Sunday, March 15, 2015

Lowest Lows Highest Joys



I begin this blog post with tongue in cheek...  

As I reflect on my life before surrendering to Christ, there "seemed" to be a lightheartedness about my life.  I feel like I savored life more, enjoyed it more.  Not because I was a party-girl who lived and let live, quite the contrary...

It just feels like I can be more burdened as a believer than before I was born again.  

It could simply be my station in life then and now...  

In my younger years, all my needs were met.  Newly married, there was the excitement of embarking on a new life with my husband.  When my children were quite little, raising them brought me great joy.   I also enjoyed the day to day interaction with other moms and their children, and the support that came with that.

Now, my children are grown.  I don't have opportunities for interaction with women in the empty nest phase or socializing in general.  This can be discouraging since I'm a much more social person now.  I am more comfortable in my own skin.  You would think being more comfortable in my own skin, I would go with the flow and not feel the weight of things as much.  Maybe it's because I am still "finding my way" at this stage of my life...  

Life is full of peaks and valleys, this I know...

Overall, my life has indeed been happy and blessed.   But sometimes, through trials, I allow myself to believe the lie of the deceiver "whispering in my ear" - "your life was more care-free before you accepted Christ".

I should not succumb to this, but I do... 

Soon after becoming a Christian, my trials increased greatly...

"Mystery" illness which left me dizzy and weak for six weeks right at the time I began homeschooling...  

Anxiety which was debilitating for me at times.

Husband's nine month job loss.  Counting our last pennies in order to buy food...

Thyroid nodule which I needed to have biopsied with the recommendation of a thyroidectomy looking very likely.

Tailbone injury which to this day leaves me unable to sit on a comfy couch.  As my daughter says, "mom finds the most uncomfortable looking chair and says, 'ahh, this is perfect'."  Lol.  I can only sit on hard surfaces, believe it or not.

Husband's carotid dissection and subsequent stroke .

Blocked tear duct causing tearing that can wear me down.

Added to my physical ailments, several serious emotional upheavals through various situations in our family.

 And more recently, a numbing pain in my foot that comes and goes; serious GERD symptoms; and a series of silly trips, bangs and falls that have left me with several serious bruises, aches and pains.

With each bump or silly fall, I now find myself saying, "Are you serious right now??"  And I realize, when I ask that question, I am saying this to the Lord in anger.

I actually switched my Bible reading to Job because of my questioning God in anger.  Especially, since my recent bout of clumsiness hardly warrants a response like that to the Lord.

This morning as I was reading Job 13, the following verse jumped out at me, "Though He slay me, I will hope in Him; Yet I will argue my ways to His face. Job 13:15" .  I then consulted the Matthew Henry Commentary for more clarity on this verse. Matthew Henry stated that Job knew his right standing before the Lord and although He was in severe trial, he knew that the Lord had pronounced him righteous and his salvation was secure.  Matthew Henry went on to say, "We should be well pleased with God as a Friend, even when He seems against us as an enemy.  We must believe that all shall work for good to us, even when all seems to make against us. We must cleave to God, yea, though we cannot for the present find comfort in Him...  We must trust Him though He slay us."

When trials come, we too can "argue our ways to His face" by pleading the blood of Jesus which cleansed us from all unrighteousness.  Remembering who we are in Christ in the midst of trials brings great comfort knowing that the Lord disciplines those He loves.   Nothing coming from God's hand is ever wasted and ALWAYS brings us ultimate good and God glory.  

We must pray asking the Lord to show us what He is teaching us through various trials... 

"Remember how the Lord God led you all the way in the desert these 40 years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands." Deuteronomy 8:2

"When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives, don't resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends!  Realize that they come to test your faith and produce in you the quality of endurance."  James 1:2-4

"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the victor's crown, the life God has promised to those who love Him."  James 1:12

As I typed this blog post, I was still struggling with the Lord in prayer about my feelings comparing my life before Christ and after Christ.  It was then, in His tremendous mercy, that the Lord showed me how He delivered me from each one of those trials and His promise that accomplished it.

