Testing 1…2…3

My nature is not to post my life for all to see. Especially when things are difficult, I take the role of keeping my dignity enough to deal with it within my close family. However, our lives as Christians are to portray that of Christ.

As I read the Scriptures, I am learning that to Christ, His life was meant to change, transform and guide others to Him. Therefore, whether it was to document His temptations, His private prayer sessions or His emotions, He chose to lay it all out for others to see.

In any learning experience, there comes a stubbornness of keeping things comfortable. However, comfort is something that Christians should shy away from. And because of this, I am throwing comfort out the window.

Here we are again. Hospital visits, doctor discussions, blood draws, car rides and waiting rooms.

When God calls us to a “higher calling” sometimes that higher calling calls us to climb up higher mountains.

Growing up, I witnessed and prayed with many who suffered a great deal of pain and heartache but that was just it, I witnessed and prayed. I heard people say that “Your testimony is the most powerful witness you have”.

In the back of my mind, I began to wonder when the “test” of my testimony was going to happen.

As Christians, our testimony is what reaches those who are longing for something “real”, past the veil of religious Christianity and toward a real life encounter with Jesus.

2 Timothy 1:8-10

So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”

Even though my “test” isn’t over, I know that it is turning into my testimony.

Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.

Two days that seem so love filled but those were the days in 2017 that were filled with pain for me and those close to me. Those are the two days that a child was in the early stages of becoming “my” child. Instead, those were days when those children were “fearfully and wonderfully made” in my womb and heart but that is where they stayed.

To the world, these experiences are devastating, hopeless and life-changing but to a Christian, this is just the “test” in the testimony.

To some, what I’m about to say my seem heartless, surprising and unbelievable but to some, it will make perfect sense….

I count my miscarriages a blessing.

When Christ is the One you’re living for, this life’s sufferings produce a perseverance that comes in the midst of running the race toward our life’s finish line. Running a race can bring exhaustion and feelings of “I can’t” but its in those moments in our journey to Jesus that we get a second, third and maybe even a fourth wind. For we know that Jesus is who we’re running for, not a medal, a pat on the back or a pick-me-up.

I know that my test isn’t over, my pain isn’t over and my emotional moments aren’t over but I do know that my faith in Jesus is only beginning. Knowing that He chose this test for me because He knew that with Him, I could rise above it all.

suffering

You see, Christ knows just what is going to prompt a deeper connection to Him and He chooses specific tests based on current circumstances. For you, it may be cancer, a son or daughter addicted, a life threatening disease or diagnosis, fear, a broken marriage…. you add your’s to the list.

God allows us to walk through things so that we can know His strength through it all, instead of relying on our own strength to get us through it.

Throughout my first miscarriage, I saw that God was there but I also thought it was just a fluke, a one-time thing and that after that, having a baby would be a piece of cake.

However, as I am walking through the second one, I see that God wanted me to seek and find out more about Him than simply believing that “15-20% of all first pregnancies end in a miscarriage”.

I am learning that through these tests, He is still faithful. Even if situations don’t turn out the way I want them to, my family wants them to or the world says they’re going to…

I know that my current situation does not surprise my All-Knowing Father. He saw this coming the moment I was formed in my mother’s womb. My life was a Best-selling book written by Him and awaiting the first page to be read and for this chapter to come to pass.

What strength we can find in knowing that our present sufferings were written way before our first breath. God sees, knows and walks right beside us because nothing surprises Him.

I know that someday, my “test” will be purposeful for someone’s life even if I can’t see the purpose right now. Someday, there will be a moment when someone asks, a couple’s heart breaks, a mother’s pain wrenched heart longs and my testimony will give birth to a heart transforming moment.

For now, I will choose to be unashamed of my suffering and know that it is producing a faith that cannot be measured by a world of why’s and why not’s.

Psalm 116: 1-9

“I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.
The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave came over me;
I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“Lord, save me!”

The Lord is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
The Lord protects the unwary;
when I was brought low, he saved me.
Return to your rest, my soul,
for the Lord has been good to you.
For you, Lord, have delivered me from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.”

Rest in knowing that the God of the Universe already wrote in the sufferings that you will face and have faced into your story before your story even began.

Who better to walk and talk with than the Author of your story.

 

 

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Suffering for Eternity

Suffering.

None of us want to hear it, experience it or talk about it. But the truth is, everyone of us hears it, experiences it and talks about it. Think about your last conversation with someone. I’m sure in the midst of that conversation of catching up, some form of suffering was brought up within that time. Whether it was about your suffering or someone else’s, suffering is something that each and everyone one of us hate.

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As a follower of Jesus, I have been raised to know that suffering is a part of our walk with Christ. All the scripture we read, the church services we attend and the prayers we offer up are to equip us when the days of suffering come. However, all of that does not ward off suffering. Suffering does not pick and choose who it affects, it just happens.

When I think of suffering in Scripture, I think of many men and women that endured a lot of suffering but one man was not on my radar until I came across this passage in 1 Peter,

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation.”

1 Peter 12: 12-13

When I read those verses, my first response is to say “Who are you Peter that you tell me to not be surprised?”

Our first response when suffering comes is to be surprised. We are caught off guard, unprepared and in disbelief. So, why does Peter tell us to not be surprised?

Peter starts his journey as a man chasing after Christ upon meeting him. Peter walked with Jesus on a daily basis, saw Jesus perform miracles right before his eyes but yet, he still denied Christ. He still had a faith shaking experience even after seeing Jesus. However, his message to us was to not be surprised when sufferings come. Not simply that sufferings were going to come, but that when they come do not be surprised. As Christians, our response to situations should be vastly different than that of the world. However, it is easy to say that when we aren’t going through a struggle ourselves.

How can we not be surprised when suffering knocks on our door?

I know when I found out I was having a miscarriage, surprised is the feeling that rushed over me. However, I went back to what I knew about God to be true. I have watched God work in the lives of those around me through suffering. I never thought I was going to struggle with pregnancy but isn’t the art of suffering the same for all of us? Not matter the suffering, we all have the same choice to make.

  1. Are we going to let our suffering surprise us?
  2. Or, are we going to choose to let God surprise us?

God can surprise us through our suffering and create something amazing out of a time when amazing seems so far away.

Are we going to let Him?

We need to look past the first few words in 1 Peter 12:12-13,

“…but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation.”

You see we could never share in a suffering so great that it surpasses the degree of sufferings our Christ endured for us. Because of that, we should keep rejoicing! For the same Jesus that conquered death itself and shared in far more sufferings is on our side! He is fighting for us in the suffering and giving us strength to help us through it.

So like Peter, let us allow God to surprise us as we rejoice in knowing He endured it all so that we can endure it with Him.

God’s surprises have an eternal reward.