Being Confident of This

Grace for the work-in-progress woman

A New Perspective on Setbacks

Yesterday, as I was coming home from a good workout, I was feeling so thankful for some progress in regaining strength after my extended illness over Christmas Break. I was also proud of myself for getting exercise in every day this week so far.  I felt joy and hope like I haven’t felt for weeks!  Victory was mine!

Just as I reached our back door, I slipped on some ice, fell forward, and banged my knees on the cement step.  Fear gripped my heart as I relived the tail-bone-breaking incident of what we now call Buttkill Falls.  I feared a setback.

I picked myself up and took a few tentative steps. My right knee hurt the worst, but I could still walk.  It was scraped and already bruising. As I limped into the house, the internal monologue began… just like Adam and Eve, the original sinners, I wanted someone to blame, and my husband was the first victim. “I can’t believe he didn’t clear off this walk all the way!  Doesn’t he know that’s not safe?! What if one of the kids fell….” Yes, my poor husband. 🙂

But I didn’t stop there. Like the Israelites in the wilderness, free from the wrath of Egypt yet still not content, I began to question the Lord Himself. “Why, Lord? Are you really going to allow me to be injured again just when I’ve found a good rhythm with my health goals?  Why am I being punished for doing what is right? I’ve worked so hard. Why didn’t you help me, keep me from falling?”

Exodus 17:2-3

So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.”

Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?

But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?” (empahsis mine)

As soon as the prideful thoughts entered my mind, I knew I was wrong – wrong to blame my husband, even more so, wrong to blame my Father God.  And wrong to think that my “good efforts” excused me from any sort of pain or suffering.

You see, fear took over for a few moments. I was afraid that another injury would keep me from meeting my health goals. I was afraid that another setback might discourage me to the point of giving up – a pattern that has repeated itself over and over again where my health is concerned. I was afraid of failing. I was afraid I would not be able to persevere!

Conviction stung my heart for my sinful thoughts, for my desire to lash out at someone else in my frustration.  “I just want God to help me,” I tried to reason within myself.

But maybe He already had…

Maybe His best help was to allow me to fall.

Yes, I mean it, truly. While it’s not wrong to be excited about the progress I saw, the Father gently showed me that, once again,  I was beginning to rely on self alone and not Him.  Perhaps I needed that fall to remind me that I will only conquer this battle with health and weight by His power and strength. I cannot do it on my own. Without even realizing it, I had slowly slipped back into my “can-do” attitude.

I can do it.

I’ve got this.

I don’t need You right now…

Does it sound familiar, friends?  How many times a day do I catch myself relying on my own efforts instead of Him? How many times do we deny the power of Christ in us, in favor of our own human strength? How often do we place our trust in self alone?

You think I would have learned the lesson by now. He’s only been trying to teach me for the last thirty-plus years! 🙂  It’s that work-in-progress that I’m always talking about – aiming toward progress, not perfection.

I’ll make mistakes.

You’ll make mistakes, too.

Sometimes the setback is a wake-up call to our own sin. And often the best help our Father God can offer is letting us fall, just as we have to allow our own children to fall at times.  It’s one of the most difficult, yet most loving things we can do as parents, yes?

A New Perspective on Setbacks, setbacks to your goals when you face a setback, dealing with setbacks

2 Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

He lets us fall, so that we might see Him, so that we might throw off self and run to His arms instead!

He lets us fall because He loves us too much not to.

It’s the best help He can give –

helping us turn from self to Savior!

Jen 🙂

Side note: My knees seem to be okay, Praise the Lord! One is a little swollen and bruised, but so far only injured externally, from what I can tell. I’m incredibly thankful for His mercy.

Sharing with: Grace and Truth

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It Will Be Worth It All

When we see Jesus, encouragement, hope

Last week we took our four-year-old twins to a doctor’s appointment for a check-up.  Our daughter was excited, but fairly calm.  Our son, on the other hand, demonstrated a major case of ants-in-the-pants!  He combed over every inch of that examination room, up on the table, down on the floor, inspecting every nook and cranny.

