comfort, held, hurt, pain, suffering, trials, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Suffering: God is Sufficient Amidst Our Worldly Pain

God promised pain and trials in our lives, but He holds the victory over our suffering. It may not be easy, but we can allow Jesus to hold us amidst hurt.



This morning a precious friend came to mind. I pray for her and her family often because, from my vantage point, her life burdens are heavy, painful, and very hard to bear.

God promised pain and trials in our lives, but He holds victory over our suffering. It may not be easy, but we can allow Jesus to hold us amidst hurt. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #hurt #suffering #pain #comfort #trials

Trading Suffering…

I remember the first time my heart knit with hers. We lived in the same state then and attended the same church. Our worship leader was leading the congregation in a lively, spirited song called, “Trading My Sorrows.” The words to the song were discordant with the upbeat rhythms…at least for where my life was at the time, and incidentally, what my friend was experiencing in her life, too.

Standing silently next to each other in the choir while everyone around us loudly sang, “Yes, Lord, yes, Lord…,” she muttered, “I’m not singing that! I can’t sing that right now!” I murmured back, “Me neither. It’s too close to home right now.” I’m not sure I ever sang that song, again.

How Do We Sing?

My friend had a very ill baby. My father was dying of cancer and my husband had recently been diagnosed with cancer. It was a difficult season of life.

Neither of us knew the long years of sorrow and suffering that lay ahead of us. If we had, the weight of it might have broken us both right there in the choir loft. But God graciously hid our earthly eyes from that vision and walked us one step at a time into the future. At times, He held us.

How do we, as the song states, ‘trade our sorrows, sickness, pain, for the joy of the Lord’? How does one sing and dance about these things when in the midst of them?

Trust He is Sufficient

I’m not convinced that we are called to sing and dance, but trusting in Him is key…

And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing, I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10, NKJV

Suffering is Normal

Pastor and writer Tim Keller wrote a book called, Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering, in 2013. One Amazon reviewer had this to say: “Americans seem to suffer more due to the fact that they are even suffering – than because of the suffering in and of itself. Keller wisely shows that suffering is a normal part of living in a fallen world.”

It does seem to be an affront to us when we suffer – as though we should all be given a ‘pass’ on suffering because we are living in the 21st Century! Or because it’s not on the schedule, or because we are Christians, or, as Joni Erikson Tada said:

We are infected by our culture of comfort and convenience, and would rather erase suffering out of the biblical dictionary. We want a God who supports our plans, who is our “accomplice”; someone to whom we can relate as long as he is doing what we want. If he does something else, we “unfriend” him.

Joni Erikson Tada

Finding God

But He doesn’t always do what we want, does He? Daily, our lives are touched with suffering and death, if not personally, then vicariously. Keller wrote:

As I took up life as a minister, I tried to understand why so many people resisted and rejected God. I soon realized that perhaps the main reason was affliction and suffering. How could a good God, a just God, a loving God, allow such misery, depravity, pain, and anguish? Doubts in the mind can grow along with pain in the heart…

But at the same time, I learned that just as many people find God through affliction and suffering. They find that adversity moves them toward God rather than away. Troubled times awaken them out of their haunted sleep of spiritual self-­sufficiency into a serious search for the divine…It is an exaggeration to say that no one finds God unless suffering comes into their lives—­but it is not a big one. When pain and suffering come upon us, we finally see not only that we are not in control of our lives but that we never were.

Tim Keller, Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering

Biblical Suffering

A careful search of the Bible will find, beginning in Genesis, two of the main themes are suffering and adversity. And as Keller noted, the Psalms are filled with cries of pain. Full of questions concerning injustice and why God allows suffering.

Vindicate me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation; Oh, deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man! For You are the God of my strength; Why do You cast me off? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

Psalm 43:1-2, NKJV
»«

Awake! Why do You sleep, O Lord? Arise! Do not cast us off forever. Why do You hide Your face, and forget our affliction and oppression?

