eternal things, God's sovereignty and goodness, God's word, infertility, spiritual growth, suffering in joy, thankfulness, trusting God

Slowing Down

After the last intense blog, I feel like a need to put people at ease. (Trying to package it again:)) I do want to give an update:
Last year or so I picked up a book recommended to me by my friend, Melba. I did not read it then, but God reminded me of it as I got to the end of myself in pain the other day. The book is written by Larry Crabb and called Shattered Dreams. It is a very timely read for me. This is not a book to make me feel better, but it is a book that encouraged me to enter the pain instead of numb and run from it. The writer encourages us that God shatters our lesser dreams that we might know the greater dream of Him and live in true joy in Him–this is a time consuming process of trust in Him. I know that many in pain would go–“uh, that’s not cool. I just want to feel better,” and I get that–believe me. That is our instant gratification, god is there to serve me, sinful heart talking. It is a longer book than that sentence though as he traces Naomi’s journey in the book of Ruth.
Our lives and hearts are not a quick fix, and we are created for more than we see in front of us. I have been reading this book slowly throughout the last few weeks. I got the chance to go with my sister to her lake house to study and be quiet for a portion of last weekend. I am trying to take those times more instead of running from them as God calls me to be real with Him. My pain has not been erased, but I continue in the journey continually seeing God’s faithfulness in so many ways.
On this journey I am journeying with others who are in pain. My friend, Melba told me about a conference that a friend of hers attended that talked about leaving a legacy to your children of how to suffer well. Wow. I have never heard that topic passed on! I loved it, though. That is what I want to pass on to these young women I disciple–a Biblical understanding and experience of suffering well. Why do we think we are immune when in scripture it proclaims the opposite? We walk in Christ–who suffered for our sake. Through sufferings we so learn who HE is and commune with who He is. We are made into the image of Christ. Easy? Uh, no.
As I reflect back to the last five years, I have had the most intense suffering of my life. I have never grown so much or known Him so much through my Dad’s sickness and death, marriage, infertility. I have really seen God’s faithfulness and character and love. I WOULD not trade it for things that sometimes tempt me– a big house, two perfect kids, spa days every week, luxurious vacations and a husband who bends to my every whim for I would have missed the meaning in life–Christ. My reward is not here–repeat–not here.
One of my girls just sent me this scripture:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a LIVING HOPE through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith–more precious that gold that perishes though it is tested by fire–may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Christ Jesus. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:3-9

5 thoughts on “Slowing Down”

  1. Thank you for walking through this book with me. Part of me hesitates to pick it up, knowing that it will take me to difficult places. But, those are places I need to go. And places where the veil will be pulled back and my eyes will see Christ more fully. Thank you for your transparency. Thank you for asking hard questions and expecting a lot out of me.
    Love you!

  2. Mmm. I just read the introduction of the book this morning. May I be honest and say that part of me, like Laura is scared/hesitant because I too know that this is going to take me to the deep, hard places. But I realize that is where Christ wants me to be, in order to reveal my great need for Him. I love you Jen!! Thank you for being real.

  3. I was reading Phil 3:10 today which says, “I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death.” This is something I think we ALL run from at one point or another. It’s hard to learn how to remain in that. In my Beth Moore homework today, I think she “packaged” this well. She said, “Could it be that if our focus is on Christ, we’ll see HIm transfigured before us rather than our circumstances?” Wow…I needed that kick in the butt! 🙂 Thanks, as always, for your honesty and transparency. Hard stuff, but good stuff!

  4. Wow…I truly love the 1 Peter text that your sister in Christ gave you. It is so powerful and equally encouraging to know that the suffering and testing that we endure is carefully given by our loving Father for His glory to be revealed.

    I was given those very same verses nearly two years ago when my world was crashing in on me. Jesus was asking me to step out of my boat of comfort and join in Him on the raging seas. My best friend sat me down in the midst of my pain and literally told me that God had laid it on her heart to give those verses to me…I was so moved by these verses..it comforted me tremendously…I am so glad it is doing the same for you. It is sobering to know that too often my greatest growth happens when I hit spiritual bottom and realize that I have NO CONTROL over anything…and thankfully Jesus is so patient with me!

    I am entering another season of what will be (hopefully) godly suffering for Him and I am scared, yet excited (never thought I’d say that) to see what He will reveal to me about His character. Two favorite Scripture passages that reveal the high calling to which we have been called and remind me of the SECURE confidence in God that we can rely on are:

    “And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” (Revelation 5:8) It amazes me that the Creator King not only CONSIDERS our prayers, but that He keeps a record of them and tells us about it!

    “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” (Romans 8:18-25) Just love the outlook that Paul had when he wrote this, despite his intense suffering for Christ. Really puts it into perspective for us, doesn’t it? May God receive all the glory!!!

    Sorry, I am so long-winded…I really enjoy your candor and willingness to share your faith journey online! I agree with Elisa… it’s good stuff!

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