I stole the title for this blog entry from a sermon given by Pastor Britt Merrick who is based out of California. Just recently Pastor Britt learned that his 5 year old daughter had a football sized tumor in her abdomen and soon after he learned that cancerous cells had been spreading into her body for some time. The tumor was removed via surgery and now his daughter Daisy will undergo several months of intensive chemotherapy. I highly, highly urge you to take the time to watch Pastor Britt's sermon that he gave just a week after finding out about his daughter's cancer. I know we don't generally like to take more than a few seconds to read or watch something but, if you want to shake up your day, stir your faith to new heights, challenge yourself or just learn something new, I think this is well worth the hour spent and if you think of it, please keep Britt's family and his daughter Daisy in your prayers.
I've been having a rough season in my life as of late do mostly in part to the depressed state of mind I have been struggling with since the first few weeks of this pregnancy. Then Dakota's illness, surgery, medical charges and her very exhausting recovery has tested my feeble mind to whole new heights these past couple of weeks. It has been so tiring, stressful and on a more positive note: enlightening. As a result of this life season I have so much more compassion for people who struggle with depression. I truly grasp now that it isn't something that they can control on a regular basis and it isn't something that they have chosen for themselves. I have learned that some people can relate well to people when they are depressed and some cannot to no fault of there own, as it is simply their lack of experience with the issue. I am reminded through all this that being in my bible and building my mind up with the living word of God and praying consistently is my greatest source of strength and comfort both now and always! I've learned how I cope with high stress situations and God has shown me that I could use some improvement in this area both for my own personal benefit but, also for the health and protection of my marriage. As the bible says in Mathew 5:45, "He [God] causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." God does not pick on any of us, discriminate or find joy in our sufferings but, he does bring great comfort and peace to us when we call on him in tough times.
Britt's sermon has challenged me yet again to, "trust in the Lord with all my heart and to lean not on my own understanding. In all my ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct my path." Proverbs 3:5-6. God has rocked my world these past 26 years and He has never ceased to be faithful to me or to Joey in the ups and the downs. He has blessed our lives abundantly and given us far more than we deserve. He has never left our side in the tough times and He has always seen us through to the "joy that comes with the morning." God is so real and powerful in our lives and we are constantly in awe of the amazing things He is doing in the lives of people around us. God is so worthy of our praise no matter what life brings!
This isn't an unbearable tough time in our lives by any means but regardless, I think Joey and I are both sensing that God is using our current circumstances and trials to teach us some valuable lessons about trusting in Him no matter what, about turning to Him for our strength when times get hard and remembering not to let stress steal our joy! And just to clarify, joy is not the same thing as feeling happy. Happiness is a fleeting emotion that comes and goes and we cannot count on it lasting for long. Joy is the peace that we have as Christians in knowing that we can lay all of our "stuff" in God's hands and He will carry us through it all. It's a state a mind, and a permanent peace that comes from the Lord and it gives us strength in our darkest hour. I will borrow a verse from Britt's sermon for my last though, "It is good for me when I am afflicted that I may learn your statutes." Psalm 119:71 Tough times are far from pleasant or desirable but, as this Psalmist points out, it is in times of affliction, testing, hardship and struggle that we learn so much about God and ourselves and the life around us.
I realize this came across as a heavy levy as I like to call them but, it's a good kind of a heavy:)! Plus, I don't share enough of this kind of stuff on the blog so once in a while it's probably a good idea to be transparent and make sure you all know we are actually human and life happens to us too:). Hope you can take a wee bit of time out of your day to watch this amazing message and please, most of all, be encouraged! God is our rock and our refuge both in and out of season.
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