Monday, March 13, 2017

Grieving #4: I do not want to be shipwrecked!




















1 Timothy 1:15-20 
"It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, 
that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,
among whom I am foremost of all. 

Yet for this reason 
I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, 
Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience 
as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, 
the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son,
in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, 
that by them you fight the good fight,
keeping faith and a good conscience, 
which some have rejected 
and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.

Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander,
whom I have handed over to Satan, 
so that they will be taught not to blaspheme."

Sixteen years ago a storm was brewing and we knew it.  Through no fault of our own our life was falling all around us.  

We knew the LORD was with us even though everything was crashing, and then that very certain day came where we never, could ever have believed would happen.

It did, though, and one of my first thoughts was, 

'this can't last, but never the less, I will not allow this to shipwreck my faith.'

Grief is a strange thing.

In absolute disbelief of what was happening around me I trusted God.  My life was crashing around me, but I knew the LORD was with me, and that He would carry me through this valley.  

What I did not know was that this valley would last so very, very long.

I was not then, and I am not now a super Christian.  I do believe that the LORD was giving me, and He is still giving me His strength.  It is through Him that my first thought was to trust Him wholeheartedly.  It is through Him that I continue to this day even though my agonies could paralyze me in my fears.  I also believe He shelters me from the brunt of the agony most of the time.  Left to my own devises I would be in a closet since that certain day.

You may be reading this and your sorrows have been lasting a week, or you could have had your agonies for a life time.  No matter how long it has been, you should know that I grieve with you.  One day or a life time, your agony is painful.  Don't discount it because it is not like my agony or like someone else's pain.  

*The LORD sees you, He hears you.*






















Sometime after our great grief began, I read a devotion which helped me.  The topic was sadness and grief.  It spoke of sufferings and how this is part of real life.  

We can't pretend our pain isn't happening. The best news is that the LORD uses our sufferings for good in us and in others if we allow Him to do so.  We need to run to Him in the good and the bad.  We need to trust in Him even if we do not see anything change, even if we never see any change.

The devotion suggested that we allow ourselves to grieve for a certain amount of time and then choose to get up even if we are still sad, continuing to do what ever is next like a "normal person" would do, knowing the LORD is our strength.  

Now, I know grief, and some days the struggling is all day long, maybe longer.  How can we get away from it when it is all around us, it is in our heads, and it hangs on us like heavy wet clothing?  I personally would say that I could be like the previous statement all the time, like  literally staying in my closet for my whole life.  

The solution is who we are in Christ.  Our sufferings can certainly be overwhelming and we do need time to let it out, to vent it, but we must remember that we have a great Almighty God who dearly loves us.  We may have the most painful agony, but when we have Jesus as our Savior we have everything!  His compassions surround us, He gives us strength and wisdom to overcome even if it is moment by moment.  He doesn't say, 'get up and be Super Christian!'  No! He doesn't ever say this because we can't accomplish it!  We are to come to Him for His strength!

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
Matthew 11:28-30

How beautiful is He is Word!  It expresses such truth!  In grief we are heavy-ladened and weary.  Who else but Jesus would be so humble and so gentle with us in our broken state? We can find such compassion in His Word.

Give yourself some mercy. 

If you are overwhelmed, then allow yourself a ~10 to 20 minute time to grieve. Be flexible not rigid with the time. Spend your time grieving, but do it with the LORD. Make it a time of talking with Him about your sadness at that moment, and then give it to Him as you transition to getting up to continue your day.  Lay your burdens with Him and get up to do next things for Him.

Humanly, it would be easy to say, "I deserve to be sad, I really do deserve to have people feel sorry for me, I am sad so I do not have to do anything...", but we aren't just human if we are His children!  We were bought with a price!  We have a Savior who rose from the dead! We are not alone! We can get up even through tears and we can do next things even in our pain because of Him!

Grief can shipwreck your faith if you allow it.  Grief is strong, but the LORD is stronger!  

