Through Every Season

Author: Jennifer Coleman (Page 1 of 37)

Tears Answered in Jesus

My tears have been my food day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?” – Psalm 42:3 ESV

What do your tears say to you? What questions do they ask? What do you do with them? Do you swallow them down or pour them out?

We have cried many tears since the death of our 20 year old son. The first question our tears asked was, “Does God understand how much this hurts?”

Maybe your tears ask with the psalmist, “Where is God?” or maybe they ask:
“Does He hear our prayers?”
“Does God see?”
“Does He care?”
“Did I do something wrong?”

The psalmist turns from swallowing bitter tears to pouring them out before God while repeatedly encouraging himself to “Hope in God” (Psalms 42:5, 11).

Shortly after losing our son, Joel, a clear choice presented itself to us:

a) We could turn away from God, swallow our bitter tears and go to a very dark place or…
b) We could turn to God, pour out our bitter sorrow and encourage ourselves to hope in Him.

This was a choice we had to make many times over; often within a single day.

As we continued to turn to God with our bitter sorrow and place our hope in Him, our tears were answered with God’s love shown to us in Jesus.

In Jesus, we see the sacrificial love of the Father for us (John 3:16).
In Jesus, we see God’s care for the very hairs on our heads (Luke 12:7).
In Jesus, we see Him weeping alongside us at the grave of those we love (John 11:35).
In Jesus, we see Him carry all our sorrows (Isaiah 53:4).
In Jesus, we see Him providing forgiveness for our sins at the cross (Luke 23:34).
In Jesus, we see our Resurrection and Life (John 11:25).
In Jesus, we see our Eternal Salvation (Hebrews 5:9).

In Jesus, we have the promise, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:3).

In Jesus, we have a “firm and secure” hope as an “anchor for our soul” (Hebrew 6:19).

We know that God understands how much this hurts because we see Jesus during the days of His earthly life offering “up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the One who could save Him from death” (Hebrews 5:7).

We know that God hears our prayers, because this same “Christ Jesus who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Romans 8:34).

What will you do with your tears? Will you turn with us and pour out your bitter sorrow to God, commit to encourage yourself to hope in Him, and allow His lovingkindness in Jesus to answer your tears?

Much love,

Jenny

Reasons Not to Seek a Medium or Spiritists

When you are suffering or have lost someone you dearly love, there can be a temptation to desperately grasp at any means of comfort. God may feel distant, inaccessible, or we may honestly not be on speaking terms with Him. Seeking a medium or spiritists may sound like a good idea, but the reality is that it can be devastatingly dangerous. What we need when our hearts are broken is nothing short of a miracle. We need the comfort that only God can give.

God is not distant or inaccessible. Jesus died on the cross so that nothing can ever separate us from His love again. All we have to do is ask and He will come to our rescue.

I am not saying that our journey through suffering to comfort will be quick or easy, but if we will continually turn our hearts to God, He will be faithful to meet us and minister to us as only He can.

I was so blessed a few years ago when I read a Kim Nolywaika’s “Eight Reasons Why I Will Not See a Psychic Medium” that I wanted to write a similar post of my own. I hope this line of thought helps you as it has me. Kim’s post can be found on her blog at: https://youcantrusthim.com/2017/03/09/eight-reasons-why-i-will-not-see-a-psychic-medium/

Download my page of reasons below as a pdf here.

In His love,

Jenny Coleman

Trust the Engineer

It can get really dark on this fallen planet, but those who trust in Jesus are only traveling through.
The darkness is not our destination.
Eventually, if we trust our Heavenly Engineer and don’t jump off, we will find that He is the Everlasting Light at the end of our tunnel.

 

Your sun will no longer set, and your moon will not wane; for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and the days of your sorrow will cease. – Isaiah 60:20

But those who wait upon the LORD will renew their strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint. – Isaiah 40:31

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, yet our inner self is being renewed day by day. – 2 Corinthians 4:16

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. – James 1:12

All these people died in faith, without having received the things they were promised. However, they saw them and welcomed them from afar. And they acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. – Hebrews 11:13

I ask that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know the hope of His calling, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and the surpassing greatness of His power to us who believe. – Ephesians 1:18-19

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. -2 Corinthians 4:6

Love and grace,

Jenny

Heavenly Intercessors and Witnesses: Encouragement to Run and Pray

I recently learned that my friend, Donna, joined the great cloud of witnesses, who cheer for us. She promised to tell Joel funny stories from when we were little when she got there. Her friendship was such a gift.

