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How Can I Seriously Count Painful Times As Joy?

I was planning to write this post a few hours before my father-in-law suddenly died August 4th. It is the sequel to my post from last week about Is Real Joy Possible for Me?  I am honored to share these precious spiritual treasures with you – as it so happens – from the midst of a significant trial in my own life.

We live in a fallen world and we all face many kinds of trials in our lives. None of us are exempt. I may not have much control over what trials come my way. But I do have control over my response and attitude.

I am so excited to share some amazing truths with you – truths that will radically change your life and perspective if you are willing to embrace them.

JOY IS MY CHOICE IN TIMES OF TRIAL

I can choose to depend on God’s wisdom, His strength, His sovereignty, His power, His goodness, His love, and His vision. I can choose to trust Him and His Word. I can willingly yield to His Lordship and let Him lead me.

This takes the power of the Holy Spirit. It takes close fellowship with God. It takes practice. It is a discipline we can learn as believers with God’s help. I can begin to see hard times as spiritual tests and opportunities for growth.

When I face difficulties, the Holy Spirit empowers me (if I belong to Christ) to choose to respond in:

  • Faith
    • I don’t know the answers, but I trust that God knows what to do and that He will lead me through this. (Isa. 30:21, Ps. 23)
    • I don’t have the wisdom to solve this dilemma, but I trust that God has wisdom and power in this situation. (Isa. 40:28)
    • I know God is sovereign, good, and loving even now and even over this. (Jer. 29:11-13)
  • Joy
    • I know that God promises to use this specific trial to help me grow in my faith and in spiritual maturity, and that brings me great joy. (James 1:2-4)
    • Jesus invites me to ask for things I genuinely need – according to His will – and to receive from God, that my joy might be full. (John 16:24)
    • A joyful heart is good medicine. (Prov. 17:22)
    • God calls me to rejoice in Him at all times. (Phil. 4:4)
    • I have so many reasons for joy in Christ, even in the midst of my trials (the following is excerpted from www.gotquestions.org).
      • The joy of my salvation.
      • The joy of anticipating God’s deliverance.
      • The joy of God’s presence.
      • The joy of spiritual maturity.
  • Anticipation
    • I can’t wait to see how God will use this awful situation to create something beautiful and good in my life and bring glory to Himself!
    • I want to go much deeper with the Lord! (Eph. 1:15-23)
    • God wants to use hardships to help conform me to the image of Christ Jesus. (Rom. 8:29)
  • An Open Heart
    • What does God want me to learn and how does He want to help me to grow in this painful trial?
  • Spiritual Treasure Seeking
    • It is only in the dark caves where people can find diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and gems physically, it is similar spiritually. The greatest treasures are found in the darkest times, if we are willing to look.
    • I don’t want to miss any of the gifts He has for me here.
  • Prayer
    • Lord, I give this situation to You. You see all that I am going through and my suffering. I trust You are with me. I trust You are sovereign and good.
    • I invite Your provision!
    • How should I pray about this situation?
    • Not my will but Yours be done! (Luke 22:42)
    • Is there anyone I should ask to pray with me/for me about this?
    • What step do you want me to take next?
    • I only want to see Your greatest glory!
    • I want Your perfect will.
    • What miracles do You want to do here?
  • Peace
    • In the world, I will have tribulation. But Jesus promises to give me His peace. (John 16:33)
    • God will keep me in His perfect peace when I trust Him and my mind is focused on Him. (Isaiah 26:3)
    • I can lay all of my concerns, worries, and fears before God because He cares for me. (Phil. 4:6)
  • Assurance 
    • He is going to make a way for me to make it through this. (Isa. 43:16-19)
    • He is with me and He will never leave or forsake me. (Deut. 31:8)
  • Rest
    • Jesus invites me to come to Him when I am weary and He will give me rest for my soul. (Matt. 11:28-30)
  • Strength 
    • His grace is sufficient for me, for His power is made perfect in my weakness. (2 Cor. 12:9)
    • God promises I can do all that He calls me to do through the power of Christ in me. (Phil. 4:12-13)
    • The Lord is my strength and my song. (Ex. 15:2)
  • Thanksgiving
    • I can look for the blessings and provision of God in the midst of my trial. (1 Thess. 5:18)
    • I can give thanks to the Lord for He is good! (Ps. 107:1)
  • Focusing on Positive Things 
    • I can focus on the good things, the Philippians 4:8 things, because whatever I focus on tends to grow in my field of spiritual vision.
  • Receptivity to His promises
    • I learn about God’s promises theoretically as I read His Word. But it is during a crisis that I actually get to rest the weight of my life on God’s promises and experience them in reality.
    • I want to keep all of God’s promises in my heart and stand firmly on them and His Word.
  • Ministry
    • How does God want me to shine for Christ in the midst of this yucky situation? (Phil. 2:14-16, Matt. 5:13-16)
    • How might He want me to be an example, blessing, and witness to others? (1 Cor. 7:16, Acts 1:8)
    • How does God desire me to overcome evil with good here? (Rom. 12:17-21)
    • I can rest assured that God will use my pain – and the comfort He brings to me – to bring comfort, healing, salvation, and to strengthen the faith to others in the future when they hear about what He did for me and how I responded. (2 Cor. 1:6)

This doesn’t mean I won’t have feelings of sadness. I will! I am human, after all. I will have sadness and grief, at times. I will feel frustration and anger, at times. I will hurt. I will have emotions. It is important to feel my emotions and to identify them. But I don’t have to be a slave to my emotions. And I don’t have to be a slave to my circumstances.

Things may look hopeless from a human perspective…

Thankfully, I don’t have to see from a mere human perspective if I know Jesus!

