This episode is inspired by Philippians 4:4-7 "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." NIV
This week's Something Sweet, Jan Karon's book Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good.
In times of crisis and stress, we many times underestimate the importance of rest.
Rest is not prioritized in our society. It’s even without priority in the church. Sunday, the day of “rest” is often so packed full of activities for church it is anything but restful. Years ago, when playing piano for two or three services a Sunday, plus teaching some kind of Bible study, I used to say MONDAY was my favorite day of the week! It was EASIER than Sunday!!! It’s not realistic to think that we can cram all of our spirituality into one day a week and still grow. God set aside a day of REST, not a day for more running around. Rest is a spiritual practice and it may not be prioritized by most people, But it IS prioritized by God.
So why are we so adverse to rest? You never hear anyone saying “She really knows how to rest.” But plenty of praise for all the hard work, running around, and handling everything.
Guts. It takes guts to say “no” to all the things. You know… the things that will make you look better, get you more success, make people like you more, give you more control.
Action. You need to get ready to rest. It takes planning to fit it into your regular rhythm.
Rest usually ends up being the first item to get crossed off the list when things get tough, if it’s even on the list at all. Rest should not be low man on the totem pole when it comes to our priorities. We should be planning to rest, making room in our schedules for it, and teaching our children to do it.
Courage. Rest is when we can look deep into ourselves. Rest is when we can think, feel, learn, and absorb. Many of us are afraid of what we will find when we look deep, dare to listen to God, or try to get to the bottom of what is REALLY bothering us.
COVID story. In that 2 week isolation, I learned that I CAN rest, I NEED rest, and that God is with me when I rest and will actually be the GIVER of the rest. He will bring the peace, He will quiet the soul, He will direct the focus if we let Him.
Learning to rest can actually give us a lifestyle of rest, carrying it with us daily. We shouldn’t get to the point of utter burnout before we give ourselves a rest. If we can learn to rest as part of our daily lives, we learn a peace that permeates our existence and makes the stress and hard work easier to handle.
Something Sweet! Instead of just a weekly quote, I decided to make this segment “something sweet” and just share with you something that’s meaningful to me. This week’s something sweet is a lovely song by Travis Cottrell called “Rest.” Here is a link to the song on Youtube. Take a couple of minutes to listen to it and view the lovely scene, and take a rest.
Scriptures referenced: Isaiah 30:15, Matthew 11:28-29, Hebrews 4:9-11
When you are in the midst of a crisis, you often end up doing things you thought were impossible.
This show includes a personal story of a wild day I butchered a cow, took my sister to chemo, helped plan a funeral, and had a sick kid, all at the same time!
Click here to see the promised pictures!
When you come through a crisis, you should take time to look back at what you have accomplished. Take a moment and think about what you’ve made it through. Think about your strength, your courage, your abilities.
This is a glimpse of who you really are. The you that comes out in a time of great tragedy or stress gives you a clue about the strength and insight you have that you may have thought wasn’t there or wasn’t possible.
Look at you! You’re doing it. You’re
Surviving as a widow on your own
Learning to let go of your loved one who deals with addiction
Refusing to give up when you are ill.
Working at a job you thought you wouldn’t get
Repairing a marriage once broken
Getting up and trying again after a failure
You’re doing it! You’ve got this!
Quote of the week: “If you stress too much about something before it happens, you are putting yourself through it twice.” Dr. Caroline Leaf
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When something happens that causes you pain, it’s easy to panic or go into a tailspin. But pain does not equal powerlessness!
Romans 12:21 “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Sometimes we feel like we are drowning in pain. But, You do not have to be overcome!
So how do we overcome evil with good?
What we do
Sometimes in pain it’s hard to take action. The action you take may have nothing to do with the situation causing you pain. For me it’s just a matter of overcoming the evil in my life by adding more good.
Matthew 12:43-45 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, “I will return to the house I left.” When it arrives it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself and they go and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.”
We’ve got to put something in the house! An occupied house!
Do something for yourself
Do something for someone else
Gratitude goes a long way
John 16: 33 In this world you will have trouble but take heart! I have overcome the world.
Coming up: An interview!!! Kim Smith and I will talk about what to say (or not to say) when someone you love is grieving.
Forgiveness: The gift you give yourself.
Forgiveness is one of the major keys to turning your pain into purpose. For some of us who’ve been hurt and betrayed beyond imagination, the very idea of forgiving the one who hurt you can seem like an insult.