Three precious women, who have prayed for and often encouraged me, have joined that cloud of witnesses in the last nine months. Their prayers and witness continue to encourage me now. I was praying this morning for their families and others who are grieving and leaning into these verses:

Romans 8:26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know how we ought to pray, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans too deep for words. 27 And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God…

34 Who is there to condemn us? For Christ Jesus, who died, and more than that was raised to life, is at the right hand of God—and He is interceding for us.

I lean hard because I am weak and often don’t know how I ought to pray, but long to join Jesus and Holy Spirit in their intercession for us even when only groans too deep for words can suffice.

Jesus, consumed with zeal for His house, drove money changers out of the temple and declared:

“My house will be called a house of prayer.” (John 2, Matthew 21)

I imagine that He is consumed with that same zeal for His heavenly house and that intercession is a central part of what goes on in Heaven.

My dear friend, Terri, commented below, “Hebrews 7:25 He always lives to make intercession for us. I had to read that verse over and over to really believe I was reading it right! He lives to intercede for us. What a wonderful Truth in God’s word!”

Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them.

Yes! He lives to intercede for us! Holy Spirit is interceding, Jesus, the Central Focus of Heaven, lives to intercede for us and is zealous that His house be called a house of prayer.

Our loved ones in Heaven have seen Jesus. They have seen His face, His great heart of love, His longing, His zeal, and have become like Him. I imagine that they are consumed with His zeal and His longing. I imagine that they have joined Jesus and Holy Spirit in interceding for us, asking that we would be strengthened in our faith, that we would know the width, length, height and depth of His love, be encouraged by their witness and His faithful promises to us.

In Luke 15:10, Jesus tells us,

“In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

“There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels.”

Who is in the presence of the angels rejoicing?

In this chapter, Jesus tells us stories of a shepherd searching for a lost lamb, a woman scouring for a lost silver coin and a father running toward his returning prodigal son.

He is telling us how valuable we are in God’s eyes. He wants us to know how our Good Shepherd searches for us and how our Father in Heaven watches, waits and longs for our repentance. He is showing us how when we turn towards home, He runs towards us with hugs and kisses, joyfully puts us on His shoulders and calls His friends, neighbors, servants and sons together and says, “Rejoice with me!”

22b “‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.”

“…there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels.”

Knowing that Jesus lives to intercede for us, and God longs for and rejoices with heavenly intercessors and witnesses over my repentance makes me want to run hard and well toward Home with my eyes fixed on Jesus for the joy set before me:

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off every encumbrance and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with endurance the race set out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

I am so thankful that God so loved me that sent His Son, Jesus, to seek and save me. I am so thankful for the opportunity and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge. I am so thankful for the prayers and witnesses of Jesus, Holy Spirit, friends and family, and of saints around the world and in Heaven. I am so thankful for our firm and secure Anchor of Hope and the encouragement to run. I am so thankful that the Spirit Himself intercedes for us when we don’t know how we ought to pray with groans too deep for words and according to the will of God.

Rejoice in hope, endure distress, devoted to prayer. Romans 12:12

With love and intercessory groans,

Jenny

2018 A Year of Focusing on God’s Love (Truths I must recite to my own heart daily.)

I have a habit of spending the last several weeks of the year in prayer asking the Lord for direction for the new year. Last year He answered, “Whatever 2018 brings, focus on My love for you.”

Although the first part of His answer was full of reminiscent premonition, He gave me the grace to trust and obey. I’m so thankful. Some long, hard days and weeks were made bearable by the transformative grace of focusing on His love. There were a few days where I lost focus. He was faithful, so faithful, to redirect me back to His love. [PDF of verses on God’s love here.]

Suffering calls into question God’s motives and authority. It begs the same questions that the serpent asked Eve in the garden: Did God really say? Is what He said true? What is He keeping from you? What are His secret intentions?

How do we turn these questions over on their head?

We choose to view our circumstances in faith through the lens of His great love by skillfully wielding His Word. Like night vision goggles, His Word pierces the darkness and collects the hidden rays of Light and Truth.

Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. (Lamentations 3:21-22 NLT)

God loves us. There is no shadow of turning in Him. Jesus is proof of His love. If we ever doubt His love for us, we can look at Love come down in the flesh suffering the cross for us. He loves us all the way from Heaven to earth and back. His arms are stretched wide bidding us to make our home and find our rest in His love.