THE BLESSINGS OF TRIALS

Scripture is full of encouragement about the spiritual benefits of our trials as followers of Christ. Here are a few of the blessings my trials can produce in my life as I trust God:

  • Lamentations 1
    • Suffering for sin may help me repent of sin and return to God if I have strayed.
    • God disciplines those who belong to Him for our good, so that we will turn from death and embrace His Life.
  • Matthew 5:10-11 and Acts 5:41
    • Suffering for my faith in Christ means I have been counted worthy to suffer in Jesus’ name.
    • I am blessed if I am insulted, punished, and/or persecuted for my faith in Jesus.
  • Romans 5:3-5
    • I can glory in my sufferings because of the good they will produce
      • perseverance
      • character
      • hope
  • James 1:2-4
    • As I trust God during suffering, He will use my trials to produce good things in me:
      • endurance
      • greater faith
      • greater spiritual maturity
      • spiritual completeness
      • I will lack nothing
  • Hebrews 12:4-12
    • I am to count hardships as discipline from God that will help me learn and grow. His discipline:
      • is verification of my adoption as a child of God
      • brings greater respect for God
      • yields peaceful fruit
      • brings about righteousness
      • is guaranteed to be for my benefit
      • allows me to share in God’s holiness

NOTE – “Counting trials as joy” does not mean that I need to try to create trials for myself, that I should be purposely combative or argumentative, or that I should try to prolong trials. It also doesn’t mean I must stay in a dangerous, abusive situation where I am being severely sinned against if I am able to get somewhere safe.  

SHARE

If you have experienced God’s supernatural joy and/or blessings in the midst of a difficult trial, or you have learned something helpful about how to “count it all joy when you face trials of many kinds,” we’d love to hear about it! I’m so thankful we can walk this road together and encourage one another.

RESOURCES

Verses about trials – Open Bible

Verses about God’s wisdom – Open Bible

A list of all of God’s promises – Bible Gateway

Verses about peace – Open Bible

Verses about suffering as a believer – Open Bible

Verses about being persecuted and hated for faith in Christ – Open Bible

Verses about God’s Sovereignty – Open Bible

Verses about finding God’s direction – Open Bible

Verses about strength – Open Bible

“The Peaceful Mom – Building a Healthy Foundation with Christ As Lord” has one chapter on counting trials as joy and one chapter on having an eternal perspective. Most of the chapters in the book would be a blessing to all women, not just moms.

Books Were My Mentors When I Began My Journey

Photo by Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash

In December of 2008, God used a book, “Love and Respect,” (by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs) to open my eyes to a lot of problems in my attitude and behavior I had never noticed before. I was mortified. I had no idea how blind I was and how much work I had to do spiritually to become the woman God called me to be.

I didn’t have a godly mentoring wife/mom to meet with me once a week or once a month. I didn’t have a female prayer partner or an online teacher. But I was determined that I was going to learn everything God wanted me to know about being a godly woman and wife.

I spent about 3-5 hours per day (7 days per week) immersed in the Bible, books, prayer, and my journal notebook for several years. I begged God:

  • Don’t leave me like this!
  • Change me!
  • Show me what it means to respect my husband. I don’t understand.
  • Show me what godly femininity means.
  • Show me how to be the woman You call me to be to my husband and children.
  • Help me make up for my sin and treat my family well from now on.
  • Help me obey You in everything. I hate my way. I want to do things Your way!

I read over 30 books on godly femininity, biblical womanhood, and being a godly wife during those 3.5 years. Those books and authors were my mentors along with much prayer, and – most importantly – scripture and the Lord.

I could read the books over and over again, and I often did, to help me really drive home the new ways of thinking I wanted to adopt. I often wrote notes and prayers in my prayer journal while I read. And I highlighted the books and made notes in the margins. Of course, I had to be sure to carefully evaluate each statement against the Bible. I only wanted to receive things that align with God’s Word. But books were a way for me to connect with people who understood God’s design for women, marriage, and faith so much more than I did. It was a way for me to have very low cost, high intensity discipleship for many hours each week on my schedule. I didn’t have to bother anyone else. I didn’t have to find child care. I found that books were very thorough and organized. I think, in many ways, they can help even more than having someone with you face-to-face at times.

I used the many hours in the evening that Greg was doing renovations on our house after the children were in bed and just soaked in every drop of God’s truth that I could. I began to really look forward to that time with Him and with my “mentors.” Even when Greg wasn’t working on the house as much, he would be sitting watching TV in bed. I wasn’t really into TV, so I would often sit beside him and cuddle while I read my latest book and communed with the Lord in prayer. What precious times of intimacy with God and of healing and growth for me spiritually!

Since that time, I have read even more books to help me grow in my walk with the Lord and as a wife and mom. God has used so many Christian authors from recent history, and from even the 1800s to help sharpen my faith and trust in Him. I can’t imagine where I would be without the books God has used, along with His Word, to open my eyes to His love, His truth, His transforming power, and His path to peace for me.

My Newest Book, “The Peaceful Mom,” is releasing today, March 27th!

51cXWa6UBDL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Perhaps The Peaceful Mom – Building a Healthy Foundation with Christ As Lord, might be one of the books God uses to be a great blessing and mentoring resource in your life? Maybe there are some areas where you are struggling as a mom, and this would be just the thing to help you grow and experience more of God’s power and peace in your life.

Check out the quiz on this link to see if it might be right for you.

And, if you are looking for help with your marriage and haven’t read, “The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord,” it’s here for you, as a resource and mentor, too.

Lord,

Thank You for Your Word, Your healing and Your truth. Thank You for the blessing of Christian books with solid biblical teaching. I pray that You might provide godly books to help us grow. Lead us to the ones we need for each stage of our journey. Most of all, help us cling to You and Your Word. Transform us by the power of Your Spirit. Make us be more and more like Jesus. Teach us Your ways and give us the faith, power, and courage to follow and obey You in everything. Your ways are the best!

Amen!

NEXT WEEK:

I plan to share a bit about what God has been doing in my life over the past 6 weeks. <3

RELATED:

Some of my favorite books – check out the books God used to most impact me on my journey

6-4463 Quotes 1080x1080

 

 

How Do I Dress Modestly?

Photo by Hannah Morgan on Unsplash

My sweet sisters, I’m so glad you are here with me today! Have I told you lately how precious each of you are to me and what a joy it is for me to get to share this time and fellowship together? I’m so thankful for you! You are in my prayers every day.