We can overcome our grief even if it never goes away, because of our great God.  Live your life for Jesus and He will shine through you. When you live your life for the LORD the world notices. The LORD uses our suffering for good when the world takes notice.   Our testimony shines for Him even when we are unaware it this. 

We do not have to live a shipwrecked faith when we have the LORD. When we allow the LORD into all aspects of our lives we can smile at the future with strength and honor as our clothing.

"Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future."
Proverbs 31:25

We glorify God when we choose to allow Him to lift our heads.  

"You, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the One who lifts my head. I was crying to the LORD with my voice, and He answered me from His holy mountain. I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustains me."
Psalm 3:3-5

Ready for Spring













Here in the midwest our snow today is the perfect snow for shoveling, snowblowing, snowman making and snowball making. 
This may be our last snow, hopefully! because we are ready for spring.

One week from Spring and it snows


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Grieving #3: The only thing we need is Jesus!

I have been contemplating grieving these last months, while experiencing it for decades.  

Grief is long and drawn out.  

It can go away and then jump out when you do not expect it to do so.   

It can hang on you all day long and everyday, and yet, you can choose to smile and have the desire to carry on with normal life because you live in the LORD’s strength even in your agonies.

It is a special joy to think how a wounded person in such grief can continue because of the LORD’s hand.  He is marvelous and awesome in how He loves and cares for us.

Psalm 139:5 NIV states our safety in Him in a sewing terms which I love:  

"You hem me in behind and before,
    and You lay Your hand upon me."

Thank you, LORD!

Sometimes the Church Body at large does not know how to walk alongside with others who hurt, but it is a precious balm from the LORD when those in the Body can understand and know how to show compassion and care for those who are in agony.  

Church leadership can help or hinder those who suffer.  One thing we have learned with hard knocks is that we can not, and will not stay at a church where the leadership "plays church", when they have lost their first love.  (Revelations 2:1-7) 

The last biblically solid assembly we attended for more than a decade had loving people, and seemingly loving leadership. Towards the end of our attendance there the leadership chose to take the congregation into a different direction with an unbiblical mindset not allowing for anyone who wasn't on board with their new direction. We saw it all from the inner workings of the leadership and could no longer fight to save what this precious Body use to be before the LORD.  It was time to leave.  We could no longer stay and watch them "play church".*
-
Thank you to Pulpit and Pen who has an excellent post, 3/10/17, Why the Church Doesn't Need More Coffee Bars.  This is a poignant account of a family in agony and why "playing church" should not be the main thing in the Christian Body of Believers:

As this precious wife and mother struggled to hold her family's life together while her beloved husband suffered and recently went to be with the LORD, she shares what we as Believers truly desire and what we desperately need in a Church Body.

Here the wife shares about the poignant conversations she and her husband had as he slipped away from this fallen world. She says he didn't speak about the ridiculous church's frivolities, instead:

"He talked about Jesus.  He quoted scriptures.  He reminded me of sermons we had heard.  And in the middle of the night he sang songs of praise and worship to God and he spent his time praying.  Because nothing a church does to strategize to bring in members helps you in the time of the storm.  It is only Jesus."

As the Church at large seems to concern themselves with frivolous and unbiblical nonsense some of this precious wive's thoughts were:

"...I am thinking that my strength comes solely from God...

...I am thinking how desperate I need Jesus..."

"...I am hurting in a way that is almost indescribable...And when I go to church I desperately want to hear the Word of God..."

"I want to see how Jesus has changed a person's life.

I want to see the power of prayer.

I want to see how the Word of God can be applied to one's life.

I want to see how Jesus can help the hurting.

I want to see how Jesus can heal the sick.

I want to see how the broken heart was restored.

I want to see how the mourners were comforted. 

I want to see how lives were restored..."

Pulpit and Pen ends with:

"The church does not need anymore coffee bars.  They don't need the lighting. They don't need the concerts...

...Tell a person how God has changed your life.  Show them the love of God through your actions.  Demonstrate how God helped you through the darkest of storms.

Church leaders, remember that you are not just trying to attract the hip and the cool to your church. 

