Have you ever thought about how the Lord provides a way to escape through provision? Honestly, I had never considered that until these past few months.
Through my life, I have always thought about how the Lord gives blessings and provides for his children through material possessions. But, now, I can see so much more than that because of this verse:
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Cor. 10:13
Do you see it? He provides a way to escape from temptation.
Isn’t that beautiful?
To me, it is because I have fallen into temptation my entire life. I have longed for material possessions, to be the best (at many different things), I have suffered from jealousy, coveteousness, gossip, anger….. and the list goes on.
One thing I have held higher than I should is the need for stability.
I never really thought about that or how it can be sinful to need stability, but this past year, God has shown me that anything I place above Him causes my heart to wander.
It took a true friend, one who knows I long to learn more about the Lord to speak the truth.
One day, as I shared our financial situation, she very lovingly replied: “The Lord will bring to light the things we need to work on so that He can do bigger things in our lives and the lives of others through us.”
That hit me like a load of bricks.
She didn’t say “Oh, I am so sorry” or “Oh, I hope things work out…” She spoke the truth and showed me that no matter what was going on, the Lord had allowed it to happen, but for a bigger purpose than I could imagine.
As I considered what she said, I asked her to pray for me. I asked her to pray that God would give us clear direction….
God did give us clear direction.
Within a few months, a neighbor called and told us she was selling her home and asked if we would like to speak with her realtor. I agreed to do so but knew that we had to make a certain amount on our home, or it would not make sense.
The realtor came that night and within 48 hours (even before listing on MLS), we had a full price contract.
In that transaction, God provided a way for us to pay off almost all of our debt.
While we do not have a home of our own, he has also provided shelter – through the same friend who gave me those words of wisdom. We needed to sell our home and a place to regroup; she needed house sitters while her home is empty.
God has provided.
His provision was not just for our physical needs; he has also provided spiritually.
I no longer judge how other people mess up their finances and end up homeless and needing food stamps. There are times in this life where things happen because of lessons that haven’t been learned. There are also times when things happen that are completely out of our control.
I am thankful for my friend and her lack of judging me. I am thankful for her love and desire to speak truth.
Most of all, I am thankful for how deeply she loves the Lord.
God has shown His love through His provision for me and my family. I pray He will also provide a way for us to bless others…
I never imagined I would find peace in letting go of almost everything I hold dear. If you told me I would learn that this past year, I would have smiled and walked away thinking you really had no idea what you were talking about.
But, I have learned just that.
I have read about peace, and I have met many people who just seem to live in a peaceful state. I’ve always wanted to have peace – one that surpasses all understanding, but I never really knew how to ‘get it.’
It’s easy to read the Bible and the many verses about peace but to receive peace and know it has always seemed beyond my reach. It’s easy to get lost in this world that seems bent on chaos and confusion while trying to hold on tight to Jesus’ hem. The world can be so loud and pull a mom in dozens of directions with information and insight on how we should be living.
Maybe I’ve had it wrong all of these years.
It’s easy to think that I am wrong. All I have to do is read one post on one website, then another on a different site and go back to Jesus’ words in the Bible and see three different thoughts on peace.
Or are they? Could they merely be different people experiencing life from their point of view and speaking the truth as they have learned it?
Unless you open your eyes and ears to hear and Jesus has poured into you, truth can not be known. And in truth, there is peace.
Truth gives a heart the path it needs to stay on when everything else is falling apart due to heartache, lies, deception, war, famine, starvation, death, sickness…. you name it. Unless you seek truth for you by the heart experiencing the hardships of this life, you can not find peace.
And when you look for it in the midst of life’s most difficult times, peace can not only be found but be experienced in a way that can not be explained or understood by one who has never experienced it.
A peace gained through hardships gives the heart that has found it – the ability to sit down at the feet of Jesus and say “It is what it is. This life has been harsh for me, as it was for you. So be it. Let me carry this torch for you, let me experience this life for you…. and grant me the peace that you give that goes beyond understanding.”