My goal with this post is to discuss biblical principles. It is really easy to veer into personal convictions. I want to avoid that out of reverence for God’s instructions to us to keep our personal convictions private – in order that we may not create division and contention in the body. I want to honor the Word of God and not add man-made rules for anyone to follow. So I am not going to dictate specific rules to other women:

  • You have to only wear skirts/dresses.
  • Your hemline has to be a specific number of inches.
  • Your collar line has to be so many inches away from your collar bone.
  • etc…

But what we can share together are things like:

  • Biblical principles for modesty.
  • Practical guidelines about choosing modest clothing.
  • Resources and tips to find modest, affordable clothing.

The goal for us as believing women has to be real heart change. Once we understand God’s heart for us and for the body of Christ, we will want to dress in modest ways to please the Lord so that we show proper respect for:

  • God
  • our brothers and sisters in Christ
  • the world
  • our sexuality
  • our marriage
  • our husband
  • the Word

What Does the Bible Say about Modesty and How We Are to Dress?

Pure Heart Motives:

  • Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Prov. 31:30
  • I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Rom. 12:1
  • Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Cor. 6:19-20
  • For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 1 Thess. 4:3-4

How to Dress, and What to Avoid:

  • Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 1 Tim. 2:9-10
  • Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 1 Pet. 3:3-4

Avoiding Being a Snare and Temptress:

  • “Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!” Matt. 18:7
  • Decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. Rom. 14:13

Now that we see God’s principles for us as women, that we are to dress in modest, respectable ways, that we are to avoid being extravagant, flashy, and pretentious, that we are not to draw attention to our bodies but rather to Jesus, that our beauty is to come from our spiritual character and inner selves and the things we do, let’s prayerfully consider our closets. <3

Defining Immodesty and Modesty:

Immodesty is about drawing the eye of unavailable men (and maybe even women) to my body, my sexuality, and to thinking about lusting after me. It is about how beautiful I am, how desirable I am, and about making my body look inviting and welcoming to other men in a sexual way. It is about advertising my “wares” so that other men don’t have to guess very much about the shape of my body. It is about attracting attention to my particular form and curves.

My favorite definition of modesty is,

“Modesty is humility in clothing.”

Modesty is all about exalting God, not exalting self. It is all about bringing glory and attention to the Lord not to my appearance. It is about making Jesus, the gospel, holiness, chastity and purity the focus. It is about covering my body in a way that draws the eye to Christ. It is about avoiding expensive hairstyles, jewelry, and clothing that would draw a lot of attention away from Christ. It is about being beautiful in a spiritual way rather than a worldly way. Modesty is about looking feminine in ways that are wholesome and appropriate in public. It is about advertising my faith in Christ rather than my skin or my curves. It is about showing my reverence for God, the gospel, others, and myself. It is about being content not being the most beautiful, attractive girl in the room.

Modesty is also an attitude that avoids acting in flirtatious, inappropriate, or vulgar ways. It is about conducting myself with integrity, purity, and sound speech. It is about guarding my heart and my marriage. It is about avoiding the appearance of evil and seeking to treat my brothers (and sisters) in Christ with honor, respect, dignity, and holiness.

Principles of Modesty:

In order to assess whether a particular outfit is modest, here are some questions I may want to prayerfully ask myself:

  • What are my motives when I wear this outfit?
  • Will this outfit draw the eye of my brothers in Christ to my body or to the Lord?
  • Does this clothing cover all of the important areas well?
    • Even if I bend over, lean down, or reach up?
    • If I have to sit in a chair, will someone be able to see up my skirt/shorts?
    • Will I be doing activities that will cause private areas to be visible in this outfit?
    • If there are buttons, does the material gape between the buttons?
    • Am I likely to have a wardrobe malfunction in this clothing?
  • Am I purposely or inadvertently encouraging men to focus on my body or on lusting after me because this outfit reveals too much skin or exposes the exact shape of my body?
    • Is the neckline too low?
    • Is my midriff exposed?
    • Is the clothing too tight?
    • Does this outfit draw the eye to my breasts, hips, or crotch?
    • Is this clothing see-through in the right light?
    • Are my undergarments showing?
    • Is the hemline too short?
  • What would my husband or dad (or another godly man I greatly respect) think about this outfit?

PEACEFUL WIFE VIDEOS

The Joy of Modesty

Where to Find Beautiful, Modest Clothes

POSTS

My Journey into Femininity and Modesty

My Journey into Modesty by A Fellow Wife

Modest Swimwear Ideas

SHARE

What are some of your favorite ways to dress modestly?

Where are some affordable sources of modest clothing you have discovered?

What are some of your favorite stores and websites for modest clothing?

 

 

Dealing with Annoying Things…

A good test of whether the Spirit of God is in control in my heart – or my sinful nature is in control – is how I respond when people do things that tend to annoy me. I’m going to share some examples of ways we could respond that would be godly (as long as our motives are right).

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Cor. 13:4-5

Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh… The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Gal. 5:10, 22-23

I have awesome news, dear sisters in Christ, I don’t HAVE to be annoyed! Jesus can give me the power to extend grace in many situations that maybe would annoy me if I was acting in the flesh. He can also give me the power to be vulnerable, respectful, and kind while asking for what I need. But even if I don’t receive what I would like, I can respond in the power of the Lord and don’t have to give in to resentment, control, bitterness, or any kind of sinful motives or thoughts – as I abide in Him.

