Every Christmas we take our kids up to our cabin in Minnesota to enjoy God’s lovely creation of snow and spend time with family! The snow is beautiful. The kids enjoy playing for hours in the snow, going ice skating, and doing “snow experiments”. Last Christmas when we were up in Minnesota, we encountered days of -30 below. It was cold! The kids looked outside and desperately wanted to go out, but it was just way too cold. We couldn’t go anywhere either for the fear of being stranded and that would be a bad situation. So, I put on my “mom” cap and began planning things to do inside with 8 little kids! We did not anticipate days of -30 when we planned our trip!
God gives us seasons we don’t expect or anticipate too. They hit us sometimes when we didn’t see it coming. I truly believe God shows us so much when we suffer, and He uses it for something good. Our suffering usually isn’t self-inflicted, but rather just a result of our sinful world and it not being perfect. Our Creator gives us opportunities to get off the couch and do something, but only when we spend time listening. It’s like He’s waving His hands, trying to get our attention. He’s saying, “Hey, you… are you listening to me? Stop talking and just listen! Be quiet!”
Three years ago, was one of the most shaping experiences. God started refining me in ways, I never imagined. But HE needed to— I was pregnant with my twins and was so excited to have twin girls, just like my sister. Randy and I took a mini vacation and as I sat on the beach, we received a phone call saying my sister had brain cancer. My heart hurt for her, but I knew she would draw close to our Creator. She didn’t complain about her condition. She knew He was using her suffering for something good. She put on the armor of God and was ready. We anticipated God would heal her. She had faith that God would heal her, and it was going to be a journey, where she would draw close to our Father. As years and procedures passed, we realized God was going to heal her in heaven.
The year before her death was hard to watch as her body was slowly shutting down. I felt terrible for her. My heart hurt for her. I would pray for her all day and was up many nights, praying. “Lord, take her home. Please stop her physical suffering.” I knew she would be healed, and she would meet our father face to face. Through her illness and what God was showing her, she thrived. She used her illness to draw people closer to our father. Many people’s relationship with our Lord grew as a result of watching her share, Jesus. It was in her suffering she gloried God and she did it well. Her kids saw how strong she was in the Lord and let me tell you, seeing her suffer well grew their faith.
This “season” in my life, it hurt. I drew close to God for comfort and relied on Him, as His plans have always been far better than my own. Still today, I don’t want to forget what He showed me, and I intend not too. In my hurt for my sister, God sent a clear picture to me. IT IS NOT ABOUT ME! Life is not about me, about my stuff, about what I want. It’s about our father. It’s about leading people into His kingdom and to stand up for Him when our world is full of darkness and chaos. It is about raising warriors to fight for Him and for them to pass the same on to the next generation.
As I sat there one night writing for my sister, God told me to get off the couch. Stop being lazy. There is no excuse. Give Me the wheel. He had better things planned and use my suffering for something good. I don’t know what He has planned for me, or for my family. But I will tell you this, I want to be listening and I do not to miss out on the opportunities He shows me. He’s in charge and i don’t want to be! How we listen to God in our suffering, impacts how we respond to our suffering.
I am not sure what you may be going through right now. Perhaps it’s a disagreement with a spouse, divorce, finances, a loss of a loved one, or an illness. We all suffer in different ways and our suffering cannot be compared to another person’s suffering. BUT how we respond during our hard times is when God can change us and use our suffering in ways we never imagined. Perhaps you don’t know how God can use you. Start praying, my friend. Start praying. Surrender to God in it all and tell Him you are willing to be His servant in any way.
I sat there one night and said, “Lord, send me. Send us. Use my family and show us how we can serve you. Every blessing you have given Randy and I, has come from you. Use what you have given to grow your kingdom. “I don’t want to forget when times were hard, I want to cling to what God showed me and told me. I want Him to continue to write my story and Him be gloried in the process. In the story of Hezekiah, it’s unfortunate He forgot.
