Befriending your problems.

I read this today as part of my devotions and it just felt to true that I felt compelled to share it.

“Every problem can teach you something, transforming you little by little into the masterpiece I created you to be.  The very same problem can be a stumbling block over which you fall if you react with distrust and defiance.  The choice is up to you, and you will have to choose many times each day whether to trust Me or defy Me.    The best way to befriend your problems is to thank Me for them.  This simple act opens up your mind to the possibility of benefits flowing from your difficulties.  You can even give persistent problems nicknames, helping you to approach them with familiarity rather than dread.  The next step is to introduce them to Me, enabling Me to embrace them in My loving Presence.”  — Sarah Young, Jesus Calling

I wrote yesterday about my sorrow over the death of our beloved family pet.  But as my day progressed I became more and more convinced our journey that day with Bailey was perfectly scripted by God.  I used to say all the time that I just wanted to come downstairs one morning and find that she had drifted off in the night.  I wanted it to be easy.  But if that had happened, Everett wouldn’t have had the time to lie on the floor with her and tell her that he loved her.  Isaac wouldn’t have been able to cuddle her one last time, and she would have died alone, instead of being held in the arms of the people she loved and who loved her.  She was fine Sunday morning as we headed off to church.  When we got home, she had three seizures, each 2.5 hours apart.  It wasn’t a difficult decision to make.  She was old, she was tired and finally her body was failing her…it was time.  Yes, I spent yesterday feeling sad, but also so incredibly loved and blessed by God.  He gave us a perfect end with a perfect dog.

Thanking God for my problems or sorrows is not something that comes easily or naturally to me.  I often struggle with feelings of sorrow or depression.  It’s hard to thank God for feeling low  a day after you’ve felt amazing.  As recently as four months ago I have railed at him for it.  Asked him what I was doing wrong, accused him of not being the loving Father he claims to be.  It doesn’t matter that every month I know I’m going to have a few days like that, I hate it.  I hate feeling that way when I know that there is an alternative, and how great that alternative feels.

But over time, and with prayer, I feel God working on me, and today’s reading is another reflection of that.  God has shown me over and over again in my life how much he cares about me.  That he is always working for me, and he absolutely answers my prayers.  This past few months when I had a difficult day, I cried out to God.  I spent time in prayerful meditation.  The name of Jesus has power and some days that was all I could bring myself to say, over and over again.  Jesus.

I can feel God working in me; changing me and my perspective on events in my life.  I love that today he reminded me that it is always about choices.  That I need to continue to choose him in those difficult times.  I also love the idea of giving my persistent problem a nickname (although I might have to ask the kids for help with that one).  I love the idea of naming it and then every time it visits, just handing it over to Jesus.  As written by Sarah Young  “I will not necessarily remove your problems, but My wisdom is sufficient to bring good out of every one.”

God has done this for me so many times in my life, how can I fail to trust him?  Do you have a problem that needs a nickname? One that God is calling on you to give up to his embrace?

God bless,

Meredith

A Box Full of Kittens.

It feels as if it has been forever since I’ve written anything.  It’s not that things haven’t been happening, but it’s hard to know how to put into words the subtle reminders I get of God’s grace, and plan for my life.  But, I thought I would try with a story about something that has happened in my life recently.  This something only reiterates for me how important it is to trust in Him, to really give my problems and worries up to Him and let Him work His will in your life.

I have been struggling with a situation in my life that has been looming over me and causing me quite a bit of stress and not stress at the same time, because the solution I ultimately came to was; something that makes me feel bad about myself, probably isn’t good for me to have in my life.  I prayed about this particular situation quite a bit, and in recognition of my goal to let go of misplaced feelings of guilt for 2019, I had basically put it into a box and moved on.

But as I’m sure you are all aware.  You can put something into a box all you want.  That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to stay there.  And of course, my box popped open and I was again faced with the stress and confusion of this particular situation.  I just sat there feeling like I really didn’t know how I was going to handle it.  But each day, since I put that monster in it’s box, I spent time in prayer and reading and meditation.  And guess what? God responded.  My bible readings were about trust, my devotionals were about trust and almost every single quote that came up on my daily bible app was about trust.  Here’s an example…

In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.  Philippians 4:6

or how about this…

For God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control.  2 Timothy 1:7

God heard my prayers, and reassured me with his presence, and his word that I didn’t need to worry.  He had it.  With the confidence that I believe can only come from the faith of knowing that your Father in heaven has your back and only wants what is good for you, I prepared myself to face the contents of my box.  And what did I find when I opened it?

The great big scary monster I anticipated facing, was a sweet little kitten.  I trusted in God, I put my faith in Him, and in His time, in His way, he fought my monster for me, and there was nothing left for me to face but love.

God is good, and if you can find it in yourself to give him your box, you might find that he’s more than capable of turning your monsters into kittens too.  Or chocolate…whatever works for you.

God bless,

Meredith