You find peace when life has only one meaning and that the truth about who is Lord over my life in all circumstances. Peace is found when I stop comparing who I am or what I have with other people around me. I find peace when I say “Lord, take me and all that I am and use me for the purpose of which you created me.” And when I say those words I know that the Lord can use me in ways that can make me shine on earth or not.
It’s funny, isn’t it? When we reflect on how we want peace, we think about beautiful homes, cars, clothes and security on earth. But, when we read God’s word, when we read about people whose lives were full of peace and gave peace to others, we know the exact opposite. Those lives were like the life of our Savior: who had no home to call his own after he began his ministry.
So, I sit here with no home to call my own, and I have found peace.
Isaiah 26:3 “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
A few years ago, I learned about humility in a way I never imagined.
I had a great job, working with amazing people. It wasn’t a perfect job, don’t get me wrong. no one there was perfect and they never expected me to be perfect.
In fact, they loved me in spite of my imperfections.
But as much as I loved the job, it seemed that so many other people did not want me in that position. I didn’t know people could be so cruel.
It was my first taste of how people can use the internet for evil.
Little did I know this experience was preparing me for a situation one of my children would have. Like me, people used the internet to hurt my child.
It impacted our entire family.
False rumors and edited photos about our child and family were shared across several social media platforms.
We began to see that no matter how much we tried to control what our children did on their phones and our computers, we could not control what others did.
It’s easy to think that placing apps and accountability software on your devices will keep your family safe. But, that is a false sense of safety. If a person wants to harm your family, they won’t use your devices, they will use their own and you have no control over that.
Unfortunately, many parents do not think their children would ever do anything like that. Many also believe their children need privacy. So, they have no clue that their children could be hurting another person right under their nose.
And many who do know, see these actions as ‘just kids being kids and having fun.’
Take it from me, these things are NOT fun. This has impacted our family emotionally and financially.
Thankfully, we know that the Lord sees our hearts and guides us through these struggles. His love and never ending grace have reminded us – that no matter how people may harm us, we need to forgive others.
This life is short. My family and I could spend our time stewing over these hurts, or we can turn them into good by loving others and reminding parents – we really have no control over anything in this world except the way we respond to others in any situation.
It’s been two months since I sat in that hospital bed and my faith grew.
Over the time-span of one year our family had been turned upside down and inside out. My health had declined due to pain and medication (for the pain I had been enduring). At the same time, a financial hardship had fallen on us.
It did not make sense (financially) for me to be in a hospital bed. It did not make sense that I had surgery on my spine by a neurosurgeon I had just met.
But, it did make sense that God had orchestrated the 24 hours that changed my entire perspective on life and my faith grew.
- While I had spent the past year praying for God to
- take my pain away, he had not done so
- end our financial problems, he had not done so
- While I had attempted to return to work and help resolve our problems, I had been unable to…
Every path we had taken seemed to lead to a dead end. But Faith woke us up every morning to a new day.
God… gave me faith to persevere, just as he had given it to Jesus the night he fell to his face three times and begged for the cup to be taken…
And in his weakest most difficult moment, Jesus said “Not my will, but yours be done.”
For so long, I have wanted to really show my children what it’s like to live in this world without being of it. I’ve wanted to give them an example of a Mother who holds onto the faith given to her by a loving Father. I’ve wanted to show them that everything around them is only here for us to use for His glory…
That is what I wanted and that is exactly what the Lord has provided.
He gave me the gift of faith. The gift of faith has given me the ability to persevere through some dark moments. It is easy to say “you’ll make it through and God is with you…” But you really can’t say that until you have walked a road that is similar to one another person has travelled on.
God has given me this journey, to grow my faith for his glory. I know that. I also know he has given me this beautiful gift because you might need someone to sit and say:
“Mama, you are NOT alone. My road is similar. There will be days when you just can’t stand or walk because the pain (physical or emotional) is too much… but you are NOT alone and God is with you. He has not abandoned you, nor has HE forsaken you. Just hold on and let go. Hold on to his hand and let go of the idea that you can control this. Just let him love you and give you an amazing gift of faith that He can’t give you in any other way….”
