PERSERVANCE required and a PERSPECTIVE we can’t fully see

As many of you know, these past several years have been full of ups and downs for us.  When Jon and I married I would have never imagined him starting a company.  He is full of incredible ideas and it would have been sad for him to wonder if he had what it took to start a company – thus Bones in Motion began 2003.

I was recently asked if I could have looked into a crystal ball to see the future would I have chosen the path we are on knowing the long laborious road it has turned out to be?  Without a doubt I replied YES as I have learned so much about the character and goodness of God through the process.  When Jon’s company recently needed specific prayers,  I went before the Lord with hands held wide open.  God was faithful to encourage me with the following and I trust if you too are facing a difficult situation you will find encouargement.

Last night (2/12/08) as I lay in bed I searched through God’s word for truth and encouragement that I could pass your way.  Do know you are being covered today in prayer.

James 5:11 As you know, we consider 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. 

You can see the importance of perseverance from above scripture that credits Job and the below short account I read in a devotional shows the need for perspective.

“Job” his wife sobbed, “we are ruined. Our children are dead, our livestock is gone, our servants have been murdered, and you are a walking corpse.  We can’t go on like this.  Curse your God-the God who gave you great wealth and many children so that He could watch you writhe in anguish at the loss of them.  Let’s put an end to our lives and this agony.’

  “Dear wife, it is your grief that speaks such hopeless words.  God is with us still, ” Job consoled.

“How can you say that? He mocks you!”

  “No, Job assured her. “There is something in this that we cannot yet see.  I trust that He will make it clear.”

“Trusting Him makes you the fool,” she cried.

“Though HE slay me, Yet will I hope in Him.” Job stood his ground.

Job endured because he trusted that God had a perspective on the situation that he could not see.  And Job was right!  It was satan, not the Lord, who had put him to the test.  In time, everything was restored to Job- twice as much as before.  He lived a long life because he persevered in hope.   Remember their is no greater testimony to the faithfulness of God than trusting Him in the face of all the heartache.  Your perseverance will pay off.

Father God I do pray that today __________ will feel your comfort and strength in all they say and do.  May they experience the unlimited resources of your mighty strength offered though the Holy Spirit.

Mark 9:24 “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief.”  Since faith is never perfect, and belief and unbelief are often mixed this is a great prayer.

2 Thes. 2:16-17 NLT May the Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father, who loved us and in has special favor gave us everlasting comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and give you strength in every good thing you do and say.

Eph. 3:16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. 

Jer. 29:10-11 MSG This is God’s Word on the subject:  “… I know what I’m doing.  I have it all planned out- plans to take care of you, not to abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.”

Rm 8:26-27 TLB The Holy Spirit helps us with our daily problems and in our praying.  For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how to pray as we should; but the Holy Spirit … pleads for us in harmony with God’s own will.

Matt. 11:29-30 Jesus said, “take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.

Rm 15:13 RSV May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Phil. 4:6-7 NLT Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers.  If you do this you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.  His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.

Prov. 10:28 RSV The hope of the righteous ends in gladness.

Isaiah 41:10; 13  NLT Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.  Do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you.  I will help you.  I will uphold you with my victorious hand.

I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and say to you.  Do not fear; I will help you.

2 Tim 1:7 God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Ps 32:8  I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;  I will counsel you and watch over you.

Heavenly Father,  we have become tired and disappointed in the midst of the many difficult circumstances and disappointments related to _______ and our own financial hardships.  Our patience is exhausted and I’m tempted to be angry with you, others, and myself.  Giving up becomes more of a prospect.

Help us to persevere through this lean and uncertain time.  We want to hold on, but there seems to be less to hang on to.  Waiting and keeping my focus on You can be so hard at times.  My mind wanders, replaying imagined outcomes of “If Onlys” and “What Ifs”.  I know you have the answers, and I need to rest in Your peace.  Keep my mind grounded in your truths and to have a Job perspective.

Help us to find motivation to press past the discouragement.  May our complete trust be in You knowing that we have nothing to fear.  Thank you that your grace is sufficient and we can place our hope in the many promises of Your Word.      Amen


You Must Let Go

I am fearful of heights. In January Jon and I attended a retreat with several teachers from our church (Austin Stone Community Church). Part of the day on Saturday was spent doing group team building exercises on a ropes course.

