Finding Healing in the Midst of Bitterness 

The other day as I listened to a sermon the words jumped out to me: “It is when you are getting close to God coming through that we turn the other direction.”

Heard these words preached, posted on social media, in writings, and in songs more times then I can remember. But this time the words had my attention like never before. 
See God has had me in some really hard places over the last four years. So much pain came from those years. I desperately long to be healed of the pain. But more than not I find myself in anger over the time I lost. 
If those four years had not happened I would be:
-Employed with benefits. 

-Going into my third year of my Masters, which I just might have been in my last year. 

-Able to take vacations. 

-Have a savings.

-Out of debt. 

But instead the opposite of everything I listed above is what is currently going on plus more.
Therefore, in order to break down the bitterness of what has been taken from me the Spirit finds ways to lead me into deep reflection for healing and to let go. 
I sit here now full of Jesus on the inside but empty in my surroundings. I wonder does Jesus really hear my prayers? Does He really see what I am going through? Am I that bad of a person that I made so many wrong choices to be where I am today? For the one that stands and boost how great their life is with little blemishes in their years, are they better than me to have not seen the life I have? 
One thing God has shown me is the things that I prayed for others He answered. Not only did He answer the prayer He used me to help the answer prayer come about. 
That sounds heavenly doesn’t it? I should feel some type of awe. But I don’t. Instead I say, “Lord, did you see how they person persecuted me? Remember Lord when they did . . . Because I do. Lord, do you not remember how they slandered me? Lord, do you remember when I could not get out of bed because the oppression weighted me down too much and they skipped with smiles living their life in my face?” His response is, “Wendy, I answered your prayer on their life.”
I just stopped pleading my case and just started repeating what He said…I answered your prayer on their life. 
Tonight as I am cleaning out drawers I came across this prayer spiral. I had committed a certain time to pray for specific things for certain people and places. 
When I first came across it I was like I am not even going to read that. But I found myself opening it up to see what I prayed for excepting to see how my prayers were answered like before. 
Instead, I saw how my prayers cause me to be rejected by multitudes because what God wanted to do they would turn the other direction instead of letting Him have His way. 
I found that mind boggling. How one prayer was answered exactly like I asked. One prayer was answered totally opposite. 
I thought back to this devotional I read by Joyce Meyer. It was in regards to everything works for His good. As I read it she pointed out that His good does not mean it eliminates the bad happening. It means that in that bad He is bringing good that you can’t see for His glory. Because of that in faith we can be thankful and praise Him while it is bad. 
One thing I have learned through it all is I might have many dreams and plans that God agrees with but my first obligation is to go where He tells me in faith to save souls no matter the pain I have to go through to save them. Just trust He has better to come but I got to see His work in my life not the pain of the past.


The Growth in You

There are some days that living the Christian life comes with a lot of persecution. The blows from others are so consistent we start to wonder if the comments they are saying are true. Our worth is not feeling so worthy. While we know we are doing the right thing their is still this unexplainable feeling going on in us. It reminds me of this Olive tree we have.
We live on 10 acres and our land has been in the family since 1948. So to some it is just land with a run down old house. But for others it is a land full of stories and memories. This Olive tree is just one more story to the list of stories.
Where this Olive tree is located there use to be a line of trees. There were so many that they were crowded together. However, the days of tree clustering slowly started coming to an end once we moved out here in 1991. I think my step-dad made it his mission to clear trees out. This area where this Olive tree is was a location of one of his missions. 
He cut all the trees down. It took some time and I watched as the progress was being made over time. His mission finally came to an end. I looked out and there was this tall tree with maybe a couple of branches on it, which they were all sticking straight up. Only one branch had leaves and there was not very many. 
I asked, “Why didn’t you cut that tree down it looks dead?” He said, “That is an Olive tree and those are good trees. It was smothered from all the other trees so it was not able to grow. Now that the trees that were taking what it needed away from it are gone it will grow.” 
Every summer when it comes time to mow I have stared at this tree while I mowed. I have wondered why is an Olive tree all that. I have wondered if it was every going to grow like it is suppose to. I have pretty much sat in wonder of this Olive tree trying to see what my step-dad saw in this tree.
Now in looking at it I no longer wonder. I can see what my step-dad saw. Today it is a beautiful full tree. It produces olives and shares them with the ground underneath. I can not tell you how many little trees I have had to mow over. If I don’t get to them soon enough there are an abundance of them.
After a day of persecution maybe you feel like this Olive tree looked. Beat down and not seeing a lot of good in you. But the One that allowed you where you are sees a lot of good in you. He sees that where you are is clearing away all the things that are smoothering you from growing into full bloom. As they are removed the light is able to get in to grow such an abundance of fruit that it will be an overflow. 

God loves you like crazy.


In the Heat of the Race

Today is the big day.

You have given the last four years preparing for this race.

You have:

– Trained.

– Studied information on the subject.

– Critiqued yourself to boost your style.

Believing with all your heart, you know you are ready.

The race is about to begin. The gun goes off. Pow! You start, running at maximum speed. In your mind you are telling yourself “I got this”. As you continue moving, you find ways to encourage yourself,

“Oh, I am glad I read that book about….because I could use that knowledge right here.”

“Oh, I am glad I changed the way I did that because I would have just messed up right here.”

“Sure am glad I practiced because I could not withstand against some of the competition today, they are in top fitness shape having won gold medals.”

As the race continues, your endurance wears thin. The perfect form you started the race with is showing defects. No biggie, it is here or there. It is not bothering your lead in the race. You look at your coach on the sidelines cheering you on. That gives you the push you need to remain ahead.

Now halfway through the race. You are still breathing. Your body is a little sore. You are tired. But this race is about others, more than you. So you take a deep breath
and you keep pushing forward.  Your emotions are up and down, your body and mind are telling you to give up, but you can’t. Once you make a decision in your heart that you will carry out the race before you, then commitment keeps you running. Your form is now consistent with imperfections, but it is an event you cannot leave.

The final stage of the race takes place. You are dragging. You are not even certain if you will make it. Now, you are so tired you say, “Forget other people, I am trying to get through this final stage.” Your tiredness shows in your affections and speech. It is intense. If you stepped outside your body, you image the picture would be one of an individual encountering a violent wind. The coach sees it, he is encouraging you to carry on while he speaks to himself at the identical time.

Whew! You made it.

The race is not over yet. You are in the cool down stages. But the severity of the race is behind you. Reflections are coming to mind. Observing where you have hurt muscles or
made wrong moves in the race. You think “wow” I did not even realize I took that turn wrong. Now I understand when I stepped this way why that happened. Then you notice how the moves aided the opponent in the race. You gain mental notes to correct this revelation to improve the next race you will be in.

Many times when we think of being a Christian we visualize the faith walk with ease. Our flesh yearns for things to be handed to us, not having to work for anything. When we are told of a “loving” God our mind has produced the conception that a loving God would not allow circumstances in which we sweat and hurt.

However, in reading 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (NIV)

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

Paul tells us that in order to run this race of faith it will undergo training. Training to obtain a crown that last for eternity.

I encourage you that no matter where you are right now and how hard it is to stand on God’s Word. Continue trusting Him for what He has said. Believing that more is being worked out in and where you are, then what you can see in front of you.

In the comment section below please share your thoughts. Here are some questions to help you get started:

  1. Have you ever trained for any type of race or competition? If so what was it and how did it end?
  2. Has God every had you in a situation that it was harder than you excepted it to be? Explain.
  3. Has there been a time you wanted to give up on walking in faith and do the bear minimum of what God was asking of you? Explain.