Praying James 5 – Suffering Patiently

Praying James 5 – Suffering Patiently

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 4 crazy, homeschooling children ages 9 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

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 Suffering

Suffering patiently is not a characteristic we look forward to building. How fast will this trial end? Lord, save us from these times!  These are our cries. Cries that fall on ears of one who is very familiar with suffering.

From heaven he suffered heartache as He watched Adam and Eve choose to disobey and eat of the only tree they were forbidden to them. From heaven, he watched as the prophets he sent to proclaim his love and justice were ridiculed and killed. From the cross, his physical life slowly faded breath by suffering breath as people hurled insults upon him. He was the ultimate suffering servant proclaimed in Isaiah 53. Jesus knows what suffering is.

Jesus us calls us to be willing to suffer patiently too.

James 5:7

Lord, how we long to be with you! To be away from the troubles of this world, the pain, the suffering, and grief. We praise you for the joy we get to have in us constantly while seeing the chaos of this world.

We pray we will take you at your word. May we wholeheartedly believe that you will come back soon! We pray for patience as we continue to serve you and others while we are waiting. Help us to focus on you so that we will continue to tend to what you have planted in our hearts and in the hearts of others. Let us grow our faith and share this faith with others until the day of your return.

In the One who is coming back soon – Amen!

James 5:8

Lord, help us not to just stand firm, but to stand firm on the Rock, our Salvation! The devil is twisting your words and creating division. Lord, let us search your word and make sure what is being taught it true. Let us act in ways that bring people together instead of tear them apart. We pray that we would stand firmly and patiently in a way that will bring you honor and glory.

In the One, who through his death, brought about the opportunity to be united with you once again – Amen!

James 5:10

Lord, we praise you for how you take care of us physically, mentally, emotionally, and most importantly spiritually.

You know that we will have highs and lows and there will be times of loneliness, heartache, and suffering.

Thank you for prophets and their patience in the face of suffering. When we pour over your words written through them, it fans our hope and reminds our hearts that putting our trust in you will never fail.

In the One who inspires us daily with the past to live in the present and have hope for the future – Amen!

James 5:11

In the midst of the trials that overwhelm us completely, its verses like this that give us hope. Hope for how you will use the trial to bring us closer to you and encourage others going through the same thing.

Lord, help us to cling to you in the midst of our trials. Helps us to trust you even when it doesn’t make sense and the devil is trying to make us think that you’ve left us.

Help us to stand firm in your truth and continue to build our faith through the struggles.

In the One who is full of love and mercy – Amen!

James 5:12

We praise you, Lord, because you are a God who keeps his word! as we read your promises for us in the Bible, we can’t help but rejoice knowing that they will happen.

Lord, we pray we will honor you by being people of our word too.

When we fail at this, we pray we will make it right. We don’t want our own words to condemn us.

In Jesus’ holy name – Amen!

Trusting God: Wanting Him More Than Anything

Trusting God: Wanting Him More Than Anything

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a happy wife and mother to my amazing husband and beautiful little girl and we are living the good life just outside of Oklahoma City. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where both of my parents serve as ministers. With God’s great guidance, I ended up earning a degree in children’s ministry from Oklahoma Christian University! I am an extrovert and love to make friends and have deep conversations. My days are filled with the duties of motherhood and homemaking but when I find a moment to myself I enjoy reading cookbooks, blogs, and Karen Kingsbury’s books. I have a slight addiction to facebook and pinterest. Holidays are my favorite days. I love to cook meals that make people happy. I have a passion for family ministry and bible class teaching. Most importantly, my greatest desire to is to know my heavenly Father more each day.
Kristin J

With my little baby bundled up in the back seat, we started the drive to the allergy clinic downtown. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Our little one hadn’t been doing so well, and we’d been working with a GI doctor and her pediatrician to figure out what it was her body didn’t like. I was scared and uncomfortable with the process. Uncomfortable with what we might find out. Uncomfortable with what we wouldn’t find out. And frustrated. So, so frustrated that my baby girl was having to go through this.