By the time the physician’s assistant arrived, I was feeling quite flustered. Then, because it was our first appointment at this office, she began to ask a battery of questions that required actual thinking, which is really hard to do when you are also trying to keep your rambunctious boy from destroying the room!

It’s not the first time I’ve felt such frustration with my sweet son.  Homeschooling for pre-K gives birth to those same feelings of frustration and inadequacy because our son is a very easily distracted learner (typical for his age)!  Even throughout the day, when I’m trying to get his attention or correct his behavior, he pulls away from me, eager for the lesson to be over so that he can move on to better things.

twins fall, hope, faith

I know he’s just being a four-year-old, caught up in his own little world of fun and furious activity.  I just didn’t realize how like him I am, until recently.

I wrote several weeks ago about waiting on the Lord in the midst of seasons of trial and about finding that light at the end of the tunnel, the hope we can only find in Him and in His purposes.  But I must admit, sisters, that I’ve been so eager for the lesson to be over, to escape the trial and get on with what I want to do, that I’ve been an impatient learner.

I keep jumping up from the Father’s feet, scurrying away from this place of discomfort in an attempt to find my own way to peace and joy and rest, thinking that I’ve learned my lesson.  But He knows, He knows the hard work isn’t finished.  He knows the lessons I still need to learn, so He patiently calls to me. And when I don’t listen, He leads me back to this place of physical and emotional trial to resume the lesson because…it’s what is best for me, even if I can’t see it in this moment.

He does this for me because He’s my Heavenly Father, perfectly loving and perfectly knowledgeable. He loves me too much to let me continue down my own path when He knows there is a better way.  Just as I attempt to reason with and teach my active four-year-old son out of love for him, so my Heavenly Father yearns to teach me.

Of course, Satan would have me believe a host of lies about this place of trial:

It’s too painful.

It’s too difficult.

It’s too long.

It’s unfair.

I’m all alone.

But this week, the Lord gave me a few verses that perfectly fit my current circumstances:

2 Cor. 4:16-18

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.

 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God,

you will receive what he has promised.”  Hebrews 10:35-36

We throw away our confidence, my work-in-progress sisters, when we give ear to the Enemy’s lies.  We throw our confidence when we (and I’m so guilty) wallow in self-pity.  We throw away our confidence when we tell ourselves we can endure no longer.

We forget that we serve a loving Savior.  We forget that He promises to never leave nor forsake us. We forget that our Great High Priest understands and sympathizes with our every pain!  We forget that He has plans to prosper us and not to harm us.  We forget that our hope and strength can come from Him alone and instead convince ourselves that we must somehow manufacture them within us. 

We throw away our confidence and sometimes the weight is so heavy, so, so heavy that we even lose heart.

But the Father, in His goodness, gave me this verse as well:

 “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying,

yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.

For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory

far beyond all comparison,

 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen;

for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

2 Cor. 4:16-18

My physical body is really frustrating me  lately.  I’m dealing with a lengthy recovery (from the injury at Buttkill Falls), and lately I’ve had other medical issues as well.  And I know many, many others who suffer daily even more so than I.  But the lesson is hard right now, sisters, so hard that I’m tempted to throw away my confidence almost daily.

But we can’t lose heart or the lesson will not be learned! (And this is one I definitely don’t want to have to repeat!) 🙂  Our bodies may fail us; our children may fail us; our marriages may fail us; our finances may fail us; our churches may fail us; even our friends may fail us….but our inner selves can be renewed day by day if only we quit looking for escape.  We cannot pull away like impatient children who are too wrapped up in self to listen.  We must learn to wait for the things that are not seen, the rewards, the promises that we stand upon.  We must persevere!

Because even if the only thing we gain as reward from such trials is a closer, sweeter walk with Him, then it’s worth it, isn’t it?  Even if we must wait until eternity to receive the reward, it’s worth it, isn’t it?  He promises, the glory will be “far beyond all comparison.”

I want it, don’t you?

It will be worth it all when we see Jesus,

Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ;

One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase,

So bravely run the race till we see Christ. 

Let’s run bravely, sisters, not losing heart, not throwing away our confidence, persevering to the very end because it will be worth it all

…when we see Jesus.

Jen 🙂

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