He saw us, knew us and called us to Himself before He formed us. Before the foundation of the world, God knew that having us for His own treasured possession would cost Him the life of His only begotten Son and counted us worth it.

Christmas is Immanuel, God with us. Nothing can separate us from His love. Our High Priest understands our weakness, knows that we are dust, made Himself nothing, took on servanthood and became obedient to a terrible, shameful death on the cross. The same God that determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds with His love.

He is the Good Samaritan who sees us suffering on the side of the road and is moved by compassion to save us. Unlike all others who turn away and pass by on the other side, He runs to us, pours Himself out for us, clothes us with His own robe of righteousness and seals us with His promised Holy Spirit.

He has set His love on us. We are the joy for which He endured the cross, the apple of His eye, His promised bride. Nothing touches us that doesn’t touch Him. His wings are our refuge. He sees our tossing and turning through the night and collects our tears in His bottle. Nothing can snatch us out of His hand.

In all their suffering He also suffered,
and He personally rescued them.
In His love and mercy He redeemed them.
He lifted them up and carried them through all the years. (Isaiah 63:9)

In this fallen world, suffering is the price of love. The cross is proof that God sometimes allows what He hates in order to accomplish what He loves. God works all things together for the good of those who love Him. His intention is to conform us into the image of His Son who suffered and died for us.

We endure suffering and become more than conquerors through Him who loved us by fixing our eyes on Jesus as our highest joy and great reward. We know that though weeping endures for a night, joy comes in the morning. One day soon all pain, sorrow, morning and death will end. He will personally wipe away our tears and give us a great and glorious inheritance. These truths are a buckler for us through our suffering. We pray daily for others to know and rely on them.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Cor. 4:16-18)

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (Romans 8:16-18)

I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to Him in His death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:10-11)

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial that has come upon you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed at the revelation of His glory. (1 Peter 4:12-13)

For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His footsteps. (1 Peter 2:21)

Praying that this year will be a year of transformative grace as you delve in deep into the truth of His love for you.

I collected a list of 100+ verses to help me meditate on God’s love and posted it as a PDF for you here.

Jenny

Even the Prickly Ones

One way I meditate on the Word is by illustrating verses with watercolor. I included succulents with this verse because it feels prickly to me. The idea that God is sovereign and had my life planned out before I existed both comforts and frustrates me. I don’t always like His plans, but if I could control everything, what would the repercussions be? How many things would I mess up?

I am comforted when I remember that God is good and loves me so much that He gave His own Son for me. He has all my moments planned out, even the prickliest ones. He will walk me through them step by step. I can rest in His competence, trust and obey.

My vision is poor. His is perfect. I can’t understand all He does or allows, but I can trust that He is a Master Redeemer. He does all things well. In Heaven, my faith will become sight and I will be awed by His glory.

Much love,

Jenny

I Stand Amazed: A Poem for Mike on Our Anniversary

Mike and I have been married 32 years today. I am so thankful for the years that God has given us together. It’s been such a comfort to have him by my side through all the joys and trials we have faced. Someone asked me what I most admire about Mike last week. Colossians 3:23 describes him well:

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.

He gives 120% to everything he does. I admire the way he works and gives with all his heart for the Lord. I admire his self discipline, self sacrifice and commitment. In our marriage, he has chosen over and over to love me unconditionally while allowing love to cover a multitude of sins. It’s a gift beyond measure. His commitment to love me drives me to the cross.

A poem I wrote for our 20th anniversary:

I Stand Amazed

God created my innermost being,
He knows me, nothing hidden,
Knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Before I lived one day, all in His book were written.

His thoughts about me are innumerable.
Fatherly love beyond what I comprehend.
He provides from His abundance,
Blessing me with a wonderful friend.

In your eyes, I am a beautiful treasure.
Could such love be a part of God’s plan?
Lost in the depths of your soul, all fears melt away,
You tenderly take my hand.

Blossoming bride watered by melodious love,
I bravely give you all of my heart.
A new life sealed with a gentle kiss.
I vow this pledge till death do us part.

Whither thou goest, I will go.
And where thou lodgest, I will lodge.
Thy people shall be my people,
And thy God my God.

Mystery of mysteries,
Two souls are undone.
God in infinite wisdom
Unites the two into one.

God charts our path ahead.
We adventure into the unknown.
His hand of blessing on our lives.
We’re no longer alone.

