trust

From Restless to Resting

 Recently my nine-year-old son began to lose a small patch of hair on his head. At first, I wasn’t overly concerned. Perplexed, but not really concerned.  After confirming that he and his sister hadn’t been experimenting with a razor or scissors, we made a trip to our doctor where we learned that Matt has alopecia areata (AA).  AA is a mysterious “disease” where a person loses his or her hair.  The degree of severity is vast, ranging from being confined to a singular patch on the head to total loss of hair over the entire body.  Fortunately, AA isn’t due to poor health nor is it life threatening.  It seems as though the worst part of the disease is the psychological effect it has on the individual losing hair. It has been 2 months since Matt’s initial diagnosis and the patch I initially noticed has now grown to about 5 square inches, and at least 12 other patches have developed.  His case appears to be one that is not of the ‘lesser degree’.

Years ago– before coming to a mature relationship with Christ– I would have flipped out and worried constantly about my little boy.  Thoughts such as, “Why is this happening?  Did he do something to cause this?  Did Ido something to cause this?  What if kids begin to mock him? What will people think about me as a mother for allowing it to happen?” would have plagued me. I not only would have tormented myself with unending questions, but I am sure I’d have had countless sleepless nights and many a  “drink” to calm me down. BUT because God entered into my life and has radically transformed it, that is not my response today. I now have such freedom in knowing that I can cast all my cares and fears on God (1st Peter 5:7), which has allowed me to keep calm in the midst of this situation, and to truly experience peace in knowing that everything is going to be ok because God is in control, regardless of the severity of his condition. I know it isn’t in my power to control the situation; I can’t heal Matt. But I can choose how I will respond to the situation: whether I will spend useless, destructive time worrying and fretting over something I can’t control, or whether I will put my confidence in God, Who is in control and Who  knows what’s best for Matt and loves him the most!

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As I have ‘cast my fears on God’— turned them all over to His most capable and loving hands, He has reminded me that He is the Creator of all things.  He not only created my precious little boy, but He also created me and gave me the gift of being his mother.  God entrusted me with the responsibility and privilege of raising Matt, and although Matt’s bout with AA was a surprise to me, it is no surprise to Him. I am confident that God will guide my husband and me, grant us His wisdom, and give us everything we need to come alongside Matt and to encourage him through this situation. Most of all, I know that we are not going through this situation alone; God is present with us every step of the way and He will not forsake us. As I realized these truths, it was as if The Lord gave me a big, warm hug!    

My faith in Christ grows daily as He constantly reveals Himself to me through scripture and prayer, and through the awareness of His abiding presence with me (Isaiah 41:10). It has been His strength at work in me that has carried me through many times of uncertainty in the past.  He has always been faithful to give me the peace I desperately need; I have no doubt that he will continue to be faithful and to deliver me from any fears that may arise in the future about Matt’s condition.  Of course I would love to say I could pray this whole thing away, but that isn’t always how it works.  God has a plan for our sweet boy and this disease is apparently part of it. I believe that God is able to work ALL things–which includes Matt’s disease–for Matt’s good and for the glory of God (Romans 8:28). Whatever may happen in the future regarding his condition, I will continue to trust our Heavenly Father and to seek His guidance and peace, resting in His love, His faithfulness, and His goodness.

Written by guest blogger Gina Ermiger

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Where is Your Comfort?

This morning as I read my favorite devotional entitled Streams in the Desert it spoke of the trials of Job. It reminded me of how the Lord uses the hard things in our lives to help us grow stronger in our faith and in our total dependence on Him. There is a song that comes to mind as I reflect on the current trials in my life. The song is by recording artist Laura Story and is entitled Blessings. It speaks to the truth that the trials and the unanswered prayers in our lives just may be “His mercies in disguise.” We can’t always know or see these mercies for what they are as we walk the path of trials, but He tells us that He will shepherd us through them. His Word tells us that He will work everything for His good.  We are to trust our Faithful Savior. This morning as I opened this devotional, neatly tucked in between the pages for today and tomorrow was this prayer that I wrote years ago.

     A Prayer for Comfort 12-18-09

     Oh Precious Savior, what is it that I dread?

    I look at the road before me on which I continue to tread.

    What is it in my heart, Dear Lord that pulls your joy from me?

    Why have I lost my focus on the plans you’d have me see? 

