Monday, March 20, 2017

When you're in a Season of God's Discipline...




If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.  Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?  For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.  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.
Hebrews 12:8-11

  
Why is it when something gets taken away from us, it is usually then and only then that we truly appreciate it's worth.

I'm not talking about the deeper things of life, which I believe most of us endeavor to appreciate, but too often take for granted.

But I am talking about the simple things in life, those situations or functionalities that are so routine, yet not appreciated to the fullest.

Recently, I was so frustrated with spending a lonely day at home, that I realized the only cause of the frustration was not the lonely day, but how I viewed it...

Rather than focusing on the loneliness and things not going how I would have liked them to on that particular day, I decided I needed a major mindset adjustment.

It was a beautiful sunny day.  Even though it was too cold to be outside, the sun was making the inside of my entire house bright and cheery.  Having recently watched a vacation vlog of a person who stayed in a beautiful vacation home overlooking the ocean and epic mountains of Cape Town, Africa, I thought to myself, I can have a vacation mindset, even in my own home!  

I spent different times of the day enjoying the surroundings of the different rooms in my home, and partook of relaxing activities. 

I appreciated the warmth of the sun, as I sat bathed in the sunlight next to my back slider; I soaked up the views of the fields out back with the birds flitting around; I sat in my living room for a spell to read a good book, and although time didn't permit, I was going to play a round of Wii Resort Frisbee Golf to truly get the tropical vacation feel.  ;-)

Within a matter of a few days of my vacation, I found myself in an abundance of pain and stiffness. I couldn't even sit or walk without extreme difficulty or discomfort.

I have been having issues with worsening sciatica. For the past six weeks the pain wakes me up at night, and the lack of sleep is catching up with me.

I'm not really sure what the offending event actually was that caused this bizarre turn of events, but I've never experienced anything like it.  

Unfortunately, I apparently don't have the ability to sleep when I am lying on my back and can only sleep on my side.  For two nights in a row I didn't sleep at all because it was too painful to sleep on either side.  My right hip is still very sore.

I am also allergic to NSAIDs which I'm sure would have helped greatly with reducing the inflammation I most assuredly have.

I will be making an appointment with a chiropractor to get this all checked out.  In the meantime, in God's mercy, I am slowly but surely doing better.  I still can't sit for prolonged periods and am not very comfortable doing so.  But I am walking better thankfully.

Enter in the lessons within the lesson taught through God's discipline... 

The Lord brought to my remembrance my attitude just a few days earlier about my lonely day and although He turned it around for me in the moment, I realized how different my initial attitude would have been toward that particular day had I been experiencing the pain and stiffness I was when it was at its worst.  I would have relished a day to just lay on the couch all day - ALONE...

I realized my lack of gratitude toward the simple functions of my body, like sleeping, walking and sitting!   I am without excuse not to be grateful for EVERYTHING in my life, no matter how routine or functional it is!

I also became painfully aware, pun intended, that because I rarely, if ever, suffer from physical ailments such as this, that I can lack compassion and understanding for those who do.  The Lord is refining me through His loving discipline to share His holiness and to be of encouragement to others who suffer in the same manner through how He encouraged me.

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. 
When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
2 Corinthians 1:4

I found myself complaining and thinking to myself, "Well, I KNEW the other shoe was going to drop!"  As I read the verse above in Hebrews I was convicted that those thought processes are showing a great lack of respect for my Heavenly Father.   

For He ordains all the painful circumstances that touch my life through Godly discipline so that I may live!

We are reminded in the passage from Hebrews that for the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but in that same passage we are promised that life comes with God's discipline.

When we are in the midst of suffering, it can feel like it will never end.   

To be transparent, these thoughts have recently crossed my mind, "Will I ever walk normal again??"  "Will I ever be able to sleep without pain again??"  "Will I ever be able to sit without pain again??"

But to those who are suffering, we can find great hope in the above verses from Hebrews.  The Lord will redeem our pain for His good purposes.

What if we took the following mindset to be subject to the Father of spirits and LIVE concerning every affliction or difficult circumstance that comes our way?...

What if we remembered that most afflictions won't end in death, but will give life and are only for a moment so that it will yield the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it?

What if we faced our affliction with a Heavenly mindset and instead asked ourselves, "What good thing is God teaching me?" "How will God use this affliction to help another?"  "How will I share in His Holiness through this experience"?

The answers to these questions all showcase the great and wonderful purposes God has through us for the Kingdom!

And God loves us so much that He chose the EXACT AND SPECIFIC circumstances that touch our lives to accomplish His Kingdom work!  For we are sons and daughters of the King who have the privilege of receiving His loving discipline so that we might experience the peacefulness of a life lived in obedience to the Lord.