You are reaching widows. You are reaching children who don’t have a parent. You are reaching someone battling with a disease. You are reaching a person going through a divorce. You are reaching a businessman who thinks they have all that they need. You are reaching the hurting. 

And the only thing they need is Jesus."

Please read this powerful post full of excerpts from young wife, Kimberli Lira. Praying for her and her family! The LORD hears our cries!
-
Psalm 139:1-6  NAS
"O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.

You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.

Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O Lord, You know it all.

You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot attain to it."

* Thankful to have found a Bible Believing Body again.


Monday, March 6, 2017

He cares about your pain




















1 Peter 5:6-11
"Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, 
that He may exalt you at the proper time,
casting all your anxiety on Him, 

because He cares for you.

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, 
prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that 
the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished 
by your brethren who are in the world.
After you have suffered for a little while, 

the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, 
will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.

To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen."


Monday, February 27, 2017

Thank you for your service!






































He served our country with honor.  
Forty-two years ago today his term of service ended.  
He became my Beloved which has included protecting all my scissors.

Thank you for being my protector in all things!


He surrounds me with deliverance!

Psalm 32:7, 10-11

"You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble;
You surround me with songs of deliverance. 

Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
But he who trusts in the Lord, lovingkindness shall surround him.
Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous ones;
And shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart."


Sunday, February 26, 2017

His eye is upon His child

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with My eye upon you."
Psalm 32:8

"The school of life offers some difficult courses, 
but it is in the difficult classes that one learns the most --- 
especially when your teacher is the lord Jesus Himself."
--- Corrie Ten Boom

from her book "Tramp for the Lord"



Saturday, February 25, 2017

God said, Let there be light, and there was light.






































The Northern Lights 

Genesis1:14-19
Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens 
to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons 
and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens 
to give light on the earth”; and it was so. 
God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, 
and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also.
God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 
and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; 
and God saw that it was good.
There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The birds lift their voices among the branches











Birds.  God's creation is magnificent.  Birds come in all sizes, from miniature to huge, each one intricate. 

We have been blessed to see so many kinds of birds where we live.  All winter the Bald Eagles fly around our area.  Until you observe one of these birds close up, you do not realize how big they really are.  

Incredible!

Psalm 104
"Bless the Lord, O my soul!
O Lord my God, You are very great;
You are clothed with splendor and majesty,
Covering Yourself with light as with a cloak,
Stretching out heaven like a tent curtain.
He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters;
He makes the clouds His chariot;
He walks upon the wings of the wind;
He makes the winds His messengers,
Flaming fire His ministers.

He established the earth upon its foundations,
So that it will not totter forever and ever.
You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
The waters were standing above the mountains.
At Your rebuke they fled,
At the sound of Your thunder they hurried away.
The mountains rose; the valleys sank down
To the place which You established for them.
You set a boundary that they may not pass over,
So that they will not return to cover the earth.

He sends forth springs in the valleys;
They flow between the mountains;
They give drink to every beast of the field;
The wild donkeys quench their thirst.

Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell;
They lift up their voices among the branches.

He waters the mountains from His upper chambers;
The earth is satisfied with the fruit of His works.

He causes the grass to grow for the cattle,
And vegetation for the labor of man,
So that he may bring forth food from the earth,
And wine which makes man’s heart glad,
So that he may make his face glisten with oil,
And food which sustains man’s heart.
The trees of the Lord drink their fill,
The cedars of Lebanon which He planted,
Where the birds build their nests,
And the stork, whose home is the fir trees.

The high mountains are for the wild goats;
The cliffs are a refuge for the shephanim.
He made the moon for the seasons;
The sun knows the place of its setting.
You appoint darkness and it becomes night,
In which all the beasts of the forest prowl about.
The young lions roar after their prey
And seek their food from God.
When the sun rises they withdraw
And lie down in their dens.
Man goes forth to his work
And to his labor until evening.

