Circumstances

joy

Wow, it’s been so long since I have sat down to write on this blog.  Life has been crazy!  We are finally settled and moved into our home in Arizona, although we are still waiting on Kevin.  He is finishing out his contract with his current job and also looking for a job here.  I have to say I love blogging, writing, ranting…. whatever you want to call it.  It is like therapy for me and boy have I needed a good therapy session since moving here.

After going over in my mind all we have gone through since we arrived in late December, it got me thinking about a Bible study I did a couple of summers ago, it was written and taught by Kay Warren of Saddleback Church. (My old church)  The study was Choose Joy and it was all about not allowing your circumstances determine the amount of joy in your life.  I did the study and loved it, however I never “got it” until now.

Up until now my circumstances have been great….. great place to live, great friends, great school for my kids, great life.  Things have been a little different since I moved to Arizona.  Let me tell you about some of the things that happened right when I got here.  I find out my street has some interesting people living on it, not just one interesting family, but three. In all fairness I am sure every street has some “fun-story” type of people on it but I happened to hear about it all at once and coming from my little Orange County bubble it opened my eyes a bit.  Then after finally finding a church I fell in love with, we walk into service to find the Board Members on stage announcing the resignation of the lead Pastor for having multiple extra martial affairs.  Oh it gets better, hold on…. My husband finally had to leave to go back to his job in California and left me alone with the 5 kids! On the first day of school my 5 year old gets lost after school and for over 20 minutes no one can find him anywhere.  Everyone from parents to staff searches high and low for him, I called the police and got on my knees and then begged God to bring him home safe. (I still had not had a heart attack, yay me!!).  Then the worst things happened….they all got the sick…. not just sniff, sniff or cough, cough I mean SICK all 5 overlapping days and to make it even crazier just an hour ago I got a phone call from the school to come and pick up my 8 year old because he had a 102 fever, so its not over yet!!

These are not problems, a real problem would be finding out something terrible happened to my husband in California or that one of my kids may have cancer.  No, these are circumstances that, if I allowed, could steal my joy.  If I were talking to you on the phone and I said “I’m lonely without my husband and friends” or “I am fearful of the impact some of the neighbors might have on my family” or “I’m so sad the church I loved is having such issues, I really need a strong church”, or how about if I said ” I am so angry with my sons school for losing him, the teacher should never have let him leave her side!” or “I am overwhelmed with having 5 sick kids at home, they are taking everything out of me, I just can’t do this alone anymore”.  If we had this conversation I am confident my feelings would be validated by the circumstances I had been dealing with.  If I allowed these feelings to creep in depression would be waiting at the other side of the door and if it had not walked in already, it would be really close.  I can see how fast someone can get depressed and have valid reasons in doing so, can’t you?

Stop here with me a moment and lets just look at the other side.  what if…. When I heard about my interesting neighbors I looked at it as an opportunity to extend grace to them and grow in not judging others?  What if when I found out about the Pastor I paid more attention to how the church handled the situation and felt Blessed to be a part of a church that does not cover things up and move on?  What if, when my 5 year old was lost and my heart was pounding out of my chest and I thought I was going to puke on myself right then and there, I had a grateful heart that he was found safe and sound instead of looking to point blame and get someone fired?  What if, after a weeks worth of no sleep, bags under my eyes and too much disinfecting to do to even think about, I looked up to my God and thanked him that it was only the flu, that it would soon be over and my healthy kids would be back soon.  See,  in this example the circumstances did not dictate how I felt, I DID!  I am in control of choosing joy or not and you are too.

In her book Choose Joy, Kay Warren writes,  “Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life; the quiet confidence that ultimately everything his going to be all right; and the determined choice to praise God in all things“.  Take a minute and re-read that quote, really let it sink in.  Now let’s goto the words our Heavenly Father left for us, you can find them in James 1:2-4 “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way“.

Please do not misunderstand me in  anyway.   I do not think we should be happy about bad circumstances, not at all, but I will say we have a choice.  The choice is this, dwell on what is bad or be thankful and joyful for what is right.  The choice is yours, Choose Joy won’t you?

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Motives, do they matter?

Lately I have been struggling with truly understanding how two people could have a disagreement, yet be calm and peaceful within the argument.  See, I am a passionate person, I do not argue too much with anyone but when I do BOY look out.  There are few things that get me so fired up that my heart starts beating, my face gets red and my voice raises, but when those subjects come up and someone tries to convince me I’m wrong and they are right… the battle begins.