What happens when you have a group of teacher/leaders together? You quickly learned if you want to succeed as a group that having to many chiefs creates chaos and confusion. Also good communication is important for success. The last task was optional and my personal challenge (as I fear heights). I was quickly hoisted toward the top of a pole about 40 feet up by those on the ground. I held in my hand a rope that determined when I would fall. I held onto this rope tightly with both hands as a begged to be let down for several minutes. Why was I terrified even though 10 people had done this before me with enthusiasm? Did I mention that they were all much younger and many without children? It’s crazy what fear does to our minds. Remember earlier I mentioned that this was about team building. As I was whining for them to let me down they were encouraging and cheering me on. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thess. 5:11 Left to myself I would not have let go of the rope but being spurred on by the others I eventually had to let go. I will not lie as it was crazy free falling like that but by the second swing WOW! it was exhilarating and then even peaceful swinging around. However, once was enough for me.

This made me think about the many things people hold tightly onto (relationships, money, job security, children, etc.) As a parent of three girls (19, 17, and almost 7) thankfully many years ago Jon and I came to understand that our children were temporary gifts from God. They did not belong to us rather were on loan to us from God and we would eventually have to let them go.

The more you trust and pray for God’s involvement in your child’s life, the less possessive and reluctant you will be to release them into His hands. For me I have had to let go on many fronts already and am still learning to let go of seeing my child as an extension of myself; Let go of the desire to control her; Let go of my expectations for my children; Let go of rescuing them from failure; Let go of my need to be appreciated (this is the hardest for me); Thankfully letting go is a gradual process and we are given many opportunities to practice from their first baby steps, going off to Kindergarten, getting their drivers license, graduating from high school, going to Africa for 6 months, college, etc… I know I can let go because they belong to Him and that gives me great peace. Below is a poem I came across in “Give Them Wings” by Carol Kuykendall. May you be encouraged.

Letting Go: A Relinquishment Foundational to Our Faith

To let go doesn’t mean to stop caring, it means I can’t do it for someone else.

To let go is not to cut myself off,it’s the realization that I can’t control another.

To let go is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences.

To let go is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands.

To let go is not to try to change or blame another; I can only change myself.

To let go is not to care for, but to care about.

To let go is not to fix, but to be supportive.

To let go is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being.

To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes, but to allow others to effect their own outcomes.

To let go is not to be protective; it is to permit another to face reality.

To let go is not to deny but accept.

To let go is not to nag, scold, or argue, but to search out my own shortcomings and to correct them.

To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires, but to take each day as it comes.

To let go is not to criticize and regulate anyone, but to try to become what I dream I can be.

To let go is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future.

To let go is to fear less and love more.

— Anonymous

Training verses Teaching there is a difference

Since December I have felt the “gentle nudging” of God that it was time to put aside my own agenda and begin to invest more deeply into the life of Cayley, our precious 6 year old.  Yes, I used the words gentle nudging because these last 10 days I believe God has been daily showing me that it is His will for us to be training Cayley.  After all, I began the home schooling journey in 1996 (after saying never, not me) with Caryn and Courtney which ended in May 2007.  They are both in college and the results have been very positive so far!  I just didn’t feel like I enlisted for 20+ years 🙂

When I first felt the nudging I reasoned with God that it’s good to finish what you begin so I thought I would finish out Cayley’s 1st grade year at Veritas as we have really enjoyed her teacher and classmates.  However, Cayley has struggled with the course work and I with following the academic rigors that rub up against many of my personal convictions such as: 

1) The best learning happens through an informal “relational process”

2) During the elementary years education has been more about training than teaching as parents are called to train up their children.  This looks different as training has to do with the heart issues (character, discipleship, maturity, etc.) which will greatly impact all future teaching.

3) Also I don’t feel the need to rush learning as I know that all children will eventually grasp necessary concepts but keeping their confidence and spirit in tact in the process is important to me. 

 4) God has already put within our children the drive to learn, question, discover, and explore.  They do not learn because I show them how to make sense of things … they make sense of things because they were created to learn.  What a joy it is to see them excited about learning.

George Simmel said “He is educated who knows how to find out what he doesn’t know.”  Thus I set out to show my girls how to learn and the joys of learning.  Thus this week will end and begin a new phase of learning for me as home education was God’s way of growing and maturing me in so many ways. 

Let the journey begin!