Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

Why Be Grateful for the Storms of this Life?

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“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds…” James 1:2

EH? Count it joy? Be happy about trials of various kinds? I can honestly say that we go through a great variety of trials and I confess that it is rare that I leap for joy at the discovery of a new trial or time of tribulation. Yet, we are told to count it joy. There are several reasons we should be grateful and joyful, even in the midst of great trials and sometimes tremendous amounts of pain and suffering. Here are some of the reasons we should be grateful for the storms of life…

  1. Trials teach and grow us in patience and faith. The testing of our faith produces patience and works in us to develop our faith to maturity. It is during times of trial that we grow the most in our walks with the Lord as we put our trust in Him alone.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” James 1:2-8

  1. Trials produce endurance, character and a more confident hope that will never let us down. We know who our hope is in and that He will never fail us or let us be destroyed.

 “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:2-5

  1. Trials and pain bring us closer to the Lord. We draw nearer to Him and He is right there for us, bringing us comfort, strength and peace.

“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:17-18

  1. Our faith through trials brings honor and glory to God, not to mention the testimony that it is to the lost.

“So that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:7

  1. When we go through trials, God ministers to our spirits in a very personal and beautiful way. He renews us and establishes us. We see His work in our lives very clearly.

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:10

  1. The end result of enduring through the trial is the crown of life and glory beyond what our mortal minds can comprehend.

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18

No one asks for trials, and yet we see that experiencing trials produces some wonderful fruit, in us and around us. We may not see the fruit now, nor may we feel God’s loving hand in it, but we have a blessed assurance that it’ll all be worth it in the end. If we truly believe God’s Word, then we have every reason to be grateful for the trials and storms this life has for us. As we put our faith in the God of all creation, we can face today and everyday with strength, hope, peace and joy.

Praying today for people going through horrific trials, that they would feel the very near presence of God and know His love.

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When You Have a Mystery Illness…

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So many people around the world suffer with “mystery” illnesses that have, for one reason or another, stumped the medical profession. There are so many difficulties in having to live with an illness that is either: impossible to diagnose, misunderstood by doctors, controversial in nature, or simply incredibly rare. Many of these illnesses have no cure – at least not yet. People are expected to just get on with it, soldier through and try to hold their lives together. Odds are you or someone you know suffers in this way, so please take a moment to read this so you can understand better what people like myself are going through.

When you have a mystery illness…you feel like no one takes it seriously. You have pain and other symptoms but, without a diagnosis, people don’t seem to think it’s a big deal. They can’t see the pain going on inside. If you say, “I have cancer”, loved ones are immediate to show deep concern, offer prayers and help you any way they can. With a mystery illness, they have no way to relate or gage the seriousness of what you’re going through.

When you have a mystery illness…you have no proof of your illness so people sometimes treat you like a hypochondriac. They may not flat out say it, but they make subtle jokes about how much you complain or how often you are sick, as if it’s a choice or just in your mind. They have no idea how much this hurts those who are suffering without proof of their condition.

When you have a mystery illness…you see doctor after doctor and each time feel a little less hopeful that anyone will be able to help. You see GPs, specialists and are even referred to mental health specialists when the doctors stop believing you too. Many times they run the basic labs and then tell you that’s all they can do. It’s extremely frustrating and disappointing. It’s difficult to continue seeking help.

When you have a mystery illness…your pain is often invisible so people expect you to do more than you can. Sometimes you can barely get out of bed. You struggle to get chores done. You attend events but it takes all of your strength to maintain pleasantries. They just don’t see how badly it hurts.

When you have a mystery illness…you feel cheated. You watch other people being able to do the things that you can’t, and it’s sometimes very difficult to be content. It takes prayer and submitting daily to the Father’s will just to keep from sinking into depression and bitterness. It can seem like you are unsuitable for every role you feel called to: wife, mother, ministry, etc. It can seem very unfair. Yet, you love the Lord and know that His ways are perfect. You know pain is the result of a fallen mankind, and that God does love us, even though He does allow us to suffer. You look forward to a day where there will be no more pain or suffering.

When you have a mystery illness…you feel like no one understands what you’re going through. You feel awfully lonely at times. You are afraid to talk about it for fear of sounding like a complainer. You worry that people are judging you or simply sick of hearing about your health problems. Pretty soon you just stop talking about it. You just struggle alone in silence.

