Source: Embracing the Pain
Source: What About Your Friends?
“Some friends are fun to be with, but a true friend can be better than a brother.”
Proverbs 18:24 ERV
When I was a teenager and gained a circle of friends my mom said to me:” Shan friends come far and few between, be careful about who you call your friend “. I heard her in that moment but didn’t get the full understanding of her words until I became an adult. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with having friends or being ‘friendly ‘. On the contrary. In fact the Bible speaks about friends and friendship on several occasions. I’m simply asking the question : What about your friends?
Friends are a very integral part of our support systems. In a world so full of chaos and volatility, we all need a strong support system to depend on. Yes, God is our truest friend and you’d do well to remember that always. Still in times when you need an earthy friend – only a real friend will do.
I’m an outgoing person and I’ve always had friends. In fact I celebrate all of my trusty friends who’ve been there for me in good times and bad. People that I’ve known for years and people who have shown themselves to be friends through and through.
However, there are those people that I put into the ‘acquaintance ‘ category better known as ‘fair – weather friends ‘. The Bible speaks on this subject as well. “Every friend declares friendship, but there are friends who are friends in name only.” Ben Sira (Ecclesiastes) 37:1 These are the ones that disappear when you get into a battle or you go through hardships.
I remember when my condition progressed and I was not physically able to ‘go ‘ like I used to. The circle of friends that I had at the time began to dwindle slowly but surely. Even the church friends stopped calling me when the surgeries and extended rehab (nursing homes) stays started . Yes I was hurt by it but I also had the support of my other friends. Truer friends that I came to appreciate more. I had learned to be grateful for my real friends and to ‘be careful about who I called friend ‘.
Listen, we all need friends. Friends who will tell us what we need to hear and not what we want to hear. In other words, someone who’ll tell you the truth when it’s hard to do so. Think about the things you’ve been through and who had your back when you were going through it. The person that calls you for no other reason than just to say hi and to see how you’re doing- that’s a real friend. Everyone that is your Facebook friend doesn’t count as a real friend. Sorry, but I had to say that.
Don’t forget that friendship is not a one way street. The Bible says that ‘he that has friends must first show himself/herself friendly ‘. Be a good friend and cherish every friendship like the gift of God that it is. It’s great when my friend Lisa and I just spend hours with each other on the phone. Still I pray for her and her family and she does the same for me. When I awoke from a coma Lisa was one of the faces that I saw other than my husband and family. I value her friendship so much that I lovingly call her Big Sis. She’s not my only friend but she is the only one that I call Big Sis. Everyone deserves to have a friend who garners that type of love and respect
Today I hope that you’ll be grateful for your friendships. Even the friends that are also family because family doesn’t always mean friend. Call the friend who’s having some issues and encourage them. Express your gratitude to your friends that came to your rescue when you needed them. Even if you don’t have the time to call them, a text message is just as good- as long as you don’t become a ‘digital friend ‘. Above all make sure connect with your Eternal Friend – with Him you can bow your head quicker than you can make a phone call to someone else.
Have a Great Day and celebrate your friends!
As Ever ,
Hi guys I have been away for awhile. I just got home from five months of physical rehab. You’ll have to forgive me for my absence ; but there are circumstances that require your undivided attention and unfortunately that meant things like this blog had to take a back seat to my rehabilitation.
I wrote this at the beginning of my rehabilitation time. My hope is that someone is inspired by this.
I’ve been away for a good while now. I have had an ankle fusion and then as a result of an infection – two additional surgeries.In fact , I’m writing this from a rehab facility that will be my address for at least a month. I won’t list all the details of my journey to this point but I will say that I have been here before. I prefer to call these detours as being in God’s classroom. Stick with me and I’ll explain.
Ever felt like everything is just collapsing around you at one time ? Have you ever felt like God has a funny way of showing His love for you ? You can be honest, we’ve all been there on one level at one moment in our lives. We’ve all questioned a loving God would allow certain things to happen to us. If you haven’t – I’ll raise my hand and say I have.
Trials and tribulations are just the transportation that God uses to get you where He wants you to be.
Is there any benefit to our pain and suffering?
Take a moment and think back on a situation that you thought would break you. Obviously it didn’t break you but I’ll wager that you learned something. You found out that you’re stronger than you thought you were; or you went from one level of faith to another level of faith. A higher level of faith. A level of faith and trust in The Lord that you would not have reached without the hardship that you encountered.