I was trying to pray, but I wasn’t sure what to pray for. I’d been praying so much for our sweet girl and her troubles. What could I possibly say right now, as we were nearing this critical appointment? About as soon as I had these thoughts I heard this song playing on the radio:

“And I know any second You could take my pain away, but even if you don’t, I pray

Help me want the healer more than the healing.

Help me want the Savior more than the saving.

Help me want the giver more than the giving.

Oh, help me want you Jesus more than anything.”

I burst into tears as I felt God’s arms around me in that moment.

The song went on to talk about the weakness we face on our own and the feeling of overwhelm we can feel from our burdens. It helped me realize that God has already done everything that we need, no matter the circumstance we face.

He sent Jesus. 

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

John 3:16 

Isn’t that all that really matters? Of course, in our humanness we forget. We become consumed by our circumstances and it’s not enough. This is nothing new for our generation.

God’s Presence is Enough

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in the first few books of the Bible lately. Oh, the Israelites–how easy it is for us to judge them! This group of Hebrew slaves has been known through the ages for their complaints. God delivered them, but again and again their struggles consumed them and they started to question God. Their struggles were very real, by the way. Can you even imagine being in their place? Wandering about for years, facing the harsh realities of the desert, and going through foreign lands? Their complaints and questioning frustrated God. God wanted them to understand that his presence with them was enough. He would sustain their needs. He wanted them to trust him.

Why is this so hard? Why do we act like God is never enough? 

Trusting God is Enough

Thankfully, our God is a God of grace and mercy. He knows our weakness. In our faith, we can cast our burden on him (Psalm 55). He hears us and cares for us. We must remember, though, that our true battle is already won. Our hope is not in answered prayers, but in God. So through our struggles, may we want to be drawn closer and closer to the Lord. May we remember the love he has bestowed on us and find peace.

That day, I met my fears head on as I faced the situation I’d been dreading: peanut allergy, among other things. Our family entered a new reality that day, one I still don’t like. I pray boldly, asking God to take this burden away from us, to protect and heal our daughter. While I pray, though, I understand that even more than this, I want God to stay close with us. I want to remember what He’s already done for me. I want to praise Him still, knowing that come what may, He is God, the blood of Christ saved me, and victory is mine. 

Remember God is With You

Whatever struggles you are facing, I encourage you to take hold of the big picture. Draw near to him and he will draw near to you. (James 4:8) I will end this post with Natalie Grant’s song “More Than Anything.” I hope this beautiful song comforts you and reminds you of God’s presence and redeeming love.

 

 

Tis the Season…

Tis the Season…

Toni D

Toni D

Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
Toni D

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Tis the Season…

..to be lonely.  Everyone is shopping and spending time with family and friends.  It is such a busy time.  But, the holidays can be a very difficult time for so many people.

tis-the-season-to-be-lonely-pin

I lost my grandfather eight years ago right after Christmas.  I was extremely close to him and was his caregiver during his last two years.  When he passed on, I was devastated.  I did not deal well with it so I went to a grief support group to help me better deal with it.  I still attend on occasion, mostly around the holidays because that is when it is most difficult for me.  I also continue to attend these meetings because it has become a time of fellowship with a wonderful group of mostly older ladies.

The most important lesson I take from these ladies is that with our loss things change.  We do not always like it, but it does.  When we lose someone, it changes our routines and our traditions.

For some people, this can even mean the loss of their remaining family, a wife that loses her husband and they have no surviving children or an child that loses his last remaining parent.  These are the people that can feel particularly lonely.

james-1-27-pin

The Bible even tells us several times to care for the widows and the orphans.  During the holidays, this can be as simple as visiting someone Take some cookies or fudge.  Have your children make a homemade ornament and take it to them.  Take a group of friends and go caroling.  Invite them to go look at Christmas lights.  There are so many little things that we can do that would mean a lot to someone else, something that would help them to feel not so lonely.

 What are some things your family has done?