SATAN’S STRATEGY

Satan would love for me to be annoyed, irritated, and resentful. He would love to take some tiny little inconsequential issue and get me to focus on accusations against my husband or bitterness so that he can gain a huge foothold in my life. If you haven’t read about this, I invite you to see exactly how he does this in these two posts:

How Satan Would Love to Destroy Your Marriage Through Your Thought Life

My Demon – by Kayla

 

SOME EXAMPLES AND SUGGESTIONS TO PRAYERFULLY CONSIDER:

HE LEAVES THE TOILET SEAT UP

photo credit www.ebay.com
photo credit www.ebay.com
  • I can accept that part of living with a man might be that the toilet seat gets left up sometimes. After all, I always leave the toilet seat down. Maybe that could be annoying, too, from his perspective? It doesn’t have to be a big deal for me to put the seat down, any more than it would be for him to have to put the seat up.
  • I can take this opportunity to thank God that I have a husband. Living with another person involves some small inconveniences, but the rewards of getting to be a wife are worth it! There are a lot of women who wish their biggest problem in life was that they had a husband who left up a toilet seat.
  • I can refuse to assume evil motives on his part.
  • I can respectfully ask, in a pleasant way, “Honey, if you get a chance to put the toilet seat back down when you are finished, that would be wonderful. Thanks!”
  • If he doesn’t remember, I still don’t have to resort to bitterness. I don’t have to even be angry. I can just put the seat down myself and remind myself that I am glad he puts the seat up and doesn’t make a mess on the seat. He is being considerate to put the seat up.
  • I can feel in the dark to see if the seat is up with the lid so I know to put it down so I don’t fall in or I can have a night light on in the bathroom.
  • I can be super thankful for indoor plumbing and for toilet seats. Not everyone in this world has such a luxury!
  • I could ask for a “squat toilet” like the one on the right like they use in Asia. Then there is no seat over which to have any contention. Problem solved! Ha! 🙂

 

 

IMG_0145HE DOESN’T PUT THE DISHES IN THE DISHWASHER “CORRECTLY”

  • If he is putting dishes in the dishwasher, that is awesome! Not every husband does that. What a blessing! I want to be sure that I thank him and show appreciation – not a bunch of criticism – or he may not want to keep helping me. Who wants to help someone who criticizes all of the help she receives? (Here is a post about overcoming a critical spirit.)
  • I don’t have to say anything about how he packs the dishwasher. If the dishes are not all clean, I could simply take a crusty dish to him later, with a pleasant attitude, and say, “Hmm… it seems like the dishwasher didn’t quite get the dishes clean.”
  • I could scrub the crusty dishes and say nothing – as long as I can do that without any bitterness or resentment. It is definitely possible with the power of the Holy Spirit!
  • If things are not tense in the marriage already, and my husband is feeling relatively respected, I may decide to say something (in a friendly, casual way) like, “I noticed that it seems like sometimes the dishwasher cleans the dishes better when they are put in like this…” Or, “I’ve noticed that if the dishes block the jets, things don’t seem to get as clean.”

 

HE LEAVES DIRTY CLOTHES ON THE FLOORIMG_0147

  • I can pick them up myself with a joyful servant’s heart and focus on how thankful I am to have my husband in my life.
  • I can say in a friendly way, with a smile, “Honey, if you would please put your clothes in the hamper sometime, that would be great. Thanks!”
  • I can leave them there until he picks them up. It just depends whose tolerance is greater for a mess. If I am the one who can’t stand clothes being on the floor, maybe it would just be worth it to my sanity for me to quickly put them in the hamper myself with good motives.

When I focus on thankfulness, I can have peace.

 

IMG_0148HE DOESN’T TAKE OUT THE GARBAGE

  • I can say (in a friendly, pleasant way, with a genuine smile), “Baby, would you please take out the kitchen garbage when you get a chance tonight? Thank you so much!”
  • I can give him time to take it out on his schedule and not expect him to do it immediately.
  • If the garbage really smells awful, I can take it out myself, or ask an older child to if that is possible.
  • If it is a garbage emergency, I can say, “Honey, the garbage is really smelling nasty. If you could please take it out as soon as possible, that would be awesome. Thanks!”
  • Of course, I need to recognize if my husband is really busy, sick, exhausted, stressed, or involved in something. If he is, I may rather just take out the garbage myself rather than disturb him.

How might I bless him today?

 

HE SITS DOWN TO RELAX WHILE I HAVE A LOT OF CHORES TO DOdrew-coffman-125736

  • I can respectfully ask him for some help with specific things in a friendly way and let him know that when these chores are done, I’d really love to relax and cuddle with him.
  • I can bring my laundry basket in there and sit with him and enjoy his company while I fold laundry.
  • I could let the chores wait a bit and just go cuddle with my husband and enjoy being with him for 20 minutes or so. I don’t have to be jealous of his taking some time to relax when I could join him!
  • I can ask children to help with age-appropriate chores and train them to help so that I delegate a lot of my chores to them more and more.
  • I can focus on being a blessing to him and appreciating all that he does for me. Maybe he went under the house last week to fix the sewer line. Or maybe he took my car to the shop. Maybe he mowed the grass this week for an hour or two.
  • I can be thankful he has the chance to rest and relax.
  • I can focus on thanking God for all of the things my husband does for me and our children.
  • I can thank God I have a husband and family to care for.
  • I can evaluate my time management and see if there is anything I can adjust to help me have more time to relax, as well. Maybe I could even ask for my husband’s input.
  • I can evaluate whether everything I think needs to be done really needs to be done. Maybe I can let some things go? Perhaps I can think about the story of Mary and Martha?

IF THINGS ARE EXTREMELY TENSE

If your husband has been talking about divorce or he is extremely shut down or angry and has been feeling very disrespected, there can be a period of time while y’all are in the beginning stages of healing where it could be wise not to ask him to do anything. Sometimes giving him a bit of time and space to heal without him feeling pressured can be helpful temporarily.

ANDREW MURRAY QUOTES ABOUT HUMILITY

“The only humility that is really ours is not that which we try to show before God in prayer, but that which we carry with us, and carry out, in our ordinary conduct; the insignficances of daily life are the importances and the tests of eternity, because they prove what really is the spirit that possesses us.”
Andrew Murray, Humility

“The humble man looks upon every, the feeblest and unworthiest, child of God, and honors him and prefers him in honor as the son of a King.”
Andrew Murray, Humility

 

SHARE

Has God given you wisdom and power to respond in a godly way to a situation that used to annoy you? We’d all love to hear your insights! Do you need some help with something that is annoying you? You are welcome to share that, as well. 🙂

RELATED:

Posts on Bitterness

How to Overcome a Critical Spirit – by www.gotquestions.org

Laying Down My Expectations

How to Have a Relationship with Jesus Christ

Healthy VS. Unhealthy Relationships

How to Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit

Examining the Real Reasons Behind Perfectionism and People Pleasing

Dying to Self

 

 

Stages of This Journey – Summary

ADMIN NOTE:

There was a large update done on this site Friday afternoon and since then there have been a number of technical issues since then. I’m hopeful those issues will be completely resolved today.

