Category Archives: trial

O God, I cling with feeble fingers to the ledge of your great grace

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In the past two weeks, my plate has been full  …working full time again, fighting one of the worst ear infections (STILL) that I can remember, planning 2 parties for two dear friends and celebrating the births of five friends babies…  that’s just life though.  life is always busy.  one month its party planning, the next month its something else.  I think where I really feel full is emotionally.  As of yesterday, Ted and I are now in month 8 of trying to conceive a child of our own.  My heart is full. and heavy. And mourning.

I love John Piper’s poem “Job.”  It is a four-part poem and so many of the lines describe where I am emotionally.  Not saying my struggles and pains are on equal par with Job, but my heart can sure relate.  One thing I’m grateful for though is that my friends are no comparison to his.  What a comfort they have been to me lately.  random e-mails.  from MANY people over the last week.  lots of prayers and facebook messages and I can just feel the compassion and love.  Thank you.

“I came with nothing from the womb,
I go with nothing to the tomb.
God gave me children freely, then
He took them to himself again.
At last I taste the bitter rod,
My wise and ever blessed God.”

… so count the cost;
And ponder everything we’ve lost.
And let us bow before the throne
Of God, who gives and takes his own,
And promises, whatever toll
He takes, to satisfy our soul.

Come learn the lesson of the rod:
The treasure that we have in God.
He is not poor nor much enticed
Who loses everything but Christ.

I rejoice with my friends. I can’t wait to hold their babies. But how I long for and pray for a baby Riley (many in fact) soon. I’m 29 and my husband is 36. We really would love a large family and I would love to be pregnant with so many of my close friends. My heart is rejoicing yet also breaking. I struggle to see the kindness of God when He chooses to take.  Yet I know his timing is good. But to my heart it feels anything but good. But I see his faithfulness through every step of my life, so my faith is strengthened in this trial as I look back.  Like Job I say…

O God, I cling
With feeble fingers to the ledge
Of your great grace, yet feel the wedge
Of this calamity struck hard
Between my chest and this deep-scarred
And granite precipice of love.

guess I’m just weary. Weary of the fight. Feeling hopeless… Knowing God has never promised me a child that I will hold in my arms so struggling with how to persevere in faith in my request. We both would love to adopt but right now there is not a peace to pursue that.  But the desire is there.  And God keeps asking us to pray in faith.  That in and of itself is a glimmer of hope.

One little flame when all is night,
Proves there is such a thing as light.
One answered prayer when all is gone,
Will give you hope to wait for dawn.

I know part of the struggle is the physical weakness. My body is worn down from the infection. Cramps never help either.  I am adjusting to a new schedule. All while in this dichotomy of rejoicing with others yet grieving for myself. So many hurts resurfacing from my past as I face all this yet again.

Oh so weary. Thank you friends for your prayers. Thank you for listening to the Spirit and for caring for me. More grateful than words can express.

Beware the thought that all is vain,
In time God’s wisdom will be plain.

…What we have lost God will restore
When he is finished with his art,
The silent worship of our heart.
When God creates a humble hush,
And makes Leviathan his brush,
It won’t be long until the rod
Becomes the tender kiss of God.

joy in Your presence

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In your presence, Lord, there is joy.
Am I far from your presence?
Am I missing your glory when I focus on my pain?
I am weak.  You are great.
Have I forgotten what is truly important?
Why do I not feel the joy that once proved so precious to me?

If you can be glorified through my weakness, will I be content with it?
If you become bigger though my pain, will I give you thanks?
Can I live in gratitude despite exhaustion? Or frustration? Or confusion?
When it’s a sacrifice, will I still choose to praise You?

How long, Lord can I go on like this waiting for your voice?
Help me to listen. Help me to see it.
Help me not to focus on a conclusion as my answer, help me to focus on You.

For You are my answer.  You are my hope.
In Your presence I find my joy.
You drew me out of my pit.  If you’ve done that, why do I doubt?
Why does my heart cry out in anguish and fear?

You’ve proven your faithfulness time and again
Why is my soul downcast yet again?
I look to You. My feet are on You, my Rock.
My ways are secure.  Though hidden in darkness for now.