When you have a mystery illness….you struggle with fear. It is so hard to deal with health concerns and various symptoms without any answers. While hearing that you have an illness is no fun, at least those of who have a diagnosis know what’s happening, what’s going to happen, and can make a plan for treatment. When you have no diagnosis, you have symptoms that can be scary. You never know what to expect. There is no cure. There is no real treatment plan other than to manage symptoms. You have no answer to give friends and family.

For those of us who suffer from mystery or misunderstood or mistreated illnesses, day to day life can be a challenge. Let me just assure you that the pain we are going through is both real and sometimes intense. The fact that we don’t have answers means that we feel no resolve. We can’t come to grips with it except to accept that we may never have explanations or the help we desire.

I honestly don’t know how people who don’t have Jesus Christ in their lives go through these types of chronic health problems. All I know is that the hope I have inside me lives on despite the pain of the physical body. While others may not understand or take my pain seriously, I know that my loving Father in Heaven knows of every tear that falls and every pain I go through. He cares. He knows. He sees it all. He allows it but has promised to turn what is evil to good. He has promised to make beauty from ashes. He loves me and will not leave me to suffer alone. Someday He will give me a new body without pain. Praise Jesus!

I pray for healing. I ask you to pray for me too, and to pray for the countless people who suffer even now with an illness that modern medicine can’t cure. As for me, I give glory to God whether He heals me or not. I know His ways are far above mine. I long to be healed. I long for a day when my body isn’t consumed with pain. I long to be free from these restraints. Until that day, I just need to look up. I need to remember the sufferings of my Savior. I need to remind myself daily that this suffering is but for a moment and that an eternity of glory awaits.

If you suffer, please know you’re not alone. Know that Jesus hasn’t abandoned you. Don’t lose hope. God has a plan and He will deliver you. If you don’t know Jesus or haven’t committed your life to Him, I pray you will do so right now. Until you know Jesus, the sufferings of the physical body are not your biggest concern. You need Jesus now and He wants you. He wants to bring you comfort and hope that cannot be shaken by illness and pain. Cry out to Him and He will not turn from you, dear one.

If you have someone in your life that suffers from a mystery or chronically misunderstood illness, please be there for them. Show them that you care and believe them. Pray for healing. Offer help. They need it. Try to understand. Don’t treat them like it’s all in their head. Offer grace. Offer mercy. Offer support. Know that it may be a lot worse than it looks….probably is. You will never know how much your love and concern means to someone who is suffering and feeling alone.

God bless!

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The Pain of a Parent’s Adultery

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“They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children!” 2 Peter 2:14

The Day My Dad Left

I’ll never forget that day. It was a day that changed our lives in many ways. It was a fork in the road that led us all into the path of pain, poverty, fear, hopelessness and hatred. It was the day that what we had known, though not very pleasant either, would be ripped apart. When I say that he left, I actually mean the day he moved out. He had really left a long time before, but on that day – the day that it was discovered he had been committing adultery with my mom’s secretary – it was finally over. That’s the day my dad left. 

My parents never had a great marriage. My mother was a Christian, but my father wasn’t. The fighting, cursing, occasional violence….it was not uncommon. It was what we knew growing up. There were separations and then reconciliations. Rumors and suspicions of multiple affairs on my father’s side were always present, but there was never proof. Not until that day.

Now my intention in sharing this personal story is not just to tell a sad story, nor to seek to harm the reputation of anyone involved, but to shed some light on the pain and harm a parent’s adultery inflicts on his/her child. You see, too many people who commit adultery think they are only cheating on their spouse. I’m sorry, but that’s just not the case. When you cheat on your spouse, you are cheating on your children as well, and you are most certainly sinning against the Almighty God.

 Cheating on Your Kids Too

Adultery is one of the most selfish of all the sins, though I dare say sin in and of itself is always based on selfishness in some way. When a husband or wife commits adultery, he or she seeks self-gratification at the expense of the spouse and children. Knowing that this action will deeply wound and scar the hearts and minds of their children, they go forward. They please themselves. Their mouths may say that they love their children, but their actions show that they love themselves far more and don’t care about the well-being of their kids. They cheat on their family. How sad! It is a most selfish and abhorrent act. God hates adultery.

“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” Matthew 15:19

When my dad’s adultery was found out, he left and eventually married the woman, raising her children as his own. We realized later that, looking back, he had been fathering them for a while anyways. He coached her kids little league team. He never did those things for us. He was always a better stepfather than a father. At his funeral many years later, the person reading the story of his life, skipped from when he graduated from high school to when he married the woman. The twenty plus years that we were a family – my parent’s marriage, our births, our childhood – were deleted from his timeline. We were deleted. While he didn’t write it, he chose it. He chose to cheat on his wife and abandon his children.