——————-

If you don’t have a close relationship with Jesus Christ as Your Savior and Lord, that is the first place to start on this journey. There is no way to be godly or peaceful in our own power. We all desperately need the work of Jesus on the cross on our behalf and we need the power of God’s Spirit to transform our lives. Here is a post about how you can know Christ and how you can give your life to Him.

A SUMMARY OF THE STAGES OF THIS JOURNEY

These are general stages I have noticed as I have walked beside thousands of women on this journey. They aren’t always linear and don’t always go in the same order – and this post doesn’t cover everything on this life-long road as we seek to become godly women. But I think this may help you get a general idea. 🙂

In Part 1 of this series:

1. Conviction – Seeing my sin as God sees it, having my eyes opened to the fact that I am a big time sinner (I may see for the first time that I have been controlling, idolizing self or my  husband, disrespectful, bitter, resentful, contentious, filled with fear and unbelief in God, and trusting myself or other things instead of God.)
2. Repentance – Turning totally away from my sin in disgust and turning completely to Jesus and His ways.
3. The Frustrating Quiet Phase – Things often get worse before they get better
4. Seeking God First – The Lordship of Christ

 

In Part 2 of this series:

5. Giving My Husband Space
6. Feeling Totally Overwhelmed – I see who I am supposed to be and what I need to change but feel like I just can’t get there yet. I may be trying to do this in my own strength instead of yielding to Christ and allowing His Spirit to radically change me.
7. Learning to Use My Words and Emotions to Bless
8. Dying to Self
9. Developing a Grateful Heart
10. Taking Every Thought Captive – (Recognizing the voice of the enemy)
12. Feeling Discouraged because My Husband Isn’t Changing –  (I Want My Husband to Change, Too!)

Part 3 of this series:

13. Extending Grace on a Greater Level
14. Greater Sensitivity to God’s Voice
15. Finding a New Balance of Intimacy/Space/Closeness in Marriage
16. I See My Husband in a New Light

 

In Part 4 of this series:

17. There may be a Plateau – Will I keep pursuing Christ above all things or allow myself to drift away?

18. I Realize How Carefully I Must Guard My Heart Around other Men – Now that I have all of this knowledge.

19. There are many spiritual tests along the way – Will I respond in the power of the old sinful flesh or in the Spirit?

20. Teaching/mentoring our daughters and other women

Some other things we learn along the way:

OTHER RESOURCES:

  • My book, The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord, ties everything together and may be a very helpful place to start this journey. I go through my story, a spiritual inventory, God’s design for marriage, what disrespect is, what respect is to our  husbands, how to handle conflict, what biblical submission is and is not, the Lordship of Christ, acknowledging our sin, my husband’s perspective as God began to change me, how to speak respectfully, how to address issues respectfully, tons of ideas on how to respect our husbands, and quite a few stories from other wives on this journey.
  • Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
  • For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn (to help us better understand how men think)
  • The Respect Dare – by Nina Roesner
  • Absolute Surrender – by Andrew Murray (to help us learn to fully yield all to Christ as Lord)

 

“I Am Slowly Finding My Way” – a Guest Post

 

Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked…
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither…   Psalm 1:1-3

From a sister in Christ who is fairly new on this journey to become a more godly woman – I’m so thankful for her willingness to share:

I am fluctuating… slowly finding my way. One day, I am resting in Christ steadily and firmly rooted in God’s arms – the next, I am trying to do everything in my own power and failing miserably. It’s still an improvement from where I was just a few short months ago.

I was grumpy, rude, irritable, short-tempered – in general, not a very nice person. I lived in my feelings; my pride was the scale that weighed every thought and conversation. I blamed everyone around me for my irritability.

I can only imagine what my husband and children must have felt… Realizing what an awful person I had become was not easy for me – I doubt it’s ever easy for anyone. Finding God has blessed my life more than words can express, and He has made so many changes to my heart and mind. Now, I am conscientiously happy – I choose to be excited, joyful, and appreciative. It takes a little effort to tell my pride-driven “feelings” to get lost and embrace happiness, oh, but it’s worth it – to rest in the peace the my God has given me, to play with my kids like I’m 8 years old again, to see my husband light up because something he said made me laugh.
I just had a wonderful weekend with my family. We didn’t do anything special, but it was so peaceful and relaxing. It’s true that our responses as wives and mothers set the tone in our homes. There were little issues that popped up, but I have been so peaceful because of my growing faith that the little blips were just smoothed over, instead of creating a storm.

It seems like when I find these peaceful moments, I say “Thanks, God”, get back behind the wheel, and crash the car, again.

I am so thankful for His grace (and I pray my husband has a huge supply for me, too). But, I have to have grace for myself as well. If God has forgiven me, then I HAVE TO forgive me, too. Psalm 103:11-12 tells me that God has removed my sins and failures from me as far as the east is from the west. What a relief! So, I dust myself off, pray for clarity to see where I went off course, and I continue living in His grace.
I’ve read other women’s accounts of growing into a spiritually mature, virtuous woman; I was warned that it is a slow process. I am finally beginning to realize that MY process is slow because of me. If I just placed all control in God’s hands and rested entirely in him (without taking over after a great week- thinking that I finally crossed the spiritual maturity finish line), then I wouldn’t have such a bumpy road.

I’m not under the illusion that I will ever be without sin; my hope is to mature to a place where my responses are deliberate rather than reactive. I’ve learned so many truths about God, His Word, and myself from Scripture and from more experienced women, and I know it’s possible. The trick (at least for me) is to apply those truths to my life without making a bunch of rules for me to follow to be a “Good Wife.” That also means keeping my motives pure – not making changes to become closer to my family or to get people to see me in a new light.

These changes have only been successful and fruitful once they came from my desire to be closer to God, to please HIM – with an added bonus of peace in my home and improved relationships with my family.

