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The Rose.JPG


Filtering by Category: Job



 Some days test me more than others. Today was one of those days. My toddler is at an age where she's testing her limits, seeing how far she can take things, if and when she'll get her way. When she doesn't get her way she screams at me and/or throws herself down on the floor in the fit. The sound level is enough to give me a headache, her screaming is enough to make me feel helpless as a parent. Oh, how I'd love to give into her every time. Oh how I hate to hear her cry. But stand firm I must, because I know it's for her own good. I know, in the long run, she'll be the better for it. And so, I ignore the screams, I give her space, I put her in a quiet place for a few minutes and then I love on her and calmly explain why her reaction was wrong. She may be a little young to understand all of the words I say, but she's old enough to sense my reaction, to understand that she was in the wrong.

And isn't that the truth for me as well? There have been times when I've kicked and screamed my way through life. Times when I insisted that I know best, when I refused to listen to any other voice of reason. But my Father up Above knew better. He saw the big picture. He knew what would ultimately be in my best interest. And so, He reigned me in. He helped me through difficult times. He held my hand when I needed it. He encouraged me, uplifted me, and, ultimately, made me stronger. Yes, those times of growing were hard. Yes, I  didn't like it. But, my, am I thankful for a patient Savior that knows what's best for me.

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4, NIV).

"Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it" (Proverbs 22:6, NIV).

"See how happy the man is God corrects; so do not reject the discipline of the Almighty" (Job 5:17, HCSB).

Safety in the Wilderness


I just got back from my church’s final Ladies Bible Study of 2009. I’ve been so blessed by this group of ladies. We’ve shared so many tears, so much laughter, and so much amazement over what God is doing in our lives. Many of these ladies are older from me, so I’ve gleaned so much from their experiences. In this study we talked a lot about the wilderness journeys we all go through in this life. Just like Job in the Old Testament, we have times in our lives when it feels like everything good has been taken away from us. This wilderness time may last for weeks, or it may last for years. However long it may be, God is asking us to cling to him to make it through to the other side. When we face these wildernesses, our faith is tested immensely, but he’s asking us to look up, instead of within or around us.

For me, this wilderness began when I found out my husband was deploying. I spent many days crying and thinking all about how rough my life would be in a new town without my best friend by my side. It was only when I began to get past myself that God began to work in me. It was only when I reached up to Him and asked him for help that He reminded me that he alone holds the keys to life and death. Each of us is here on this earth for exactly as long as he has planed: “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be”  (Psalm 139:16). It was extremely hard for me to accept this truth, and to be honest, I still struggle with it to this day. Just the same, it’s comforting to know that my husband is safely in the arms of Christ.

In the end, my husband’s deployment was cancelled at the last minute, but only after I gave the whole situation to Christ, and was content with whatever would happen.

To be honest, I can’t imagine life without my husband. But I know that my Lord and Savior would see me through, one step at a time.

God taught me a great lesson in trust this year, one I won’t easily forget. He made me realize that safety doesn’t come from people or circumstances, but from God alone. He is our true refuge and safety, as Psalm 46 so beautifully says.

I don’t know when my husband will be called up for a deployment again, it could be tomorrow, it could be a year from now. Either way, I know I’ll approach the next one with a different heart. I pray that God will help me be at peace through that next wilderness time, and help me to see the hope on the other end, even while the world is still dark around me.
“ We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him. We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true—even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.” (1 John 5:18-20).

The Joy-Giver


My first year of married life was a topsy-turvy one. I lost my job right before our wedding, which was a tough slam on my self-esteem. Because of that, I decided to try my lot at being a homemaker and freelance writer. I had mixed feelings about my new calling. I loved having the ability to write whenever and wherever I wanted, but the solitary days were tough. Moving across the country with the military even tougher.
I was lonely, depressed, and feeling as if I wasn’t “doing” enough with my life. I felt as if I was settling for less by staying at home.
I was wrong.

It took the news of this impending deployment to shake me out of my rut. It was then that I really, truly reached out to God and asked Him to help. It was then that I realized that a career, a husband, or the thought of future children could only bring a limited amount of happiness. Only God could give me the joy I truly needed.

I find it amazing that, even with the impending deployment, I have more joy and peace than I’ve had in the past year. I finally see some of my purpose, in encouraging all of you. I look forward to the times when I can sit down in a coffee shop and tap away on my laptop, writing about God and how he is my refuge and strength. Because it’s so entirely true. He sustains me each and every day.

With my husband leaving soon I should be a clingy basket case, but I’m not. I should be worrying about all the empty months before me, but I’m not. I should be staying up every night, thinking about the deployment, but I’m not. Yes, I still have my moments, but like never before, I have peace. The joy he’s given me, even now, is indescribable. I pray that each of you can experience this joy.
I’ve found that I can’t depend on other humans to make me happy in this life. Yes, I am happy in this life I’m building with my new husband. He does make me happy in the way he cares for me. But my true, sustaining happiness comes from God up above. He is the one who will sustain my joy so that I can be the encourager my husband needs me to be. He is the one who will see me through this season of deployment. He truly is my joy, my strength, and my everlasting song.

Today I find myself sporadically singing as I go about my day. It’s been awhile since I’ve done that. And it feels so good.

If you’re in need of some joy from our Father today, take hold of one of the verses below. Make it your own. Say it continuously. And claim the promise our Joy-Giver offers us.
•    “He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy” (Job 8:21).
•    “But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you” (Psalm 5:11).
•    “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand” (Psalm 16:11).
•    “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song” (Psalm 28:7).
•    “You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever” (Psalm 30:11-12).
•    “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” (Psalm 51:12).
•    “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul” (Psalm 94:19).
•    “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands” (Isaiah 55:12).

Blessed Be


In my devotions this morning, I was reading the last two chapters of the book of Job. One verse in particular stuck out to me. Job 41:11 says, “Who has given me anything that I need to pay back? Everything under heaven is mine” (Job 41:11 NLT). In this verse, God is reminding Job that He really doesn’t have to give him anything. The Lord knows what we should and shouldn’t have. He doesn’t have to “repay” us for any of the good things we did on the earth. He deserved our praise and adoration no matter what we have or do not have.
In Job, we read about a man who was blessed abundantly. Then, one day God allowed all of that to be taken away. Why? Because he wanted to see how Job would react to the situation. Although Job grieved, he did stay true to the Lord, praising him even in the hard times. And so, God blessed him in the end even more abundantly than before.
With the deployment looming up ahead, it’s easy for me to feel bad for myself. I can start wallowing in the fact that I’ll be lonely and I won’t have fun. I can even be mad at God for allowing this to happen.
But that isn’t what God is asking from me today.
Today, he is asking me to worship him in every circumstance. Yes, this next season will be a tough one, but He wants my adoration even then.
I’m reminded of a song by Tree63 called, “Blessed Be Your Name.” In this song, there’s a refrain that goes, “You give and take away/You give and take away/ My heart will choose to say/ Lord, Blessed be your name.”
May this always be my attitude, in the good times and the bad.