Archive | July 2016

R…..Is For Remember…….. Lesson 5

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R…. What words could possibly make us tear up that start with the Letter R?

Rejection…… Rumors….. Ripping…… Rain……Rebuke…. Rebellion…..Remember…..Remission….. Repentance….. Restoration…… Rainbow….. Reconciliation….

Remember…… AKA….. Memories….

I was sitting outside a few weeks ago watching my Grandaughter….Payton… run around the yard with her little butterfly net…. catching Lightening Bugs.  She was having so much fun!
I would cheer her on as well as point her in the direction of the next flashing light that would be on for such a brief second…. and off again.   Hurry…. and wait!
My eyes began to be directed toward the landscape across my front yard and into the neighbors across the street when I saw it….. Ohhhhhh how I cried!    Look how beautiful all of those flashing yellow lights were as they lit up my yard!   I began to thank God for the beauty…. for His awesome plan for a little bug with a light attached to its back side… to bring peace… to a dark still summer evening…. like a huge Christmas Tree that twinkles on a winters night…..!  He doesn’t miss one single little detail in His Glorious painting of our world here on Earth!

We began to venture now into the backyard, since her very presence and wild movement from here to there had thinned out the population of the blinking little bugs.  The back yard was a much … much larger hunting ground which meant she ran more…. and I sauntered.    I walked over to a tree that was there and began to reminiscing the day we planted that tree!   Colin…. my youngest was about 3-4 months old and the tree… well… stretched out beside it… they were nearly the same length.
Colin had a nickname of Grunt… (because as a new born he “grunted” as he lay in his bassinet) so…. the tree officially became known as “the Grunt Tree”!    Now…. Colin is 21 and that tree…. well… it is HUGE…. and … Beautiful!

More Tears…..

Life seemed so good then!   I had a husband…. a new healthy baby…..Justin… my oldest was a happy 12 year old.   I had a nice home to live in… and even though my Dad had Cancer….I still had both ….my Mom and my Dad.   Oh…. the “good old days”!

.As I continued to sauntered …. I found myself reflecting on years past…. This very yard had hosted MANY summer memories of not only Lightening Bug catching… but neighborhood Chicago Softball games… Slip-N-Slide…..Rope swing…. Bike Ramps….scrapes and bruises.   Clothes hanging on the line to dry in the hot summer air…. Sun tea brewing on the sidewalk… and sitting in the yard swing…slowly rocking ….back ….and forth watching everything…. and nothing at all!

I looked up…. and there… there in the western sky is that moon!  That same exact moon … and that same exact planet that I have looked at for the past 26 years from nearly the same exact spot I would stand…. gazing at the wonder of how big the sky really is…. and how truly magnificent my God is!!   So much in my life has changed since I first noticed that moon and planet formation in my backyard….. and yet…. THEY never changed!   Still…. firmly positioned in the very place God set them in so many years ago!

Once again…. I felt more Tears slip down my cheek !

After Payton went home with her dad.. I thought if was necessary to record the Lightening Bug experience as my status on my Facebook page.
My Step Daughter Sarah….who was the same age as my son Justin … chimed in!   She remembered those days in that very same yard…. chasing Lightening Bugs… and longed for the simple life we all took for granted at the time.  Times …that went by way too quickly!

One of my cousins commented on the post by reminding me of us doing the same thing when we were kids.    We would get together… have BBQ’s…. Homemade Ice Cream…and then us kids… would catch Lightening Bugs and play night tag while our parents would sit at the table playing Pitch… Pinochle or Canasta!
Not of course a whole new set of memories begin to make their way through my mind and my heart of all the wonderful people in my life that are now …. gone.
My Dad…. all of my Grandparents…. Aunts… Uncles…. Cousins….. Friends!   So many memories… laughter… heartaches…. flood my mind to once again start the Tears to flow!

Memories….
Memories can be good… .they can bring Tears of sadness as well as joy.
Memories are supposed to be a place to visit…. not to live in!   If we try to live in our memories, we will miss our here and now and then years from now…. the memories we would have made will have been non existent… or… they will be full of sadness, anger and regret.

Can we learn from our memories?
Look at Peter….

Luke 22:60-61
Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed.  The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, …..
Lets back up….to the reference that set up the memory.