Mrs. Charles Spurgeon shares encouragement regarding God's discipline, of which she was well-acquainted, having struggled through long seasons of affliction...

"The following incident is related by Mrs. Charles Spurgeon, who was a great sufferer for more than a quarter of a century:

“At the close of a dark and gloomy day, I lay resting on my couch as the deeper night drew on; and though all was bright within my cozy room, some of the external darkness seemed to have entered into my soul and obscured its spiritual vision. Vainly I tried to see the Hand which I knew held mine, and guided my fog-enveloped feet along a steep and slippery path of suffering. In sorrow of heart I asked, 

“’Why does my Lord thus deal with His child? Why does He so often send sharp and bitter pain to visit me? Why does He permit lingering weakness to hinder the sweet service I long to render to His poor servants?’

“These fretful questions were quickly answered, and through a strange language; no interpreter was needed save the conscious whisper of my heart.

“For a while silence reigned in the little room, broken only by the crackling of the oak log burning in the fireplace. Suddenly I heard a sweet, soft sound, a little, clear, musical note, like the tender trill of a robin beneath my window.

“’What can it be? surely no bird can be singing out there at this time of the year and night.’

“Again came the faint, plaintive notes, so sweet, so melodious, yet mysterious enough to provoke our wonder. My friend exclaimed,  “’It comes from the log on the fire!’ The fire was letting loose the imprisoned music from the old oak’s inmost heart!

“Perchance he had garnered up this song in the days when all was well with him, when birds twittered merrily on his branches, and the soft sunlight flecked his tender leaves with gold. But he had grown old since then, and hardened; ring after ring of knotty growth had sealed up the long-forgotten melody, until the fierce tongues of the flames came to consume his callousness, and the vehement heart of the fire wrung from him at once a song and a sacrifice. ’Ah,’ thought I, ’when the fire of affliction draws songs of praise from us, then indeed we are purified, and our God is glorified!’

“Perhaps some of us are like this old oak log, cold, hard, insensible; we should give forth no melodious sounds, were it not for the fire which kindles around us, and releases notes of trust in Him, and cheerful compliance with His will.

“’As I mused the fire burned,’ and my soul found sweet comfort in the parable so strangely set forth before me.

“Singing in the fire! Yes, God helping us, if that is the only way to get harmony out of these hard apathetic hearts, let the furnace be heated seven times hotter than before.”

Streams in the Desert, March 13th

I'd like to sum up this blog post with one final thought.  The purpose of God's discipline varies uniquely to the individual Believer's life, but the overarching purpose for God's discipline in all Believer's lives is to draw them closer to Him...

As Dr. C. stood on a high peak of the Rocky Mountains watching a storm raging below him, an eagle came up through the clouds, and soared away towards the sun and the water upon him glistened in the sunlight like diamonds. Had it not been for the storm he might have remained in the valley. The sorrows of life cause us to rise towards God.

Streams in the Desert, March 14th

What a personal God we have.  One who seeks after us with Amazing Love.



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26 comments:

  1. Oh, how I needed this tonight! I have, of late, been asking God the same kinds of questions, as I walk through a period of suffering and so many uncertainties. I am SO sorry you are suffering so, dear friend! I do trust Jesus will heal you speedily and rebuke this pain from your body. Thank you so much for sharing the sweet lessons God is teaching you in this season. Sending you much love and hugs!

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    1. Hi Cheryl, Praising God He ministered to you.

      I'm so sorry to hear you are still suffering and I continue to lift you all up in prayer concerning Kristen and her precious baby boy.

      Thank you dear friend for your precious prayers. They mean so much. I am definitely doing much better.

      You are welcome my friend.

      May the Lord bring healing to your body and peace to your mind during this period of suffering, and may He bless you and your family abundantly.

      Sending you much love,

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  2. Thank you for sharing the lessons God is teaching you in this season of testing. How good to be reminded that we are drawn closer to Him in the hard times.

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    1. Michele, You are welcome.

      Amen.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I appreciate it! :-)

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  3. I pray that you'll discover the cause of your pain and a way to get relief from it. Discipline is never easy! God's grace gets us through.

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    1. Thank you so much Lisa. That means a lot.

      No, it isn't. Yes and Amen! :-)

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  4. Gratitude is so vital to this walk and more so each and every day. I know discipline but so not like it!! I need it more often than I am wishing to admit but am learning. I am so sorry for the pain, Karen. I have Fibromyalgia and have had to have several surgeries on my spine. I pray that you are able to find the source and that it eases soon and easily. I will be holding you in prayer. PLUS...thanks for the good words here today.