However, lately it has not been the case.  I have known this is not how I want to live and I have been praying for God to help change this part in me.  We all know the verses in the Bible that talk about the downfall of getting angry.  I have read them hundreds of times, but one day I opened up the Bible and read a passage that started the transformation of my mind on this subject.

Proverbs 21:2 We justify our actions by appearances; God examines our motives

I paused and re-read this about 10 times.  Every time I would read it the verse went deeper and deeper into my soul.  Then it just hit me, it’s the motives of why someone is saying or doing something that matter.  Someone can have totally pure motives, yet have a total opposite view on something,  yet all the Lord sees is their motive not the external product.  Let me give you a few examples:

You have 2 women.  One is Pro Choice the other is against the right to choose to have an abortion.  If you are passionate about this subject, just with statement alone your heart might be racing and you are ready to write a comment below.  But WAIT, hold on a second.  The motive of the woman who is against abortion comes from a place of love, she does not want babies to be killed she has been through the adoption process and knows a ton of people who want a baby so bad, she has had the pain of abortion in her life and desperately does not want others to have to live with that pain, her motive is love.  But what about the one who is pro choice, some may ask how could that be love?  Look, this woman comes from a era where she remembers where woman were nothing, had no rights and were treated like 2nd rate citizens.  Her motive is also out of love.  This woman does not want to see babies killed, it pains her heart to even think about that, but she believes everyone should have the right to make their own decisions and then live with the consequences of them.  Now in an argument if both of these woman would remember each other motives, you have a greater chance for a peaceful resolution.  And of course on many subjects, especially this one,  it is usually just better to respectfully disagree and move on,  talking about the beautiful weather outside.  But by focusing on the motive of the heart, it’s easier to walk away without resentment or anger

Let me give you another example, MAMA BEAR!  Oh, us moms can immediately think of an incident right now that will just make us want to really hurt someone because of the effect it has on our kids. It can be the smallest disagreement with our kids teacher, another parent, coach, or another child that will set us into a tail spin and throw any niceness we have out the window.  I want to  challenge you to first think about their motives.

For teachers, can you imagine being around 35 kids all day and still getting every right?  Do you really think they became teachers just because they hate children and want to make your child’s life miserable? Is it possible that through all their experience they are doing what they have seen work, even if it’s hard on your kid at the moment?  MOST, not all, but most of the time teachers do what they do because they love kids.  They get paid peanuts so they are not in it for the money. When discussing issues at school remember this next time, they love your kids or they would not be there.

How about another parent? Have you ever been able to get a glimpse of this parents heart before?  Have they shown you they are inharenity good?  Could they maybe be having a bad day and need grace? Could they be frustrated with the situation and by you coming to them with grace would allow them to see Jesus with skin on and allow a peaceful resolution?  Look, MOST, not all people become parents because they love kids.  Unlike teachers, they do not get paid at all, so they are not in the business of having kids or dealing with kids for money.  When it comes to our kids a lot of emotion comes into play and if one of the parents could start the conversation in an attempt to understand and not have to be right, it will normally diffuse and allow a peaceful resolution.

How about coaches? Ohhh, this one gets my cheeks rosy red and my heart pumping.  See, my husband is a coach for the little ones. I see first hand how much time, effort and love he puts into writing every play, constructing every practice and coaching every game.  He does not do this because he wants to become an NFL coach one day and be paid millions, he has been to the NFL, he is good on that.  He does it, along with the other coaches because he loves the kids with all his heart and wants every kid to have a positive, fun and safe experience.  I can say without a doubt that anyone who volunteers coaching (head or assistants) does it because in their spare time there is NOTHING else they would rather do. Can conflicts arise, oh you bet, but if you start with knowing the coach is not out to get your kid and you remember he is doing this out of love not hate,then its a better place to start when approaching a situation and usually any need can be addressed without conflict.  On a side note, try to never do it during practice or a game.  Although coaches do what they do for the love of the game, practice and games can usually fire them up and make them pretty emotional.  It’s always best to do during the week before of after practice.