Luke 22: 31-34 Amp  

31 “Simon, Simon (Peter), listen! Satan has demanded permission to sift[all of] you like grain; 32 but I have prayed [especially] for you [Peter],that your faith [and confidence in Me] may not fail; and you, once you have turned back again [to Me], strengthen and support your brothers[in the faith].” 33 And Peter said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You both to prison and to death!” 34 Jesus said, “I say to you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will [utterly] deny three times that you know Me.”

Peter was so bold in declaring that Jesus didn’t have anything to worry about with him, because his faith… his belief in Him was so strong …. so firm…. that he was ready to go with Him to prison and to death!   ….. and yet…. when Jesus was arrested… and put in “prison”…. on trial…. and the chants in the crowd were to put Him to “death”… his flesh got the better of him and he did exactly what Jesus told him he would do!   Not once…. Not twice…. but 3 times Peter denied he ever even knew Him… and instantly…. when the rooster crowed….Jesus turned and looked at him…. which triggered the memory of that very moment … just a few short verses earlier.

The next verse….. Luke 22:62 is the verse I want to focus more on …. it says…. 62 And he went out and wept bitterly [deeply grieved and distressed].     
Peter… was so repentant that he went out and wept bitterly!!!    It hurt him deeply that he had betrayed Jesus…. by doing something that was totally opposite of what he had told Jesus He would do!  The reality of the situation he found himself in made him give way to the flesh.   The memory of that evening…. brought change from that moment forward and we know from the Word what  Peter did to further the Gospel and to do exactly what Jesus said….to strengthen and support your brothers[in the faith].

Judas on the other hand…. had a much different outcome.

I started to read his account in Matthew 27 but decided to back up a few verses to get a running start at this passage starting with Matthew 26 verse 6….    Now when Jesus was [back] in Bethany, at the home of  Simon the leper, a woman came to Him with an alabaster vial of very expensive perfume and she poured it on Jesus’ head as He reclined at the table. But when the disciples saw it they were indignant and angry, saying, “Why all this waste [of money]? For this perfume might have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” 10 But Jesus, aware [of the malice] of this [remark], said to them, “Why are you bothering the woman? She has done a good thing to Me. 11 For you always have the poor with you; but you will not always have Me. 12 When she poured this perfume on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial. 13 I assure you and most solemnly say to you, wherever this gospel [of salvation] is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told in memory of her [for her act of love and devotion].”

Now look at the very next 2 verses….. 14 Then one of the twelve [disciples], who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand Jesus over to you?” And they weighed out thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that moment Judas began looking for an opportune time to betray Jesus.

Could that have been the “last straw” for Judas…. who happened to be the keeper of the money bag?  Could he have been caught up in a greedy flesh moment that he went to the chief priests to get back at Jesus for being so wasteful… or… by keeping him from an opportunity to line his own pockets with a good deal of coins?

Judas’ betrayal was intentional…. and although I can’t see the word “Remember”  in the verses about him…. I am sure when he Realized what they were actually going to do to Jesus … to crucify Him… His memory of words spoken…  deeds He did for others…. kindness shown to him… like washing his feet during the last supper…. or…. was he remembering the words Jesus said at the very moment Jesus confronted him about his intended betrayal in verse 24!
Matthew 26: 20-21 20 When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the twelve disciples. 21 And as they were eating, He said, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you that one of you will betray Me.” 22 Being deeply grieved and extremely distressed, each one of them began to say to Him, “Surely not I, Lord?” 23 Jesus answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the bowl with Me [as a pretense of friendship] will betray Me.24 The Son of Man is to go [to the cross], just as it is written [in Scripture] of Him; but woe (judgment is coming) to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had never been born. 25 And Judas, the betrayer, said, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself.”

The Amplified Bible describes his “remorse” in Matthew 27:3 like this….

When Judas, His betrayer, saw that [Jesus] was condemned, [Judas was afflicted in mind and troubled for his former folly; and] with remorse [with little more than a selfish dread of the consequences] he brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders,   Saying, I have sinned in betraying innocent blood. They replied, What is that to us? See to that yourself. And casting the pieces of silver [forward] into the [Holy Place of the sanctuary of the] temple, he departed; and he went off and hanged himself.

