Category Archives: God’s Kindness

God is not surprised by fluke accidents.

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Aka. Be careful what you ask for. :)

I came home from the Created for Care Adoption Moms conference full of information, strength and hope for the future. Unfortunately I returned back to work the next day feeling like I had no time to really process through and pray about what I learned at the conference. So I prayed that God would help me to know how to balance my time and what to focus on in the coming weeks. That same evening while working out I did a lunge, dislocated my knee and have been in pretty severe pain since. I’m out of work and pretty much stuck to a couch for the next two weeks, not able to put weight on my left leg at all.

While praying through how to handle the unknowns of parenthood and the financial strain that can bring, God put me smack dab in the middle of a situation that I cannot control… where financial strains are once again in the forefront and where I am forced to trust.

But somehow the trusting is coming easier this time around. God has proven himself faithful. I am choosing to look to the unknowns with confidence of His goodness not with fear of how is this or that going to get taken care of or paid. This random fluke of a pretty life altering injury (at least for the moment) is just a blip in my life. And I can choose to have hope in this blip.

I can sense God’s power at work in encouraging me when in my sin I would easily give in to fear and despair. One of the things God reminded me at the conference was “in this world you will have trouble. But take heart. I have overcome the world.”.

What hope that truth brings! Troubles have come. More are probably coming. My faith that has been tested over and over is being tried yet again. And through His Spirit I can overcome the discouragement or hopelessness of not being in control and choose to rest in the arms of the One who ordained this day.

Yup. This day where I haven’t taken a shower because I can’t get into the bathtub alone. This day where the sun is shining beautifully and I so long to go on a walk or a bike ride. This day where the house is a wreck and I can literally sit here and count crumbs on the carpet. God ordained it. So I’m just gonna sit here, sip on my sweet tea and remember His goodness to me. He will provide. He knows my needs. If even a sparrow finds a place to rest and even the lilies of the field are clothed, our bills will get paid. If our adoption is delayed because of the financial strain this could cause, He knows that and has a reason why.

My heart still wants to break as I look around and see all that’s wrong. But how can I keep from singing his praise? He’s proven His faithfulness. He knows my needs. And He has overcome the troubles of this world.

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Lord, you are gracious

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You do not treat us
as our sins deserve
though we are guilty as charged
Your Son was treated
as if responsible
for all my sin.

Lord, you are gracious
Lord you are compassionate
Slow to anger, rich in love
Lord you are.

Your Son was perfect
Blamelesness itself
Father You turned your face away
You bruised and crushed Him
That I might know your grace
for all my days

Lord, you are gracious
Lord, you are compassionate
Slow to anger, rich in love
Lord you are.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
His mercies never come to an end
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
His mercies never come to an end

Lord, you are gracious
Lord, you are compassionate
Slow to anger, rich in love
Lord, you are

Slow to anger, rich in love
Lord, You are

© 2006 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP)
Words and music by Pat Sczebel
As recorded on
You and You Alone

learning to walk with a limp

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There is something strangely beautiful and wondrous about scars. If you’ve ever studied the body’s healing process, you can’t help but marvel at the mystery of it all. Scars are reminders of a hurt that took place, but scars are also reminders of healing that followed. God could have easily designed it so that wounds would heal leaving absolutely no trace of the pain, but the more you read the Bible, the more you realize that God doesn’t work that way. God is pretty big on creating “mile markers” along the pathways of life…

It’s a shame, really, that our modern society doesn’t have any similar practice of leaving visible markers along our paths to serve as reminders of an encounter with God. But we do have scars — spiritual scars that each has a story to tell of a time when God touched us and left His mark on us. And the truth is, no one in history has ever had a genuine encounter with the God of heaven and walked away unchanged… unmarked… un-scarred.

