Mercy and Grace in the Midst of the Storm
I have been pondering for weeks now what to write about for a follow-up to the session Claire and I lead on Mercy and Grace. Shortly after that SHE event, our family was delivered some life changing news. Henry, the four year old nephew of my brother in law, Joe, and my sister, Michelle, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He underwent surgery almost immediately, and surgeons were able to remove 50% of the tumor. No more treatment will be done at this time, and Henry is currently under hospice care. When you hear news like this your mind begins to buzz with millions of questions and emotions. Whatever emotions or questions you may be asking as you read this; I have already felt or asked over the last month. On Halloween, the local news station in Georgia did a story on Henry. I will link it for you to watch, but be prepared, you WILL need tissues.
As I watched the video, I was overcome once again with a deluge of emotions. Yet, as I reflected back on it today, I see lessons that Father can teach all of us. When Claire and I lead our session, we never said that extending grace and mercy to yourself and others would ever be easy. It is a struggle and a battle. He wants us to lean on Him and His strength for EVERY NEED. The Kelley family is doing that right now. They are in the midst of leaning on Father to meet their every need right now. They are not only doing that, but they are proclaiming the HOPE that can only be found in Jesus during this time. The fact that the news station did not edit Jessie’s words about her faith shows that Henry does have a story to tell. Is this the story Ian and Jessie dreamed their son would tell?? Of course not, but they are just following Father’s hand as He leads them through their story. "We believe that Jesus's heart is for us, and for Henry, and for healing and restoration," Jessica said. "We may not see that on this side of glory. We'll still be with him in a short amount of time, forever."
In one of the most poignant parts of the video, Jessie described a recent experience with Henry.
"We were throwing pennies in the pond and I said 'You're supposed to make a wish before you throw the penny in the pond. What do you wish for? If you could do anything in the world right now, what would it be?' And he said, 'This.' And it was the most amazing lesson to me to just enjoy the moment with him, that there is joy and peace because right now, my little boy is throwing pennies in the pond and we can smile and we can cherish that to a new level."
Children can teach us so much. They see the world in such a different way than we do. Sometimes, we just need to sit back and take a look around us and be thankful for the situation we are in right at that moment. I did that recently as I sat with some friends and thought back to when I first got involved with Total Woman U. It was amazing to sit back and see how Father’s hand had guided me and lead me to where He has me today. That road was not smooth and straight…it was bumpy and rough and lead me through some tough times, but without them, I would not be where I am today.
Henry’s situation is not fun nor is it something any of us would want our children to go through. I just know that when these kinds of tragedies rock our world, there is someone who can keep us from falling. Father holds us up in such an amazing way and makes Himself known to all those around us. Jessie, Ian, Henry, and Miri Kelley are allowing Jesus to shine through them wherever they go. Do they have rough days?? YOU BET THEY DO!! Please pray for them over these next few months. Continue to pray for a miracle. Our Father can do amazing things. Pray for peace in the midst of this storm and for comfort.
I am praying for all of you that Father can give you His perspective in the midst of your circumstances. Know that ALL of the ladies on the TWU team love you and pray for you. Next time, I will be reflecting on a song by Matthew West on our perspective.
I love you!
http://www.11alive.com/news/article/262491/3/Henrys-Last-Holidays Story Link
Have you ever been in a really tough situation? Have you been in a really tough situation and surprised yourself with how you handled it?
We have had several conversations with many of you and we know that is the case! Many of you have situations in your past and some of you are going through situations now that have forced you to be strong. This quote says "...until the only choice you have" is being strong. BUT, we all have a choice. We can cower in fear, hide in embarrassment, avoid in denial, or any number of other responses. However, when we allow God to take control of the situation, when we ask Him DAILY to guide our steps and help us control our emotions, I believe we will be left with the courage to be strong no matter what. I believe it will end up being our only choice.
I do not wish upon you any tough situation, but if you encounter one, I pray your response is one of strength based on Who is carrying you through it!
Do you have a dream? Is it a "little" dream? Is it a "big" dream? Why is it a dream of yours? What do you hope to accomplish through this dream?
Purpose behind a dream gives it life. Purpose brings reality to a dream. If you want to achieve something, if you want to be someone, make sure you understand WHY.