I will rest.  I will hope.  I will have joy.

when treated unfairly…

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Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.  1 Peter 2:18-23

I read this verse today just after finding out about something at work that is completely unfair.  It seems to me as if I’m being taken advantage of and am struggling with how to respond.  I know that my current job is where God has called me to be in this season, but there are days like today when I just struggle with that current placement for my life.  So, I guess the question is “how do I respond?”  Do I look at the injustice and demand my rights?  Do I stand up for what is “fair”?  Sometimes the answer to that might be yes.  I’m sure there are times when we need to stand up for something and fight against “the man.”  But God has made it clear to me that my response in this situation should be like that of Jesus in 1st Peter 2.  I am being treated unfairly.  God knows that.  I want to cry because it honestly just hurts.  Jesus understands that pain.

When He was treated unfairly, he did not respond in sin.  He trusted God.  In the middle of his suffering, he did not utter threats or retaliation.  He was quiet in the middle of that storm because He was at peace with God’s purpose and plan for his life.  According to Phil. 2, I am commanded to let the mind of Christ dwell in me.  I am supposed to follow that example.  I am supposed to trust God in the middle of storms too.  I have a coffee mug that says: “peace: it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work.  it means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”

I think that’s the heart of this matter for me.  Am I calm in my heart? Am I trusting that God knows the unfair actions?  Am I trusting my own ability to vindicate that or am I trusting my sovereign God?

Its funny, I wrote a devotional post about that this morning…. about thanking God in ALL things because every situation reveals another opportunity for us to see God at work.  So, where is God at work in this injustice?

He is at work in me… in teaching me humility (aka I don’t have to demand my rights).  He is empowering me to respond like Him and He is growing my faith in His plan for my life.  Does that feel good right now?  No.  But all I need to do is look back at the events of my life.  Every step, every valley, every storm shows the imprint of a faithful God’s hand upon my life.  So, I will trust Him in this too.  He is good.

  • “Do not fret because of evildoers, be not envious toward wrongdoers, for they will wither quickly like the grass and fade like the green herb. Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday” (Ps. 37:1-6).
  • “But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord: He is their strength in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in Him” (Ps. 37:39-40).
  • “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
  • “Wait for the Lord, and keep His way, and He will exalt you to inherit the land” (v. 34).
  • “…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”

my hope

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Here I am again
In this raging sea
On my knees again
Deep calls to deep
I feel I’m drowning
My arms are
Just too tired to swim
I feel like I’m sinking
On my knees again
In the roar of Your waterfall
In the storm of You
May You find me holding on
May You find me true

Chorus:
And I put my hope
And I put my trust
And I put myself in You
In You, Lord [2x]

Here I am again
In need of you
Broken, Beaten
Needing You
In the roar of Your waterfall
In the wonderful storm of You
May You find me holding on
May You find me true

(Chorus)

Bridge:
Wash me clean
Set me free
Hold me close
And cover me

(Chorus x4)

Here I am
Here I am…

David Crowder Band

fear not

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My child, do not be afraid. Every day of your life was ordered before you were even born. I was faithful then, to call you to me before you desired me, before you knew me, before you lived for me. I loved you first. There is no need now for you to be afraid in this storm.

What is the worst that could happen to you? Death? I am the God who is faithful to old age, even to death. A lack of answers of clarity? I am the God who knows all. No answer is hidden from me. Darkness? No direction visible to you? I am the God who leads the blind along unknown paths. Loneliness? I am the God who will never leave you. Pain beyond your ability to handle? I am the God who gives strength to the youth who are weak and faint. I am He who provides grace to the weary and help to the tired.

What is it you fear that I in my power am unable to provide? You could bring care after care to me until you have no more and still every care will find a balm in my healing and help. Every need is provided in me. I love you.

Do not doubt my care because my hand is pruning. Do not doubt my love as you feel the winter’s cold wind blow. You are precious to me and I will protect and care for you through every storm. Rejoice, sweet chosen, adopted and dearly loved child of mine, for through this trial and pain, you are seeing the benefit of years of plenty. Now, when it seems there is no fruit on your tree, you are learning that your roots do indeed go deep and this faith I called you to only a few short years ago, that faith is real. It is being tested even now and it is standing firm. Be encouraged, my child, I am producing growth. This trial is bringing endurance and the more you see my hand at work through the unknown, you will grow in faith and hope.

