Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Risk of Living Your Faith Outloud

The title of this blog today might sound strange to you. I doubt however that it would have sounded strange to Job in the Bible.

Job lived his faith outloud, and Satan himself took notice. Job prayed for his children and sacrificed offerings for their sins. Satan took notice and made a challenge, because Job lived as a Christian so that others could see it. Satan is not omnipresent, but he does have helpers, and between him and them, we are in an unseen battle that often can become an oppressive one.

Last night I was lying in bed thinking and praying about how I need to praise the Lord outwardly about how great Trenton has been doing the last couple of weeks. The recent tummy problems had almost stopped, and he's been seeming so well. When I thought of doing this though, fear overwhelmed me. It might seem like something strange to be afraid of, but I have found lately that whenever I mention him doing well with something, that problem starts happening again or something he had never had happen begins to take place. It was late, and I think around that point I fell asleep.

In the early morning, Trenton started waking up being gaggy and did get sick. He had this problem a few times today, and he has a cold. Some might say that I am superstitious. I'm really not. But I do believe in the spiritual battle that is taking place.

I'm not saying that Satan and God were talking about my fears of sharing triumphs, but I believe that the more we live our faith outloud, the more "at risk" we are for experiencing trials. It might be because Satan or his demons takes notice and God allows it for our ultimate good and His glory.

I guess what we need to keep in mind is that living our faith outloud has far greater (better) consequences than our trial. That trial, according to James, produces patience, and when we let patience have her perfect work, the book of James says that we will be "perfect and entire, wanting nothing." If we let our trials do what God ultimately intended for them to do, then we will eventually be what we should be.

Let's not be afraid of the risk - Let's live our faith outloud.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Four Fathers

I cannot imagine going through the past year without the help of four important fathers in my life.

The most important Father who has carried me through the last year is my Heavenly Father. He is always there. He never leaves my side. His Spirit is always in my heart because I am His child. Everything that has happened to us with Trenton was in His plan and for His purpose that I might become more like Him.

The second father in my life is my husband Ryan. This year he has carried me with support and help that I cannot imagine making it without. He is so level headed in moments of panic, and he is able to so often help me refocus. He sees things the way they are rather than the way they feel, and so often that means the difference between acting and reacting. I'm so thankful for Him.

The third father in my life is the one I have known the longest. My dad is a wonderful man with a caring heart and giving spirit. So often growing up I did not give him the respect and credit he deserved, but now as an adult I appreciate his wisdom, love, and compassion. I can't imagine my life without him.

The third father in my life is my father-in-law. I have only known him for six years, but I am thankful for how he strives to make me feel like his own daughter. In my realistic mind, that is not easy for me, because my dad is my dad, but I'm so thankful for dad A who is generous, loving, and caring. If it were not for him, I would not have my wonderful husband.

The four fathers in my life have greatly impacted what my life has become. I'm so thankful for each one.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Humility in Hardship

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”    -C.S. Lewis

This past Sunday in the message, my husband brought up the subject of true humility and what it is. I felt it was a necessary topic for those of us with children who have special needs or for those who just need to have a different perspective.

When we go through a difficult time, ourselves or our situation is probably the major thing on our minds. I remember after we got home from the hospital when Trenton was discharged, and I went out for the first time. I felt like a cloud surrounded me. It was a cloud of sadness and discouragement. It was a cloud of self. It was a cloud that kept me from reaching out to others or even thinking of others at all.

Some people might say that I had a reason for being sad. Some might be in a similar situation and might feel that your sadness or self-pity is okay because you feel sorry for the one suffering - not just for yourself.

There is obviously a time for sadness. When you lose a loved one or give birth to a child with special needs, there will be a times of sadness or discouragement. Maybe I was still within the limits of the expected by human standards, but I'm not sure if I was by God's standard. He had afterall rescued my son from death through providential circumstances. He had miraculously brought him through sedation without a problem because of an accident by a nurse practitioner. He had done so many things. The last place my mind should have been was on myself or on Trenton's current health problems.

If you are in a difficult situation, you might need empathy, sympathy, and encouragement. We all have the desire for these things when going through a difficult time. It is tempting to talk about all of our problems in our blogs or facebook statuses with a desire to gain these things and not necessarily a desire to edify. I know I've been guilty of this.

It is hard to think right about difficult situations. The reality of hardship is that it is there for the glory of God. It is there ultimately so that God can turn your trial into a treasure. So that you can go from the depths of despair to the mountain height and be able to edify others. That is why we have trials. We have trials to give us patience (James). He says that the trying of our faith worketh patience.

Being humble in difficult circumstance is difficult, because most of us who are or have gone through difficult times, think of our situation every day, because we face it everyday. I know there is a way to think less of me and more of you. May each of us strive toward this goal - to glorify God in our circumstances and edify others.