Sometimes the scars God leaves on us come from a wound in our heart that He healed with a gentle touch. Other times the scars are more severe, and cause us to walk with a limp for the rest of our lives, because God — as our loving Shepherd — had to break our leg in order to keep us from wandering away from the flock. I have both…

No one encounters God and walks away unchanged… and Jacob was certainly no exception. During that strange wrestling match, God put His mark on Jacob — scarred him, if you will. God touched Jacob’s hip and caused him to walk with a limp. At the conclusion of that story, the Bible says that Jacob had seen God face to face and lived, and then it says, “The sun rose above Jacob, and he was limping because of his hip.”

Wow, what an amazing scene! Jacob, the deceiver, goes into an encounter with God — arrogant, cocky, walking just fine on his own two feet… and he comes out with a new name, a new purpose, and a limp that will serve as a reminder to him every day for the rest of his life. I imagine there were many mornings from then on that Jacob got out of bed and started to walk across the room, and when he took that first step and felt his hip give way… his mind went back to that life-changing meeting with God… and he remembered!

Don’t underestimate the power of scars. Don’t underestimate the importance of learning to walk with a limp. They are blessings in disguise. The fact is that no one — not a single one of us — will ever truly understand what it means to walk with God and see our lives make an impact for Him until we have learned to walk with a limp. It’s proof, you see — proof that we’ve been with God, that we’ve wrestled with Him, and that we have not walked away unchanged. Every time you see one of your scars… every time you are reminded of your limp… take a moment to remember. Number yourself among the blessed ones who carry the marks of God, and rejoice in knowing that those scars are proof that He knows you by name, and that He has come close enough to touch you.

read the entire post at Phil Pike’s blog: The Journey.

promises

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Psalm 28:7-8: “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.”

1 Peter 4:12,13:  “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation.”

Romans 5:3-4:  “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance: and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope.”

1 Peter 1:7-8: “These [all kinds of trials] have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.”

Psalm 119:49-50: “Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope. My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.”

Romans 15:4: “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”

Psalm 32:7: “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.”

Psalms 57: 1-2: “Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills his purpose for me.”

Hebrews 10:23: “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”

James 1:17: “Every good things bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights, with who there is no variation, or shifting shadow.”

Psalms 68:19: “Blessed by the Lord, who daily bears our burden. The God who is our salvation.”

Philippians 4: 6-7: “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, shall guard your heats and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Psalms 31:7: “I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.”

John 16:22-23: “Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.”

when the dots don’t connect…

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lately i seem to be back into a season where the dots just don’t seem to connect.  i’m weary.  physically i’m weak.  emotionally i’m tired.  spiritually i’m worn down and dry.  mentally i’m… well, i guess i’ve never been right in that area… :)

i have failed to cling to my hope in Christ.  i’ve failed to trust Him to provide.  i’ve questioned whether God really wants what’s best for me.  i’ve accused Him of forgetting me… or simply leading me on only to later disappoint.

i’m powerless to lift myself from the pit that i am in. 

and then i’m reminded of the gospel… Christ came to lift me from my own self-made destruction and misery.   He came to give me a rock of hope to cling to that will never fail… not in physical pain, loneliness, confusion, darkness… never.  He promised He would never leave me. 

that applies not only to the day He redeemed my soul 4 years ago but for today as well. in the middle of a migraine, He holds me.  In the middle of my questioning His goodness, He holds me secure in His arms of love.  In the middle of loneliness, He never leaves my side.  In my tired weariness, He reminds me that He is the God who watches over me and He never sleeps.  There is never a moment when He is not in control of every event of my life. 

I’m reminded of the hymn “Be Still my Soul.”  While visiting Covenant Life a few weeks ago, we sang this song… its been in my head ever since.  It is such a great example of “talking to yourself” instead of “listening to yourself.”

 I think my favorite line is “be still my soul your Jesus can repay from His own fulness all He takes away.”