My Son, Jesus, who died to bring you to me, is praying for you right now. He is standing here saying “Father, forgive her weakness, forgive her lack of faith. Be satisfied in her struggle. Look to my payment and be satisfied.” And you know, child, I am fully and completely satisfied with that payment on your behalf.

So come to me, in your weakness, nakedness and need, confident in my affection and care for you. Even now, when you don’t know what to say, my Spirit is also praying for you. He is interceeding on your behalf, interpreting your tears and pain and carrying your woes before my throne of grace. So, child, cry. Cry out to me.

I loved David and I loved to see his dependence on my power as expressed so often through his tears. Cry, even when there seem to be no words. The Spirit of God is carrying those cries directly to me. They are not lost. I am listening and my arm has never been too short to save. Be confident, in the midst of this trial, of my unchanging faithful love to you.

The steadfast love I showed to your fathers, the guidance to Abraham, the protection to David, the redemption for Jonah, the transformation for Rahab, the love that did not forsake Naomi, that provided for Ruth, and that blessed Hannah…sweet child, I am that same God. And I offer those same things to you. I would delight and joy in you coming to me in hope and faith, not cowering in fear. Judgment is paid. Freedom is yours. Live there. Rejoice there. I will never forsake.

But when you feel forsaken, remember my promises. When you feel tempted beyond your strength to endure, remember I will empower you to stand firm against every attack of the evil one. Even Satan is under my control; there is no need to fear his attacks.

Rest. Rest in the storms, for I hold you safe. I never slumber and darkness does not blind me, as it does you. Don’t you see? I want you to be free, not bound by fear. This trial is producing sweet freedom as you are learning of my sovereign care and provision. Like I said to the shepherds the day I sent my son “do not fear.”. Like I told the disciples the day my Son left them and returned to Me… “do not fear.”

And now you join their ranks…the ranks of the weak and helpless of this world whom I have chosen and loved. “Do not fear.” “This trial was given to you as a gift from a hand of love. Though you do not understand the purpose of the gift you do know the hand. You have seen my care and love proved time and time again to you.

And now, sweet child though you do not understand why, take this gift of pain, suffering and confusion and accept it as a good thing given by a Father who loves you. At this time in your life, what you desire is not a good gift. That is why I have chosen this. Won’t you rest in my arms? I can see tomorrow.

This “mistake” will make sense one day. And even if I never choose to show you the reason why, don’t forget I am using this to bring glory to myself and draw others to see my power displayed in you! Is that not enough? My power at work in you? That is why I don’t wnat you to fear. I know what will come tomorrow. And it is good. Rest. Rejoice. Lean on me. I will never ever let you go.”

er visit

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So I spent about 4 hours tonight in the er…being poked, prodded and tested. I went in with severe pain in the right side of my abdomen. I left 4 hours later with the same pain, despite 2 morphene shots. Once again, I heard those gut-wrenching words “we don’t know what’s wrong with you…can’t explain why you are in pain. But here’s a prescription for narcotic pain meds…”. That’s the point where I stop listening. I’ve heard all this before. I’ve heard this at just about every doctors visit I’ve been to for the past two years. I don’t understand why God is choosing to allow me to suffer and yet giving neither me nor the doctors the wisdom to know what to do. It is so frustrating. I am so weak and yet at the same time so angry. I’m 28…is this what I have to look forward to the rest of my life? Why won’t God answer the thousands of prayers that have been prayed for healing of my body? Why do we have to keep going through this? And in the middle of all this God just calmly says “look to me. I am faithful.”. Honestly right now that doesn’t seem enough. I don’t want faithful. I want answers. And yet at the same time I know like Job, I cannot demand from this all-powerful God. He does as he pleases. He does not have to explain his ways to me. But then I come back to the Psalms “do the dead rise up to praise you, God? Where is the faithfulness you showed to our fathers? Has it ceased?”. And yet I know those spats hold no bearing. Of course his faithfulness continues. I know it in the fact that I’ve been given the right to call Him my Father. Its been shown through every breath He’s given me…even the ones where it hurts to breathe. How much more did Paul understand of this Jesus than do I. He rejoiced in the prison. I bring my feeble and weak complaints to an almighty God who has the power to strike me dead. Yet he doesn’t. Even that is mercy. Do I want healing for this body? Absolutely! I’m tired of living life in pain day after day just doing what you can to get by. But then what I wrote this morning comes back into mind…bless the Lord. My soul that is so prone to despair, bless His holy name. Sigh. Exhausted and weary, I pray for grace to fall asleep resting there…