Through deserts and storms,
You stand by my side.
Words won’t come, but you know
What I am feeling inside.

You smile and clouds disperse,
My cup of joy overflowing.
All is forgiven, restored afresh.
Thank You, God, for knowing.

When you’re away every breath is a prayer
To the Lord who keeps you safe.
Comforted by the sound of your voice.
I miss your warm embrace.

Whither thou goest, I will go.
And where thou lodgest, I will lodge.
Thy people shall be my people,
And thy God my God.

Mystery of mysteries,
Two souls are undone.
God in infinite wisdom,
Made two into one.

I stand amazed by the person you’ve become.
For me laying down your life.
Strong and of good courage.
I am so proud to be your wife.

Over and over you choose to love me
Unconditionally, no matter the cost.
Captivated. By Love, undone.
Your commitment drives me to the cross.

I see Jesus in your humility.
Your loving kindness sets me free,
Giving me the courage to become
Who God created me to be.

O, God, search us and know our hearts.
Lead us in the everlasting way.
In blessing us make us a blessing.
Let our love grow sweeter each day.

 

Psalm 139, 2 Corinthians 9:8, Ruth 1:16, Ephesians 5:31-32, Ephesians 1:3, Genesis 2:18, Psalm 145:20, Joshua 1:9, Galatians 5:24, Philippians 2:1-8, Ephesians 2:10, Philippians 3:7-14, Genesis 12:1,2, Philippians 1:9

Cinderella’s Hopeful Perspective

The story of Cinderella is one of my favorites. I love it because it’s a picture of Jesus and His bride the Church. We may be living in the remains of fallen cinders and ashes, but we were created for a wonderful Person and Place. Underneath our ashes there is beauty waiting to be revealed. The whole earth groans to see it (Romans 8:19). One day even our fallen cinders will be redeemed, set free from the curse and made new.

“Look, I am making everything new!” – Revelation 21:5

Jesus, the prince of our real Story, has made all of this possible. The Desire of the Nations, left His heavenly kingdom to seek and save the lost (us). He paid our debt of sin (the death penalty) on the cross and rose again to set us free from our bondage and slavery.

Jesus, the One who was dead but is now alive, has gone to prepare a place for us and has given us hope for our ashes and a promise:

“When everything is ready I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” – John 14:3b

The best part of Cinderella’s story is the anticipation and hope of the “happily ever after” that’s coming. Remove the hope and the “happily ever after” ending and the story changes from a beautiful story of redemption into a horror story of loss, slavery and death.

1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

We are to “encourage each other with these words.” The promised hope and “happily ever after” gives us the strength and courage to keep pressing toward the goal when all we see for miles is the remains of fallen cinders and ashes. Without hope we are living in our own horror story.

Cinderella has an enemy, her wicked step mother. She lies to Cinderella and steals her inheritance bit by bit. She tells her there is no chance a prince would ever even consider looking her way and dashes her hopes of ever being free. Her wicked step mother does all she can to keep her oppressed and enslaved.

We, too, have an enemy – the devil – the accuser – the one who:

“When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” – John 8:44c

He has accused and lied to us about every part of our Story and endeavors to dash any hope of a “happily ever after” to come.

His accusations are the same as they were in the garden (Genesis 3). “Did God really say?” “You won’t really die.” “God is holding out on you.” “His intentions towards you are less than honorable.” “He is not sovereign or holy.” “Sin will empower you.” “Doesn’t it look good?”

He has oppressed us and enslaved us and accused us of being unworthy of anything more than cinder and ashes. He has accused Jesus of being at best disinterested in us. The devil was kicked out of Heaven and resents all those who will inherit it, so he has accused it of being filled with nothing more than cherubs strumming harps while floating on clouds. He makes it sound excruciatingly boring and insipid. Who would ever want to live that f-o-r-e-v-e-r? How could that kind of heaven even begin to inspire us to press towards or through anything?

Something has gone terribly wrong in our real Cinderella Story. Too many have bought into the devil’s lies and their longing for our Bridegroom and His Heavenly reward has been turned into loathing. The good news of the gospel has been reduced to a lesser hell; a horror story. Believing that there is nothing after this and that there was never any god sounds more appealing.

Reclaiming a biblical view of our Story, Heaven and the New Earth is essential. Without it we have no hope, no motivation to tell anyone the good news of the gospel and no motivation to press towards the goal (Philippians 3:14).

