Setbacks by Sonya

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our family has been on a journey with my daughter Lydia who broke her elbow back in July. It has been 8 months since her injury and we have been through re-breaking her elbow and a second surgery to fix her elbow with screws and a wire in her arm.  We all thought this was all going to help and allow her to get full range of motion in her arm. We believed for God to heal her and then we got the news this month that her X-rays show her elbow is out of position again and dislocated. It was such a bummer to hear the news and see the X-rays as we thought we were on the uphill and finally going to be healed. Looking at the tears in my daughter’s eyes and the look of defeat that she wasn’t getting better was hard as she had been using a brace at night and going to physical therapy three times a week. We felt defeated and the doctor felt so bad as he had tried everything he knew. This setback made us feel heartbroken.

As I looked at this setback it was hard to trust that God had a plan in all of this, but I know God carried us through those setbacks and was never at fault. We may not understand it when we go through setbacks or trials and why this happened, but we have to put our trust in our Savior who knows all and has our best interest at heart. God is using this to glory Him as it is not our plan for our daughter, but God has bigger plans for her and we are to trust in that. God also showed me to look at what we have to be thankful for and that Lydia was not in any pain and we praise God for that, as pain would have been a constant reminder and distraction of our setback. If she has to sacrifice not being able to fully do the things she loves for a year then that is so minor in the big scheme of life. Learning to trust and find peace in God through those times of setbacks is what will bring you joy and growing deeper in your faith. James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its works so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in nothing.” I had to learn perseverance and being steadfast in my faith despite the difficulty being faced. Don’t give up, stay the course and let God be your guide through any setback or trial. This is what helped us through. Lydia has shown me through this to look at the positives and to be thankful that she is healthy with no sickness or disease. Our faith is made stronger through those times and refines and shapes us to be more like Christ. Thinking of Easter and understanding Christ sacrifice and all the trials and setbacks He had but God had the ultimate plan for Jesus and He stayed the course because He knew God’s plans never fail. Let’s praise God together that He will never leave us or forsake us when we have trials and setbacks and will carry us through! AMEN!

 

Photo Credit:ID 92751804 © Stokkete | Dreamstime.com

Gains by Kenika

 

 

 

 

 

I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. (Philippians 3:13)

            Paul is a genius.  In chapter 3 of Philippians and into chapter 4 he’s taking into account everything he knows, has, and experiences he’s been through. He does everything from comparing his knowledge to dung/rubbish, to saying he’s not the best at everything, but one thing he’s really good at is forgetting what’s behind him, and straining for what’s ahead.  It got me thinking about how we all react to losing something or someone in our lives. Offense can set in or simple life changes can draw people a part.  Staffing adjustments, downsizing or poor performance can lead to layoffs.  Inflation, health issues, economic crises or a dozen other things can play into a poor financial situation.  Constant bickering, growing kids, the stresses of life can put members of a family at odds.  How do we handle it when we lose something? How are we adjusting to life once everything changes? Forget about it and count it as a loss.

It’s not to say forget about it because it wasn’t valuable or even useful, but rather let it go because as one quote said, “There are far better things ahead than those left behind.” (Unknown) We tend to focus on what we’ve lost instead of what we’ve gained.  The guy walks away from the relationship and ultimately breaks your heart.  You sit around and think of all the good times, how much you liked/loved him and analyze to death how perfect you all were together.  Instead, you should thank God that it ended. Yes, I said it, thank the good Lord that He loved you enough to get you out of something that, in time, you’ll see wasn’t the best thing for you anyway.  The same goes with a job, a financial status change, and any other scenario where you experienced some of abrupt loss or change.

Focus on the positive.  Trust that God is sovereign and not only saw this coming, but also allowed it to happen.  Even more than allowing it, He’s made provision for you to get through it.  Yes, you lost your job but what did you gain? You’ve gained the freedom to pursue your real dream perhaps, or an open door to a better opportunity than what you had before.  Yes he broke up with you and obliterated your heart in the process, but what did you gain? You’ve gained insight into yourself, and into that other person after all, why would you want to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with you anyway? Think of it as a blessing, not a loss.  Now you are free to be discovered by someone who actually wants you in his life.  Cheers to you! I know this sounds counter to our way of thinking, but I believe that’s a little bit of what Paul said he has perfected. Letting go of what’s already done, it’s over, it threatened to end you but it didn’t, you thought you wouldn’t make it, but you have!