In the past few years, its obvious with even a brief glance at my life that God has taken much.  He’s taken friends.  He’s taken people I looked to and respected.  He’s taken a sense of belonging and home.  He’s taken my health.  He’s taken much more. 

But I have the promise that He will never take His presence from me.   And knowing that, nothing else matters.  I’d rather Him take my health, security and comfort than to leave all those and take His presence.. 

That is the reason that my soul can be still.  That is the reason my weary soul can find hope.  I am just praying for grace that God will connect those dots…

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.  He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.  On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.   Trust in him at all times, O people;  pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. (Psalm 62:5-8)

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on your side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to your God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: your best, your heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: your God will undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt you better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe your sorrow and your fears.
Be still, my soul: your Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last.

Be still, my soul: begin the song of praise
On earth, believing, to your Lord on high;
Acknowledge Him in all your words and ways,
So shall He view you with a well pleased eye.
Be still, my soul: the Sun of life divine
Through passing clouds shall but more brightly shine.

unattractive paper

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Dear friend, God may send you some valuable gifts wrapped in unattractive paper.  But do not worry about the wrappings, for you can be sure that inside He has hidden treasures of love, kindness, and wisdom.  If we will simply take what He sends and trust Him for the blessings inside, we will learn the meaning of the secrets of His providence, even in times of darkenss. -A.B. Simpson

what are you doing, God?

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ever have those times where you ask “What are you doing, God?”  I know His ways are higher than mine.  I know that He loves me and give and takes for my good.  I know what He’s given me, He also has the right to take away when He should choose.  And I know looking back that every time God has taken something from me its always been for my good, even though immensely painful and gut-wrenching at times.  I know that though things can be taken, that nothing can separate me from His love.  How I need that love to hold me close today.  How I long for my war-torn heart to rest there. 

God seems to be shifting me from one furnace to another.  And I am as unhappy with this appointment as I was with the last.  How I long for it to end.  Trials are a funny thing like that… you beg and beg for them to end and as soon as they do you realize that you’ve learned so much more than ever possible had you not gone through that trial.  So as incomprehensible as it seems to your feelings, you find yourself thanking God for what you just walked through.  And simultaneously you pray that you’d never have to go through it again.  In many ways, that’s where I’m at.  I’m grateful for the trials that God has carried me through because I know to a greater degree the depths of His love, care and compassion towards me.  But as I face yet again another trial, I approach it with the same dread and horror as I faced the last.  Horror because as God is calling me to pick up my cross and follow Him, I’m seeing the death, pain, suffering and heartache that accompanies that cross.  And nothing in me wants to go there. 

Yet somehow my loving Shepherd has promised to be with me each step of the way.  He has promised to complete what He has begun.  He has already cared for me time after time and He is faithful.  Because of that, through His strength to hold me, with His help, I will rest in His control over this.  I am choosing to look past the pain, to look past the cross to my Strong Deliverer, who defeated the power of death and the cross.  He will preserve me by His mercy.  He is my Rock in the middle of the storms.  God has promised to complete what He’s begun, therefore I can have hope that He will keep me safe and true in Him…even here, even in this, even though nothing in me wants this.

Somehow I’m excited to see God provide.  As He keeps taking and in my mind its getting even more difficult for Him to provide, I look to my Jehovah-Rophe with hopeful anticipation to meet my needs and comfort my sorrows.  I haven’t really known what to say lately because it seems there are no words to describe the unutterable ache in my soul.  Nothing seems sufficient other than crying to my Maker… the One who knows me and will never leave me alone.  So, in my loneliness, I look to the One who will never leave, abandon or forsake.  In my pain, I look to the One who suffered in my place.    In my despair, I look to the only One who was ever forsaken by God with gratitude that He will not leave me here.  And in my moments (or days) when I just want to complain, I remember how good He has been to me.  The God who restored my broken soul and gave me life, the God who gives me a reason for joy in my mourning, the God who drew me through His kindness and irresistable love… that God will not quit.  So I look to Him.