Psalm 44:23-24, NKJV

How have we missed this? Or have we simply denied it? Exodus, Job, Ecclesiastes, Jeremiah, Habakkuk, Hebrews, I Peter- all these and more, my sisters, address suffering, adversity and sorrow. Our Lord, Jesus Christ was a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, (Isaiah 53:3).

Upsidedown

Recently, Pope Francis took the authority to change some wording in the Lord’s prayer considered offensive to this world’s senses, opting for a more sensitive approach. We too often choose our finite ideas, which are continually distorted by sin and culture, requiring what John Piper calls a hermeneutical headstand. As Piper stated in his blog post: “We must continually refine them, [our ideas] by what the Bible teaches.”

Right side up, we would say, ‘The Bible teaches that God does such and such. Therefore, we should seek to discover the wisdom and goodness of why he would act that way.’ But standing on our heads, we would say, ‘We already know what is wise and good before the Bible tells us. So, if this text tells us God acts contrary to what we know, we will conclude that the text can’t mean that, or it’s mistaken.’

Daring progressive Christians say the text is mistaken; less daring progressives claim to hold fast to biblical authority while changing the meaning to fit their prior view of God. In either case, authority has shifted from heaven to earth.

John Piper

Jesus Holds the Final Word

Oh, precious one, if you are suffering, I hurt with you. More importantly, Jesus holds you and comforts you if you will allow Him.

After all, doesn’t He have the final word on suffering?

In our suffering, Jesus holds and comforts us if we will allow Him. He holds the final word over our pain! Click To Tweet

God promised pain and trials in our lives, but He holds victory over our suffering. It may not be easy, but we can allow Jesus to hold us amidst hurt. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #hurt #suffering #pain #comfort #trials

unsplash-logoJOHN TOWNER
boundaries, comfort, sufficient, grace, strength, peace, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Sufficiency: Finding Comfort in the Promises of God

The messages of the world can leave us feeling empty. We must seek our comfort in the promises of God and trust in His sufficiency. 



If you subscribe to the concept of love languages, it would take you five minutes with my son to recognize that his love language is clearly physical touch. In a world where snuggling was an Olympic sport, he would earn gold medals. He could beg to be tickled all day, every day and never stop asking for more. He likes to be right next to you at all times so that if he wants to reach out and touch for even a second, he can. My sweet boy expresses himself through touch, communicating both his love and his anger with his hands and feet.

The messages of the world can leave us feeling empty. We must seek our comfort in the promises of God and trust in His sufficiency. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #boundaries #comfort #grace #scripture #devotional

Understanding Boundaries

We live in a physical world where contact is necessary. However, we draw boundaries around this necessity to keep ourselves and others safe from something as little as awkwardness, to something as big as victimization. Because of these boundaries, my son’s world is constantly telling him that his desire to connect with others and have them connect with him is not okay. He hears the same messages on a loop:

  •    That’s inappropriate.
  •    Too rough.
  •    I’m not available right now.
  •    Keep your hands to yourself.

One night, after carefully explaining appropriate touching to him, he fell apart in my arms and sobbed. “Mommy,” he cried, “I try. So. Hard. But I like people and I want to touch them, but I always get in trouble because it’s just so hard to remember.”

I hugged him tightly and reassured him that I knew he was trying. Recognizing that it was a challenge for him, I let him know the fact he loves people is a good thing. My heart broke for him because I know it is difficult to feel loved when you feel like you are always in trouble. It is especially difficult when you are always in trouble for something that is such a large part of who you are, intrinsically. You can feel wholly insufficient.

Seeking Comfort

It is hard. God created us in a physical world in order to be in relationship with others. At the same time, we are sinners and have to be in relationship with other sinners. This makes for messy relationships and confusing boundaries. And there are times where we feel discontent with our earthly relationships. This discontentment is meant to be healed by finding our comfort, rest, and satisfaction in the arms of Christ.