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

Holiday Loneliness Grieving with Parents Marriaged Saved After Addiction Grief & Health

Remembering with Grieving Parents

Remembering with Grieving Parents

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 4 crazy, homeschooling children ages 9 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

Latest posts by Kristi F (see all)

this-post-may-contain-affiliate-links-for-your-convenience-and-at-no-extra-cost-to-you-1

As you may know, October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss awareness month.  Filled with bittersweet memories, it’s a time to openly honor those whose lives have made a big impact even though their time with us was so tragically short. It’s a time to comfort the grieving parents who have endured this loss and remember the children who are no longer with us physically but are always in our hearts and with us spiritually. Remembering with grieving parents on other occasions is comforting as well.

remembering-with-grieving-parents-pin

More than likely, hearing the words “infant loss” sparked the name of a child, mother, and/or father in your mind. Someone you know, maybe even intimately, has endured the pain of losing a child. I’ve heard it described as a lonely suffering. Since some of the children went to heaven before birth, there is no funeral. There is no public gathering of mourning and comforting each other.

Many of my friends and family members have lost children. It’s impossible to talk with them and not remember their precious child(ren).  I’ve been pondering the best way to honor their children’s memories, and then two ideas came together.

This week, as I listened to two different women share their stories of miscarriage and loss, one of them shared how she honored her child. She gathered with other families who have walked this road, and lit candles in their honor.

During the month of October, many gatherings are held where women can assemble with others who have experienced this same loss.  Thinking that you are the only one that has ever suffered this loss is a cruelty Satan casts on our hearts. But when families come together in their suffering, many are comforted. This is so wonderful, but there is something else we can do for these families as well.

psalm-139-16

The Greatest Gift to Give a Grieving Friend

As I envisioned the lit candles, one for each child, a thought that H. Norman Wright shared came to mind. The idea he conveyed was this:

One of the greatest gifts we can give someone who has lost a loved one is to remember that loved one with them. Remember them on their birthdays. Remember them on the anniversary of their death. Speak of their lost loved ones. Yes, there might be sadness but the joy of knowing they are remembered is treasured. 

Each of these precious children, no matter how short their life, made a huge impact on this world. They are loved. They are treasured and they have left their angel print behind. As the precious gift from God that they are, they should be honored. Their light still shines here on earth as well as in heaven. When we take the time to talk about each child and remember their impact, we fan the flame of light.

Norman Wright’s idea is something to keep in mind. But in honor of those who have lost children, let’s keep their children’s memory alive in our hearts as well. I’ve created a calendar specifically to remember these children’s heavenly birth dates, so that I can send a love note on their anniversary and cover them in prayer. I’d like to share this with you.

heavenly-birthdays-calendar-to-remember-the-children-that-are-no-longer-with-us

No Matter How Short, Their Life Made a Difference.

Have you lost a child? If so, leave your child’s name along with his/her heavenly birthday. We will remember that child as well as pray for your family.

 

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

Truth About Pregnancy After a Miscarriage Miscarriage & Cancer Grief Grief & Mercy

In the Arms of Faithful God

In the Arms of Faithful God

Tamika R

Tamika R

I was born in Denver, Colorado. I moved to OKC after quitting my jobs as a teacher and YouthIntern to pursue the call into ministry. I started as a non traditional student at Oklahoma where I met my husband. He was a non traditional student working on a 2nd degree after moving from Poland to pursue a degree in Ministry. We dreamed together of serving the Lord in Europe. Now we are blessed to be witness to the awesome way that God works all over the world. We live in Vienna, Austria with our3 kids. We work with Eastern European Mission. We provide Bibles and ethics materials in native languages of Eastern Europe. That means we get to seeGod's hand and providence all over Europe. I am Publishing Assistant at EEM and a fitness trainer. I fill my days caring for my family, teaching gym classes and designing book covers and working on details to provide quality materials to those who need God's word. In my free time I paint, cook, make jewelry and run 2 blogs.
Tamika R

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It was February. I was about seven weeks pregnant for the second time. As I prepared to leave for the Bible class I was teaching, I knew something was wrong. I ran to the bathroom and I was bleeding. I took several deep breaths, said many prayers, and rushed off to the church.

The next day I went to the doctor. They confirmed there was a problem, told me to rest, and take testosterone for a few week. I did. At the next checkup, they told us the heartbeat was gone.

I was devastated. The doctor instructed me to go home and wait to miscarry. After it happened, I was to call and let them know.