And then what about or precious kids friends?  I am bad with this!!  When kids are mean to mine, they all of a sudden become 5’4” and aged 20 years.  I look at them like I could have it out with them.  How sad is that?  This is a 8 year old boy and I am ready to beat him up.  However picking on my kid and hurting his/her feelings will do that to me.  I’m sorry, please do not think I am evil but it is true.  So in this area I have really seen the most growth.  Kids are in the process of growing their hearts, they are influenced by so many things in this world…. parents, TV, video games, piers, teachers etc. How they react can sometimes be what they are taught and sometimes it’s not that they are being mean, it is they are so brutally honest that it comes out hurtful.  They do not know how to sugar coat things or just not open their mouth.  They are in the process of being taught this.  So looking back, how many times could I have had a teachable moment in love with these kids had i just remembered they are kids.  They are a creation from my Lord and Savior not from Satan (although sometimes I wonder….. LOL it was a joke)  and if I had just  taken a few moments and explained how hurtful what they just did was instead of going off like a crazy lady (oh yes I have been that crazy lady far too many times I want to admit) how much of a blessing it would have been for both my child and the other one. This is where my biggest work in process is going to be but I am working on it!

Whooh, how could one small Bible verse have that much of an effect on me!?

So, do motives matter, ABOLUTELY YES!  This is a wonderful time to grow in your faith, to mature in wisdom and to be Jesus with skin on the next time you encounter a tough situation.  Of course, there will always be someone in your lifetime that has nasty motives but when you run into those type follow Proverbs 9: 7-9!

Have a blessed day!

A New Chapter

the-next-chapter-1-470x264

Have you ever thought about what the names would be if you wrote a book on your life? I think mine would go something like this….

Chapter 1: Childhood; Loved and Cherished

Chapter 2: Teenage Years; Rebellious, Regrets & Respite

Chapter 3: Independence; All the Single Ladies!

Chapter 4: Love; Finally felt true love

Chapter 5: An NFL wife; short lived but FUN!

Chapter 6: Poor but Rich; no money but rich in love (living in South Carolina)

Chapter 7: Rich but Poor; lots of money but poor in love & faith  (living in Las Vegas)

Chapter 8: Renewal of our Marriage; God is now center

Chapter 9: Adoption; The biggest blessing EVER!

Chapter 10: Invitro; The pains of not being able to have a baby on your own

Hang in there it’s almost over….

Chapter 11: Re-prioritizing; Letting go of material wealth for stronger spiritual and family health (Moved to California)

Chapter 12: More Babies; I finally got pregnant and can’t stop!

Chapter 13; The deepest sadness; When I lost my Dad

Chapter 14: Adoption; This time I got my baby girl

Chapter 15: It’s not Mine; learning to give without limits

Chapter 16: It’s about them, not us; We are moving to Arizona!

Those of you that made it to Chapter 16 now know, the Hickman’s are moving.  Our life has been richly blessed in California in so many ways.  However because of the cost of living here, having 5 kids (4 boys and a girl that eat ALOT), Kevin loving his profession in High School (which is a ministry more than a job = less$$), and me wanting to be able to afford food, shelter, and stay at home with the kids, it is a move that has to be made.

How did this all happen? Well, back in May  you might remember I wrote a blog on the struggles with finding a house here.  You can read it here Shortly after this my husband almost had a heart attack.  He was dealing with a lot of stress being completely overwhelmed with working a full time job, running the gym, being a dad, being a husband and getting his PhD.  I was way overloaded with trying to run the gym during the day and all that goes with having 5 kids.  All the while struggling to pay our bills every month! God was screaming at us to simplify our lives.   Kevin and I heard loud and clear and we were determined to be obedient.

We went out one night and talked about everything we had going on, the struggles with the house we wanted to buy here and decided that we would look at other places that we “might” want to move to and just entertain the idea.  We loved the weather in Vegas, but hated the city so because Phoenix was very similar to Vegas in the ways we liked,  we decided to look there.  We could not believe how much cheaper the cost of living was!  Holy smokes, we could take our kids out for ice cream and not stress over spending $20 more than our budget!  We could actually SAVE money each month?  What?  This is actually possible?  So we started to look at homes and it was obvious it was a great place for our family.  Kade and I went there for a weekend in June and we found our new home!  We closed at the end of June and as a family started to take short trips there.

I am moving on December 20th with the kids.  Because our current landlord would not extend our lease to the end of the school year, we decided to leave at the half year mark so the kids could start their new school after Christmas break.  Kevin will be here until June, living with my cousin from April to June since our current homes lease is up March 31st.

Kevin does not have a job yet, but in his line of work they really do not start hiring until February or March for the following school year and we are hopeful he will have no problems finding a job.  He has worked at 2 of the top schools in the country and has a great resume.  However, we do have plan B incase he has any problems!