And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

Isaiah 58:11, ESV

I think that many of us know this and have moments where we can truly feel it. But resting in the Lord doesn’t have the immediate, recognizable comfort that the embrace of a loved one has for us. His words, also, are harder to hear than those of others in our lives. Especially when we are distracted by the world and its demands.

This reminds me of the Israelites as they waited for Moses. They became fearful and distracted by their circumstances. Since they were not seeing the blessings and protections of the Father in that moment, they created an idol to worship in His stead. They were unable to trust in His sufficiency when they thought He might be absent. While we may not be forging gold into a golden calf in our daily lives, we can make physical contact with others an idol. We can easily take His sufficiency for granted.

Flipping the Script

I have to figure out how to present this to a five-year-old. It’s difficult enough for me to understand and seems like an insurmountable obstacle to apply it when it is needed the most. The best solution for me right now is to teach my boy the scriptures he can turn to. It is so important for him to look for solutions in the Word. I must help him hide those words in his heart so that he can turn the messages from his physical world into messages from God, rooted in Truth.

  • It’s inappropriate to touch someone that way just because you like them, but God’s grace is sufficient for you.
  • That’s too rough. Remember that you are shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.
  • I am not available for you right now, but the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
  • Hands to yourself. Instead, pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling.
  • I know it is So. Hard. But you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

Maybe, while teaching my son, I will learn this as well.

While we may not be forging gold into a golden calf in our daily lives, we can make physical contact with others an idol. We can easily take His sufficiency for granted. Click To Tweet

The messages of the world can leave us feeling empty. We must seek our comfort in the promises of God and trust in His sufficiency. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #boundaries #comfort #grace #scripture #devotional

Bryan Minear

comfort, trust, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, Spiritual Growth

Comfort: Learning Who to Trust Will Transform Our Lives

Trust can be extremely difficult. But, drawing close to God can truly bring us out of our comfort zones and into the comfort of His faithfulness. 



“If you behave, you’ll get some candy.”

We’ve all probably used some form of blackmail. Especially if you’re a parent. Most of the time it can be harmless, but what about when it crosses the line?

“If you don’t start behaving the way we want you to, we’re going to give you up for adoption.”

Sadly, all trust was broken when these words fell on little ears.

Trust is the glue that holds relationships together and when trust is broken, so is the relationship.

I’ve struggled to really trust people in my life. Seems like I’ve been trying to live up to everyone’s expectations because if I didn’t, they might walk away.

Earthly Trust

The definition of trust is the firm belief in the reliability of someone (Merriam-Webster).

Firm can be defined as solidly fixed. I think of “Gorilla Glue”: nothing is breaking apart what has been put together.

Sadly, most of us can agree that this type of trust is not of Earth. Living in a fallen world equals a lack of trustworthy humans. This makes any relationship daunting and even a little scary.

And, if you’ve experienced painful disappointment, you will attest to this; trusting in God can be hard.

We know we should do it, but it’s tough to put that much confidence in someone else. Perhaps you ask yourself how you can surrender it all to God when everything else in your life seems unstable and unreliable.

The fact is, we are surrounded by other broken humans. It can be difficult when all we hear them say is “the Lord is always faithful”.

Here’s the thing: we said trust is a glue to hold our relationships together. So if we don’t have some confidence in others, we won’t have satisfying relationships and we won’t be able to step out into greater things.

Comfort Zone

The same is true of God. We can’t grow in faith without beginning to trust Him. When we’re afraid to be “all in” with Him and trust Him completely, we will never achieve what His desires are for us.

We will remain in our comfort zone without growing in a relationship with God, fulfilling our purpose, or even having rewarding earthly relationships.

When Jesus appeared walking on the Sea of Galilee to the disciples, Peter called out.

Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”

“Yes, come,” Jesus said.

So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.

Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”

Matthew 14:28-31, NLT

Trust can be extremely difficult. But, drawing close to God can truly bring us out of our comfort zones and into the comfort of His faithfulness. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Trust Recognized

See how Peter asked Jesus to invite him, extending his trust, and stepping out? Then once he was on the water, he started to think of reasons why he shouldn’t trust and he started to sink; back into his comfort zone.

Sound familiar?

Trusting completely in someone is scary when all we’ve known is uncertainty.

Jesus then told Peter he had too little trust.

Peter’s comfort was the boat. Instead of reaching out to Jesus and allowing God to stay beside him, he sank. What if Peter would have remembered how faithful Jesus had already been in his life?

The key is focusing on Christ. God is always faithful, certain, stable, and steadfast.

When we ask God to grow our trust in Him, it will extend to our other relationships, and give us the confidence to leave our comfort zones.

Peter went on to be known as “The Rock” the early church was built on, just two short chapters later. If Peter was able to grow in trust, we know by following our Lord, we can be blessed with increased trust also.

When we ask God to help us trust in Him, it will extend to our other relationships, and give us the confidence to leave our comfort zones. Click To Tweet

Growing Comfortable in Trust…

Remain close to God through daily reading of His word.

Review God’s track record from the Bible.

Remove ourselves from the situation. (We’re sinful and can’t even trust ourselves).

Remember God is our source of blessings and life.

Rest in God. He can take our past, heal us and give us a future.

This girl with trust issues knows that she’s not where she once was, but she hasn’t arrived yet either. After reading Peter’s transformation, I know God can use even the pain of my past to drive me from my comfort zone to an always faithful Christ.



Julie Loos is the mom of 5 kids and has been happily married to Greg for 19 years. She loves to read, eat chocolate, drink iced tea and spend time writing in the midst of messes.

You can connect with Julie on her blog unmaskingthemess.com, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

 

 

Trust can be extremely difficult. But, drawing close to God can truly bring us out of our comfort zones and into the comfort of His faithfulness. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

constant, unchanging, hope, Oh Lord Help Us, women, Christian, ministry

Constant: Hopeful in the Waiting Because Jesus is Unchanging

Hope is challenging when our lives are full of waiting. Jesus is our hope and deliverer even when nothing may ever change. He is our constant.



My friend had a broken heart. I’m done she wrote. Done praying, hoping, waiting. What kind of father allows his children to suffer and hurt when he has the power to change and heal hearts? He hides behind this idea that we are to learn lessons and become stronger. It’s cruel and I want no part of it.

As I read my friend’s words, I knew I too had felt these very thoughts and more as I suffered through long periods of waiting. What is a believer to do in the midst of extreme despair? As believers our only answer is hope.

Hope is challenging when our lives are full of waiting. Jesus is our hope and deliverer even when nothing may ever change. He is our constant. #hope, #constant, #givemeJesus

He is Our Hope

The weight of situations have left me feeling broken, alone, vulnerable, and angry. While listening to preachers talk about peace and comfort and better times, I have rarely connected better times with being in God’s presence. I know I have attributed better times with better circumstances; the problem would be resolved and the weight would fall off. Yet, Scripture is full of those who saw long times of waiting. Moses in the desert – not one time but twice, Joseph in prison, and David in hiding. And us his church waiting for his return. If I am honest, I do not want to be one of the waiting. I want to be one of the delivered.

How can I find hope and even believe there is anything to hope for in the face of so much pain? In the face of impossible situations and ones that may not change?

He is Our Deliverer

Hebrews 11, while it speaks of so many who were faithful and saw victory, also talks about suffering, mocking, flogging, sawn in two, stoned, killed by the sword. Destitute, afflicted, mistreated- of whom the world was unworthy.  While many today want to make Jesus into some wise teacher, He is and was so much more.

He is the great deliverer. For some, that will be here on earth. They will see healing and change. But, many may never see deliverance until heaven. Regardless of when the hope that we long for is fulfilled, we can all stand sure of one thing- His presence. He has promised us His presence. Jesus said he was sending us a comforter. What does that mean but that we would require comfort? This world has trouble, but take heart. I have overcome the world.