O Lord, how many are Your works!
In wisdom You have made them all;
The earth is full of Your possessions.
There is the sea, great and broad,
In which are swarms without number,
Animals both small and great.
There the ships move along,
And Leviathan, which You have formed to sport in it.

They all wait for You
To give them their food in due season.
You give to them, they gather it up;
You open Your hand, they are satisfied with good.
You hide Your face, they are dismayed;
You take away their spirit, they expire
And return to their dust.
You send forth Your Spirit, they are created;
And You renew the face of the ground.

Let the glory of the Lord endure forever;
Let the Lord be glad in His works;
He looks at the earth, and it trembles;
He touches the mountains, and they smoke.

I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.
Let my meditation be pleasing to Him;
As for me, I shall be glad in the Lord.

Let sinners be consumed from the earth
And let the wicked be no more.

Bless the Lord, O my soul.
Praise the Lord!"


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Grieving #2: Pain is Pain

Compassion

I have been told so many times that I have the gift of compassion.

This very well might be true, but I do not dwell on what my gifts are - I just continue to do what is front of me, and praise the LORD for the energy and desire to do whatever these things are that I do.

I do know that I understand what it is like to have chronic pain because I have struggled with it.   I can completely understand when I interact with a person who struggles with physical pain, especially chronic pain. 

Likewise, I can say that I do understand what it is like to have personal agonies because I have dealt with agonies.  I know how isolating it is.  I know how it feels when no one acknowledges you "because you might cry", and I know how it feels when someone does acknowledge my pain, and yes, I might cry - or not.

When well meaning people tend to point out that they feel I have the gift of compassion and it is important for them to do this, while they show me no compassion - I begin to think, "why don't you just begin to show some kind of care for others?" 

(I suppose I sometimes think in kind of a sassy way.  Thankfully, I do not say these things out loud.)

A reason some people may not take time to show compassion:  Caring about other people does "cost" something.  Mostly it costs time.  It takes time to stop and realize someone is hurting.  It takes time to listen to what they have to say.  It takes time to console them.  It takes time to remember them in prayer.

In the past a sweet friend pored out her great sadnesses to me every time we spoke. I always listened, grieved with her, cried with her, prayed with her.  She new all about my agonies so one day I called her to see if we could meet.  I asked her if she wouldn't mind if I cried out to God about my agonies with her.  I said I just needed a friend to sit with me.  I wanted to give my beloved husband a break from always being the one with whom I cried.

Unfortunately, she took no time in answering, but immediately said succinctly, "no".  I was crushed.

Compassion costs.  We should be willing even though there is a cost.

I understand it is a scary thing to reach out in compassion.  That person might cry.  That person who needs compassion might have something that is scary to talk about, scary to think about, something scary that might happen to you sometime.  But you should reach out with compassion anyway.  That person who is suffering in anguish for whatever reason needs a kind word, a smile, or prayer.  They aren't waiting for that certain someone who has "the gift of compassion" to stop by.  Those people with the gift of compassion are too busy to reach everyone!

You know, I can be bad at reaching out to others also - even with just a smile which I withhold.  I did this one day when I was being particularly grumpy on the inside, and I have regretted it ever since. 

I can say the wrong thing to people who are struggling. I mess up all the time, and I understand all about suffering!  No matter what, these mess-ups don't stop me. I live in the LORD's strength and He keeps me going. He is always there with me so I can try again and again the next times.

When I have had well meaning people say things which shock me concerning my agonies, I can give them great grace, because I mess up too.

I have had well meaning people say to me, 

"I am so glad that isn't happening to me".

"I could never handle this if it were happening to me."

"You should get a hobby." (okay, a real mean person said this one to me)

"We use your situation as a teaching example in our family."

"God chose you because you can handle it."

"You should just forget about [your people] and move on."

"At least [your people] aren't dead."

At other times there are friends who speak with me and they express their own sufferings.  They go on and on as I listen (FYI: this is showing compassion to listen).  After a while they realize they have shared all their pain, but to me, the one with the HUGE agonies.  They are now completely mortified and apologize because they say, 

"Your pain is worse than my pain."

