Welcome to my blog...

Green trees, cool water, a gentle breeze...the perfect place to sit at the feet of the Master and learn. Jesus taught so often on the shoreline, and He's still speaking today.

This is where I share the lessons He teaches me, often during the time I spend on the shores of a local lake. I don't have all the answers...and some days I don't have any. But I go here when I need to draw near to Him in a tangible way. Come with me...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Triumphs and Trials

I can't believe I haven't posted in 3 weeks.  So much has happened in that time.  Life has been very good and very hard.  Days have been filled with unbelievable joy and immeasurable sorrow...but I guess as friend of mine always says "that's life".

So what's the lesson today?  Happiness is fleeting, but sorrow is not permanent either.  Don't look at your circumstances because they will always be in flux - look for how God is moving in them because He never changes.  That's not a trite, feel good suggestion, it's a lifeline in the midst of storms.  Persevere.  While happiness is fleeting, joy in the Lord is rooted deep.  While sorrow is not permanent, it can knock you for a loop if you're not grounded.  God is the great stabilizer. 

I try to remind myself of these things as I go through the day.  I rejoice in the amazing way God is working in and through our outreach ministry, even as my heart breaks over devastating personal trials. 

My last post talked about the story of the widow and Elisha and one small jar filling many pots.  I equated it to some personal finance issues.  But I saw it happen in an even bigger way this month.  I saw God's provision pressed down and overflowing.  My church found an idea for a 'toy store' in an online publication called "The Best Externally Focused Ideas of 2011" put out by the Externally Focused Network.  (Google them, they are a wonderful resource!)  It was a way to give the gift of dignity to struggling families at the holidays.  We purchased hundreds of toys and are making them available to people in our community for just 10% of their value.  Parents will get to shop for a toy of their choice for their child rather than receive a handout.  They have the dignity of paying for the item and the fun of gift wrapping it.  The challenge was that we were asked to make this happen in a period of approximately 4-5 weeks.  We estimated the needed capital would be about $8,000.  At the start we had no venue, differences of opinion on which groups to invite and no funds.  4 weeks later, we have the place, all the groups suggested for participation plus some, and $8,600 in funds.  Nothing but God.  And I got to watch His hand move it all together.  Awe inspiring, trust me.

At the same time, I have been dealing with an immediate family member going through a disabling battle with anxiety and panic attacks.  Trips to the crisis center, the ups and downs of medications and mood swings, arguments over treatment options.  It's been a very dark time, and one of intense spiritual battle.  I have been praying for this person for a long time, asking God to move in his heart.  If I just looked at the circumstances, I might tempted to be angry at God for allowing all this to happen...but I'm trying to see what God is doing in the circumstances.  Is he softening his heart?  Breaking down the anger and pride?  We dislike pain, but sometimes it's needed to achieve a result.  'No pain, no gain' is not just about getting the outer man in shape.

All of this has taught me anew that the rain falls on the just and the unjust.  That just because I am a child of God does not mean my life will be devoid of hardship.  In fact, sometimes it seems that the more God blesses in one area, the more Satan rails against us affecting what he can with his limited power in another.  So I hold on to the truth in Psalm 9:9 & 10 "The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.  Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you." 

Are you going through trials today? This world holds many.  But God holds the world.  Look for what God is doing in the circumstances.  Ask Him to show you how He's working things together.  You may not see it today, or tomorrow, or this year.  But trust Him.  He is not fleeting.  He is permanent.   He will never forsake you.


  1. "That just because I am a child of God does not mean my life will be devoid of hardship." Oh man, if we could only get that, yet learn to look for the diamonds amid the dirt in our lives. Well written, beautiful post, my friend. Welcome back to the Blogosphere. I've missed you! <3

  2. Oh, Toni! It is hard to watch others suffering with these kinds of psyche disorders. Believe me I know and my heart goes out to you. Meanwhile God is using you in wonderful ways. It is sort of bittersweet. But mostly I think He wants you to rest in His everlasting arms, dear one! He loves you. Rest in Him, and also hope you are getting some physical rest as well Toni after reading all!