Seven weeks passed and my belly continued to get bigger. So did my hope.

I decided there was some medical mistake. They were wrong. Clearly, my baby was growing. About this time, I started to get sick. I had never had morning sickness this strong and I figured this was just a part of it.

My doctor called to follow up since I never called. She asked me to come in. They looked and said I had a missed miscarriage. The baby was gone but my body wouldn’t let it go. I had to come back the next day to surgically end it.

When the surgery was over, I woke up deeply saddened by the loss of our child, but physically feeling great. Two weeks later I had follow-up tests. Within days, my doctor called my house. I remember thinking how nice she was to call me. She said,

“I took the liberty of running some extra tests after your surgery to try and figure out what happened, and again at the follow-up. Now that all the results are back, I need you to go tomorrow to meet with this doctor. He is a specialist. He can help you, and they will explain it.”

She added:

“If you were my sister I would ask you to see my friend at OU Medical Center. I have taken the liberty of making you an appointment.”

After agreeing to the appointment I hung up the phone, rolled into a ball on the bed, and cried. I was hurting for the lost dreams. Secretly, I had named the baby Noah. It hurt to think of all the things he would never experience or become. Even though I only knew he existed for fifteen weeks, he was mine and I loved him.

I called my dad and just sat on the phone with him and cried. My own strong attachment to the baby I lost puzzled me. Grief is a funny thing, but somehow just knowing my dad was listening on the other end comforted me.

Not many people knew I was pregnant because the pregnancy was troubled so early. So I tried to handle my emotions in secret.

Now, there was something about losing him that required me to go to a specialist because my doctor didn’t feel she could explain it? How much more could I take? I called my husband and he made plans to go with me to the appointment.

It didn’t take long to figure out what was coming once we got to the specialist’s office at OU Medical Center. He was in the department of oncology. They asked me to fill out a thirteen page registration form. Most of it had to do with cancer. I just lost a baby. So why were they asking me so many questions that did not apply to my situation?

They called us in, and we met with a team of doctors who explained that I had a rare form of cancer. It prevented the proper development of the pregnancy. In our case it was really rare because I had both tumors and a pregnancy. I would begin chemo the following day.

miscarriage, cancer, pain, sadness, faithful God, hope, renewalWe were in shock. I had to slam the brakes and shift gears. Though they assured me the cancer was very curable and that I would only need chemo for about three weeks, I was scared.

My thoughts turned to getting through this and focusing on maintaining my life and surviving for the sake of my two year old. Also we were planing to move onto the mission field so I needed to keep it all together.

I suppose now, as I am crying while sharing my story, I probably never fully mourned the loss. It happened as a mixture of the fear of the unknown loomed over me. The reality that no matter what happened next I would never go back to a life that didn’t include cancer.

The next day I gathered up all of my courage. As we walked out of the elevator at the hospital, I said goodbye to all that could have been. I needed all of my energy to focus on hope and move forward to create a new definition of what could be.

As it turned out, three weeks turned into eight months. Countless doctors, four different kinds of treatments, a clinical trial, several scares, constant bleeding, tumor growing, and countless nights stretched out on the floor crying out to the Lord.

While my situation took twists and turns like a roller coaster, God remained at my side and gave me strength. Many things in my life fell apart during that time. I changed, and lost parts of myself that have still not returned.

God is faithful, and he gave me a peace I still can’t understand to this day.  Even if I was asked to, I couldn’t explain it.

In some ways I still hurt, and I don’t expect that to change. I still think about what could have been. What would that baby would have been like? They told us chemo was the only way we might be able to preserve my ability to have more kids. But they could not make any promises.

God knew my heart’s desires, and four years later, shortly after moving onto the mission field of Vienna (not Poland as originally planned), I became pregnant with a baby boy. He was born strong and healthy here in Vienna. When he was about eighteen months old, I discovered I was nine weeks pregnant with another baby. My youngest was born here in Vienna as well.

God is faithful. He heard my prayers and answered in his own timing.

I know that he is near to the brokenhearted because he was near to me. I carried most of my pain in secret during that time for various reasons.