The memory Judas had of …but woe (judgment is coming) to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had never been born  brought fear of consequences…. not true remorse and repentance…. and it made him take his own life….which may… or may not have been in Gods plan for his life.

Memories…. God gave us the ability to remember….. and quoting a scene from Lion King…When Rafiki finds Simba in the Jungle and tries to get him to come home…. but Simba is not sure…
He says…. I know what I have to do. But going back means I’ll have to face my past. I’ve been running from it for so long.
and then Rafiki hits Simba on the head with his stick!
Simba says…… Ow! Jeez, what was that for?
 …. and Rafiki replies…..It doesn’t matter. It’s in the past.
Simba confirms that ……  Yeah, but it still hurts.
Rafiki then gives the best line ever when he says……
Oh yes, the past can hurt. But from the way I see it, you can either run from it, or… learn from it.

Memories indeed can be a great stroll through happy days… but it can also be a long …. dark … lonely road of fear and regret….
Its your choice…. God ….has given us a way to set things right in 1st John 1:9….NLT   But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

And then….take what was said by Rafiki….  and LEARN from it!!!

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A….. Is For Adultery……. Lesson 4

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Lesson 4 Brings us to the Letter A.
Again … there are many words that begin with A that might make us cry.  I have experienced several in my lifetime… such as:
Abuse….. Accusations…. Adultery…. Adversity……. Affliction….. Alienation…..Annoyances…. Affection…. Anointing …… Anything!!

Adultery….. is the word that kept coming back to me as I prayed over this lesson, even though I kept thinking…… these women don’t want to hear my story ….
and I don’t need to be bringing up old wounds.   But….  That is exactly the A word He wanted me to use, because He had a wider scope on Adultery He wanted to address.

Websters Defines Adultery as:
A Sexual encounter or relationship between a married person and someone other than their spouse.
Cheating…. infidelity….misconduct….two-timing…. unfaithfulness.

Many of us have felt the sting of Adultery.   The thing about Adultery is it not only affects those going through it personally…. but many on the outer edges of those involved  as well.   My life was turned upside down with not only the traditional form of Adultery committed by a spouse… but also a nontraditional form of having a friend who was two-faced and unfaithful in our friendship.

This friend …whom I spent many hours with…. went shopping with… ballgames of our boys with…. even church together…. ended up with an adulterous affair with my husband.   Its not the first in history I know…. many of you have had similar stories and the hurt cuts deep.  Adultery rips and tears hearts and lives apart…. even in a world that is now callous to faithfulness.

18 years ago is when my story began.    I was a fairly new Christian of about 5-6 years.  I was a new Momma for the second time…. and I was attending a Bible Study on Mondays where I was filled with the Holy Spirit.   I had just lost my Dad to Cancer when it started back up…. and needless to say…. really rocked my already shaken life.  Things began to escalate with the uncertainty of my circumstances.   I believed that God wanted to heal my marriage… and yet… I was bombarded with so many arrows flying at my head and my heart as well as my spirit!

My Heart…. was broken!   I tried to hold on to the hope for a year….but I just no longer could keep believing for the miracle of reconciliation.  I began to lose who I was and didn’t recognize who I had become.  To the outside world… it looked as though I was the same happy woman I had always been… but to those close to me… knew I was becoming battle worn.
I finally made the decision to file for divorce.   One thing my Pastor had told me when I finally talked to him about it…. was that the filing of divorce is not when divorce happens….. it happened the first time he stepped out on me.   Not that that made it any easier to file…. but it seemed to be what I needed to push on through.

Many nights… in my little chair…. in my house…. behind closed doors…. I cried.  I felt like such a failure!  I felt as though I had failed as a wife…. why would he have an affair after he told me on our wedding day he could “forsake all others”?    Was there something I could have done differently?    Was I not pretty enough?  Smart enough?  Why?

I felt like I was a failure at being a mom!   I had already been divorced once before and I wanted to just do it “right” this time.  You know… the happy American family…. with a Mom and a Dad… and 2 kids… going to family things together.   I wanted my youngest to be able to have his parents sitting together at ballgames and school functions together…. and now… just like with my oldest son…. we would all show up in different cars…. set in different sections of the gym…. and one of us would go home….. alone.