Forgiveness is NOT the same as saying the offense didn’t matter. Forgiveness does not justify the hurt or make it ok. Dictionary definition of Forgive: stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone for an offense, flaw, or mistake. Cancel a debt. Forgiveness doesn’t make the offense ok, it makes YOU ok. When you forgive you get to stop feeling anger and resentment. Those are negative, painful feelings! They’re heavy! When you forgive, you can put that heavy load down and move forward without it.
Forgiveness does not always mean restoration or reconciliation. Example of David: 2Samuel 12: 13 “Then David said to Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. Nathan replied, The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the lord, the son born to you will die.”
Some offenses do irreversible damage. Sometimes it’s not healthy or good to put things back the way they were. For example, we can forgive an abuser, an ex spouse, or a toxic person. We can reach a place where we do not carry the hurt and we can sincerely wish them well. Still, it may be better to stay away from that person, or refrain from trusting them in the same way again. Sometimes boundaries can provide a safe emotional place from which you can forgive. It’s much more peaceful to process and let go of pain when you know you won’t have to be put in that same situation again.
Forgiveness doesn’t require an apology. Don’t wait for the offender to be “sorry.” You may never get a heartfelt apology from the person who hurt you. It’s ok to let go of carrying the hurt BEFORE the person shows remorse. Forgiveness doesn’t depend on the other person’s regret. You are totally free to forgive as you please, put down the load of hurt and refuse to carry it anymore. You are not at your offender’s mercy when it comes to forgiveness.
Luke 23:34 “Jesus said Father forgive them, for the do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
When you forgive someone, even as they hurt you, you accept them as they are. You do not have to wait for a change of heart from them in order to get freedom for yourself.
Forgiveness helps me understand how much God loves me. Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another even as God, for Christ’s sake, has forgiven you.” When I forgave someone who did not deserve forgiveness, and then went on to repeat the same offense, for which I went through the forgiveness process again… It was hell. Yet never before had I realized what a gift God’s forgiveness is to me. He knows it all. And has forgiven me, even when I turn right around and go back to the same foolishness.
Psalm 103: 2-5 Praise the Lord my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagles.”
So why The Lemonade Stand? One day I was telling a dear friend about the latest development in the crazy stress that is my life and she remarked “You sure have had to make a lot of lemonade.” I joked back, “I’m about to open a lemonade STAND!” We giggled and went on. But the thought wouldn’t leave me alone.
If when life hands us lemons, we are supposed to make lemonade, then a lemonade stand should be the place where life’s lemons actually turn into something that benefits us and other people. As I turned the idea over and over in my mind, realizing that indeed God has specifically told us that there is purpose in our suffering, and believing that with all my heart, the Lemonade Stand was born.
Over the painful times in my life, I’ve learned a few things about hardship. Here are some basic foundational truths I want to share that can bring you hope if you are in pain.
Heartache brings you closer to God. Psalm 34:18 The Lord is close to the broken hearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
The “Man of sorrows, acquainted with grief” can be known in a new way when we can identify in a small part with His suffering.
Hardship makes you a better person. Hard times equip you for a good life. James 1:2-3 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters when you face trials of many kinds. Because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Your pain gives you a unique ability to help others. Some comfort can only be given by someone who has “been there.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
In the grief I have endured in my life, all these beliefs have proven true for me. Today, I launch this podcast on the anniversary of the tragic death of my nephew, Noah Jeffries. My brother’s only child and my parents’ first grandbaby, our Noah was our family’s treasure. He was a beautiful young man, smart, kind, healthy and full of promise. His life was ended in a tragic accident. Noah’s death came in the middle of some really tough years in our family. We lost our Daddy, our sister was diagnosed with breast cancer, and then our beautiful Noah was snatched away from us. I tell you this lest you think that I’ve been speaking in platitudes. Friend, I speak as a person who bears scars, knows grief, and has seen dark days. These truths aren’t just nice ideas. They’ve been the reason I’ve survived to tell my story. Am I glad for all the loss and pain? Nope. If I could change it, I’d bring back our Noah and our Dad, erase my sister’s scars, take away my children’s pain. Would I want to do any of that again? No way. However, in my grief, the straight up lemon I had to drink was made drinkable by these truths: I got closer to God. I became a better person. I learned how to comfort other people who are suffering.
Pain is part of life. We cannot stop it, but we do not have to let it destroy us. I want to encourage you today that your pain is not without purpose. You can survive this. You can thrive. And You can overcome.