I am going to miss so many of the dear friends I have here, my church family, our kids amazing school, my cousins, and the beach of course!  But we are all so excited to meet new friends, for our new church, my kids new school and although I won’t have family or a beach there California is just a short plane or car ride away and for that we are most grateful.

I do not know how many chapters I will have in my book before I go home to be with the Lord in Heaven, but one thing I hope everyone takes away from this post is through ALL of this,  every step of the way, we did not make any decision without praying about it.  Whether it was Kevin and I praying together or separately, each issue was prayed over and no decision was made unless it was absolutely clear to both of us.  There may be things right now God is nudging you to do, but your afraid of the “what ifs”, I will tell you pray and do not give up.  God knows where we are all going, what we are all doing and he can help you with all the details.  He WILL help!  How do I know?  Cuz he did with me and he does not love me anymore than he loves you!  “Ask and you shall receive..”

We will be having a night where we can say goodbye to everyone and it will be for kids too!  The details will come out later.  For now, know I am thankful for all the amazing memories that California has given us.  I have grown in my faith leaps and bounds because of the people that are in my life here, I will be forever grateful to all of you!  Love you friends, we will miss you dearly! xoxo

Stop arguing with STUPID people!

If you reason with an arrogant cynic, you’ll get slapped in the face;
    confront bad behavior and get a kick in the shins.
So don’t waste your time on a scoffer;
    all you’ll get for your pains is abuse.
But if you correct those who care about life,
    that’s different—they’ll love you for it!
Save your breath for the wise—they’ll be wiser for it;
    tell good people what you know—they’ll profit from it.

Proverbs 9: 7-9

I NEVER knew this verse was in the Bible, honestly I have read the book of Proverbs a lot and do not remember ever getting this lesson out of it.  Right here in black and white, from God himself, explains why we should not argue with people who are arrogant, confrontational, negative, poorly behaved, unbelievers.  Every believer on Facebook needs to read this and we need to memorize this verse.  Every time we have a moment when we want to fire back at some STUPID post that is filled with untruth and lies, or let some arrogant coach “have it” with our words, or tell the manager at Macy’s what you really feel about her “customer service” the Bible (God’s Word) says you are WASTING your time! It will not help.

Do you ever wonder why you can have arguments with people and you feel like your beating your head against the wall?  Yes, we all have been there.  Guess what the Bible says DO NOT do it, its a waste of the air we breath!  Instead save your wisdom for the wise and even when they disagree with you can learn something from it.  Yes, I know it’s hard to understand how we can learn something from someone on a subject we disagree about, but WE CAN.  It does not mean we walk away changing our minds.  It means we walk away and maybe have compassion where there was frustration, empathy where there was anger,  or wisdom instead of resentment.

On the other hand, if when people try to correct you, and you are the one the blows up and can’t take it, I would say you need to check your relationship with our Heavenly Father!  I would insert a disclosure here, that I have dealt with personally, there are some people in my life I can take correction from and it hurts but I can deal with it.  Then there are others, mostly the ones closest to me, that when I am corrected by them throws me off my chair and I will come unglued.  This is where this verse is reverse for me, I need to learn that even if I disagree with the correction, or an opinion on a subject I disagree with, I still have to act as Jesus would.  I still need to be compassionate, understanding, patient, and respectful. Then I take what they have said and I pray to my Heavenly Father, the one who knows me better than anyone and I ask him “If this is truth Lord, convict my heart.  Let me see what they see.  Then help me to work on this.  If this is not true, let it fall off my heart like a leaf in the fall from a tree.  May the words dry up and whither away and I never think about it again.” We as Jesus followers HAVE To be open to correction but not condemnation!  Correction and conviction are all a part of growth, it is what will bring you closer to God, but it needs to come from God not others and not within yourself.

This is what I LOVE, LOVE , LOVE about God’s word.  It literally has to answers to everyday life issues, but you will never get those answers unless you start talking with God himself.  How do you talk with God himself you ask?  You read HIS words, the Bible is God’s letter to us.  It is an amazing tool to correct our imperfections, fill our brain with wisdom and everyday get that much closer to being the perfect person He wants us to be. (yes that will not happen until we get to Heaven, but we need try to get closer everyday).