….. and of course… I felt like I had failed my God!   Did I not pray long enough….. believe hard enough…. have enough Faith?    Did I give up too soon?   Oh…. how God must have been so disappointed in me!
I remember one evening in particular …. feeling ALL of the weight of what was happening…. feeling ALL of the emotions of being Abandoned… and of course those thoughts of being a failure in every area of my life.   I sat in my recliner…. VERY emotional…. TEARS and sobs filled my night of loneliness.  The TV was on…. and an episode of  Touched By An Angel was playing.   I prayed…. God… I am so sorry… I know I have failed you and you are very disappointed in me…. and then…. Andrew…. the “death Angel”…. began to minister to a lady who was dying.   The camera panned up to his face…. and it was as though he was in my room… looking directly at me when he said….
God wanted me to tell you…. that He is not disappointed in you….He is pleased with you…. and He loves you very much!

Ok… NOW the Tears are multiplied…. but this time… they are more of a Thankful kind of a Tear.   I had hope again… and I knew that God had spoke a Word directly to me… through a secular TV show!   Isn’t He AWESOME!!!  God ALWAYS shows up …. right when I needed Him most to remind me of His promise that He would never leave me or forsake me….  No matter how it felt…. His promise was and IS true!
Hebrews 13:5 AMP…… for He has said, “I will never [under any circumstances] desert you [nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless], nor will I forsake or let you down or relax My hold on you [assuredly not]!

 

Then….I began to do some digging in my Bible about Adultery …..when I cam across Hosea.

In the 2nd verse of the 1st chapter Hosea God told Hosea….. “Go and marry a prostitute, so that some of her children will be conceived in prostitution.   This will illustrate how Israel has acted like a prostitute by turning against the Lord and worshiping other gods.”
So he married a woman named Gomer.
I searched the meaning of Gomer and found a definition in Biblegateway that said it meant “completion,” that is, the filling up of the measure of idolatry, or ripeness of consummate wickedness. Her name was indicative of the wholesale adultery and idolatry of the kingdom she represented.
Interesting!
In Chapter 5….  the Scripture says she either must have returned… or maybe never truly left her “old ways”.

Chapter 2:5-8  
She said, ‘I’ll run after other lovers and sell myself to them for food and water, for clothing of wool and linen,  and for olive oil and drinks.’
“For this reason I will fence her in with thornbushes.  I will block her path with a wall to make her lose her way
When she runs after her lovers, she won’t be able to catch them. She will search for them but not find them. Then she will think,
‘I might as well return to my husband, for I was better off with him than I am now.’ She doesn’t realize it was I who gave her everything she has—
the grain, the new wine, the olive oil; I even gave her silver and gold.
   But she gave all my gifts to Baal.

This passage of Scripture gets me everytime I read it.   I read it in my Spiritual walk with God this way.
God…. I don’t trust you to take care of my every need.  I need to go out and find other resources to gain bigger homes… newer cars…. fuller closets… finer foods…deeper wallets…!   I will let you take care of the day to day things… the little necessities…or call on you when something Big comes up… but in the meantime…I am going to run after these things the world has to offer… but… you know  I’ll be home on Sunday so we can see each other then!

Haven’t we all been guilty of this… at least to some degree?   I know I have.  And… like Gomer… God has fenced me in when I get that way… blocking my path to those things …. simply to get my attention.   Things begin to seem like they are getting harder… the bills pile up… things breakdown.. and I just cant seem to get my hands on anything fun anymore…. and… Just like Gomer…I have been quilty of saying… “I might as well turn to God… and Pray … and trust Him…because I was better off with Him than I am now.”
Put like that… it really breaks my heart that I would have ever done that to my God.  The ONE person who loves me unconditionally….and cares about every part of my life and who was and is the source of everything good I have or have ever had in my life… and I…. gave credit to everyone and everything else instead of Him!

But… look at verse 14…   “But then I will win her back once again.  I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there.
God… waits until we are in our “desert” …those dry places where we have nothing else to distract us… and THEN… He speaks tenderly to us.   He doesn’t yell… He doesn’t scold!
He reassures…. He teaches… He corrects…. He LOVES!
When we mess up…. when we find ourselves some place we aren’t supposed to be…. God  … through the Blood of Jesus has given us another promise…
1st John 1:9 If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just [true to His own nature and promises], and will forgive our sins and cleanse us continually from all unrighteousness [our wrongdoing, everything not in conformity with His will and purpose.