truth from “the trenches”

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I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched.  My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God. (Psalm 69:3) 

Answer me, O LORD, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.  Hide not your face from your servant; for I am in distress; make haste to answer me. (Psalm 69:16-17)

And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” (Genesis 32:24-26)

Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall!  My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:  The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning (Lam 3:19-22)

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (Psalm 23:6)

For his eyes are on the ways of a man, and he sees all his steps. (Job 34:21)

For it is you who light my lamp; the LORD my God lightens my darkness. (Psalm 18:28)

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23)

Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. (Hebrews 10:35-36)

Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death (Philippians 1:18-20)

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14)

Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed (Hebrews 12:12-13)

 Do not be anxious about anything, 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 understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

But I, O LORD, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you. O LORD, why do you cast my soul away?  Why do you hide your face from me? Afflicted and close to death from my youth up, I suffer your terrors; I am helpless. (Psalm 88:13-15)

How long, O LORD? Will you hide yourself forever? (Psalm 89:46)

Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.  You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you?  And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:24-26)

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison (2 Cor. 4:16-17)

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:2-5)

“For this God is our God forever and ever! He will be our guide even unto death!” Psalm 48:14

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:6-7)

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. (Isaiah 43:2-3)

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.  The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.  (Revelation 21:4-7)

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.

sleepless prayer

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Father I confess that I do not actively place my dependence on you like I should, though every moment is spent fully dependent on your hand over my life. It is the sweet, yet horrible moments like this, moments when I ask, but sleep doesn’t come, moments where there is nothing I can do to make that desire of my fundamental human need happen, moments of sheer and utter exhaustion of mind, body and will, in which I am once again reminded of you. You are the God who does not require sleep. You are the God who guards my life as I sleep, and who guards it when sleep doesn’t come. You watch over me and protect me as the swarm of fears and doubts loom overhead. Your helmet of salvation soothes my tired mind with the truth that I am safe in you and that there is no need to fear. When exhaustion results in emotional worry and tears, I am comforted with the truth that even in my weakness and struggle, that you never leave or forsake your beloved. When the sins and cares of the day robs my rest, you remind me that I am your spotless bride and your cherished, fully accepted child. When pain takes rest from me and keeps it at a distance, you remind me that the power which calmed the stormy sea can also calm the turmoil in my body. Thank you Father that you ordain moments like this, moments I would never choose, to once again turn my gaze to you, grasping for more of your grace. Oh how I need it…both tonight and as the dawn soon breaks. Teach me that what matters is not perfect health or restful sleep but rather a confident trust in your goodness. Your goodness desired that my sleeplesness would drive me not to frustration, fear and anxiety, but to you. I find a refuge in you. My mind, which never seems to cease its running, finds solace in your presence. And you promise strength for tomorrow. Strength for the day’s battle, empowered by you to endure. But greater than that, to rejoice. Father, grant me the grace to rejoice in what you have done for me, given me and promised to complete in me. Let that joy overshadow this sleepless weariness. I pray that I would rest in you, for you are fully satified. There is nothing I need to do, besides still my soul in you like a child at his mother’s breast. You comfort. You hear the prayers of your beloved. And you provide what is good. So I pray that you would, in mercy, grant my weary body a few hours of rest tonight which would counteract the many hours of sleepless regret and worry. And if sleep does not come, father, I pray you would grant me the grace to find my strength in you. Thank you that you love me. Thank you that you hear my cry. Thank you that you are powerful to save. I pray you would help me, yet again, as I look to you, my jehovah-jireh to provide in my need.

the last 18 months… and a very faithful God

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I just want to take a second and look back to remember what God has done, specifically over the last 15 months of my life. All too often, I get discouraged by an apparent lack of growth or what I perceive as changing too slowly. But God in His faithfulness is training me and keeping me at this marathon pace, though my heart would rather be zooming along at a sprinters pace.