"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.  John 14:26
  • Mystery illness - "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9
  • Anxiety - It is the Lord who goes before you.  He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed."  Deuteronomy 31:8
  • Last pennies - "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you."  Matthew 6:33
  • Thyroid nodule; husband's carotid dissection - "The Lord sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health."  Psalm 41:3
  • Emotional Upheavals - "Therefore, I tell you whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." Mark 11:24
And the Lord's promise I hope in...
  • Tailbone; Tear Duct; recent string of injuries and ailments - "As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered.  You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about.  The Lord is full of compassion and mercy."  James 5:11
The Lord also showed me that although my life was happy before I was a believer, I suffered serious panic attacks that effected my daily functioning, and I would lay awake at night worrying about all sorts of things, alone in my fears, not knowing the Savior.  I also experienced extreme loneliness when I first moved away from my family to a new state, without a Friend in Jesus.  There was no joy or peace in my life before knowing my Savior and Friend.

But I now have perfect peace and joy DESPITE my trials.   "And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard you hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus"  Philippians 4:7

Like Job, I sought the Lord with my concerns about my bothersome thoughts, and even in "my anger with Him", He heard me and blessed me, speaking to my heart, showing me how He worked through my trials and in my life for my good and His glory.

For any of you struggling with anger in trials or are weary in general, I hope you have been encouraged to seek the Lord asking Him to show you the great and mighty things He has already done for you through past trials.  "Remember the wondrous works that He has done, His miracles..."  Psalm 105:5   And to claim His promises for those trials that are ongoing, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope."  Jeremiah 29:11

I praise God for my trials because the lowest lows yield the highest joys in Him.  To God be the Glory!



10 comments:

  1. Karen, so lovely to "meet" you through the SDG Gathering this week. We are in a valley season right now, so your words here truly encouraged me. Praying for you tonight -- that His grace will meet you right where you are. Blessings

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    1. It has been a blessing to meet you. Thank you for visiting. Praising God for His encouragement to you. I lifted your valley up to the Lord in prayer asking Him to show you His special promises concerning your situation.

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  2. Karen, I'm visiting from Titus2Tues and wanted to say I hear your heart. I have had similar thoughts over the years since my surrender to Christ. I ache at the prosperity gospel messages out there because they often are untrue.... it seems, for many believers, once you surrender the real fight begins. Every path the Lord leads us down the enemy will seek to push us off and discourage us. You are right to recognize his ugly voice and pray for the sweet sound of the Spirit in it's place! Blessings to you as you journey.... we are, after all, sojourners in this place.

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    1. I am blessed by your visit!

      Thank you for taking the time to share your heart as well.

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  3. Our minister used the verse in Job for my daughter's funeral. We grabbed hold of it and we trusted. He is trustworthy! Wonderful promises you've claimed.

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    1. I'm so sorry for your loss.

      I was just doing a Bible Study in Galations where it talked about meditating on our Hope. It made me think, in particular, about the very difficult situations everyone faces in life, that if during those times, I would meditate upon my Heavenly Home, and remember that our time on this earth and all it's troubles will be but a second, how much peace I would feel despite the circumstances.

      Your testimony of trusting in God's promises during profound loss brings great Glory to God.

      I have been blessed by your visit.

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  4. Karen, I think we go through seasons, even in our "winter" season of life. I was complaining to my (unsaved) best friend about being "old" (54) and she said, "I don't know. I'm having a lot of fun in my fifties." We are more financially secure and know what we want out of life now. We're not at that "trying out" phase, where we try everything to see if it will bring us satisfaction. I think we can still have fun later in life, especially when we no longer have the responsibility of raising children. I hope you can find peace among the thorns. You're on the right path with Christ. He is all we really need. Our life before Christ was definitely NOT better!

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    1. Thank you for your words of encouragement!

      A blessing to have you visit. :-)

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  5. I love your authenticity in this post. There are real questions we wrestle with and I think it's so great when we are real about our wrestling! I love the bible verses you were led to to address each of these issues. I've also been learning about prayer and praying the armor of God over ourselves and our family (Eph 6).

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    1. Thank you for your kind words.

      How wonderful to pray the armor of God over yourself and your family. Thank you for sharing. I am encouraged now to do the same.

      It was a blessing to have you visit!

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