A Season of Hard.

I’m going through a “season of hard” right now.  A season that seems to be lasting forever. That has no end in sight.  A season of broken. Broken relationships. Broken health. Broken trust. Heartbreaking medical conditions, and difficult medical concerns.  You name it, it seems to be broken.

Recently I wrote about The Longest Winter.  Of longing to see the vibrant purples and yellows and to smell the fresh, new smell of spring.  This season of hard, this long winter, is…well, long.

But I have been given a gift.  A gift from a woman who doesn’t even know me, yet cares enough to share her hard with me that I might grow in my relationship with God.  That I can learn through her.  I started following Kara’s journey through her blog posts at  Mundane Faithfulness where she speaks to our hearts about her hard.  In her most recent post her words reached my heart, touched me, challenged me.  Kara writes about how finding a content heart is difficult for her…for all of us.  She shares the following wise words:

“When my heart is discontent I struggle through the details of life and look closely upon my control for comfort. When my heart is inclined toward God, I’m more willing to open my hands to my story and look for the present grace of God to show up.”  – – Kara Tippetts

Wow! How beautiful and oh, how thankful I am for these words.  Thank you God for giving Kara the gift of wisdom and understanding.  Thank you Kara for speaking the hard words that I need to hear.  That I need to be challenged by.  Thank you for standing up and boldly speaking words that challenge me to change my heart attitude, to “incline” my heart to God.   I am amazed at the beauty You find in your “hard” and so thankful that you have the heart to share it with me.  With all of us!

It’s true!  I am guilty of doing exactly what Kara’s words say.  When my heart attitude is one of discontentment, one of focus on what I want or think I need, I find myself focusing on controlling things around me to direct them toward what I want.  Walking through a season of hard can do that to me.  It can turn my focus to ME.  What I want.  What I need. But, when my heart is focused, “inclined” toward God, I am willing to open myself, my desires, and submit them to God and I can allow God to be in control of what He desires for me and allow His grace to be at work in me.

How do you “incline” your heart to God in the midst of your hard?  What verses do you cling to and claim that turn your heart to God and away from self?  How has God shown himself strong in your hard?

The hardest peaceWant to read more about Kara and her journey through her season of hard?  In her recent book The Hardest Peace: Expecting Grace in the Midst of Life’s Hard, Kara issues you an invitation to join her in choosing to turn away from fear and control and embrace a journey toward peace and grace.  She lovingly draws our hearts back to the heart of God who is presently with us, in the everyday, in the season of hard, and who can shape even our pain into something beautiful.

 

Intentional Living

More Tests

And those who know
Your Name
Put their Trust in you,
for you, O Lord,
have not forsaken
those who seek you.

Psalm 9:10

UPDATE:  Jake had his final test (hopefully) this morning.   We did request Mike as our technician and were blessed that our request was granted.  Mike shared his story with us and shared his belief in the power of prayer as well.  What a blessing!  After Monday and today, Jake thinks soooo highly of him.  I am so thankful that Jake had this experience with Mike.  He encouraged him.   He challenged him to continue to pursue the interests that Jake shared with him.  Mike actually said that Jake handled the test better than many adults he has had to perform the test on.  Jake credits his ability to do so well during the test to Mike and how well he took care of him.  Mike was awesome!  

We are thankful to Mike, the radiologist and the rest of the team that checked on Jake throughout the process.  We give thanks to them!  But we give all the glory and honor to Jesus Christ.   We know He brought Mike to us for a time such as this.  We know HIS hand was on Jake and this situation from the beginning and we are thankful!

As far as results, the radiologist that did the testing said that everything looked normal. Praise the Lord! We have a follow up with the Dr. next week and are praying that he will get a clean bill of health.  And hopefully there will be no more tests necessary.  We appreciate your continued prayers for to that end.

Thank you to all who have read this post here and on Facebook and prayed for us.  You are appreciated.  You are loved! 

Since God cares for you, let him carry all your burdens and worries.             1 Peter 5:7 (Voice)

Jake and I have been to the hospital 6 times.  There have been 5 visits to Doctors offices, at least 11 x-rays, a cat scan, home medical treatments, special diets, blood work and an ER visit. All in the last 3 months.

We were at the hospital last Wednesday for one of Jake’s tests and an x-ray technician explained to him what to expect.   She explained what was going to happen.  What to expect.  She did a fine job, but was matter of fact about it.  There was no empathy in her explanation, no softness. I appreciated her efforts, but we were still ill at ease about his upcoming test.

Today, we were are at the hospital again.  I was anxious and scared.  Trying to keep my fears from being obvious to Jake.  It is difficult to see your 13 year old dealing with all of these tests and the test that will probably be the most difficult is scheduled for 10 AM Wednesday.

They separated us.  Jake changed in the men’s changing room and I waited for him in the women’s changing room.  What do I do when I become anxious?  When my heart is heavy? I pray.  So guess what I did in that women’s changing room?  I prayed.  I was asking God to help my son stay calm.  To give him peace.  To help Wednesday’s test be as easy as possible.  As comfortable as possible.

Today, as I prayed asking God to help Jake feel at much at ease as possible, Mike walked into the room.  His demeanor and manner were so different than the last technicians.  He asked if anyone had talked to Jake and told him what to expect.  He wanted him to understand.  He shared with Jake that he has actually had this same exact test 3 times.  He explained to Jake some things that Jake can do during the test that will make the test as easy and comfortable as possible for him.  That spoke to my heart.  His desire to care for my son, to put Jake at ease touched me.  And Jake LOVED him!

We were thrilled to find out that he is scheduled to work Wednesday and that he could possibly be the one administering the test.  Our hearts were immediately put at ease.  We had peace.  I asked him if we could request him for the test.  He said we probably could and that is exactly what I intend to do.  There are no guarantees that our request will be met, but this momma intends to make that request.

More importantly, God hears us when we pray.   Would you join me in praying for Jake on Wednesday, at 10:00?

 

 

 

Intentional Living, Parenting

The Longest Winter

We haven’t seen green grass around here for some time.  It snowed, got cold and snowed some more.  Temperatures haven’t been above freezing for some time and the rich green grass continues to elude us.

How I long to see the vibrant purples, yellows and clean crisp whites of the Crocus, those crocusfirst beautiful flowers of spring, peeking up through the ground.  I want to smell the heady aroma of the Hyacinth as I walk out my front door.  I want winter to be over and spring to show its beautiful self.

Right now though it looks as if we are in for more wintry weather. At least for a little while.  It seems like the longest winter I can recall we’ve had for awhile.

Sometimes this life we live can seem like the longest winter as well.   Life has its seasons of ups and downs.  Of “Easier” and “Hard”.  I say “easier” because I’m not sure that any part of this life is “easy”.  These seasons are to be expected and many times we keep our heads up and our eyes on spring.  But, when those “hards” seem to come one right after the other, or even pile up on one another, we may see it as the longest winter we’ve ever experienced. One possibly longer than we can bear.

I find that when I live to the best of my ability according to Philippians 4:8 it is a lot easier to hand the pressures and “hard” of this life.  Focusing on the true, pure, lovely, excellent, and praiseworthy helps bring the joy into the “hard”.philippians 4 8 1

Thankfully, our life in Christ promises that even though “this” life may seem like the longest winter, we will experience spring in eternity.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”  Revelation 21:4

Doesn’t that sound soooo much better than spring?  What is your “hard”?  Do you have your eyes on Christ and the eternal “spring” that he has promised those who walk with him?  Isn’t it easier to weather the longest winter, the hard when we have our eyes on the savior and his promises?

Intentional Living