There is SO much meat and potatoes in the Bible, so many great learning lessons, it is such a shame so many miss out!  If you are wanting to read more and gain more Bible knowledge let me know.  I will help you get connected to a study near you.  I am not Bible scholar, but I will do whatever I can to make sure you are having God’s word placed on your heart, it is that important to me! I want you to experience “lightbulb” moments like I do almost everyday, it’s the greatest feeling and can carry me thru the day better than any strong cup of coffee.

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Social Media = Envy & Jealousy

Yesterday a friend posted an article on social media and envy.  You can read it here.  It talks about how we can make our lives seem so great to the outside world thru Instagram, Facebook, Blogs, Pinterest and other social media. I found it quite interesting and very true.  I have dealt with hurt feelings from harmless posts and pictures.  I too, have thought other peoples lives are so much better than mine when I see the pictures posted of their 8th trip of the year and it’s only June, i’ve been jealous.

My hope is that my blog is never taken that way, most of the time I write about things because I have dealt with a situation similar and only after I have failed at doing it right will I write about the better way to do things.  They are never meant for condemnation, just a good laugh at what a mess I am.

The Bible has a lot to say about being who God created you to be.  When you think about it, if you are always trying to be someone you really are not it is telling God, He was wrong when He created you, that He messed up so now you have to be something different for the world to like you.  This type of living will create so much stress in your life because you are constantly going against who you really are and what God made you for.  It is like running against the wind in a really bad wind storm.  It’s hard, impossible to do and completely wipes you out.  The real you is who God made you to be, you are perfect as you are.

Just posting the good times is not all that bad when you think about it.  I mean honestly how many of us want to see pictures of our friends when they have just woken up? Or videos of us fighting with our spouse? Or, our kids bloody nose for the 3rd time this week?  NOT ME!! Most for us want to see that our “friends” are doing good, watch their kids grow up and share in all the fun times with when we cannot be there in person.

I have been a victim of allowing social media to get me down, to be envious, think poorly of the mom I am, wish my husband would do the things her husband does, and all the other dumb things Satan loves to put in my head.  Today, when those thoughts start to happen I will recognize who they are from and hammer them out of my head as fast as they popped up.  Will you join me?  Below are some verses on who you are and what God wants out of you.  After all, He is your creator and the only one we should be looking to impress, right?

Every one of the verses below are awesome to read and reflect on.  I would like to share with you real fast a Bible study method I use it is called SOAP

#1-Scripture- Write down the scripture in your journal

#2-Observation- Write down what your observe from the passage

#3- Application- Write down how you can apply this to your everyday life

#4- Pray- Pray that God shows you the “dirty” spots in your life where you need to “clean up” or where God wants to use this verse to help you in your life.

Start your morning off with SOAP, it will help you feel clean ALL day 🙂

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Proverbs 31:30

Genesis 1:27

1 Peter 3:3-4

Romans 12:2

1 Samuel 16:7

Oh just to keep is REAL… This was my Facebook post last night after reading the article!

Tonight we had chicken pot pie out of a box and frozen mashed potatoes. We forgot to pray and one of my kids was playing video games under the table. #keepinitreal #noonewillbeenviousofthispost #lol
Photo: Tonight we had chicken pot pie out of a box and frozen mashed potatoes. We forgot to pray and one of my kids was playing video games under the table. #keepinitreal #noonewillbeenviousofthispost #lol
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Unhappy & Joyful??

I was watching football on Sunday and after scoring a touchdown the wide receiver who caught the pass made it know by his actions he was very proud of himself, I could tell he was filled with happiness and had a confidence that looked super human.  In that moment I thought to myself, “does he feel that way when he does not make those big plays?  When he walks off the field does he take that confidence, happiness and pride with him? OR is it all dependent on the circumstances of his day? Does he know the Lord provides ALL that and more when you put your trust in Him?” 

Why I thought that then and in that moment I have no idea, I have seen many men jump up and down, do their dance, jump into the crowd and make complete goofs of themselves all because they scored a touchdown.  This time really made me think about being happy in all circumstances or do I allow circumstances to make me happy.

I think the word  happiness may be the wrong word, because there are times when we are just not happy.  You’re not happy if your child is being bullied, or if your husband needs to stay at the office late for the 4th day in a row. However, can you be unhappy and joyful?  YES! I think you can.  Can you be upset at a situation, yet filled with joy that you have air to breath and the lungs to breath it with?  YES, I know you can! Let me give you an example;

Lets say you are dealing with your child being bullied at school.  It has happened one too many times and you are now going to seek out the adults at the school to help you.  Someone who is unhappy and without joy will typically go in full charge and have a bit of an edge to them, wanting this to stop, demanding this to stop and will make threats on what will happen if it does not.  The world says you have every right to act and feel that way, you are their mom (or dad) and have been entrusted with this child to protect them.  Mama bear or Papa bear is totally acceptable!  More than likely you will get what you want from the school because bullying is no longer tolerated in most schools.

