Got Troubles?

Friday, fear’s flaming tongue licked around the edges of my world as symptoms heralding the potential presence of a devastating disease for one of my children made itself known at a routine doctor’s appointment. Saturday brought with it the news that our other son would also be having his second surgery this summer. Two teenagers with surgery, both with general anesthesia, one with a two week recovery period, the other with a two month one, plus the potential disease. Jesus, come NOW.

By Sunday, my heart was as heavy as it’s ever been.

Our pastor spoke about suffering and trials 1 Peter 5 style, reminding us in verses 9 and 10, “But resist him (the devil), firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”

I can think of no greater suffering than the sheer terror of concern for the safety of one’s own child, but two children? Last week, I had just wrapped my brain around the surgery for my one son… to have the threat of additional disease plus the other son’s surgery was about to put me over the top. And if you remember from last week, I’ve been begging God to teach me how to have joy in the midst of all this.

So Sunday, when our pastor had us get into small groups to pray before communion, I couldn’t. All I could eek out was, “Heavenly Father…” and I wept. I joined up with some older people at the church, and of course they prayed thankfully with gratitude.

I wept more.

And when we got home from church, I changed clothes, skipped lunch, and left for the barn.

On the way, I listened to my favorite Christian radio station, Star 93.3 FM. Not surprisingly, all the songs seemed to be directed at our circumstances. And there was a brief story about a little boy with a heart condition who nearly died, but kept saying, “I am not afraid, Jesus is with me,” over and over again.

He was speaking.

Through my tears and aching heart, I was trying to listen.

I wept and drove and prayed for the 25 minutes it takes to get to my friend’s house and her barn, where she lets me lease her horses. As I rounded the corner, I started into my own little pity party (sorry I didn’t invite you) about how lame it is that we can’t actually own horses and land and a house in the country… Instead of being grateful for the home we actually have AND the opportunity to ride, I fussed to myself (and Him) about how life would be so different if we actually owned horses… that the relationships that are possible with these amazing animals would be so much deeper if they were mine and I saw them more than a few times a week… how if I actually owned my own horses, they would come running towards me when I came to the barn to ride them… but that will never happen because we just can’t get to a place with leased ones where it would even be possible…

And so my lament went.

Stopping at the barn, I remembered His Word, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

I complained about that, too – “I’ve been looking to You for everything, You have all of me, and You know I’d do anything You asked me to do, but I don’t know how to find delight in the midst of this. If one of them dies in surgery, I know where he’d go, but I don’t want to think about waiting for decades to see him again… I’m not there yet. You give and take away, and I understand and am reverently fearful of You, but my faith is not big enough for this.”

After the song ended, I got out of my van.

Then I began to weep for a new reason.

The horses had seen me – and were galloping towards me… for the first time ever.

I threw my arms up in the air, crying out, “You love me!” as much as to Him as to them.

I didn’t know I even wondered.

My heart felt so full with delight I thought it would burst, and I sensed His presence so strongly I felt my body could not contain Him.

And the fear left, taking its friend, doubt, with it. Trust joined me for the rest of the day. In fact, it’s taking up permanent residence.

That night, while watching the first episode of “The Bible,” series that we recorded, God reminded me through the story of Abram that He tests our faith. If you aren’t familiar with the story, Abram and his wife, Sarai waited 25 years for Isaac – then God tested Abram’s faith by telling him to sacrifice this son. The directive flew in the face of everything Abram thought he knew about what God had told him up to that point, but he took the boy on a journey, built the altar, and nearly plunged the knife into his beloved son’s chest before God stopped him, knowing his heart was truly His. And then we watched Moses being beaten, and the Israelites suffering. I recalled Job, how he lost his entire fortune, his family, and nearly his life, but remained faithful, as did the rest of the “greats” in the Bible.

And I knew this level of faith was not something any human could do on our own, but rather a gift of God Himself – a thing He does within us.

So this morning, as I am about to set way too many doctor’s appointments, I remember these things. And I thank Him for the trust He gave me in Himself. I repent of my fear, and take my thoughts captive as I continue the journey, only knowing the next step, and having that be enough.