During this time, I learned to lean on God alone. I learned what it meant to be in the arms of faithful God as my world fell apart again and again.

If you have gone through the loss of a child, and all that goes along with it I am sure you can relate. If you have survived cancer, I know you know his providence. I pray you experienced his peace as well.

If you are in either of those places now, I am here. Feel free to message me or comment below. I will gladly pray and stand alongside you. Never forget God is faithful, able, and good. He wants that for us. He longs to give us hope and abundant life. Snuggle into his arms and let him pour the peace that is beyond human explanation into your soul. Know you are his treasured creation and he will not abandon you.

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

Crying it out MiscarriageSpiritual Walk Praying the Psalms

When It’s Just Too Much

When It’s Just Too Much

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 4 crazy, homeschooling children ages 9 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

Latest posts by Kristi F (see all)

When It’s Just Too Much

The tears keep coming today and at first I couldn’t figure out why.

My heart is heavy.

 

I’m tired.

 

I’m trying not to be frustrated.

 

It’s just one of those days where I come to God and say,

 

“I can’t figure it out. I can’t think straight. My mind is going in all different directions and then it feel like I can’t think at all….”
Then my mind wanders and I can’t even seem to finish a prayer.

 

Trying to focus and get my mind to think clearly, I open my Bible.

I read varying passages from the books of the Bible that have been gaining my attention lately: James, I Samuel and Philippians.
I’ve been singing a song based on Philippians 3:10 to my children lately:
“I want to know Christ and the power of his rising.
Share in his suffering conform to his death.
When I pour out my life to be filled with his Spirit,.
Joy follows suffering and life follows death.”
As this song echoed in my mind and God’s powerful Word worked it’s way into my heavy heart, I realized I was overcome with sadness with all that is going on in the world right now.

Why? Why are people being mistreated, being killed, taken advantage of and used for the purpose of others. Between processing what’s happening in Venezuela, what happened in Charlottesville, birth and life not being valued, situations going on in my friends’ lives, and so many other things….my heart just hurts for this world. My heart hungers for God’s justice and for God to save so many from this torture and heartache.

It’s cliche but this world needs Jesus!

When I finally realized what was bothering me, all I wanted to do was run and pray.  I decided I couldn’t leave the kids home alone, so I went and let out some energy by picking the weeds that had overtaken our patio.

It was the perfect time to pick weeds because it has been raining for two days.  In an hour, thanks to the down pouring of rain, I was able to pick all the weeds that had over taken the area.

I couldn’t believe how many weeds there were and how big some had become.  It’s been almost 3 months since I’d picked any weeds so it made logical sense that they had gotten so big and unruly.  As I uprooted them, I realized something that these weeds and this world have in common.

 

What Weeds & the World Have in Common

If we, as people, nip problems in the bud when they are small, they won’t get overgrown and out of hand.  We have let many of these things happen because we haven’t taken a united stand against them.  We need to allow the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, given to each one of us as followers of Christ, to work in our lives so that we can tame the weeds of this world and pull them out by their roots!
we-need-to-allow-the-out-pouring-of-the-holy-spirit-1

We do this by going out to all the world (our neighbors, our coworkers, those God put’s in our paths) and disciplining them, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son & Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey Christ’s words (Matthew 28:19-20).  As they grow in their faith and obedience to the Lord, the weeds will be picked out of their lives as they are continually being picked out of ours.  Then they will continue the cycle.

Using the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit

We as a body of believers (and I’m speaking to myself here) are often more content praising God from our pews and in our Bible studies than praising Him in front of others and sharing how God has changed our lives.

If your heart has been hurting because of the events going on in this world, take heart!  Jesus warned us there would be struggles but he also promised us His Spirit, which would allow us to do great things while living on this earth.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
Jesus, John 16:33
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This sky was God showing off his beauty as I finished picking the last of the weeds.

I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.
Jesus John 14:12

It’s Time to Take a Stand

If your looking to making a difference this is the first step.  Reach out to others and share Christ.  Pray about how you can get involved in whatever is tugging at your heart the most and get involved.
Now is not the time to be afraid or to sit back and be overcome by this world. It’s time to take a stand and take action.

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