Hosea 3:1-2
Then the Lord said to me, “Go and love your wife again, even though she commits adultery with another lover. This will illustrate that the Lord still loves Israel, even though the people have turned to other gods and love to worship them. 
So I bought her back for fifteen pieces of silver and five bushels of barley and a measure of wine…..

Hosea… was told to go buy his wife back…. even though… she had committed Adultery with another lover.  The exact thing that God did for us…. through Jesus ….Romans 5:8 But God clearly shows and proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.    Even though…. we were adulterers with the world… God loved us … and bought us back!
The price Hosea paid to get Gomer back…. was the price of a “slave”.   Jesus…..was sold out… for the price of “a slave”!  

Adultery….
It can bring us to TEARS……It can break many hearts…. and it also breaks God’s heart!

To wrap up….I found this one last passage I wanted to share with you….to give you something to think about ….and which should ….. be an eye opener for all of us!

Hosea 4:1-3 NLT
    …..The Lord has brought charges against you, saying:
“There is no faithfulness, no kindness,
    no knowledge of God in your land.
You make vows and break them;
    you kill and steal and commit adultery.
There is violence everywhere—
    one murder after another.
That is why your land is in mourning,
    and everyone is wasting away.
Even the wild animals, the birds of the sky,
    and the fish of the sea are disappearing

 

James 4: 4 NLT    You adulterers!  Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God.

 

E……Is For Endings…… Lesson 3

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The Letter “E” is our next lesson in the series of T.E.A.R.S.

A few words that could draw a tear are:
Endings….. Emptiness…. Embarrassment…… Enemies…. Enduring…. Evil…. Eviction…..Exasperation….. Excluded…. Edification…. Encouragement…. Exonerated ….

The word Emotions itself begins with “E”
Happy Emotions…. Sad Emotions… Excited…..Mad…
Emotions can grab us out of no where sometimes… and how we “react” to them can vary.   Me?…. well I seem to have an abundance of tears in reserve and it certainly
doesn’t take much for the floodgates to open and flow freely.

Endings ….however…. is the E word I felt God wanted me to use.      If…. there is a beginning … there will always be…. an ending!
Example…. movies.   I really don’t like to got to watch a movie in a theater very much….. oh… I like the atmosphere…. the fullness of the surround sound that seems to go all through you…. and of course… movie popcorn with extra butter!!!   What I don’t like about it,  is it really doesn’t matter if it is a love story… action film… or a cartoon…. I almost ALWAYS cry at some point in the movie!  And if it is one of those real tear jerkers… you can only imagine what I look like when the lights come on when you don’t even leave the house to get the mail without Mascara and Eyeliner.   If you still don’t get the picture…. lest just say…. “it ain’t pretty!”

I remember when my son was younger, his favorite movie was Air Bud.   We must have watched that movie a 100 times…. and yet…. EVERYTIME he yelled at Buddy to go away….. and then threw the ball so he could run back to the boat…. leaving that sad little dog just watching …. wondering why he was left…. I BAWLED….. even though… I KNEW in 5 minutes he would come strolling in on the basketball court.  And then lets not forget the ones that had really sad endings…. like My Girl…. or The Green Mile!   Lets just say… I was glad I was home… behind closed doors and windows and next to the Kleenex and makeup remover!

Embryo    (Because Babies doesn’t start with the Letter “E”)
New born babies make me cry too!!   There is just something about those sweet little things that just touch my heart and apparently my heart is attached directly to those darn tear ducts!
Their beginning…. will begin to set off a continues stream of beginnings…. and …. endings.

As Mommas…. we are totally wrapped up in those little ones’ life!   When they are happy…. we are happy…. when they are sad…. we are sad…. when they cry… yep…. we cry!
When they go off to school…. Kindergarten…. we cry…. for their beginning…. but at our ending of those precious toddler years.

When they graduate from High School…. We cry…. at their beginning of being an adult…. but at our ending of our nurturing role as a parent.