When I try to abide in His will by my own power, my efforts fall short EVERY TIME. I have read those words one hundred times all from different people, but until I attempted it on my own I didn’t understand.

I still have a long way to go – I stumble more than I like. It was me giving up control (or trying to control) every detail in our lives that allowed God’s peace to come into my heart. Focusing on Jeremiah 17:7-8 helped guide me in letting go of my need to control. When you think about it…

Trees don’t chase water and sunshine around. They are steady, peaceful, and still. They take their nourishment from where they are planted. To grow, they dig their roots in deeper – those same roots that nourish them keep them firmly planted in storms.

God is blessing me with these “tree-like” characteristics. I am growing a strong foundation in my relationship with Christ. I have stopped chasing things to make me or others happy . I am content and growing where He wants me to be. I am learning to thank Him for every circumstance – especially those that show me any sins I am holding in my heart.

RELATED:

Stages of This Journey Part 1

Encouragement for Those Who Are in the Trenches

Things Got Worse When I First Started to Change by The Restored Wife

If I Become a Godly Wife – Will I Be Me? by Content in Christ

How to Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit

There Must Be More to This Journey  Than Just Prayer

How to Make Your Husband an Idol

How Satan Would Love to Destroy Your Marriage Through Your Thought Life

If I Trust and Obey God, I Will Be Fake and Lose Myself – a Guest Post

How Can I Tell if I Belong to Christ?

Even Once My Marriage Is Healed, I Can’t Go Back to My Old Ways

Transforming Our Thought Lives

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When the flesh is in control, our minds are filled with worldly things like:

  • greed
  • bitterness
  • gossip
  • hatred
  • materialism
  • envy
  • idolatry (desiring other things or people more than we desire God)
  • negativity
  • complaining
  • contention
  • lies
  • pride
  • lust
  • worry
  • fear
  • unbelief
  • self

These things consume our thoughts, fuel our motives, and ultimately determine our words and actions, as well.

When we repent of our sin and come to Christ, yielding to Him as LORD of all in our lives, He transforms our thinking by the power of His Spirit and His Word. So now, we purposely trash everything that is from the sinful nature and the enemy and fill our minds all throughout each day with things like:

  • thanksgiving
  • praises to God
  • contentment in Christ
  • prayer for ourselves, others, the church, the lost, and the world
  • good things about God, others, and this world
  • God’s peace
  • joy
  • God’s Word
  • truth
  • faith in God
  • songs to God
  • love for God
  • love for others
  • things that will benefit others
  • patience
  • kindness
  • grace, mercy, and forgiveness
  • God’s character and nature
  • awe  and reverence for God
  • genuine humility

Whatever we think overflows from our hearts from our facial expressions, our tone of voice, our words, and our behavior. When we are filled to overflowing with the power of the Holy Spirit and the goodness of God, this is what will spill out onto those around us.

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Luke 6:45

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Phil. 4:4-8

Further Study:

Galatians 5:13-26

Ephesians  4:29-32

Taking Our Thoughts Captive for Christ – Peaceful Wife VIDEO

A Heart of Thanksgiving and Praise – Peaceful Wife VIDEO

Not a "Successful Marriage Story"… Yet

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Check out my 35 minute interview from last Tuesday with Charlie and Keith at KLFC Radio in Branson, Missouri!

————

A guest post:

This is my first time posting but I have followed your blog and been on the respectful wife journey now for about 3 years of my almost 7 year marriage. My husband is a “command man” and has quite a dominant personality he is always “right” and has little tolerance for people doing things that don’t make sense or are wrong to him.

I have struggled a lot to not shut down and become a doormat to avoid conflict and protect myself.

Over the years I have learned to “read” him a bit better.

  • I try to hear his underlying problem rather than just get defensive at the way he talks to me when he has an issue.
  • I try and apologise quickly for my fault and then drop the matter.
  • This (past) time I didn’t take his attack personally, I kept calm and said my piece quietly but stood my ground.

Anyway, fast forward a couple of months and I was feeling like I had learned and changed so much that I was nearly at the end of needing to read this blog and working on our marriage as I thought I was turning into a pretty agreeable wife (not saying that things were perfect or that I didn’t still struggle with sin still, but I had put in so much work into being respectful). We were having a conversation and I said something about how I had changed in our marriage, he knew I read your blog but we never really had conversations about what I was learning.

He said to me, “What do you mean changed?”

It came out that he hadn’t even noticed how hard I had tried over the last couple of years, he had seen no change in me from when we were first married.

I must admit I was gobsmacked and it was totally disheartening.

Up until a week ago I was just numb and devastated about our marriage, and wanted to give up and just shut him out. During this time I have refined my motives, I am now doing this out of obedience to God, my relationship with Him has grown so much since that moment. Without that time I would have continued in my own strength trying to make a good marriage.

God didn’t let me take any short cuts.

While I was being outwardly respectful to my husband in my mind I would be thinking, “You are so mean,” and call him names silently. There was so much hidden sin and filth in my heart that had to go. I have pretty much 0% chance of things improving for me. If he hasn’t noticed a change in me then I can’t hope that he will respond in turn. I am okay with that now, I can’t be responsible for his poor reactions to situations, I was enmeshed with him and overly sensitive to his moods. I have now accepted him for who he is.

However, now instead of just feeling sorry for myself and keeping my hurt hidden I have committed to respectfully saying, “That was hurtful,” and then moving on. I am excited about my new relationship with Christ and that is my primary focus now. Being a wife is only part of who I am and whilst I will continue on my journey it will be with a different heart. It’s not a successful marriage story, but praise God for he has been faithful to me.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

This wife may feel that hers is not a “successful marriage story” – but it already is a “successful discipleship story!” That is the most important thing! She saw that her motives and attitudes were still not right and needed to be refined. God often uses our spouses (and others) to be the “sandpaper” that helps to refine us and smooth us to be more and more the women He calls us to be. She is open to allowing God to use these difficult times and trials to mold her more into the image of Christ and to refine and mature her faith.