Hezekiah was miraculously healed by God. He pleaded with God to heal him. God heard his cry and healed him, and our Lord told him He would add 15 years to his life
He was a king that loved the Lord. But he forgot what God had done for him and let his pride get in the way
Isaiah 39 says, “Soon after this, Merodach-baladan son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent Hezekiah his best wishes and a gift. He had heard that Hezekiah had been very sick and that he had recovered. Hezekiah was delighted with the Babylonian envoys and showed them everything in his treasure-houses—the silver, the gold, the spices, and the aromatic oils. He also took them to see his armory and showed them everything in his royal treasuries! There was nothing in his palace or kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them
Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah and asked him, “What did those men want? Where were they from
Hezekiah replied, “They came from the distant land of Babylon
“What did they see in your palace?” asked Isaiah
“They saw everything,” Hezekiah replied. “I showed them everything I own— even my royal treasuries
Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Listen to this message from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies: ‘The time is coming when everything in your palace—all the treasures stored up by your ancestors until now—will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left,’ says the Lord. ‘Some of your very own sons will be taken away into exile. They will become eunuchs who will serve in the palace of Babylon’s king.’
Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “This message you have given me from the Lord is good.” For the king was thinking, “At least there will be peace and security during my lifetime
There is so much to learn from this part of Hezekiah’s story. He could have shared how God healed Him, but instead he chose to show the king of Babylon his treasures. Now, his “stuff” wasn’t his anyway!!!! God gave it all to him.
My heart hurts for the last part, Hezekiah did not care about the future generations, but just about the moment. He didn’t focus on the Lord and the future impact of his decisions. He was living in the moment with pride, overconfidence, and forgetting God’s sovereign plan. The Lord God had healed him, but when the urgent crisis ended, he seemed to get caught up in possessions. God wants us to be His servant in all we do and with whatever He gives us. Nothing on earth is ours, it’s His. Are there idols or things in your heart, that need to be changed? Do you care about the next generation or are too consumed with yourself? Hezekiah didn’t grieve for his offspring or seem too concerned about his legacy but instead reveled in his own comfort. How are you letting God write your story? Are you in control or are you letting God drive the wheel?
We recently had Nicole’s kids up at our cabin. It was a joy. A pure blessing. My sister would have loved it here and I couldn’t wait to show her all of God’s wonderful creation that is seen up there. Her kids are so sweet and have a very special place in my heart. We had so much fun going on the lake, fishing, doing crafts and talking. I loved sharing stories of their mom and reminding them what her mission was while on earth. It never was about stuff or about her, it was about sharing Jesus with everyone and making an impact on the next generation. Their mother did an amazing job being an example of serving our Lord and bringing people to Jesus. May her kids continue pursuing His kingdom and not the world.
All 4 kids came to our cabin and also saw their uncles, Aunts, and grandparents too. I loved spending time with each of them. Garrett is growing to be a warrior for Jesus. We need more kids like him in the next generation. He is passionate about Jesus, and he is very knowledgeable in worldview and what is going on in the world. I am waiting for his Podcast to come out soon! We definitely will be sharing that with you all! He is making an impact on his generation! His mother would be smiling at the fine young man he is becoming.
Abbey and Ashton are starting their sophomore year of college. YES, I said that right! Can you believe it??!! They are doing quite well and enjoying soccer. I can’t wait to watch them this year! They are in a social club and have made some great friends. They too have a great passion for Jesus. I love watching them grow. They both remind me so much of Nicole.
Nathan is my little buddy. It was a joy to have him up at the cabin and to see him interact with his cousins. He is such a special boy. He is learning and following his older siblings. He is growing up so fast! He starts middle school this year
I apologize for not writing on this blog for a while. My family has been busy with our farm, and we have been diligently praying about how God can use us in different ways. Follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/hopefarmsec or sign up for our newsletter. Find out about what we have been up to. I do have a blog for our farm if you would like to follow us. Please visit our site! Hope Farms and Education Center or sign up for our newsletter at hopefarmsec.com. If you have a prayer request, please let me know.
Garrett: Please pray for him as he finishes his last year in college. He has been busy working and getting his Pod Cast going.
Abbey and Ashton: Pray for a great year for them as they start the soccer year and the next year of school. They have had such a great summer. Both of the girls have been babysitting, working at a camp, and going on a great vacation with Scott to Aruba.
Nathan: Please pray for Nathan as he transitions to a new school. Pray for the right friends. He has been doing very well and I loved seeing his sweet smile and hearing his laughter this summer.