Regardless of when the hope that we long for is fulfilled, we can all stand sure of one thing- His presence. Click To Tweet

leather, wrap, bracelet, redeemed, cuff

He is Our Constant

I can see the weight of worry and despair fall off because He is my peace, who has broken down every wall. My problem will not go away. Some of my worries may never get better or even change until I walk the gates of heaven. But, He is constant. I can trust him with my agony knowing that He too, understands what it is like to suffer. I can lay my despair at the feet of Jesus and know if not now, then one day all will be redeemed. All will be made new. All will be as He intended.

Jesus too, suffered knowing that the only relief would be the cross. I can take comfort that in whatever I face He, who knew no sin, suffered in my place so that I will not face eternity with no hope. This is a different kind of hope than the one who does not know Jesus, our great high priest who, though was tempted, was without sin. I will forget this truth often and I hope that I can reach out to those who will gently remind me of what is good and true. I can pray and take time to train my heart to remember and meditate on His constancy.

Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Hebrews 12:3, NIV

Hope is challenging when our lives are full of waiting. Jesus is our hope and deliverer even when nothing may ever change. He is our constant. #hope, #constant, #givemeJesus

eberhard grossgasteiger

Remembered, God cares, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, ministry, encouragement

Remembered: Being Comforted and Held by the God Who Sees

We are told to take care of our heart, because that is where the enemy will attack. In these attacks, we may not be able to trust our feelings, but we can trust the God who sees. We are remembered and cared for.



Soon, my son, Evan, and I will get on a plane and fly to Philadelphia. There we will meet with a transplant team that will discuss the possibility of a bone marrow transplant. To say I am beside myself does not seem to give justice to the feelings I have. This is not our first difficult decision where Evan is concerned. He has had something health related going on since birth and we have been faced with tough choices all along the way, but this feels different.

When I share this possibility with people – friends and strangers – they all look at me in wonder. Concerned. Worried. They, just like me, know the gravity of this. It’s not a broken arm. Evan has a broken immune system and its over activity is working havoc all over his body. His joints, his muscles, his pancreas, his colon, and my heart.

We are told to take care of our heart, because that is where the enemy will attack. In these attacks, we may not be able to trust our feelings, but we can trust the God who sees. We are remembered and cared for.

The attack of the heart …

Do you ever wonder why we are told over and over to take care with our heart. To know that our heart is deceitful. To take our thoughts captive. And to guard our heart. Because that is where the enemy strikes. He strikes at my heart and that is, at its very essence, my thoughts.

And where does the enemy want my thoughts to linger? Oh that’s easy. God, but not the good stuff. It’s not thoughts like: God will supply and God will show up. It’s thoughts like: how dare God and why would he, and where is he? Just like Hagar. Do you remember her?

So [Hagar] called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.

Genesis 16:13, ESV

Scripture tells us that Sarai gave Hagar to Abraham as a means to bear an heir. But it all went horribly wrong. Sarai became jealous of Hagar. The scripture says dealt harshly with her and Hagar ran off. And in the midst of all this mess, the angel of the Lord came and gave Hagar a command and a promise. And Hagar knew she was remembered. She knew she had dealt with the God who sees.

The feelings that lie…

Often, I tell my children that my feelings lie. I tell them that to remind them and to remind me. I have choices with what I do with my fear and how I view my feelings. As a believer, I have a hope. It is founded in the cross and resurrection of Jesus and in the very character and nature of God. He never changes and he is always the same yesterday today and forever. Satan’s objective is to cause me to doubt that good character and to doubt that God sees and that He remembers. He also wants me to feel that I am being harshly dealt with, that what I am enduring is not a good Father but one I cannot trust and who does not care.