    Plans to prosper, plans for good, plans filled with your constant care,

    Why Oh Father, do my eyes wander far from there?

    I see around me burdens, stacked so high and deep.

    These are Satan’s visions that only make me weep.

    Please Dear Father and my God, help my eyes to see

    I can carry all these things, as hard as they may be. 

    I will draw my strength from You, enough for each new day.

    Keep my eyes upon you Lord as we go our way.

    You have the strength for me to stand and grow steadfast in heart.

    I place today in Your strong hands as I take my start.

    Let me fix my eyes on You, and know that it’s all good.

    And step by step I’ll walk in faith as I know I should.

    Let Satan not distract my gaze. Please keep me hedged in tight.

    I am in your loving arms Dear Lord, hold me with Thy might. 

    Thank you Father for this road that reminds me You are there,

    Standing here beside me, my Rock of Power, Strength and Care.

 I remember the trial, and Yes… He did answer this prayer. He walked me along a path that I would not have chosen and at the end, placed my feet back on solid ground. In looking back on that path there were so many blessing that I would have missed if He had let me bypass that particular road. What are you facing this day, this week, this month, or this year? Are you comforted as I am that Our Shepherd is walking right beside you? He knows the way…He has already walked it…Trust Him!                

Written by: guest blogger Jeanne East

Christian School Educator

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God whose words I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?” Psalm 56:3-4

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Trusting the Man Who Died for You!

As a child I remember thinking it so strange that the day commemorating Jesus’ crucifixion was called “Good Friday” when it was a day of such pain for Jesus.At services every Good Friday I heard preaching on the words of Jesus from the cross and was aware of the agony He suffered at the hands of sinful men and women.  However, I admit at the time it didn’t seem like a big deal that one person would die so that many could be saved.

It wasn’t until I was a middle-aged adult that I truly realized that Good Friday is not just a “good” day, but also the most pivotal day in my life and all of history.It is the day that I was released from the penalty of my sin; the day Jesus took on the death that should have been mine, and all of mankind’s.

David Platt, pastor of Brook Hills Church in Birmingham, Alabama, states in “The Cross and Suffering”:

  • Everything “ultimately points to Good Friday.
  • Everything before the cross points forward to it.
  • Everything since the cross points back to it
  • Everything that will last was purchased on it.
  • Everything that matters hinges on it.”

The cross was God’s plan even before He created the world.(1st Peter 1: 18-20) In His infinite wisdom and knowledge, God knew when He created mankind that we would rebel against Him, a holy God.Yet, in His infinite mercy He had already prepared the way for us to be redeemed and brought back into fellowship with Him.

How amazing is the love of God! When you wonder if God really loves you, I encourage you to look to the cross and see Jesus’ outstretched arms! I believe you will hear in your spirit as I do, “This is how much I love you—I gave my very life for you!”

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Don’t you think He must look at us when we grumble and complain and question whether He really loves us, “How can you doubt my love for you? You deserved hell and damnation and yet I willingly gave up the glories of heaven to come to earth; endured an excruciatingly painful death on the cross in your place; took on the penalty of all of your sins; overcame death; and purchased for you the power to overcome sin, and yet, you doubt my love for you?” Romans 8:32 tells us, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”

Unlike every other religion in which a person has to do something to earn the favor of their god, the centrality of Christianity is that we did nothing and can do nothing to earn God’s magnificent, amazing love. Romans 5:8 tells us the good news that, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

The only work that God asks of me and of you is that we believe in Jesus and whatHe did for us, and put our trust in the finished work He accomplished for us on the cross. (See John 6:29)If we truly believe that God created us, knows us best, and loves us so much that He gave His very life for us, won’t we also trust Him with every aspect of our lives? Won’t we believe that the words and instructions for living, which He gave to us in the Bible, are also all for our good?

This Easter season—and every season of your life—I want to encourage you that you can indeed ”Trust the Man Who died for you!”

 Written by Julie Van Gorp

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It's Not What You Know, It's Who You Know

I sent a quick text to my mom the other day requesting that she pray for me and about a situation our family is going through.Her response was, “You’ve got the connections!” referring to my relationship with God.