It was an ordinary Monday morning after a soccer tournament. I had not felt that well over the weekend. But, I didn’t want to dampen the fun we had as a family. I wanted to embrace the joy of my youngest experiencing another great win at a tournament.
That day began as usual: up at 5:00, the oldest dressed and left with Dad. After they left, I lingered over my coffee and quiet time. I said a prayer that the pain in my body would not continue to increase and then I began my day.
Over the course of 2 hours, I began to realize that it wasn’t going to be like other days. It was going to be like the day I experienced last year. That day, I learned about praise… but today, I would learn that pain brings joy.
It began in a subtle manner – the pain growing slowly and then fading. I thought it would pass. But, when my legs gave out and I was unable to stand, walk or sit down, I knew God had something other than ‘normal’ planned for the day.
So I lay on my bed in tears, wondering if this was my new normal. My husband came home, called my doctor and within 24 hours, I was in an operating room.
When I woke up the next morning, I was in the least amount of pain I had been in – in over a year.
I was also experiencing more joy than I had in a very long time.
It was then that I knew God was answering my prayer. But, it wasn’t a prayer just about pain, it was about our family and the trials we have been experiencing.
So, even though only ONE of my many prayers had been answered, I knew, God was at work and one by one, he was going to be answering my prayers.
My prayers, based on my faith that had grown as small as a mustard seed….and one by one, I knew God was going to be moving mountains.
Those mountains loomed large and had caused a darkness to cover my eyes.
But, when I saw the bright lights in that operating room, I began a new journey.
Inexpressible Joy in Pain… beyond comprehension.
Throughout the book of Philippians, Paul talks about joy while he is in jail. He gives us amazing insight about experiencing joy through contentment in the worst circumstances we can imagine.
I had never considered how to have joy in jail until I began experiencing pain that threatened to take my life. Through that pain, God has opened my heart to enjoying every moment – no matter how hard or how beautiful: each minute is a gift.
Even pain is a gift because if we focus on God and giving him glory – Even PAIN can bring joy.
I’ll never forget the day I learned what praise really means.
It was a day in a hospital room, where my Mom tried teaching me. I didn’t know that this would be her last attempt to show me true praise. We were supposed to be in my home celebrating the 4th of July, but we weren’t. To say that I wasn’t happy about being in a hospital room is putting it lightly. I was anything but happy and I definitely didn’t want to praise Jesus for being there.
Yet, my Mother knew more than I did; so, she asked me to read her Bible to her. “What do you want me to read, Mom?” Her reply (wasn’t what I expected) “I’m reading Job, Rebecca. Can you find my book mark and begin where I left off?”
At that moment, I had an internal conversation that went something like this: “JOB? Really? I don’t want to read that. It’s so sad. Here you are, Mom, in the hospital AGAIN and you want to read JOB?”
I’m sure she could read my thoughts by the expression on my face. But, I read the words about a man who had everything and lost it all. He lost more than any human could ever imagine losing and yet his faith carried him through.
His faith gave him the strength and ability to praise God with ashes on his head, a wife at his side belittling him, and friends wagging their fingers in his face.
And there, in the hospital bed for what seemed like the thousandth time lay my Mother, who leaned into God and gave Him praise by listening to her daughter read His Word.
That memory came to my mind last year when it seemed like my whole world was falling apart. A financial whirlwind blew into a catastrophe and on top of that, I had a back problem that landed me on my floor in spasms for four hours.
Those four hours were the longest and shortest of my life.
They were filled with pain I never imagined.
As the pain coursed through my back and down into my foot, I cried out for help “Jesus, please help me.” Over and over again.
TRULY Praise Him
I finally learned about praise in a way I never imagined.
TRUE heart praise for the one who knew pain beyond anything I could imagine.
I learned that Praising Jesus is knowing that nothing in this world is worth anything if Jesus is not in the middle of it and that nothing in this world deserves praise – other than my Heavenly Father.
He alone is worthy.
It’s easy to have the wrong idea about what praise is, but once you know the beauty of true praise, YOU KNOW a joy that is truly indescribable and is only found where the human heart does not want to go until it knows the beauty of laying it all down.
Praise…. just praise HIM.