One thing that I have learned all these years is that pain is pain.  My agonies HURT and they never go away, only God softens them somehow so I can continue.  But your agonies hurt also.  Pain is pain.  You are allowed to share them, and to share them with me.  I can understand your pain and then I can point you to the One who can help you through it.

One very beautiful thing is how God uses our pain; it is not wasted. 

Romans 8:28
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."  

First, He uses it in us.  We learn to draw closer to Him, to trust Him with our impossible agonies.  I have said it before in another post how I have allowed my sufferings to draw me closer to the LORD God Almighty.  They have been agonizing years, but they have been the best years as I have learned the LORD loves me so.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
"Therefore we do not lose heart, 
but though our outer man is decaying, 
yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.  
For momentary, light affliction is producing for us 
an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 
while we look not at the things which are seen, 
but at the things which are not seen; 
for the things which are seen are temporal, 
but the things which are not seen are eternal."

Second, He uses our pain in others.  Other people (Saved by God's grace and the unsaved) see we who are trusting God completely, and they wonder how we can do what we do - if only smile.  Sometimes they realize it is the LORD, rarely they ask why, and other times they just wonder and perhaps the LORD works in them.

Grief is a strange thing.  It is long.  It is isolating.  It is emotional.  It comes out in private.  It comes out in public. It sneaks up on you.  It is painful.  It hurts.  It is confusing.  It is fearful.  It is exhausting.  It opens your eyes to the LORD.  It gives you a new way to think and to live.  It is cleansing.  It is not a bad thing.  It is just a thing that happens.  It is a normal thing in this fallen world.

Contemplate this:


Ecclesiastes 3:1-15
"There is an appointed time for everything. 
And there is a time for every event under heaven—

A time to give birth and a time to die;

A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.

A time to kill and a time to heal;

A time to tear down and a time to build up.

A time to weep and a time to laugh;

A time to mourn and a time to dance.

A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;

A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.

A time to search and a time to give up as lost;

A time to keep and a time to throw away.

A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;

A time to be silent and a time to speak.

A time to love and a time to hate;

A time for war and a time for peace.

What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils? 
I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men 
with which to occupy themselves.
He has made everything appropriate in its time. 
He has also set eternity in their heart, 
yet so that man will not find out the work which God 
has done from the beginning even to the end.

I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice 
and to do good in one’s lifetime; moreover, that every man 
who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor 

—it is the gift of God. 

I know that everything God does will remain forever; 
there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, 
for God has so worked that men should fear Him. 
That which is has been already 
and that which will be has already been, 
for God seeks what has passed by."
*

So many of these verses can be spoken of, and thought of in the complicatedness of grief.

The LORD is with us. He is with us when we rejoice, and He is with us in our grief.  He is our strength, and He is our comfort.  

Cry out to Him with me.


Friday, February 17, 2017

Winter in the Mid-West


February 2017, sunny days, no snow, flocks of robins, and 60s in the day time.

After 34 years of use, chasing after little ones in the snow, practically no tread, it is time to retire my Sorels. I have hiked many a mile in these great boots!

They get the honor of being porch decor now.  What better way than tulips on a mild day in February!

Call out the old and bring in the new Sorels!  No snow, but on sale!


"There  is an appointed time for everything.  
And there is a time for every event under heaven -

A time to keep and a time to throw away."
Ecclesiastes 3:1, 6b
*

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Why did I begin all this? Grief #1

Sometimes I find myself contemplating, what am I doing?

I mean, really, what on earth am I doing?!

This season when these thoughts came to me once again, I began to think of the act of grieving

What it is, what is it like, what does it look like, and how can I actually explain it?

Difficult.  

When you begin to think about the act of grieving you must begin to articulate in your mind what makes you, yourself grieve and all that goes with it.

Life is tough enough without bringing all these feelings out in the open.   

So I decided it will become a process for me to write about grief, mainly, because I have no time to sit and write it all out at one time.  Also, It certainly seems too huge an emotional roller coaster for me, so I will write more than once on this subject.