My personal experience has been like being in God’s classroom. Through 13 surgeries and one coma and the sudden loss of my husband. , one thing that has been a constant is The Lord’s faithfulness. Even though I’ve had temper tantrums, questioned God – I’ve been angry with Him , even stop talking to Him.He’s still been faithful. It’s easy to get focused on the situation instead of focusing on the Savior. And I have done that frequently. However, like a ultra dedicated teacher who’s dealing with a problem student – He remained patient and kind.
What could I possibly learn from the chronic painful condition that I live with daily ? How can I gleen anything from watching my body become scarred from surgery after surgery? Where’s the lesson from that? I’ve had years to answer these questions but I’m still learning so I’ll just share with you what learned so far.
- Some things just are , if it can’t be changed we have to : Acknowledge, Accept and Adapt
- Every situation has a lesson in it. Don’t get caught up on the why ? Look for the lesson, I guarantee you that there’s one or more to be found.
- No matter what God’s Grace is always with you – shielding you from dangers that you can’t believe. I’ve learned to depend upon His Grace.
- Take advantage of the situation. Sharpen your sword by digging into The Word. Increase your prayer life -draw close to God and He’ll draw close to you. Be determined to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus during the storm and watch the chaotic winds of your life become calm with just a word from The Lord.
While you’re ‘going through ‘ your test or trial , remember that God is good and His mercy endures forever. He’s not punishing you or playing a game to see how far he can push you. Every test is just another moment spent in God’s classroom. A place to learn from the Master. If we view it like that, we’d understand that our storms are temporary and necessary for our spiritual development and maturity. That won’t lessen the pain or the fear and frustration that you’ll feel ; but it will help you put things into proper perspective.
Furthermore ,it’s important to note that we’re all ‘spiritual beings having an earthly experience. For every heartbreaking, soul-crushing moment we experience, there’s a spiritual solution. Where there’s no solution- there’s God’s loving Grace there to comfort and guide us.
Throughout my life I have been confused, frustrated and I’ve felt lower than I can even put into words. But once I felt God’s presence in the midst of my pain – I learned to lean , depend and call on Him when all I wanted to do was give up.
I also figured out that every struggle, every battle is like taking a medication that leaves me with a side effect. Things like Grace, Gratitude , an enhanced prayer life, more love and wisdom- the list goes on. The point is that I grew spiritually and I grew in ways I couldn’t have grown without the entirety of my experiences. Basically it’s just like the song says “No Cross No Crown ‘. If we never go through anything, how would we learn to put our faith into action? Faith is a spiritual muscle. If you don’t use your physical muscles they’ll atrophy and become of no use to you. The same is true of your spiritual muscles: if you don’t use it you’ll lose it.
Remember that The Lord never sends harm , hurt and devastation- He only allows it.
“We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him. These are the people God chose, because that was his plan.”
Romans 8:28 ERV
Did you get that? Everything in God’s classroom works for our good! That means those hard things that threaten to break your down. That means even the pain of losing my husband will work out for good. I must admit when it comes to that subject – I don’t see how any good could come from that. But I take God at His Word. I’m no longer a freshman in my spiritual education but not yet a senior. So right now I’m back in school. Being tested on the things I’ve learned in the past and being taught some things that I’ll need in the future.
The best place to be is in God’s classroom. Regardless of what’s going on or what’s happened – in this place we are safe and protected. Given the situation that brought you to God’s classroom might not be a pleasant one – in fact your predicament could be downright heart wrenching but… You can’t look in two directions and get very far. So why not keep your eyes on the Master and His chalkboard. Remember that there’s a lesson in every situation. There is a spiritual benefit to every difficulty you face. So adjust your perspective , pay attention in class , look forward to the lessons you’ll learn and most of all keep your eyes on The Lord!
This morning I had an article that I’d written, edited and ready to post- then I came across something else. An article written by John Pavlovitz , The Kind of Christian I Refuse to Be. I decided that I would share this article with my blog followers; in fact I wish that I had written it myself !
I do hope that everyone will read this article and I believe that those who do will be better for it.
Enjoy and have a Glorious Day!
The Kind of Christian I Refuse to Be | john pavlovitz
Anchor: a heavy object attached to a rope or chain and used to moor a vessel to the sea bottom, typically one having a metal shank with a ring at one end for the rope and a pair of curved and/or barbed flukes at the other.