If we have struggles and we have times of pain, but God uses it for our growth and His ultimate glory – and He uses it to draw us much closer to Himself, that is success in His sight!

My prayer is that we might each be able to see that anything that draws us closer to Him, refines, and purifies us IS something that is accomplishing God’s good purposes in us! Let’s also pray for each hurting person here… that God might heal each spouse individually and then bring healing to each marriage for His glory!

QUOTE FROM ANDREW MURRAY’S BOOK, HUMILITY (chapter 11):

Every Christian virtually passes through these two stages in his pursuit of humility. In the first he fears and flees and seeks deliverance from all that can humble him. He has not yet learnt to seek humility at any cost. He has accepted the command to be humble, and seeks to obey it, though only to find how utterly he fails. He prays for humility, at times very earnestly; but in his secret heart he prays more, if not in word, then in wish, to be kept from the very things that will make him humble. He is not yet so in love with humility as the beauty of the Lamb of God, and the joy of heaven, that he would sell all to procure it. In his pursuit of it, and his prayer for it, there is still somewhat of a sense of burden and of bondage; to humble himself has not yet become the spontaneous expression of a life and a nature that is essentially humble. It has not yet become his joy and only pleasure. He cannot yet say, “Most gladly do I glory in weakness, I take pleasure in whatever humbles me.”

But can we hope to reach the stage in which this will be the case? Undoubtedly. And what will it be that brings us there? That which brought Paul there – a new revelation of the Lord Jesus. Nothing but the presence of God can reveal and expel self. A clearer insight was to be given to Paul into the deep truth that the presence of Jesus will banish every desire to seek anything in ourselves, and will make us delight in every humiliation that prepares us for His fuller manifestation. Our humiliations lead us, in the experience of the presence and power of Jesus, to choose humility as our highest blessing.

 

RELATED:

Why Do I Want to Change? – Peaceful Wife VIDEO (Youtube channel, April Cassidy)

Posts about Conflict

Posts about Being Enmeshed

Link to free download of Andrew Murray’s book Humility

Resource for emotionally abusive relationships www.leslievernick.com

Passive Aggressive Husband? – by Nina Roesner (author of The Respect Dare)

WorthyofLove Finally "Gets" Her Husband's Text Messages

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TODAY’S GUEST POST:

Sometimes, our husbands don’t share that they are feeling disrespected or that we are sinning against them and we have no idea we have contributed to the problems in our marriages. But other times, they truly do clearly try to explain that they feel unloved, mistreated, and disrespected – and we just don’t hear what they are saying – until God opens our eyes and ears. One couple has allowed me to share some of a husband’s old text messages to his wife that she has only recently begun to understand. These are the words of a frustrated,  husband who was feeling discouraged, disrespected, and unloved and yet was trying to love and lead his wife in a godly way. His wife, we will call her, WorthyofLove, sees now that she was fighting his attempts to lead and to love her with disrespect and control:

 

———————-

Here we go – some of my husband’s old texts to me:

TEXTS ABOUT BLATANT WAYS HE FELT DISRESPECTED:

From Peacefulwife – This next quote is what happens to a man who feels very put down and disrespected by his wife, notice what begins to happen to his ability to lead and make wise decisions:

Do you realize how many times you reminded me about my mistakes? How else am I supposed to feel except rejected and hurt? It surely didn’t make me feel like a man. I keep second guessing myself.

WAYS HE WAS TRYING TO LEAD ME SPIRITUALLY:

When I read some of these (now) I am like, “Wow he couldn’t have been any more blatant!!!!!”

I honestly did not have a clue what he was trying to say to me. If anything, when he said these things I felt totally wronged and like I was the one trying to work on everything. But looking back, I WAS FOCUSED ON EVERYTHING EXCEPT GOD AND MY HUSBAND!!! I’m glad I can share these in hopes that other women might be able to pick up on anything their men might be trying to say.

I LITERALLY SAID THIS IN A TEXT WHEN I WAS BLIND AND DID NOT UNDERSTAND A SINGLE THING:

“You can’t handle life so you’re dumping your crap all on my shoulders. That’s fine, I’ve had it dumped on me over and over. This is nothing new. Men obviously can’t deal with stuff anymore and women are the only ones who can keep it together while under serious pressure.”

This was my attitude!!! Sadly 🙁

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

Ladies,

Let’s slow down. Let’s really listen to what our husbands are trying to share with us. Perhaps they have important things to share that we need to hear. It is possible that God may even be trying to speak through them to us if we will listen. Yes, they have things to work on, too. But so do we. Let’s be willing to humble ourselves and look at any sin issues in our own lives. Let’s take what our husbands say, even if we feel upset about it at first, to God in prayer. Let’s ask God to help us discern, “Is this a legitimate issue? Is it a life-giving rebuke and godly wisdom? If so, help me embrace it. If it is not of You, then help me to not absorb it.”

The wise woman builds her house,
but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

                         – Proverbs 14:1

Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you.

                 – Proverbs 9:8

I pray God will give us ears to hear so that we might build up our marriages, our husbands, and our children and not tear them down.

Much love!

I NEED A BIT OF EXTRA HELP THE NEXT FEW DAYS WITH COMMENTS, PLEASE 🙂

I have some extra responsibilities on my plate today through Saturday – so if anyone feels led to reach out and share encouragement and godly wisdom that you have learned with someone who is commenting and may need some love, I would greatly appreciate my Titus 2 ladies reaching out this week. Y’all do an amazing job blessing, encouraging, sharing, praying for each other, and loving each other. I am so honored to get to see how the Spirit of God brings such love, unity, and support to this body of believers that gathers here.

RELATED:

Signs Your Husband Is Feeling Disrespected and Unloved

Husbands Share What Is Disrespectful to Them – note, the things that really can upset husbands are things that often seem “small” or “insignificant” to us, but to them, these are big issues. We want our husbands to care about things that matter deeply to us even if our issues seem “small” in their eyes. Let’s give them the same level of consideration and compassion. And the added bonus, as we ask God to help us work on these things, we are getting rid of sin that God wants us to get rid of anyway. We will become more godly women.