The God who sees…

So what do I do when my feelings feel like the only truth I can see or my thoughts keep finding their way to despair or doubt? This is actually one of the few things I can control. I cannot control what comes into my thoughts, but I can control what I allow my heart to meditate on. That can be as simple as carrying an index card in my purse with a verse on God’s faithfulness or as complicated as memorizing several passages that remind me of what my heart is prone to forget. There have been times when every wall in my home had a scripture verse attached to it. And not beautiful framed verses but copy paper written with markers.

I am in control of so little. But this I know, I can bounce my thoughts to his word and allow his word to develop in me a heart that flees to him for comfort and truth. I too, like Hagar, may find myself fleeing from harsh situations in dry and desert-like conditions. But, I am not abandoned. God hears me and He sees. I can believe that, trust him, and meditate on his good promises.

I am not abandoned. God hears me and He sees. Click To Tweet

We are told to take care of our heart, because that is where the enemy will attack. In these attacks, we may not be able to trust our feelings, but we can trust the God who sees. We are remembered and cared for.

turmoil, safety, Oh Lord Help Us, ministry, women, Christian, encouragement

Unavoidable: Making Peace with the Impact of Turmoil

Brace for impact! Turmoil in life is unavoidable, and there is no sense of control. Do we trust God with our lives? What about the lives of our children?



Last week, I had a lengthy conversation with my sister-in-law. She told me, “You have a whole heckuva lot going on in your life right now. I’m not gonna sugar coat it for ya.” Laughing, I asked her if I could quote her on that. I tend to downplay stressors in my life. Someone always has it worse. Searing loss has not ripped through our family. Yet things simmering beneath the surface are draining. They bring me to my knees, but I’m not going back often enough.

Brace for impact! Turmoil in life is unavoidable, and there is no sense of control. Do we trust God with our lives? What about the lives of our children?

A Dream…

My husband, Sean, awakened me from a nightmare a few mornings back…

In the pre-dawn hours, I was driving in the hills of West Virginia en route to Louisville. My kids were with me; two in the back and one riding shotgun. Charging up a steep grade, we passed several cars pulled onto the shoulder that were having mechanical difficulties.

I asked my daughter to check the weather to see what we were going to be running into. As I neared a large, dark colored truck in front of me I saw my passenger side headlight was out in the reflection. I felt frustrated because I had just been through the safety inspection. In the distance a siren was blaring, getting steadily louder as we closed in on its position. The sound was coming from a white Honda Civic which was driving in reverse on the side of the road. It was alerting oncoming traffic of a wreck. Just past the Civic there were multiple cars moved off the main road that had clearly been in a major pile up.

My daughter mentioned something about possible icy conditions ahead. The sun had begun to illuminate the mountains’ dark shadows. I was behind the wheel but I could also see what was happening from the outside. An invisible force stretched across the interstate catching the front of my car. It slowed the car, extending like a sling shot. The tail end began to lift off the ground. My breaks were no longer of any use as we went airborne across the median. We made contact with the ascending terrain only once, spinning us like a fast ball toward the stone wall of a mountain. I groaned in terror as we hurled over the oncoming traffic, suspended in air and closing fast to impact. Bracing myself I thought O God; I don’t want my kids to go like this.

I could hear my muffled moan like someone had wired my mouth shut. Reality gripped as Sean shook me awake. All was quiet.

Brace for impact! Turmoil in life is unavoidable, and there is no sense of control. Do we trust God with our lives? What about the lives of our children?

A Promise…

Unable to fall back to sleep, I went downstairs to write. Sitting down, I smiled. I knew what my dream meant. I was Louisville bound. It’s my hometown. That’s where my mom and dad are. They represent comfort, rest, security. The cars and wrecks are the heartache and hardships in the people around me. My busted headlight stands for unrest in my own life. The invisible force could signify not being able to ignore my own turmoil any longer. Propelling through the air denotes I am 100% out of control. Bracing for impact is feeling that what is happening is unavoidable. I can make peace with that; my future is secure.