Then they get married…. we cry…. at their beginning of a new role in the adult world of husband and or wife…. but the ending of being the only woman possessing their heart.

….. and when they have their first baby….. we cry…. at the beginning of their parental status…. and the ending of yet another closed chapter in ours.
Beginnings…. and …. endings… bring lots of tears!

Another ending for some of us has to do with Divorce.    Our beautiful…. happy ever after dream beginning…. ended in a ugly…. night mare ending.  I shed many tears during the nearly 2 years of struggling to keep my marriage from ending in a statistic.  I prayed…. confessed…. believed…. and tried to be who I thought he wanted me to be, only to find out that once I was there….. it was never satisfactory to him and to me…. well… I had almost forgotten who I really was.    So…. I filed for divorce…. and now… I found myself… “Estranged”…. “Empty” and “Exhausted”!

But …. God never left me.  He walked me through ever step.  Even when I felt like I was a complete failure and was a disappointment to Him… He would remind me through things like a song on the radio…. words from my child….or even a TV show.    I remember when I was having a super bad night… and Touched By An Angel was on.  Andrew (the death Angel) was preparing to take a woman home who was dying in an alley.   The camera panned to his face and as he was telling her… he was looking me in the eye and said… God wants me to tell you… He loves you very much and He is not disappointed in you!!   Oh my!!!   God touched my heart …. which we recently concluded has a direct connection to my tear ducts … in a big way!

And of course…. Life…. if life has a beginning…. Life has and ending…. which we call …. death.
Not all of us may go through some of the previous “endings” I have talked about …. but everyone of us will at some point in our life …. experience the ending of life of someone we love.

Our family had a streak of deaths for awhile in the ’90s.   One of those was my dad.   My dad… suffered with prostate cancer for almost 2 years and the last few days were extremely hard.  The last day of his life seemed to be the longest for all of us… as he experienced many hours of extreme pain…then some kind of a seizure….. followed by a stroke…. and then he slipped into a coma before he took his last breath.

The tears I shed…. was for the ending of his life…. a life cut way too short … in a very cruel… cruel way!   A life… that would no longer be there to share in all of the joys…sorrows…. the beginnings and endings with the rest of us.   But…. our ending…. was only his …. beginning!!   You see… just a few months before he died… he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior!!    So his beautiful beginning of everlasting life with our Heavenly Father…. ended…. his pain … his sorrow… and his suffering!

Ecclesiastes 7:8 AMP
Better is the end of a thing than the beginning of it.

Revelation 21:4
God will wipe away every tear from their eyes and death shall be no more, neither shall there be anguish (sorrow and mourning) nor grief nor pain anymore, for the old conditions and the former order of things have passed away.

Isaiah 25:8
He will swallow up  death (in victory; He will abolish death forever) and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces; and the reproach of His people He will take away from off all the earth; for the Lord has spoken it.

 

 

“T”….. Is For Trials….. Lesson 2

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Lets think of some words that start with  “T” …. that could make us cry?
Taunting….Tattlers….. Taxes….. Temptations…. Terrors….. Theft……. Tombs….. Torment…. Torture….. Traitors…… Travailing…. Tired….Tribulation…. Trouble….

Many others that I could have listed or …. many that you are thinking of that haven’t even crossed my mind but are very high up on your list of “T” words for Tears.

The “T” word however, that God gave me was Trials.
Websters definition is:
A TEST of the quality, value or usefulness of something
A TEST of someones ability to do something
A TEST of Faith, patience, or stamina through subjection to suffering or temptation.

The word TEST was in all of those definitions and I dont know about you…. but I have never been a fan of TESTS!
Have you thought about those trials you are…. or have gone through…. as a test?    Really… when you think about it…. that is exactly what they have been.   Those tests… those trials have made you who you are today…. who you will be tomorrow!   Look back….can’t you say that…. TODAY…. you are much… Much  stronger than you were before the trial?   A lot more wiser?   How about your Faith?   Hasn’t it grown some deeper roots?!?!?