That got me thinking, we as Christians DO have the connections! It’s often been said; “It’s not ‘what’ you know, it’s ‘who’ you know.”Well, as Christians we know God, and He has ALL the connections!As I thought about her text it was mind-boggling to imagine all of the “connections” God has as the Creator and Sustainer of everything.As His child I can literally say:

“My Father knows everyone!”

“My Father knows all things.”

“Nothing is impossible for my Father.”

“My Father can I be trusted.”

Perhaps like me, you’re praying for something that would be a “long-shot” to happen. If so, be encouraged; you have a Father who specializes in the impossible!  Genesis 18:4; Luke 1:37; Matthew 19: 26 

As believers in Christ we are part of a huge family.I love when Jesus is told in Matthew 12: 46-50 that his mother and brothers are outside waiting for an audience with him. He responds to his disciples saying, “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

What a joy and comfort to know that we who follow Jesus are all part of the family of God. We all have connections with God and therefore with one another because we are a part of God’s family.

I recently heard a story about a man who was in a deep state of mourning after the loss of his wife.As thoughts of her ran through his mind, he began remembering the little things.The things she wore, her smile, even her favorite chicken potpie.The Lord put on his heart two specific bible verses that brought him comfort in the midst of his overwhelming sorrow.

At the same time, there was a woman who knew and loved God.She was going about her day when she sensed that she should make a homemade potpie and take it over to this man for dinner—a man she hadn’t been in touch with for over twenty years.She called him to let him know she was going to bring a potpie over to him.In that moment, his joy was restored because he knew that the Lord was with him and loved him so much that He was even in the details of his pain.

Interestingly, when the woman came to drop off the potpie she also brought along a card.In the blank card, she had felt the Holy Spirit tell her to write just two things:the same scripture references that the Lord had given to the man earlier.

Yes, we have a God who has all the connections.All we need is to stay connected to Him and to follow His instructions.In doing so, we like the two people in this story, have an opportunity to be part of God’s everyday miracles.

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If you have a dream, a plan, or a desire, be encouraged. “You’ve got the connections!” God is faithful to lead you, equip you, and fulfill His good purposes in your life.

Written by Jamie Shaver

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Peace Comes Through Trust, Not Control

It’s 3am and I wake up to my frightened daughter saying, “Mom, I can’t sleep, the wind is too loud.”Funny thing, I hadn’t heard the wind until she woke me up.Then after hearing it I found myself wide awake and thinking about…the house!The day before we had signed papers to make an offer on a house I REALLY wanted.As I lay awake in bed, tons of thoughts ran through my mind.

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  • Would we get the house?
  • Was our offer going to be too low?
  • What could we do to be sure we win the bid?
  • I want to MAKE THIS HAPPEN!
  • What if we do win the bid? I’d be so happy BUT…then…
  • What if there is major inflation soon? Would we still be able to afford the payment?
  • What if after we buy it, we find out there are tons of repairs that need to be done?

As the wind continued to whistle outside, the questions circled faster and faster in my mind.Then a thought jumped out at me that was very different from all the others.What if…I just trusted God’s plan?

So, I prayed.  Then, having cast all my cares upon Him, I fell back asleep.

Six hours later, I find myself doing a “drive by”; after all, it is a vacant home. I just want to see it again (as if the 50 times I’ve viewed it online were not enough!)And then I see it.Someone’s car is in the driveway.Who is looking at my house? I’m bidding on this house; it’s mine, I begin thinking.Suddenly I’m flooded with thoughts of how I could control this situation to get what I want!Ugh!I hate when this happens.Six hours before, I had just “let go & let God”, and now look at me.I already want to take back control!

As I drove home— annoyed with my behavior— I knew what I needed to do.I needed to increase my faith and trust God.This is what I did, and what I do when I feel my faith is waning. 

Pray God’s Word back to Him.

· Proverbs 3:5-6

"TrustintheLordwithallyourheart and lean not on your own understanding; inallyour ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

· Romans 8:28

"And we know that in all thingsGod works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

· Psalm 40:4

"Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord…”

· Proverbs 19:21

 ”Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”

· I remind myself that God always has my best interest in mind.  If I pray and have trouble believing what God’s Word says, I next pray what the boy’s father prayed in Mark 9:24“…I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

Today, I did not drive by the house. I resisted the urge to try to control my life, and I had peace when I prayed “not my will, Father, but thy will be done.”

Written by Jamie Shaver

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