February ‘08 – on Sunday, February 24th, during worship rehearsal, Katie Britt came up to me with a little piece of paper. On the paper were these words… “His strength is made perfect in weakness.” Little did I know how those words would define the next season of my life. I woke up the next day with a splitting pain in my head. Imagine a migraine. Then make it exponentially worse. That day was the start of many long and painful months ahead… months of confusion, months of crying out to God, and months of things just seeming to only get worse. This month also was when I began writing poems.

March ’08 – On March 7th, I had my first MRI of my brain. I was terrified and in so much pain that I didn’t know how I would stay still throughout the procedure. And since the doctors were running ahead of schedule there was no time for sedation. God brought to mind the passage of 1st Peter 1 that I had just memorized. He reminded me that He was working… that He had a plan for me (an inheritance that is sure) and that even in my current trial, that His goal is that my faith and hope would rest in God… my loving Father. It was a sweet time, yet I was overwhelmed and confused as to what God was doing.

April ’08 – I had to stop teaching German. The migraines continued. I lost count of the doctors I visited and the tests that were run. There seemed to be no answers.  And though my body was exhausted, sleep wouldn’t come.  Matt preached a sermon that when God brings us into the waves, He is always behind us, holding us secure. He won’t let us drown. He is doing this because He cares for us and wants us to know the freedom found in trusting Him.

May ’08 – May was a month of answered prayers.     I got a new position at work, which was an answer to several years of praying.  I was diagnosed with and treated for a bacterial infection in my brain (similar to meningitis), which had been one cause of the migraines.  I think God was just reminding me here of His faithfulness… and that He hadn’t forgotten me.  However, May was also a month of new trials.  I became very sick with what I thought was the stomach flu.  New Attitude (singles conference) was a struggle.  I had gone expecting great things from God.  I left disappointed that there was no “thunder and lightning” simply a “I’m faithful… trust Me.”

June ’08 – I found out in June, shortly after my 27th birthday that I am allergic to dairy, wheat, oats, food dye and several other things.  Unfortunately I found this out the hard way, after weeks of not being able to keep food down.  On June 26th, my good friends Dave and Melissa lost their baby.  Melissa was 6 ½ months pregnant and went into labor.  I will never forget singing “blessed be your name” while standing in front of a casket not more than 1’x2’.  Their steadfast faith through that unthinkable trial encouraged me to keep looking to our loving Father, no matter what.

July ’08 – on Sunday July 13th, I was baptized.  July was a month of trying to figure out what I could eat and what makes me sick.  My grandparents celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary.  Doctors visits continued.  Migraines started coming back as I was testing food options.  July was a month of learning that blessing and suffering go hand in hand.

August ’08 – August was the month of diagnoses.  The doctors found out that what I thought was a stomach flu back in May, was actually salmonella food poisoning from a puffed wheat cereal.  This was a mixed blessing because though it threw my body into overload, the doctors were able to also diagnose that I have Celiacs disease, something that has gone undiagnosed for about 10 years.  This month was another month of physical weakness.  I had no energy and constant migraines.  The Worship God conference was encouraging and this month began my study of the Psalms.  The Psalms CD quickly became one of my favorites.  At the worship conference, I was able to see God miraculously heal my friend Dave Johnson, after suffering for many years with kidney stones.  Still to this day, he has not had one!

September ’08 – Migraines began getting worse.  Due to the fact that you can’t take migraine medicine every day, the doctor put me on an anti-seizure med that is effective for treating migraines.  After a few increases in the doseage, the migraines began subsiding.  This was a month of ups and downs, along with very little sleep.  September was also the month I decided to move from living with a family in the church to getting an apartment with two friends.  Emotionally, there were many struggles, as I was working through where God was leading me to.