Look back at your strengths and skills tests from the event. See if you can attach a purpose behind some of them. If your strength is communication and a skill is writing, but you don't really know how to develop that strength and skill, put some purpose behind them. Maybe you have a specific message of encouragement you want to communicate to women who have lost someone. Maybe you want to communicate a method of decorating on a budget to help those less fortunate feel they are living in their dream home. Maybe you want to communicate instruction to younger girls about staying strong in their convictions within relationships. Maybe you want to inspire women to become all God created them to be. :) Whatever the purpose, if you have one, you are way more likely to step out of your comfort zone and set out to achieve the impossible.
I pray you become a believer in your own strengths and skills, and I pray you seek the Lord's guidance in using them to make manifest the glory of God that is within you!
How does it make you feel when you find out someone was talking about you behind your back. What if I said they were talking about some wonderful aspect about your character? Or about your ability to bring out the best in others? Or about the way they can see Jesus in you when you are kind to strangers? It's not always a bad thing to talk about others behind their backs - just make your words those that will build up and not tear down. Learn to be an encourager. It doesn't always come naturally, but what a difference encouraging words can make. See if you can find ways to talk about the strengths of others even if they will never know we were talking about them. Complete, don't Compete! Complete your friendships by genuinely building up your friends - don't compete with them by tearing them down or allowing others to do so. We all have different strengths, skills, talents, and gifts - let's celebrate those differences and empower our friends.
I pray that you would find ways to bring glory to God when you honor your friends by building them up both while you are with them and when they are not around!
You are beautiful - you are BECOMING!
Thank you for being you!
Dear Sisters in Christ,
I am thrilled that we get to spend a little more time together learning God’s word. God’s teaching on courage was something that I really needed, how about you?
During our session the Lord brought out the fact that He allows us to suffer the consequences of our sin, not to punish us, but to make us aware of the destructiveness of our sin, to strengthen and restore us, and to coax us back into His loving and safe arms.
Consequences are what He has laid on my heart to share with you today.
Consequence – something that is the effect or result of an earlier occurrence.
In our session we discussed that the Israelites had been oppressed by the Midianites for seven years. That was because of their disobedience to God in worshipping false gods. The oppression was the effect or result of the earlier occurrences of idolatry. After 7 years they had had enough of their natural consequences. They felt the results of their sin and realized they needed God and cried out to Him.
We learn best when we experience the consequences of our own bad behavior. Consequences have a way of holding us accountable for our actions. Consequences teach us responsibility.
If we choose to become bitter and resentful towards God concerning our consequences (self-imposed I might add) we will lose fellowship with our Lord (which blocks blessings and comforts) and suffer through them seemingly alone.
The better response is to RUN into our Lord’s presence, ask for forgiveness, and renew that sweet fellowship which will open the channel for blessings and comfort.
Isn’t that what we all desire from our children when they suffer consequences for their misbehavior, for them to run to us asking for forgiveness and us seeing their repentant hearts? God does His greatest works through people with grateful, contrite, trusting hearts.
So many times we “bail out” our children before they suffer their consequences, or we fail to impose consequences for bad behavior, and they never learn the lesson or learn to “cry out to the Lord”. We think we are doing it out of love, saving them from difficulties, but what we are actually doing is depriving them of learning responsibility for their actions. Inevitably they will get themselves back into another bad situation because they have not learned to connect the sin with a consequence.
When your children experience appropriate consequences, you are freed from threatening, screaming, yelling, nagging, and complaining. (No child likes a Mom like that – they lose respect for you and that renders you ineffective to train up your child in the “way he should go”.)
Proverbs 29:11 “A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back.”
Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”
Actions—that is, applying consequences—speak louder than your words ever will. To decide what actions to apply will need discernment from God.
Phillippians 1:9-10 “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ…”
Choices of consequences must also be bathed in prayer “before” being carried out.
My next blog will be about some specific tips on using consequences.
Dear friends, if we learn to model this lesson in our own lives, and are honest and transparent with our children in dealing with our own consequences, they will see that we practice what we “preach”. We will become believable. We will gain respect and will become much more effective as a parent. This is all a part of “becoming”!
I love you ladies, have a fabulous week!
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