Crying out to God for my children was telling. I want to shield them from the kind of agony that could end them. I feel responsible for not protecting them from hurt. Yet I know from experience, “there is no growth without pain, no integrity without self-denial,” (Brennan Manning). I don’t want to rob my children of learning to trust God’s character for themselves. Do I trust God with the lives of those I love most? My answer must be yes. Alternatively, if it is no, I have resigned to simply existing. God loves and cares for my family more than I can conceive.

Homera Homer-Dixon said “freedom from suffering leads to uselessness.” There are some days when the onslaught of pruning feels unbearable. But God will never leave us or forsake us.

I cry to God Most High, to God who accomplishes all things for me.

Psalm 57:2, NASB

There are some days when the onslaught of pruning feels unbearable. But God will never leave us or forsake us. Click To Tweet

Brace for impact! Turmoil in life is unavoidable, and there is no sense of control. Do we trust God with our lives? What about the lives of our children?

clothed, spiritual, salvation

Adorn: Abandoning the Old and Clothing Ourselves With Salvation

Worldly garments look completely different than spiritual garments. Clothing ourselves in sin hinders our ability to adorn salvation daily.



Clothes. Such a necessity. But why, oh why, do they have to produce laundry? I absolutely loathe laundry. It is one of those chores that we will never see come to completion. Unless you’re a family of nudists (not judging, but kind of). I really have tried the one “load of laundry a day” tip. Y’all, this is not realistic.

My boys are so very blessed with loads of clothes (pun intended). They have clothes for each season. Clothes for school, for playing, for sleeping. Church clothes, Christmas clothes, sports clothes. Seriously, I’m really contemplating becoming a minimalist. But, no matter how many clothes they have, my boys still have their favorites. The ones they will wear whenever they are clean (sometimes even dirty). Special clothes that wear out, tear, have stains. Even still, these items are chosen over shiny new ones.

Have I hit the point yet? This is moving toward matters of the heart…

Adorn: Dirty Clothes

We do this, don’t we? We all have “items” we put on day in and day out. For me, I’m constantly trying to change out of perfectionism, negativity, and insecurity. The list goes on but these are my comfortable clothes. These are the 8-year-old yoga pants I do chores in because they have bleach stains all over. They fit perfectly, and I NEED something to clean in, right?!

Because I’m a mere mortal, it is not in my nature to habitually clothe myself with supernatural adornments. It does feel good to put on freshly laundered clothes. But, why is this such a difficult process in our own spirits? When sin creeps in and goes unaddressed, we become more and more comfortable wearing it. The elastic starts breaking in, so to speak (I think I’ve pushed this analogy as far as I should).

Worldly garments look completely different than spiritual garments. Clothing ourselves in sin hinders our ability to adorn salvation daily.

Adorn: Daily Clothes

Sneaky sin is not what our Heavenly Father wishes for us. He has created the most beautiful spiritual ornaments. However, spiritual clothes are more difficult for us “put on”. In the midst of anger, how easy is it to be compassionate? When depression overwhelms, it’s difficult to be joyful. Anxiety makes us feel a need to act quickly, instead of being patient and trusting in the Lord.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Colossians 3:12, NIV

It takes daily submission and acceptance of this truth; we are His chosen. In every worldly situation and circumstance, we are to stand out. We are set apart and should not be wearing the same yoga pants as everyone else. These are not to be worn for our own glory, but for everyone to witness God’s glory. For all to see the precious gift of salvation through Christ Jesus.

Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day.

1 Cronicles 16:23, NIV
Worldly garments look completely different than spiritual garments. Clothing ourselves in sin hinders our ability to adorn salvation daily.

Adorn: Salvation Clothes

Most of us can remember the moment we accepted Jesus as our savior. It took me longer to understand what truly happens when we leave our sinful nature behind and accept the forgiveness and mercy of God. When we adorn our clothes of salvation, we are adorning ourselves in all that God has offered. Rest, protection, righteousness, joy, forgiveness, gratefulness, comfort, love.