October ’08 – I started having some severe reactions to the medicine and the doctors had to quickly take me off, depsite the risk of seizures.  This was one of the scariest times I have ever faced, not sure what was happening, if I was dying or what to do.  Thankfully, my pastors were extremely helpful in reminding me of my hope in God, the God who knows all, is in control of all and who loves me.  The doctors changed my medicine and I only got worse.  I met with my pastors one afternoon and they prayed that God would heal me.  Sleep was unknown at this point now.  Oh, and on top of that there was the physical and emotional stress of moving, yet again…for the 7th time in 5 years.

November ’08 – November was a hard month with relationships.  And with dealing through issues from my past.  I found a new doctor who diagnosed me with sleep apnea, and a severe vitamin B deficiency.  We were able to take me off all the migraine meds, except to treat the occasional migraine.  I am grateful to have found this new doctor.  I am grateful because slowly, it seems that God began healing my weak and dying body.  I didn’t know He was just beginning to work on the heart and emotions.

December ’08 – if i had to summarize December it would be “face your fears.”  December was a difficult month as I continued working through some pains from my past, thanks to the help of Matt and Julie.  My body continued to improve.  I started having more energy, but still wasn’t sleeping.  In December, the doctor did a second sleep test. Oh, and during my Christmas break from work, I almost died of carbon monoxide poisoning and an allergic reaction to wheat.  Both in the same week.  It was a draining week.

January ’09 – As the new year began, I was continually reminded of the word “peace.”  I was reminded that God is the One who brings peace and that this was His goal for me in the coming months… to learn peace, not because there are no storms, but because I am held by the God who controls those storms.  “the flame shall not hurt you I only design your dross to consume and your gold to refine.”  God seemed to be saying that the coming months would be a clear picture of God’s care and a refining of my dross.

February ’09 – in February I took a trip to Charlotte NC to visit a friend.  I was encouraged to realize that some of my sin struggles are the same things she struggles with.  I felt God say that this weekend would be pivotal in freeing me from certain sins and strongholds in my life.  I returned home, only to fail.  As I saw those waves of condemnation crashing down, I again became very discouraged with my lack of trust and faith in God.  And the emotional scars continued and in some ways only seemed to increase.

March ’09 – God continued to remind me that He brings beauty from pain.  And that my life, which has involved a good deal of pain, is meant to bring Him glory.  Each step I’ve taken and each tear I’ve cried was not lost to His care and love.  As my hours kept getting cut at work due to the economy, I found trusting in that love a struggle.  But I remembered where I was a year ago, in the tube for the MRI, and was refreshed to remember that my God is providing for me.  Since I still wasn’t sleeping, the doctor put me on a sleep med, for the next 3 months to try to train my body to sleep again.

April ’09 – Migraines are more an occasional occurance now instead of a daily trial.  Physically the changes in my body have been phenomenal since last October when my pastors prayed for God’s merciful healing hand to touch me.  I’m even training for a half marathon at the end of this summer!  Lord willing, I’ll have the physical strength to make that goal a reality.  The struggles to trust God to provide financially became greater as I saw to greater depths the mess I’ve created.  I was confronted about a relationship issue that I had left unresolved.  God used that to show me grace in a new and special way.  I was surprised to see such grace to me… a clearly undeserving sinner.  God overwhelmed me with that grace.

May ’09 – Again, God has overwhelmed me with His grace.  I’ve had many nights of restful sleep.  He has provided for me financially in some spectacular ways and has again and again proven Himself to be my faithful Provider.  I’m also amazed at what a gift my friends are and how God has used them to show me His care.  They have sacrificed so much just to simply show me God’s love.  I’m grateful… and overwhelmed.

So, that’s the last 18 months.  I don’t know what the next ones will contain.  But I know that the faithful God who has carried me through many physical, emotional and financial pains time after time, will continue to carry me through every storm He has ordained for me.  I continue to struggle with fear… fear of the unknown, fear of future pain.  But God is faithful in comforting me with the truth that no matter what trials come, He is with me.