest in Your arms and dream of the memories we have created…together!