Birthday Reflection Poem

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Today is my dad’s birthday.

And it kind of makes me want to cry.

He is such a precious gift to me.

And I am so glad that he’s alive.

 

Mom gracefully left the pain of this world,

and went Home 160 days ago.

It’s dad’s first birthday without her.

And he’s missing her fiercely, I know.

 

But he never complains, never questions,

On Christ the solid rock he stands.

He trusts God’s goodness and timing

Even in the darkest of lowlands.

 

He teaches and taught us kids & countless others

to laugh through tears,

To love through heartbreak,

And to serve constantly and creatively year over year.

 

What unconditional love looks like.

What commitment to the Church looks like.

What selflessness and humility looks like.

What a really clean kitchen looks like.

 

His gentle and patient responses

have molded me to see

the wisdom of being slow to anger,

and apologizing when you’re wrong-immediately.

 

Mom went Home-

“At the perfect time” says my faith-gently and with love.

“But so early” my heart mutters as it chokes back tears indicative of

The solemn reality that I am not guaranteed

any days in this life.

 

 

And so I treasure each one.

Each day, each sweet relationship

Knowing even this difficult side of eternity

is a gift worthy of rejoicing and worship.

 

Knowing God gave my dad to me,

Is something I’m grateful for-staggeringly!

He’s a comedian, a supporter, a prayer warrior and guide.

He’s a confidant, wonderfully nonchalant-knowing God is by his side. 

 

Today is my dad’s birthday.

And it kind of makes me want to cry.

He is such a precious gift to me.

And I am so glad that he’s alive.

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Quotes for the Afflicted

Though it may feel impossible today-the truth is that THROUGH CHRIST you are able to bear the burden in front of you right now. And my prayer is that in the midst of a good things being “robbed” from our lives-that the amazing gift of being God’s beloved becomes a consuming comfort and treasure.

“Indeed, our afflictions may be heavy, and we cry out, Oh, we cannot bear them, we cannot bear such an affliction. Though you cannot tell how to bear it with your own strength, yet how can you tell what you will do with the strength of Jesus Christ? You say you cannot bear it? So you think that Christ could not bear it? But if Christ could bear it why may you not come to bear it? You will say, Can I have the strength of Christ? Yes, it is made over to you by faith: the Scripture says that the Lord is our strength, God himself is our strength, and Christ is our strength. There are many Scriptures to that effect, that Christ’s strength is yours, made over to you, so that you may be able to bear whatever lies upon you,

Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment

“Christian, how did you enjoy comfort before? Was the creature anything to you but a conduit, a pipe, that conveyed God’s goodness to you? ‘The pipe is cut off,’ says God, ‘come to me, the fountain, and drink immediately.’ Though the beams are taken away, yet the sun remains the same in the firmament as ever it was.”

Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment

Love,

Betty

For Those Troubled & Distressed

A dear friend sent me this Puritan Prayer while I was in the hospital. I have come back to it time and time again, and I hope it blesses you the way it has blessed me.

“O God, most high, most glorious, the thought of Your infinite serenity cheers me,

for I am toiling and moiling, troubled and distressed, but You are for ever at perfect peace. Your designs cause You no fear or care of unfulfilment, they stand fast as the eternal hills. Your power knows no bond, Your goodness no stint. You bring order out of confusion, and my defeats are Your victories: The Lord God omnipotent reigneth.

I come to You as a sinner with cares and sorrows, to leave every concern entirely to You, every sin calling for Christ’s precious blood; revive deep spirituality in my heart; let me live near to the great Shepherd, hear His voice, know its tones, follow its calls. Keep me from deception by causing me to abide in the truth, from harm by helping me to walk in the power of the Spirit. Give me intenser faith in the eternal verities, burning into me by experience the things I know; Let me never be ashamed of the truth of the gospel, that I may bear its reproach, vindicate it, see Jesus as its essence, know in it the power of the Spirit.

Lord, help me, for I am often lukewarm and chill; unbelief mars my confidence, sin makes me forget You. Let the weeds that grow in my soul be cut at their roots; grant me to know that I truly live only when I live to You, that all else is trifling. Your presence alone can make me holy, devout, strong and happy. Abide in me, gracious God.”

Love,

Betty

 

Two Spurgeon Quotes For Sufferers

I was surprised at the Passion Conference I attended earlier this week, with how much the speakers taught on suffering. They prayed we would thank God, and even one day cherish “the nightmare” he allows in our lives. Thinking about that [difficult] concept brought these two quotes to mind. I pray they bless you, and that God gives us eyes to see!