23 Signs Your Husband Is Beginning to Trust You Again

 

Encouragement for Those Who Are "in the Trenches"

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1. SPIRITUAL HEALING TAKES TIME

This journey is a process. There are stages. If there is major woundedness in an individual or in a marriage, it often takes a long time to heal. Expect that it will be many months or maybe even a year or years before anything close to “total healing” takes place.

I think of this healing process as if a couple crashed their marriage “car” down in a steep ravine. The further off course they went, the longer it takes to tow it back up to the road and the worse the spiritual injuries they sustain. There may be a time when one or both spouses are in the “spiritual ICU.” At that point, making demands – or even requests – of the other person could be rather pointless. If my husband had been in a physical wreck and was in the ICU in a coma on a ventilator – I would not resent him because he was not helping me even if I had a broken leg and a broken arm. I would extend grace and understanding knowing that he CAN’T get up and help me right now.

People who are severely spiritually wounded or who don’t know Christ and are spiritually dead can’t act like Christ toward us. They are incapable of loving God or others as they should. They need to be raised to new life by Jesus or they need spiritual healing from God. Nothing we can do will make them be able to give us what we want when they are that injured. They need major healing themselves.

There are things we can do to encourage spiritual healing for our husbands. But then we are going to have to be REALLY patient. More patient than we have ever been in our lives as we wait for God to work.

God wants to use this time of waiting to strengthen my flabby faith muscles and to get me to focus on Him and allowing Him to transform my own soul, mind, and life by His power. This will involve me learning to savor the journey and even the waiting.

2. FOCUS ON TODAY

  • Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34
  • Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. James 4:13-16

My sisters, let’s not allow ourselves to get caught up in the enemy’s snare of what “might happen” weeks, months, or years from now. We tend to take one situation and zoom ahead with it in our minds to all of the “what-ifs” that may happen and try to plan what we are going to do in all of the worse case scenarios. Our plans may all come to nothing. God’s plans are what matter. When we get stuck in “what-if land” we usually don’t count God’s influence and power in our worrying scenarios.

Jesus was so good to tell us not to worry about tomorrow because each day has enough trouble of its own. None of us know what will happen in the next 5 minutes. The rapture could happen for all we know. Or a national disaster. Or a major miracle. Or a series of small miracles. We don’t know what is coming in the future. But God is already there – totally unlimited by time. He knows the way. He has your hand if you are following Christ.

3. A PERSON’S CURRENT FEELINGS,  SINS, WORDS, OR PLANS DO NOT DICTATE WHAT THE FUTURE WILL BRING

A husband’s feelings are important – so are a wife’s feelings.  But let’s keep the big perspective in mind. If he says he doesn’t love you, he wants a divorce, or he wants to separate, we are looking at a snapshot in time – kind of like one Instagram picture. This is not the whole story. It is not the last page of the book. There is more to be written! While we can respect what our husbands say, and how they are feeling – and while we can respectfully, graciously let them go (spiritually, emotionally, or physically) if they insist on leaving – we can also remember that ultimately our trust is in God and that He is able to change hearts, circumstances, mindsets, desires, and plans.

  • In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps. Proverbs 16:9

Because we trust in Christ completely, we are not at the mercy of other people’s plans or changeable feelings. We are not at the mercy of their emotions and decisions. We are not at the mercy of our own feelings or fears. We are in the hands of a sovereign Lord. Yes, people make decisions with their free will. But then, at the same time, God is sovereign and He will use all things to accomplish His good purposes in our lives and for His kingdom as we love and trust Him. So we can’t lose.

We can’t lose, my dear sisters (and brothers)!

  • If something bad happens, I know God will use it for my ultimate good, to strengthen my faith, to draw me closer to Him, to make me more like Jesus, and to accomplish His good purposes.
  • If something good happens, I know God will use it for my ultimate good and to accomplish His good purposes in the end, as well.

I can always stand on my spiritual tiptoes and look beyond the current circumstances in eager anticipation to see all that God will accomplish. I can expect Him to move mountains, change situations, transform my own heart/mind/soul, change others in His timing, and work constantly for His glory and His will to be done. I can wait patiently knowing that God is in control and His timing and wisdom is much higher than my own.

I can hurt when my husband is distant or if he is talking about divorce or if he leaves. I can grieve over that. But then, I can also look to Christ for help and hope, that He will use even this ultimately for good as I trust Him completely. I can focus on Philippians 4:8 kinds of good things. I can focus on praising God and on thanksgiving. I can face my emotions and feel them. Emotions are a gift from God but I am also responsible for how I handle them and I can learn – in the power of the Holy Spirit – to handle them rightly and without sin. I can allow myself to experience hurt, sadness, anger, fear… but then I can hash through my difficult emotions and lay them before God and entrust them to Him. I don’t have to be ruled by my emotions. My marriage is not to be built on my emotions, but on Christ and His truth. I am not a slave to feelings. I can take my thoughts captive as I process my emotions and feelings. I can even experience God’s supernatural peace and joy as I trust everything to Him and focus on God’s goodness, sovereignty, love, and Lordship in my life! Even in the trials.

4. GOD WILL USE THIS TRIAL ON A GRAND SCALE

God has something much bigger in mind than just to work good in your own life from the bad things that happen and the trials and suffering you endure as a believer in Christ. Yes, He will use it ultimately for your good and His glory in your life if you are living for Him and you love Him and you are yielding to Christ as Lord. But He also will use it to bless the Body of Christ and His kingdom. There is a much larger picture going on than we can possibly realize in the midst of our trials.

I had no idea that God would use my most painful trials to reach thousands of people around the world for Christ. But as we walk through these times of testing and suffering, and as God refines our faith and causes us to grow strong in our walk with Him – He uses our stories and our testimony to build the faith of others, to encourage others, and to teach others – and set an example.

What you are experiencing now that is so painful – may well be the very thing that convinces many people in the future to trust in Christ in the midst of their painful trials – because they see that your faith was tested and that God was victorious. God may use your story to inspire many others to walk in obedience and faith, trusting Him and yielding fully to Him as Lord.

What a joy!

 

 

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