God gives grace to the humble, and so today, I’m giving thanks for the trials. For the surgery, for the struggles, for the stress, for the potential problems. And that other guy is far from me. Dare you today to give thanks for your problems, even the ones with your marriage – regardless of the circumstances you are in. Beg Him to reveal His joy in the midst of difficulties. And expect suffering – it’s His way. Be thankful for it. Trials grow mature faith and dependence upon Him. And as we grow in our walk, He will bring us blessings in the midst of sufferings – blessings that are unexplainable.

Like galloping horses, He will run out to meet you with them.

And His light will shine through your life to others.

“No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Joshua 1:5

“O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.” Psalm 84:12

As for me, I believe this is the place His strength in us starts. Thanking Him for suffering, seeing the blessings He gives to a heart yearning to learn and obey. Dare you to beg Him for this humble attitude in your life. I know I’m praying for it myself. The second thing I”m doing is confiding in my believing husband – I tried to bear this burden alone with God, and He wants us to do things in community.  I’m starting with my husband, then I’m sure we’ll ask for prayer (and help) from our church body.

Glad you are on the journey with us.

Love to you,

~Nina

womens leadership

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26 thoughts on “Got Troubles?

  1. I have read your post and my heart goes out to you. Stay strong, know that the Lord will uphold you with his right arm of righteousness. When fear knocks, let faith opens the door! God never fails and does all things well. Maggie

  2. It is so encouraging to hear someone else’s conversation with God, knowing that you have had the exact same one before. Wow, what a trial! But also a time for you to rest in the shadow of the Almighty until these calamities have passed. Praising God for you and your candidness with us. And of course you & your family will be in my prayers.

    • Thank you, Sally. Psalm 91 is one of my favorites, a friend gave me a plaque that sits over my fireplace…I feel like I’m holding everything loosely these days. Thank you so much for your prayers… 🙂
      Love to you,
      ~Nina

  3. Dear Nina…my thoughts and prayers are with you as you as mother face these times. As a child (well I was at one time) that had(has) a possibly fatal condition, the prayers of my parents was my rock and strength throughout the teen years, the fears and un certainties. They pushed me to dream and plan despite the limits of life I faced. Now I’m married with 2 amazing kids (was told I’d never have kids) and a full life well past the age of my life expectancy. I truly feel it was the prayers and the hope my parents had that lead me to never give into the doom and gloom. I pray in all this you and your man can be this for your kids that face this. Love and prayers to you all!

    • Jen –
      Thank you for writing this and sharing your story with me. 🙂 I found encouragement there and felt spurred on as a parent. Thank you so much!
      Love to you,
      ~Nina

  4. Dear Lord,
    I hold up Nina and her family to You, Lord, and ask for Your peace to be upon them. Guide them Lord, make their hearts strong and their faith steady. Bless them Lord, with Your grace and grant them peace so that they may rest and be confident in Your works.
    Your children ask this, together, in your name.
    Amen

    Love you my dear sister in Christ, holding you up in prayer as you and your family go through this. Thank you for the love you show in your words and your presence here. You honour Him.

    • Thank you, Shanyn. I love the prayer and we do need to just be steady. I hate my wavering heart sometimes. Right now, it’s solid, but I know how fickle I can be, how easily doubt creeps in…that other guy is pretty good at what he does…too much experience with human nature.

      I remember a conversation I had a while ago with a woman who was angry that God would allow hardship into our lives. She was so furious with me and tried very hard to convince me with the Word that our Lord did not allow these things, much less cause them. It’s all Biblical, though. Frankly, if I didn’t think He was in charge of this too, I would be a total train wreck. I have to trust that He knows what He’s doing and has it covered.

      Love to you,
      ~Nina

  5. Just Thanks.
    I have been having that same dialogue with my Husband, about me being willing and able to sacrifice ANYTHING, knowing there is nothing hidden from HIM, and yet, feeling like He is not near, not listening, not showing me His care in the situation. I still have not seen the horses come running, but I am trying to be still and hear His words.
    Thank you for the encouragement.

    • Watching the Bible this week about Abram and Isaac literally just about did me in… so raw right now…not that He’s even asking me to “sacrifice,” but my heart wants to hold onto my boys. Trying to find the line between love and holding them loosely isn’t going so well on this one.
      Glad you are here…hang in there – on your face on the floor if you have to… it’s where I’m spending a lot of times these days. And when He seems far, I dive into Psalms. Praying for you, AR. May His blessings flow richly into your life.
      Love to you,
      ~Nina

    • Leah, I love that post. I fully agree, and have long thought that the “He won’t give you more than you can handle” thing is utter nonsense. He gives us an out with temptation – and fear is a sin, so yeah. But if He didn’t destroy me beyond my own capacity, I’d have no need of Him in the first place.