But let me just warn you about something, God does not look at the physical actions he looks at the heart.  Your heart is your character, it’s the lasting impression you leave on people after dealing with them. Let me give you an example of this situation dealing with it being unhappy yet filled with joy;

Your child comes home stating they have been bullied again.  You have had it! Before you do anything you take time to pray and thank God for al the amazing things you have in your life.    You thank him that your child is not the one bullying others and you thank Him in advance for taking care of all the little details that will be needed to make this stop for your child.  You call the school and request a meeting.  They schedule one for the next morning. The rest of the day you spend soaking in Gods grace and thinking of all the times you have been forgiven for doing hurtful things to others, how in anger you have been rude and mean. You ask for forgiveness.  You are thankful for your family and all God continues to provide. During prayer God reveals to you to think about what that boy must be dealing with in order to be acting out this way, GRACE falls on you for him.  You begin praying for this kid and have no idea why, but you do.  The morning is here, you walk into the office.  The Principal is not surprised, he has been down this road before with this boy, it’s a problem.  You find out the boys father passed away just a few months ago and he is having anger issues that are coming out in the wrong way.  Your heart starts to bleed for this family.  You explain to the principal that you understand the difficulty the family is facing, but your child can no longer be his victim.  He agrees and hands out the appropriate discipline.  You continue to pray for this child and his family and one day your son comes home and asks if this child can come over for a playdate! He will now be in your home where you will have the opportunity to show love and grace to him.

Do you see the difference?  The outcome will be the same.  The boy will get proper discipline, but the difference is how you left the lasting impression on others as a Christian.  You showed the difference of living in the worlds way verses living your life God’s way and with his power backing you up!  By doing things God’s way, you open up the door for God to use you,  maybe to minister to this boy or others depending on the circumstance.

This is how we handle things when we are joyful in all circumstances.  Many people mistake being joyful in all circumstances to mean you are always happy and nothing every bothers you, it is simply not that way.  You handle things with love and grace NOT anger and frustration.  Thats the difference!

Below of are verses for you to read and journal on to see what God has to say to you about this in your life.

James 1: 2-4- Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22- Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Proverbs 17:22- A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Matthew 5:44-But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

How to be thankful, when it’s all a mess!

I think the only thing worse to me then losing my child would be have my child kidnapped and not knowing where they were or what was happening to them  Recently, my Pastor and his wife dealt with their son committing suicide.  I think of all ways a child dies that has to be the worst.  There are so many questions left; what if’s,  guilt, shoulda’s, woulda’s, etc… Yet since the time of their sons death I have been witnessing amazing strength and wonderful examples of how to remain thankful at ALL times. This is truly something only the Lord could have provided them, it is beyond human strength.

Have they grieved?  Of course. Grieving is allowed, needed, a must. However you can stay thankful even in your grieving.  YES you can!!  Thats the power that comes from being connected to our Lord.

When I used to hear this “Be thankful in ALL times” I thought,  “that is craziness, how can you be thankful for bad things happening?”  That is not what this is saying, it is saying despite the event, be thankful for other things in your life. Focus on the good things and all of a sudden what is going on gets put in perspective.      There are many Bible verses that I cling to when things go wrong in my life below are a few.  My hope is that these will also help you.

Proverbs 3:5- Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (If I truly believe God is the creator of the Universe, King of Kings, Lord of Lords I have to trust He knows what he is doing and have peace with that)

Genesis 50:20-   You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. (when bad things happen, I must believe God can and will turn it into something great for me)

Jeremiah 29:11-  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (God is telling me, “I got this, let me handle it, please!”)

2 Corinthians 4: 16-18 – Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (Keep an eternal perspective, it’s not about what is happening but how my character reacts to what is happening.  My character is all I can take with me to Heaven)

Romans 12:12  Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (Simple instructions to follow when things are a mess REJOICE about the good things in my life, BE PATIENT this too shall pass, PRAY stay connect with the one who’s GOT THIS!)

For ore on my Pastor and how they dealt with the WORST possible thing on earth, click HERE