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    1. Linda, Thank you so much for sharing your own thoughts here and adding to the conversation. I greatly appreciate it.

      You are an example of how the Lord uses His people to spur each other on so that they may comfort as they themselves have been comforted.

      Thank you so much for your prayers. They mean so much.

      You are welcome. :-)

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  5. Hi from your neighbor at Tune in Thursday. It is so easy to become discouraged in life and miss the Lord's love in His lessons for us. This is a great post. Thanks for sharing Spurgeon. May your soul be refreshed in knowing the Lord's love for you through the painful and/or lonely times.

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    1. Cheryl, Indeed!

      Thank you for your kind words.

      You are very welcome.

      Thank you friend.

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  6. Karen, Glad to connect with you today. I was blessed by your sharing - discipline is a challenging space for me, but a necessary grace. Thanks for all the sweet insight!

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    1. Sandra, I am glad you connected to! :-)

      Praising God that you were blessed here.

      You are very welcome!

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  7. Ah yes I know I have experienced times like this where it took reflecting and I could see more clearly how the hard I was in was teaching me something. Okay...it happens A LOT. LOL. Life is full of these but they are good for us and God is so patient and compassionate to us. Thanks for sharing Karen and being so open here.

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    1. Meg, Thank you so much for sharing your own experience here. I appreciate it!

      You are welcome. Your words have encouraged me. :-)

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  8. My heart goes out to you with sciatica. I had it for an entire summer a few years ago and spent most of the summer sitting in a recliner because the pain was too severe to even get up and go to a doctor until it got better.
    I like your idea of the vacation at home. I too take so much for granted, but am trying with God's help to appreciate the smaller things in life. My word for the year is Love...and for me, that is a tough one, but He is showing me things about myself. I like how you let God guide you through your vacation day at home, and is now guiding and showing you things through your pain. Feel better soon. Sending prayers for healing soon.
    Thanks for visiting me so I could come meet you.

    Peabea@Peabea Scribbles

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    1. Pea bea, Oh my! I'm sorry to hear you suffered like that.

      Thank you for sharing your own story here. I appreciate it!

      And thank you for your prayers. I recently purchased a chair pad with a whole cut out where the tail bone would rest. The cushion slants down so as not to put pressure on the back of my thighs. It has helped immensely!

      I enjoyed my visit at your blog! And thank you for taking the time to visit me!

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  9. having a vacation mindset in our own homes- that is a great way to look at it. I think we Americans in general take a lot for granted, becasue we have not known anything else. I remember the 1st time I went to the Dominican republic on a missions trip and their electricity just turned off in the middle of the day, or their water stopped working. If they didn't have back up batteries or a water tank to hold water, t hen you were at the mercy of whenever it arrived. Praying for you and the pain to subside. Blessings and thanks so much for linking up with #TuneInThursday this week. It has been a crazy week, sorry for the delay in getting to visit you. :)

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    1. Debbie, Thank you so much for sharing your experience in the Dominican Republic and putting perspective to our mindsets. I appreciate it very much!

      Thank you so much for your prayers. I am doing much better.

      You are welcome. Thanks for hosting!

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  10. There are always lessons to be learned through our challenging times, and I love that we are never alone in this. Appreciate your insight and encouragement!

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    1. Crystal, Indeed!

      Praising God that you found insight and encouragement here.

      Thanks so much for your kind words. :-)

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  11. Thanks for sharing this at the Friday at the Fire Station link-up! I know for me when things are not working or feeling right it makes me so grateful for when I do feel well. It is easy to sometimes take things for granted or not have as much compassion for others going through stuff. I think God allows stuff to happen to us so we can grow. Thanks for your encouraging article.
    Jen

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    1. You are very welcome!

      And thank you for joining in the conversation. I appreciate it!

      And thank you for your kind words.

      Blessings,

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  12. I'm so sorry you are experiencing such pain! I pray for relief, but I'm also thankful for the lessons you are learning and that you share them with us. Thanks so much for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday on Mommynificent.com!
    Tina

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    1. Thank you Tina. Praise God I am doing much better.

      You are very welcome! :-)

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  13. Karen- your story of how God works is so comforting! He gives us the best lessons and enables us to handle the next suffering because of the past ones!
    I hope you're feeling better.

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    1. Julie, I'm glad you found comfort here. :-)

      I have good days and bad days, but the Lord has been merciful providing means to prevent and improve.

      Thanks so much for your kind thoughts. :-)

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