For me:  

Less stressful and less taxing.

I began Blogging sometime after the Watchman's Bagpipes began. There were two reasons: 

The first reason was to help my husband by the further interaction with the women who had their apologetic questions answered by him, but they still desired to communicate.

The second reason was that I have always felt the "church" body - sometimes - doesn't know how to come alongside each other in life's traumas.  Somehow we have forgotten how to do this, or perhaps, it has always been this way.  I am a "nobody", but I have lived in agony with the LORD's strength, and so I began to write to encourage other sisters in Christ.

In general, I have lived a wonderful life.  I have had sorrows, and I have had great joys. I have also experienced such great joys, even through the tears, and amid the worst of agonies.  

How do I explain to a sister in Christ (or a "wanna be*") how I have done this?  How do I explain how you can live, continue in life, and then even more than survive with just trusting the LORD among the chaos?

It seems impossible. 

It can even sound "callous" to a sister living in agony.

How can they ever understand His peace which He freely gives us, unless they have actually experienced His peace?

I know that for me, before my great agony way over a decade ago, I didn't understand it.  I loved the LORD with all my heart, but I didn't understand His peace.  I now know that I had never actually given my troubles to Him.  I suppose I always "held" them tightly to myself as if I could handle it.  I had never truly felt His marvelous peace in life's troubles.

Praise God! 

I am thankful the LORD wove into my life two separate, precious women who were going through their own great agonies almost 2 decades ago.  I lived and prayed for them in their situations.  I "watched from the outside" as they would be completely frantic for prayers in the morning, and hours later they would be as calm as could be even though nothing had changed in their situations.

At the time I thought, that their behavior was so strange. The LORD was teaching me, but I didn't understand.

This was my first experience at seeing a sister in Christ living in His marvelous peace among their life's chaos, but I still did not understand until that one day when I had "nothing" in my agonies, and this is when I realized it was only the LORD who could help.

So when I am counseling a sister, I begin by saying, 

"you may not understand this until you truly give your agony over to the LORD, and then continue to give it to Him over and over. This is when you will begin to experience the LORD's precious peace which passes all understanding amid your agonies."  

At this time I know that they are most probably thinking, "what??"

Philippians 4:4-7
"Rejoice in the Lord always; 
again I will say, rejoice! 
Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. 
The Lord is near. 
Be anxious for nothing, 
but in everything by prayer and supplication 
with thanksgiving 
let your requests be made known to God. 
And the peace of God, 
which surpasses all comprehension, 
will guard your hearts 
and your minds in Christ Jesus."

This scripture was the first one I clung to as I first really, truly gave my agonies to the LORD God Almighty, in 2001. :o) 

I would say it, and I would explain it verse by verse to myself as I would say it.  

I would walk around our little town's outskirts saying this for the hour it took to walk all the way home. 

I would then say it in my own words and explain to myself 

why I will rejoice

how I could let my gentle spirit be known

why I knew the LORD was near 

and what that really meant to me! 

I would tell myself 

not to be anxious

even though chaos reigned in my situation.

I would tell myself how to do this by trusting Him, 

talking with Him, 

and thanking Him for never ever leaving me!

I spent this time preaching to myself and realizing that this precious peace of God which I had never relied on, I had never counted on, I had never known I could have, was now mine.  It was a beautiful new beginning of loving the LORD more and more!

My testimony continues to be "written" as time marches on, but I always end it with: 

"This has been the worst 'more-than-a-decade' of my life, but it has been the best 'more-than-a-decade' because I have drawn closer and closer to the LORD than I ever have been before, and isn't this what we desire most of all?" 

My agonies have only become worse, but the LORD has held me tight.  I have only drawn closer and closer to Him all these years now, trusting Him more and more.

You can have this, too.  The LORD freely gives!  

* A "wanna be Christian" is a person who is curious about our faith in Jesus our Savior, but they just don't really get it yet.  They see it in you, they desire it for themselves, but they don't understand at that point yet.  So I call them "wanna bees" and pray for them. :o)