If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. – 1 Corinthians 15:19

God created us for so much more than insipidness. He created us for a wonderful Person and Place full of beauty and adventure. We need Cinderella’s hopeful perspective to help us persevere through our Story of fallen cinders and ashes. We need a biblical view of Heaven and Jesus and our Cinderella-self.

I have known that Jesus was my Prince and that I was His Cinderella bride to be since I was a little girl and looked forward to a “happily ever after” with Him. I was fortunate never to buy into the lie that Heaven was insipid. But my understanding of it was ethereal at best; a great retirement plan for when I was 90 or so.

It wasn’t something I could sink my hope anchor (Hebrews 6:19) into when the storms of this life toss me violently around. It wasn’t something that could strengthen and encourage me when all I saw for miles was the remains of fallen cinders and ashes.

When our very real boy moved to Heaven, I realized I needed a very real idea of where he had gone. I needed the “eternal perspective” that understanding God’s redemptive plan for our resurrection and Heaven come down on a New Earth affords to carry me through the valley of death’s shadow.

I’ve slowly gained that. Spending time meditating on the Word with an eye towards gaining an eternal perspective helped. Reading strongly biblically based books like Randy Alcorn’s “Heaven” helped. I can see now that the place we live.. this earth.. is the thing that is vanishing like a vapor and our glorious resurrection, Heaven and the New Earth are the real, solid promise and hope that hold my anchor secure.

Our life here is passing quickly away and our lives in Heaven and the New Earth will be the ones that last forever. Joel is more alive now than he ever was here. Heaven is more enduring than anything we’ve ever experienced.

Jesus said:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

If we fail to gain Cinderella’s hopeful perspective and fail to love the Person and the Place we were created for, then when trouble comes we won’t have anything to sink our hope anchor into. Jesus’ “take heart!” will leave us stupefied and lost in our ashes.

We are in enemy territory surrounded by fallen cinders and ashes. We live on a cursed planet. Trouble will come. We have a Prince who has overcome it. We have something to “take heart” in. We need an “eternal perspective.” A hopeful perspective like those who love the Cinderella story have. One that can see through the lies of the enemy to a very real, solid, promised and true “happily ever after” that is coming.

Link to Randy’s book:

Image 1

Much love,

Jenny

Trusting that God Has Done the Math

In the first few days and weeks after we lost our youngest son, the fact that I continued to wake up each morning bewildered me.

It seemed like the world should have stopped. Oh, how I wanted it to stop and let me get off. The world as I knew it had ended. I didn’t understand how or why I continued to live. Breathing was hard and involuntary. Giving it up would have been a relief.

After a while, it dawned on me that the reason I kept waking up was because God’s purposes for me on earth weren’t completed.

God spoke to me through Psalm 139:16:

You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

I knew the verse well. It comforted me to know that God had planned out Joel’s days before he was born. He is never taken by surprise. He has planed out every moment of our lives; the ones on earth and the ones in Heaven.

Suddenly, I realized that if God knew all of Joel’s days and all of my days, He must have done the math.

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
They cannot be numbered!
I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
you are still with me!
Psalm 139:17-18

God knew I was going to continue to live on earth after Joel went Home. He had planned out the days I was going to live as a bereaved parent before I was born. This was comforting because I didn’t know how to live those days. I had no plan.

I have a God who knows me.. has known me from my mother’s womb.. who knew I would live on the earth longer than my youngest son.. has planned out a path for me to walk.. a way for me to live. Every day I wake up.. He is still with me.

Getting this revelation was a small victory; a step towards living the life God planned for me.

The journey towards life and healing is not a sprint; it’s a cross country marathon. It requires LOTS of patience, forbearance and longsuffering. These are fruits of the Spirit that can ONLY be produced through spending TIME WITH JESUS. The small victory of revelation came through spending time with Jesus, meditating on His Word, pouring out my heart to Him, and quieting myself so that I could hear His Holy Spirit speak to me through His Word.

I’ve learned to celebrate these small victories as milestones in my journey. There is something about celebrating small victories that releases healing and even more victory.

Zechariah 4:10 says,

Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin…

The LORD rejoices. He sees small beginnings and He rejoices!

He watches infants grow in the womb. He probably sees an eyelash begin to form and leans over to Jesus and says, “Look at that! An eyelash!”

The very hairs on our head are all numbered. (Matthew 10:30) His thoughts about us cannot be numbered. We are always on His mind; never hidden from His sight.