I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Isaiah 61:10, NIV

In our salvation, it takes more than just washing our dirty clothes, we must learn to completely abandon them. Every. Single. Day. Salvation is the only piece of clothing I want or need to put on. For in salvation all else rests. It is humbling to know I can approach the throne of God in my ugly yoga pants, because He prepared a way for me to ditch them. In Him, I am made new. My old clothes don’t fit anymore.


If you have found this inspiring, share the encouragement…

When sin creeps in and goes unaddressed, we become more and more comfortable wearing it. Click To Tweet
Worldly garments look completely different than spiritual garments. Clothing ourselves in sin hinders our ability to adorn salvation daily.

Tammy Strot


I was tired, worn out, and dirty, but God…

This is the newest item in the Oh Lord Help Us Shop. It serves as a reminder that we are no longer who we were. The story has changed.

mug, but God, coffee, tea

Suddenly, Nothing Else Matters

This past week kinda got away from me. I didn’t take the time to write, and honestly was just not motivated to do so. This happens every so often, so I was just going to do something light-hearted. But that will have to wait. It just doesn’t seem right. I don’t feel light-hearted today. I actually feel very, very heavy. I feel heavy about loss of life this week. I feel heavy that there is so much hurt, anger, and division in our country. I feel heavy that my brother-in-law lost his father. And I feel heavy that 2 little boys lost their mom this weekend.

A classmate of mine from college whom I was in the dental hygiene program with, has lost her battle with cancer. It was all so sudden that it has left many, including myself, trying to catch up. What happened? How did this happen? Why did it have to happen. It makes me weep and want to scream.

Two and a half months ago she was performing in a local production of Steel Magnolias. Two months ago she was celebrating her son’s 9th birthday. A month ago she shared this on Facebook:

CANCER….for those who’ve wondered & those who’ve already known….yes it’s what I’ve got! The thing about cancer is, it causes a person to experience MANY different emotions but it also causes you to really reflect on life. One thing I’ve learned is that my family is so incredibly loved by SO many people that I can’t even begin to explain how that makes me feel!
And, so whatever happens during this journey…..I am blessed beyond measure because I know that I AM the daughter of a KING that is NOT moved by this world!!! There is nothing that happens in my life that HE doesn’t already know about. I shall not fear because HE goes before me! HE is the Great Physician & I know that HE will protect me….HE has great plans for me! My JESUS has me in the palm of his hand & HE knows exactly what I need when I need it!!!! And for that I am thankful!! So…It’s ALL GOOD y’all.

And today, she is gone.

She was not a close friend, but her death has hit me incredibly hard. The tears just won’t stop. Without Facebook, I probably would not have any clue what her life was like, or that any of this was happening. But I do know that she was an incredibly bright, loving, and kind person. She was when she was a part of my daily school life, and seeing the response of her death, I know that her influence has only increased over the years. Now, she is not just in the “palm of his hand” but truly in the arms of Jesus. What a beautiful image.

She was loved greatly, because she loved greatly. She is absolutely the daughter of a King who is in complete control. We do not understand His ways, but we can trust Him. We may not like the outcome, but we can rest in His peace. I agree with her, it is ALL GOOD!

I feel so much pain for her parents, her husband, and her boys. I know they are in shock, overcome with grief, and wondering how they will make it through each day. There is no advice, there are no words, to ease the pain they feel. Jesus says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” The comfort will come, but for now, just mourning. Deep, gut-wrenching, painful mourning.

It’s so easy to get caught up in day-to-day things. It’s not that those things don’t matter, or that the Lord is not using those things to teach us, or encourage us, or heal us. But there are seasons in life that our perspective shifts. For this precious family, suddenly nothing else matters. I’m sure they are not caring about what they are wearing, or what they need to get done this week, or who is running for president. They only know the love they feel for this incredibly special woman and the hole that exists in their lives now that she is gone.

For today, I have no deeper message to share. Only that I wish to weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15).

xoxo