      Unfortunately, this culture does not understand that God not only allows, but actually instigates suffering for our benefit. Our arrogance and immaturity as a people requires it (and I’m a card-carrying member of the me-society, even when I’m desperately trying not to be – I’d be a rich camper three times over if I had a dime for every “forgive me” prayer I sent up in selfishness and pride and fear). So yes, I hate that we all need this suffering, but need it we do, and while I like to think I’m mature enough to not need it, that’s just pride and sin. 🙂 He’s good. All the time. Even when it seems like He’s not. He’s good. Thanks for the reminder this morning. 🙂

      “In a little while” is such a relative term, right? 🙂

      Love to you,
      ~Nina

    • Thank you so much, Alyssa. I love to cry with women. I cried reading that you cried! 🙂
      Love to you,
      ~Nina

  6. Lord, we lift up Nina, her husband and her children to Your throne room in heaven where you reign in glory, majesty, unspeakable power, love and sovereignty. Thank You for the trials You bring to us, Lord! Thank You for the chance You give us to have our faith refined by fire and for the way You make us more like Jesus and shine through us in the suffering. I pray for healing for both of Nina’s children. I pray for Your supernatural peace that passes all understanding for the whole family. I pray for Your will, Your greatest glory and for You to use these situations somehow to bring many people into Your kingdom and to draw Your children closer to Yourself. Thank You for Nina and the ministry You have given her. Thank You for the work You have empowered her to do. Raise up a godly generation of women who are totally submitted to You, Jesus. Let us throw off the ways of this world and cling to You and find Your joy, peace and abundant life as we die to ourselves and live for Your purposes and glory alone.
    In the Name and power of Christ,
    Amen!

    • Thank you, Peacefulwife. 🙂 Beautiful prayer, and a nice reminder of the refining fire. I’m choosing to welcome it, for all of us.
      Love to you,
      ~Nina

  7. Hugs~ Praying for you Sister ~ I find comfort in 1Peter also * Beloved Be Not amazed at the firey trial Meant to try you * and yet …. im always shocked ~
    Praying for healing and peace Mama ~ Be still You are Not forgotten ~ much love to you and yours ~ Your friend Michelle

    • Mommylives,
      He is with me, and thankfully, providing comfort and peace. I confess I was surprised on Saturday – and will probably have more moments like that – but He’s got a plan, and I’m going to choose, (for like the 17th time already this morning) to trust it…
      Love to you,
      ~Nina

  8. ♫We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear. We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near. We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love, as if every promise from Your Word is not enough. All the while, You hear each desperate plea and long that we have faith to believe♫ ~Laura Story

    Weeping with you friend. I’m not there yet either, finding joy in the harsh places of life. This gift of faith ISN’T something we can do on our own, my struggle right now is in the asking Him to gift that within me, for I am not worthy. And then the depths of my sin plunge deeper and the cross is raised higher because He died anyway, even with my ugly heart, too prideful to ask of Him. *sigh* Seeking Him with you.

    Prayers for wisdom of the doctors today and for clear direction and planning so the uncertain is at least not part of the struggle. Love to you and your family.

    • Laura Story. Katy, so perfect. Thank you…gosh. Puddles again. 🙂
      Love you, girlfriend…
      ~Nina

  9. Well, my friend, once again you have given me what I needed to hear right now. I, too, am suffering with a child (adult, of course). I was dreading seeing him and having to talk about the same things over and over tonight. I was thinking last night how nice my life would be without my son’s ever present depression issues. I must count myself blessed to be able to suffer for Christ’s sake and delight that He is sovereign ..not me. He heals…not me.
    Thanks love,
    Toni
    P.S. I will keep your family in my prayers and know the kids will be healed completely and without complication!!

    • Toni – It’s Him. 🙂
      And I know you know that. I’m counting myself blessed too…sometimes it’s a choice… oh, to see how He sees… sometimes I get a glimmer, but it’s not 100% of my existence, and I ache for that… I know you do, too. 🙂
      Love to you,
      ~Nina

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