The Gift of Trials

This week on the podcast, we talked about enjoying the moment. It’s a great habit to practice. But, what do you do when your circumstances stink and you want to run away? When the last thing you want to do is to be present in your circumstances?

  • When the baby is puking on you?
  • When you are so sick you can’t get out of bed?
  • When there is a death in the family?
  • When your schedule is interrupted by catastrophe day after day?

It’s tough. I know. I want to practice being present and enjoying every moment just as much as the next gal.

With all of my pregnancies, I had morning sickness all day. I was hospitalized to get fluids in me because I couldn’t hold anything down. To say that I didn’t enjoy being sick is an understatement. To say that I didn’t enjoy any of my life during those pregnancies would be a lie. Even when my stomach literally felt as if it were on fire, I still was able to enjoy moments.

the gift of Trials

During seasons of stress, our mindset is key. These seasons are when we can grow.

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.- James  1: 2-4

My first reaction when I have a test or challenge is definitely not to consider it a sheer gift. Most of the time, I think, What? Why me?  I can honestly say, on the other side of tests and trials that I can see how I have grown, how God has used them to help me mature. In order to be well-developed and not deficient in any way, we must let our faith grow. One way to do that, is be present in the moment even when our circumstances stink.

The truth is whatever is in our heart will come out when we are under pressure. When our heart is full of good things including faith- the assurance of things we hope for, the assurance of things not seen. We belief that every good and perfect gift comes from God, so we look for those gifts. In times of stress, we must look harder for those good things. When we look for them, we will find them. This is truly finding the gift in the midst of trial.

It’s that time you are sitting in the hospital with a loved one and someone comes to visit and brings you a coffee.

It’s when your are are too ill to get out of bed and your friend brings you smoothies and a crock pot of chili for your kiddos.

It’s when you don’t have money for Christmas presents for your kids and a friend brings presents for all of them.

Maybe this is a new concept for you. Maybe you are still waiting for your circumstances to be perfect in order to enjoy your life. Did you read the title and think totally the opposite? I used to think that way. Honestly, I still slip back into that line of thinking. My first response to trials isn’t “thank you God for this gift!” What has changed about the way I approach trials? I look for the good. I search for it like treasure. This week, a super busy week, getting ready for an event, I got sick. Not the best time for that. I know. Yet, with the years of practicing looking for the good, I can find the gifts. The prayers of my team. The offers to help. FaceTime with my daughter and grandson. Seeing all my grandkids and daughters in one day (even that was due to a trial- a water line break in Amerey’s neighborhood, so everyone ended up here).

If you’re in the midst of a test or a series of events and you feel as if you are drowning, I’m sorry, friend. Could you take a moment and find something good? Could you practice it today and let me know how it went?

Life is Good!

We’re never going to be free from trials or negative circumstances. In this world, you will have tribulation, Jesus reminds us, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

Be of good cheer? Really? Life is good. There is always something good going on in life. We just have to look for it. When I was almost bedridden, I asked God to show me good. I needed to see good. The truth is, it was all around me, I just hadn’t noticed it as much before. It was in a rainy afternoon, perfect for reading a book to my kids in front of a roaring fire in the fireplace. It was in a pink sunset I watched from an Adirondack chair on my balcony. It is in the gray morning when birds begin with a song. It is in watching the face of a child when he tells you something important. A good life consists of little moments. It doesn’t consist of perfect circumstances. Each good thing that we store up in our memory give us a treasure. Jesus tell us not to store up treasures where moths can eat them. When we store up memories of beauty and life, a moth cannot get them, neither can circumstances.

Life is good.png

I remember a season when we just couldn’t keep up with our bills. Hubby was working out-of-town, so I got the mail. I hated hearing the mail truck. I didn’t expect good things to come. I knew bills were coming that often gave me a pit in my stomach. The stress made my autoimmune disorders flare up more, so I felt worse. It wasn’t until one day, the Holy Spirit whispered to me – you would be doing the exact thing you are doing today if you didn’t have that bill. I processed that for a while. I even went as far as thinking, if I died today, would that bill matter? I mean, would it affect whether I went to heaven or not. No. Did it change my chores, making dinner, spending time with my kids? Nope. I was still doing all of those things, so I decided to do them with joy. Worrying wasn’t adding anything to my life except a negative mindset and stress. I got some old barn wood and painted two signs. One said Choose and the other says Joy, I hung them over my kitchen sink so I can see them every time I wash dishes.

Maybe a mindset has you trapped. Maybe you want to enjoy your life or just try something new. Maybe God has given you a God-sized dream and you don’t know if you should step out. What sorts of mindsets are holding you back?

  • I’m not good enough.
  • I will never be financially secure.
  • I can’t minister to other women because I am a mess.
  • If you really knew me, you wouldn’t like me.
  • I will always be out of shape.
  • No one wants to hang out with me.

The sad thing about being stuck in a mindset or stronghold is that we literally project those thought on other people. They can read us like a book. When we act as if we are unlovable, then people do not love us the way we need loved. When we don’t let people really know us because we are afraid, they back off from a relationship with us. When we don’t step out in our God-sized dream, then other people are left stuck because we didn’t fufill the call of God on our lives.

Truth:

  • You are loved. God chose you before the foundation of the world, He actually picked you out as His own to be adopted into His family. (Ephesians 1)
  • You have a purpose. God has given you an inheritance, a destiny, according to His divine will. You have a job to do on this earth.
  • You are loveable because God loves You. You are a new creature. Old things and habits have passed away. All things are new.
  • God will bring to pass in your life what needs to be done. In Him is every good thing. In Him all things consist. In Him consists your new beginning. Your health. Your ability to stick to a healthy lifestyle.

Whenever the lies begin to invade your mind, fight back. Be ready to take every thought captive. Yesterday, I shared some questions you could ask the thought.(Find that here.)

Do you have some strategies for keeping you mindset on track? Please share!