Look forward to what lies ahead.  Ultimately our main focus and goal is the Grand Prize, which is Jesus Christ, but in the meantime appreciate the small “gains” you get to experience day to day. So the next time you are tempted to slump into depression after making your laundry list of what you’ve seemingly lost, stop and insert all that you have gained.  It is guaranteed to change the way you see the obstacles that life tries to throw your way.  It will all work out for your good anyway.  There are far better things ahead!  #Gains

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[a] for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Photo Credit:ID 65253180 © Mark Adams | Dreamstime.com

Esteeming Your Teen by Bombi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are well into 2018 and here I am at the doorstep of 40. My kids are no longer babies and life is just rushing by. I’m starting to notice that I’m telling them some of the same things my parents told me when I was their age. Oh life.

Recently my husband and I had a long talk with our 15 year old. Lately (no matter the topic) the main message we end up giving our girl is the self-esteem talk. What makes this topic unique for the Christian parent is that it’s more than telling your kids to be confident in themselves. It’s guiding them to find their confidence in who they are in Christ and seeing themselves the way God intended them to be.

You see we can have ideas and plans for our daughter. We can envision things for her that would no doubt bring happy tears to our eyes. We can build her up with words about our hopes, dreams, and aspirations for her, but no matter what we think, it’s what God thinks that matters. It’s His will we want for her and our son.

Not to mention, I don’t want my kids to live to please me and end up picking professions I wanted them to pick, I want them to do what God has led them to do. I want to raise God pleasers, not people pleasers. When I say people pleasers I mean the “self-pleasing” inside of their sinful nature as well. This world and everything about it tells our kids to do what feels right.  If you have an opinion you should immediately shout it out on the mountaintops, rally the troops, start a new hashtag, go stand in front of Congress and fight for what you think is right and hurry, do it NOW!

But not everything our kids think is right is right. If you don’t want to tell it, I will tell it. The message of confidently and publicly pleasing, expressing, and finding oneself by any means outside of God’s word can be dangerous and yet sometimes hard to recognize when it’s wrapped up in a cute Instagram handle or a cool hashtag. But it’s conforming to the world and we’re not of this world.

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to silence and suppress our kids. What I am saying, or more importantly asking, is the same question my parents asked, and probably their parents asked them, but it’s the darn truth. It’s the food for thought question, “If everyone goes and jumps off a cliff, will you too?” Adding to that, just because everyone is “doing it” doesn’t mean you need to. What should our kids be doing then? How will they develop and find their true selves and the important self-esteem they need for this harsh world? That my friend is a huge part of the faith journey our kids embark upon with God. As we prayerfully guide them and as they start their faith walk with God, they will discover their worth, their true voice, and God’s will for their life.

Romans 12:2 (ESV) Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

 

Photo Credit:ID 91128484 © Alexsokolov | Dreamstime.com

A Love Like No Other by Trish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not too long ago celebrated or time set aside for showing affection and love towards those we have relationship with; be it a romantic love, family love or friendship love.  My husband is of the persuasion we should celebrate love every day and not glamorize or commercialize one day of an entire year to be loving. Me, I’m the typical gal who loves the idea of having a day of intentional focus and showering affection on those dear to our heart. Neither of us are wrong in our approach to February 14th, we all see Valentine’s Day differently.   But what I did take note of this year is what a difference this day is for me now that I am with someone. While I appreciate the cards, flowers and gifts from my husband, I still find that no matter how much he showers me with such gifts, there is still no love like the love of Jesus. I think back to the days when I was single and I so longed to have someone to share February 14th with and all the while I had a Savior who gave His life to spend all my days with. Too often we set our sights on what the world sees as fulfilling and gratifying, but the truth of the matter is there is only one love that can satisfy the longing of our heart.

As we continue to move forward in 2018 I would like to encourage you ladies to be mindful of the love of Christ. He greets you every morning with His presence and watches over you throughout your day waiting for the chance to spend time with you and talk with you. He guides your path and protects you from dangers seen and unseen. He makes provision for your every need and delights to give you the desires of your heart.  By all means, celebrate the relationships God has blessed your life with and honor love shared with the people in your life but above all else, appreciate the greatest love of all, the love of Jesus Christ.

Photo Credit:ID 44549304 © Paultarasenko | Dreamstime.com