Like most of you… I have had my share of trials throughout my soon to be 53 years on this earth.   When you ask me about those trials…. many times I will refer to the “adult” trials I have had…. but… one “trial” when I was a kid was probably the one that really set my journey of character building into motion…. and I had no idea until just a few months ago the impact it had on me.
I think I had pushed it out of my carousel of memories and thought I could just forget it…. but with it being brought back to the forefront of my mind lately… I believe it is what God wanted me to bring up in this lesson.

I am really not sure how old I was when this happened…. I really am not sure the exact “how” “when” and “why” it happened.   The one thing I DO remember… is the long lasting sting that continued to happen all through my Grade School, Jr. High School and even through High School.
Living out in the country as I was growing up…. I was a “bus kid”and was close to the last picked up… and the last dropped off.   The ride probably was 30-45 minutes long…. and sometimes felt like 4-5 hours.   Most of the time there was a few people we could talk and laugh with… and if some of my friends weren’t on …. I could always try to do some of my homework… or just gaze out the window…. watching the poles go by.

The older you got… the farther to the back of the bus you got to sit.  That… of course is where the older… “cool” kids were.   Like I said… I still have no memory of how old I was…. but apparently one of the High School Boys must have pulled my hair.    It must have been bad enough…. because…. I really wasn’t a touchy kid… that after I got home… I must have began to cry….. and that is when my parents must have called the school.
My life…. began to change from that moment on!   The “cool” kid was kicked off the bus…. and I … inherited a new nick name….. Miss Priss…. Prissy….. Priss Priss Priss Priss Priss!   From that day on… the bus ride to … and from school always had a chant of some sort ….. with my new name attached to it.   It never really let up all through my school “career”…. although the last of the “cool” kids of that era graduated a year ahead of me… which meant my SR year was a bit less “colorful” on the bus ride home.

Looking back…. I know I shed many tears over that.  I never could understand how I got “punished” for something that someone else had done!   I was a kid… 10-12 years old I’m sure.   A girl.   Not a threat.   Not mean.   But nevertheless… I was singled out and Taunted and Tormented!   That Trial… that TEST… came to break me.   In many ways it did… but in even greater ways… it only made me more resilient and stronger!   It came to make me cower down…. and to never speak out on in justice for myself… and even others!   For a time… I suppose it did… but with all of the other “Trials” I have gone through since then… I am not that person the devil wanted me to be!

God had plans for me.   He protected me through many of those situations…. mentally, physically, and Spiritually!   I had great parents that I knew had my back….. and I made it through!
In the ’70’s….. “bullying” was not as mean spirited as it is today!    Bullying …. also was not as tolerated either…. because even the kids who did step into that roll… knew…  it was wrong… and had parents that would not have supported that kind of behavior.

Trials…. come….to test… test our Faith… not only for God…. but for ourselves… they not only show God your faith is genuine… but also proves to yourself… how genuine your faith is!!!
Go through your Trials… with your head up … as best you can… shed a few… or a lot of tears… but keep on keeping on through it.   It is only for a season… only for a “little while”… and when you come out of it… you will be like the man in the story below!!
James 1:2-3
Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials.  Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace].

1st Peter 1: 6-7
 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while.  These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

Acts 20: 19
I have done the Lord’s work humbly and with many tears. I have endured the trials that came to me from the plots of the Jews.
Trials…. I often think of this story  below …when I wonder … why … we have to go through some things..

The Unmoved Rock

 Once upon a time, there was a man who was sleeping at night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light and the Saviour appeared. The Lord told the man He had work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might. This the man did, day after day. For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing with all his might.

Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain. Seeing that the man was showing signs of discouragement, Satan decided to enter the picture placing thoughts into the man’s mind such as: “You have been pushing against that rock for a long time, and it hasn’t budged. Why kill yourself over this? You are never going to move it.” Thus giving the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure.

These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man even more. “Why kill myself over this?” he thought. “I’ll just put in my time, giving just the minimum of effort and that will be good enough.” And that he planned to do until one day he decided to make it a matter of prayer and take his troubled thoughts to the Lord.

“Lord,” he said, “I have laboured long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock a half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?” To this the Lord responded compassionately, “My child, when long ago I asked you to serve me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push.

And now you come to me, your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back sinewed and brown, your hands are callused from constant pressure, and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition, you have grown much and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. Yet you haven’t moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in My wisdom. This you have done. I, my child, will now move the rock.”

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