“I bear my witness that the worst days I have ever had have turned out to be my best days. And when God has seemed most cruel to me he has then been most kind. If there is anything in this world for which I would bless him more than for anything else it is for pain and affliction. I am sure that in these things the richest tenderest love has been manifested to me. Our Father’s wagons rumble most heavily when they are bringing us the richest freight of the bullion of his grace. Love letters from heaven are often sent in black-edged envelopes. The cloud that is black with horror is big with mercy. Fear not the storm. It brings healing in its wings and when Jesus is with you in the vessel the tempest only hastens the ship to its desired haven.” ―C. H. Spurgeon

“No stars gleam as brightly as those which glisten in the polar sky. No water tastes so sweet as that which springs amid the desert sand. And no faith is so precious as that which lives and triumphs through adversity. Tested faith brings experience. You would never have believed your own weakness had you not needed to pass through trials. And you would never have known God’s strength had His strength not been needed to carry you through.”
― C.H. Spurgeon

 

 

Bridges or Barriers: The Beauty in Struggling

Guest Blogger: I have a basic theory on “souls” that I compare a persons inward being to different types of materials.  Based on their drive, their countenance, and their quirks they are cotton, silk,cashmere, velvet, burlap, lace-you get it.  My dear friend, Elizabeth and I have had the opportunity to get to know each other this year, and we quickly found out that our souls are made of the same material.  We think and feel deeply, and love to journal almost as much as we love to laugh. I’ve been so blessed by her thoughts, encouragements, and personality, and I was very excited when she agreed to let me post some of her thoughts in my blog! Elizabeth’s story encourages me to struggle well. She challenges me to delight in my Savior, realizing what a prize He is, and she reminds me that the end will be so worth ANY amount of struggling! Be blessed!

 

“This summer I went on a pretty thrilling hike. In a jungle. In Indonesia. Down to a 300 foot waterfall. Where few had ever been to before. So many thoughts, feelings, and sights are attached to the memory of it.

The struggle it was to get down. The sliding down steep mud and grass. Holding onto ropes and maneuvering down bamboo shoots with small openings cut out for our feet. The hundreds of eagle-sized bats swarming high up in the sky above us. The work that it took to make it there but thinking the whole time about how beautiful it might be at the end. Making my way down, although slightly treacherous, generated in me a feeling of tension but also a deep, excited joy. I didn’t even know what was at the end- our guides thought it was best not to reveal to us what were about to see until we got there ourselves. So I continued down the steep, rough path with anticipation, simply knowing that the end would be good.

I’ve been struggling through the season of life I am in currently. Facing unknowns about my future. Experiencing pain from feeling misunderstood. Battling against weakness. Fighting inward tensions that feel paralyzing. Making my way down a steep, rough path.

Yet at the same time, I almost feel content. Somehow, I am experiencing peace and comfort and incredible joy. And even the pain and struggle, although still present, although still strong, feels almost right.

I think I am supposed to be having this struggle right now. I think God is moving. And He’s leading me somewhere I need to go.

Can pain really ever feel comfortable? I think the closest to it, is knowing- DEEPLY knowing- when in pain, that it ultimately is going to bring about something good that will be worth it. When I have such a deep assurance in my soul that the outcome will be beautiful and will bring a harvest of righteousness, then although pain is still pain, it becomes the closest to comfortable it can be and a quiet, surreal joy follows that is like nothing else I’ve ever experienced.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it (Heb 12:11).

And what if the path not only feels rough but also feels lonely? Can loneliness, feeling misunderstood, or unknown, ever be seen as a gift?

The past few months, I have collected a number of experiences that have completely changed me and in some senses have thrown me into a tumultuous whirlpool of questions, tensions, emotions, transformations, and new perspectives… It’s all come together in my mind like a big, beautiful secret that makes me feel alone in my inward battles as a result. And that feels painful.

Yet, the inward questions, the silent wrestling, the lack of feeling truly understood, has forced me to scream questions that I have never asked before with such sincerity.

“God, do you hear me?”

“Did you just see what I saw?”

“Do you know the struggles I’m experiencing? Every emotion running through me?”

“Are you really with me, Father?”

The answers to these questions have left me showered in hope and overwhelmed in comfort.

The loneliness in my struggles has been a gateway into recognizing what deep communion with my Father entails. The moments of being richly fed by His Word and His presence have continued to multiply. The peace and sincere satisfaction in knowing Him and being known by Him have overflowed into thankfulness and life that seems too good to even be true. And it’s not that other people haven’t been able to give to me and support me in very meaningful ways. It’s just that my Father’s communion and presence amidst the struggles have been limitless, rich, deep, and beautiful beyond comparison.

God, have you given me so much grace that I can honestly say that the quiet war I am experiencing right now is a gift from you? That the struggles, the moments of weakness, the anxiety, the steep and rough path I am walking is-no question-the perfect path for me right now?

It’s throwing me into Your presence. It’s grounding me deep in your Word. It’s granting me a view of Your plan. Your purpose. Your desires. It’s nudging me to pursue Your wisdom. To hear Your voice. It’s establishing for me a stronger confidence in the hope of one day seeing the prize. Seeing Jesus. It’s a challenging, treacherous path that is taking me somewhere beautiful.

So yes, I have struggles. I ask questions about the unknown that leaves me with an inward tension. I often feel like it’s a burden that I have to carry alone. And it takes work to keep walking.

But I’m discovering that these things, although not comprising an easy and effortless hike, are proving to be bridges rather than barriers that are taking me exactly where I need to go. The path is tough, but there is comfort in deeply knowing the path is being carved out by my loving Father. And that leaves me gracefully struggling through it with peace and joy that is priceless.

And who knows, maybe it will lead to something as incredible as a beautiful, massive waterfall in the middle of the jungle of an unchartered area on an island in Indonesia.”

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