We serve a God who celebrates small beginnings. When we celebrate small victories, we are joining in what God is doing; we are aligning our hearts with His and releasing power for more victories. Recognizing and celebrating small victories in the middle of our valley infuses our inner man with strength for the road ahead and propels us forward in our journey towards life and healing and the final victory.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There are still days when I wish the world would stop and let me off. I work hard at keeping my eyes on Jesus, at hearing His voice, at obeying His instructions AND I STILL STRUGGLE through valleys.

I don’t believe I am alone in this. All my favorite Bible heroes and saints (including Jesus) are my favorites because I know their stories of struggle.

During the days of Jesus’ earthly life, He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the One who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from what He suffered. Hebrews 5:7-8

The journey towards life and healing is not a sprint; it doesn’t follow a straight line. It’s more like a cross country marathon that winds up and down craggy mountains and through dark valleys.

If there were never any mountains to climb or valleys to struggle through, where would we win the victories that God longs to celebrate with us?

Even in the darkest valleys, I can trust that He is choosing the best path to life and healing for me.

Even in the darkest valleys, every day I wake up.. He is still with me.

Even in the darkest valleys, I can keep my eyes on Him and I can trust that He has done the math and has a plan for me.

Even in the darkest valleys, I can trust the God who knows me, the One who saw me in my mother’s womb. I can trust that He sees and knows my heart, my joys and my sorrows. His thoughts about me can’t be numbered.

HIS THOUGHTS ABOUT ME CANNOT BE NUMBERED!!

HE HAS DONE THE MATH!

HE HAS A REDEMPTIVE PLAN FOR MY LIFE AND HEALING!

In the darkest valleys, the atmosphere is so heavy that it’s nearly impossible to breathe or think or move. The darkest valleys can feel like backward steps, a failure or a waste, but with God nothing is wasted. He works everything together for our good. (Romans 8:28)

We know this because God took the worst thing that ever happened on our planet (the crucifixion of His Son) and resurrected it into the best thing. That’s what He does. It’s His thing. He has this amazing way with math and planning. We can trust Him with it. Every painful, awkward step through the valley is a step towards life and healing in disguise.

James exhorted:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:2-5

And this is the thing.. when we understand that God is this amazing mathematician with a carefully planed out path for us that sometimes goes through valleys that lead to victories, we can rejoice in middle of the darkest valley.

We can rejoice because God sees us and His thoughts about us cannot be numbered. We can rejoice because we know that steps through valleys are small beginnings that lead to greater victories. We can rejoice because we know that God watches over those small beginnings.. not with an eye to despise them, but with a heart that rejoices over them. We can rejoice because everyday we wake up.. He is still with us.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3

In the valley, it’s easy to forget the things you learned in the light. It’s easy to forget that God has done the math and has a redemptive plan. In the valley, the father of lies says things like: “You must have really messed up this time because God has obviously turned His back on you, forgotten and abandoned you.” His words echo in the darkness and it’s hard to see through to the light. His lies are against not only our hearts but God’s. His accusations cause stress, guilt and feelings of inadequacy and distrust. His lies INTENSIFY the pain and struggle.

There are times when we need to get loud and declare the Way, the Truth and the Life to our darkest valley. There are times when we need to SHOUT OUT OUR PRAISE to the One who has seen us and known us from our mother’s womb and carefully planned out paths to life and victory for us. There are times when it takes a big, joyful celebration of a small victory to drown out the lies of our enemy and give us a taste of the victory that is coming to keep us going. There are times when we need to stand on the fact that every day we wake up.. He is still with us. There are times when we have to lean in and trust God’s heart and redemptive plan for us even when we can’t understand His ways.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Psalm 62:5

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8

The steps of a man are established by the LORD, And He delights in his way. When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand. Psalm 37:23-24

A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not extinguish, till He leads justice to victory. In his name the nations will put their hope. Matthew 12:20-21

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. Isaiah 46:4

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” John 10:27-30

Three Spiritual Truths in Your Cup

Sweetness overwhelms bitterness:
Exodus 15:26 Then he cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree; and he threw it into the waters, and the waters became sweet.

Proverbs 4:23 Guard your heart more than anything else, because the source of your life flows from it.

When bitterness springs up, let the LORD show you the tree:

Light overwhelms darkness:
John 1:5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Life overwhelms death:
John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies. 26 And everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Revelation 1:18 I am the living one. I died, but look–I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.

Love,

Jenny

Save

Save

« Older posts

© 2020 Finding Joy in Him

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