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Posts Tagged ‘discouragement’

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After spending the weekend feeling discouraged and fearful, I decided that I would focus on finding little blessings throughout the day.  As I found things, I would text them to my husband.  Blessing #1:  the ability to text so I can stay in touch with Josh all day.  Blessing #2: God provided lunch at work, etc.  The discouragement and fear were beginning to be replaced with peace and joy, that is, until I received a phone call.  A doctor’s office called informing me of a medical bill that I had no idea I even had.  They were very unsympathetic to my surprise, all they cared about was when they would receive payment.

“God, really?  I’m trying to do the right thing here by not grumbling and complaining.  What’s this all about?  Why can’t we get a break?”

In the quietness of the moment, God answered, “What about the commitment you made this morning about be thankful for the blessings?”

“Yes, BLESSINGS, not more bad news!”  I complained.  “You know we’ll never be able to pay this!  We can’t even buy a roll of paper towels!” (fact, not exaggeration)

“But who’s to say that I didn’t just give you a blessing?”  God challenged.

“What?” I retorted, but then I stopped and thought about it.  Our helpless situation required a miracle, and the only one that could perform the miracle was God.  There was the blessing.  I would be able to see God provide for us in a way that only he could do!  Through this my faith would be strengthened.

Quite humbled and filled with gratitude, I responded, “You’re right, God, this bill and this situation is a blessing.  No matter what, I will praise you.”

That night, my husband and I shared with our children the situation that we were in and our commitment to give thanks in all things.  As our kids prayed asking God to meet our needs, they also made sure they thanked him for all that he has given.

Sometimes blessings come in disguises, we just need to have a different perspective.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

(I Thessalonians 5:18 ESV)

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blessings

Abba, things are looking pretty bleak right now.  It feels as if we are going backward not forward in this trial.  How much longer will this go on?

Even though I am truly discouraged, I know that you want me to fully trust you and to give praise no matter how I feel.  So, please help me to see the little blessings that you provide each day and help me to learn to be joyful and content even when things are uncertain.

.

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hope

Hope vs. Fantasy. Last week, I came to the place where I reevaluated my past and my present and decided that the hope I clung to was just fantasy.  For years, I kept clinging to the hope that circumstances would get better, that there was a purpose for me, and that God had a future in mind for me, but last week, I gave up.  I don’t know what brought this on, other than just discouragement.  My hope switch flipped to off.  I convinced myself that it was better to give up than to continue on in my “dream world”.  I didn’t realized that when hope disappears, it would create an empty void rather than bringing peace.

God knew I had hit rock bottom and as I shared last week, the very next day he shared a verse talking about hope. He continued with that conversation this weekend by placing several people in our path to help us take the next step toward the “fantasy” future, and then today a friend stopped by my work and left me an audio book to listen to on hope.  Once more, God was reassuring me that my needs were very real to him.

Which brings me to a question – all those years of dreaming of a future filled with purpose, was it really just fantasy or was it hope? I now believe it was hope, not something I made up.  And that hope was based upon Jesus and a belief that he has started a good work in me and will bring it to fruition (Philippians 1:6), and that his plans for me aren’t for failure but for success. (Jeremiah 29:11) Without hope, life became pointless, but with it, life is worth living once more.

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squarepeg_roundhole

Hope. This is the word that my husband and I kept coming back to in our conversation yesterday.  By the end of the day, I was beyond discouraged, I was losing hope.  Several months ago, someone had shared a great encouragement with me about what I would someday do.  I hung it on my wall by my bed so that I would always remember, but yesterday, I snatched it off my wall and crumpled it up.  I no longer believed it.

My philosophy about faith (which I’m not sure is a good one anymore) was based upon a story I heard. It goes something like this:  two farmers prayed for rain.  One farmer went out and plowed his fields preparing for the rain.  Which farmer exhibited faith?  Of course, the answer is the farmer that plowed his fields.

Looking back on my life, it seems as if I’ve always been plowing my fields in anticipation of future “rain”. Even now with starting a non-profit, my mentality has been, while we are in the research/development stage, I need to get a master’s degree to prepare myself, or we need to do this and this and this and….all in preparation for the day we become supported and full-time.  But, I’m not sure this is quite the right mentality to have.  Forgive me.  This is a rambling blog in which I’m trying to figure out how I feel.  I gave up all hope yesterday.  Have you ever felt like you were stuck in a room with four walls with no means of escape, with hyper-active classical music blaring, and fingernails scraping against a chalk board?  You get the picture.  Hope of rescue may have sustained you for days, but it begins to die out as the weeks go by.

That’s pretty much where I was at. For a year, I’ve thrived on hope working towards a certain future, but when I look back, most of the fields I plowed in my life never received the anticipated rain (maybe it’s still coming).  My husband suggested that I was placing too much hope in an unsure future and not placing it here in the present.  “All we know is what God gives us today, so find peace in that, and let him guide you into the future.”  He advised.

But how do you find peace when you feel like a square peg fitting into a round hole? I guess it’s back to faith and hope – believing that God has you in a temporary situation to better you for the future, and that when the time is right, He will let you out of the 4 walled room with loud classical music and nails scraping on chalkboard.  Until then, I guess I’ll learn to focus on the hope of today – God, my family, and the relationships I have right now.

“But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.” – Psalm 39:7 (NIV)

“Lord, I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God.” – Psalm 28:15 (NIV)

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