An anchor is a strong and steady instrument of stability. Made of usually a heavy iron or steel , the anchor serves as a force of stability in the face of the rough seas ! When a ship or boat docks it’s the anchor that keeps the vessel from being pulled away from safe harbor. In the event of an unexpected and overnight storm – again it’s the anchor that keeps the vessel from being swept away in the night and even if the dock becomes damaged by the winds of the raging storm- the deep positioning of an anchor keeps the ship it’s tethered to sustained and stable. Notice I said that the vessel is tethered or tied to the anchor.
In life there are seasons of storms and raging seas. I’ll be the first person to admit that I’ve been rocked and rolled by the violent winds and heavy rain in my life. I’ve crashed upon the rocks and I have been beaten down by torrential rains along with being nearly drowned in tsunamis of my own making. How many of us can honestly say that we haven’t been there at least once or twice in our lives ? Whether the storm came in the form of addictions, sexual or physical abuse , divorce or something else , we’ve all been there. There on an angry sea and holding on for dear life ! What do you do in this kind of life or death situation ? Do you accept your fate? Or maybe be Fred Sandford and say ‘Weezie I’m coming to join you ” and basically just give up ! Or should we tie Our Anchor Jesus to our vessels and ourselves? Even in the worst of situations, we can have the peace of mind that comes out of being tied to The Anchor.
“You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You.” Isaiah 26:3 HCSB
With this text in mind , the only thing that we have to ask ourselves is do we trust in The Anchor? Can you and I trust Jesus with our lives? Are we willing to give up our own way of doing things in exchange for the peace and stability of letting Him do what He does best – bear our burdens. David said it this way:
“Give your worries to the Lord, and he will care for you. He will never let those who are good be defeated.” Psalms 55:22 ERV or
“Cast all your cares upon him, for he takes care of you.” 1 Peter 5:7 CPDV
God cares about you. In fact, He cared so much for us that He took on human form as Jesus; His only Son and sacrificed His life in exchange for our lives. God never intended for you and I to live a life full of stress and anxiety. Nor did His plan for mankind include the strife and misery that touches us too often. But after man’s fall in the Garden of Eden we were made subject to the evil of the world. Still God’s unfailing love found a way to keep us anchored to Him in His Son. God gave us the Ultimate Anchor for the storms in life and all that He requires that we do is trust in The Anchor !
Remember when the disciples got in a boat to meet Jesus on the other side? Better yet, here’s what the scriptures say about what occurred :
“And as they were sailing, he slept. And a windstorm descended over the lake. And they were taking on water and were in danger. Then, drawing near, they awakened him, saying, “Teacher, we are perishing.” But as he rose up, he rebuked the wind and the raging water, and they ceased. And a tranquility occurred. Then he said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they, being afraid, were amazed, saying to one another, “Who do you think this is, so that he commands both wind and sea, and they obey him?””
Luke 8:23-25 CPDV
No matter how frightening the storms seems, and no matter what you see in the danger in front of you- know that Jesus is on board ! Take His hands and let Him keep you anchored to Him ! After all though the winds may roar and the waters may rise, put your faith and trust in The One who commands the winds and the seas !
There’ll always be a storm in life that comes along and tosses us into a state of chaos and confusion. The things that we hold most dearly can be the very things that rock us to the core. I never thought I would ever stop feeling the toss and turns of losing the love of my life. But I managed to remain anchored in The One who can speak to the winds and call forth peace and tranquility! Without that anchor I would’ve surely shipwrecked, and I would’ve perished on my sea of grief.
So I urge you to anchor yourself to the Ultimate Stabilizer; to tie your ship to an Anchor of peace and security. God never promised that we wouldn’t have storms in our lives. But He did promise you that He would not let ‘the waters overtake you ‘!
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and the rivers will not cover you. When you walk through fire, you will not be burned, and the flames will not scorch you.”
Isaiah 43:2 CPDV
Let this be of some encouragement to you! As the saying goes: Let go and let God! Let go of your fear of drowning in an angry sea. Don’t be afraid of the currents and remember most importantly that you have an anchor! If it feels like your vessel is taking on water and the winds are threatening to capsize you- just keep your mind on the One who’s on the boat with you ! He will not allow the waters to overtake you ! Above all else, stay tied to The Anchor and watch the storms in your life become calm waters of peace and tranquility.
Have A Glorious Day,
LaShandri Foxx Newman