There’s Healing in Jesus!

While this seems like a very sad story, I want to leave you with hope. It was 8 years from the time he left before I was willing to speak to my dad again. Even then, I had such bitterness and hatred in my heart for him and his wife. Every moment with them was torture. The Lord, however, did a magnificent work in my heart. Throughout the years I was able to forgive my father for the hurt he had caused us. Only a few years ago, he died of lung cancer. I can say with thanksgiving in my heart that I was able to hold his hand, tell him I loved him and say goodbye before he departed from this life. I have no regrets for anything I did, but only regret that I never had the father I should have had. 

Today I am so grateful to see my husband playing with our daughter. He loves her so much. He would die for her and he would never hurt us the way my father did. I praise God every day that my daughter has a mother and father who will not break our marriage vows. We will not cheat on each other or her. We will not file for a divorce no matter what the circumstances. We stand solidly on the Rock knowing that Jesus Christ is the center of our home. 

If you have experienced the pain of a parent’s adultery, you know very well the bitterness and scars it causes. My prayer for you is that you find total freedom from it all and the ability to forgive through the strength of the Holy Spirit. Forgiveness is so powerful. It’s freedom! Pray for those who have harmed you. Make yourself do it, even if you don’t want to. Ask for God’s help. He wants to bring you healing and wholeness.

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

Repent of Adultery

If you have committed adultery, or are having an affair even now, repent! Repent for this sin and ask God to forgive you. Change your life. If you can win back the hearts of your spouse and children, make that the most important thing in your life. Love them more than yourself. That’s what God wants from you. God hates adultery.

Flee from Temptation

If you are considering committing adultery, I beg you to stop now before it’s too late. You are about to do something that will utterly destroy the lives of many, and that will cause a schism between you and God. Think of your spouse. Think of your children. Think of the tears they will cry and the heartache they will endure. Will you really put them through all of it for a moment of pleasure?

 Flee from temptation and sin! If it lingers at you workplace (as it did for my dad) quit your job and never go back. Find a new job. Your family is more important. If your spouse isn’t giving you the love and support you need, don’t go trying to find it elsewhere. Read the Word of God and keep the vows you made to God. That’s right! Those wedding vows you made were before God. Stop now before it’s too late and you have crushed the hearts of the people you are supposed to be loving and protecting. Please stop.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

Find Healing through Jesus

The adultery of a parent is painful indeed, but there is hope for the hurting in Jesus. If you don’t know Jesus Christ, you need Him. He wants to heal you, forgive you, know you personally and change your life. He wants to give you eternal life through His death and resurrection. Confess your sin and ask Jesus to forgive you and to come into your heart. He will answer your prayer with joy. If you are a Christian who is hurting, allow God into those wounded places in your heart. Ask Him to help you forgive. It won’t be easy, but it will be exceedingly worth it in the end. I have found peace through Jesus.

 

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Cry Out to the Lord and be Saved

“Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses.” Psalm 107:19

God never promised we wouldn’t have trouble in this life. In fact, He assured us we would. Life is brutal. The enemy is pacing the doors of our home waiting to pounce on us at every opportunity. Temptation and sin abounds in our land and it is no doubt becoming like the days of Noah before the flood. As the final times approach, we are faced with every trial and challenge one could imagine, and we suffer. We feel the weight of the burden on our shoulders. We experience loss, mourning, poverty and persecution. We weep.

I’ve experienced pain too. I’ve struggled with health issues and financial challenges. I know the pain of infertility. I have lost my share of loved ones. I’ve been touched by depression and grief that only the Lord God could have pulled me out of. Why do I share this? I want to encourage you that, as Christians, it’s okay NOT to be okay sometimes. It’s okay to struggle and to experience sadness. We can weep. Jesus wept for the death of Lazarus, and He knew the big picture and that He would resurrect his friend. God does not expect us to be untouched by the pain of this world. What He expects is for us to cry out to Him in our distress and He promises salvation.

God knows we are weak. He knows we will struggle and go through pain. He gives us permission to cry out to Him. Crying out is an urgent, heart-filled cry for help like a child does in the middle of the night when she has a bad dream. She cries out for her parents to help her and good parents run to their child, embracing her, wiping away her tears and settling her down. That’s what God does. He holds us in His arms, whispers encouragement and brings salvation. He may not remove all of the challenges, but He gives us strength to make it through the trials. He will even give us joy and peace amidst the storms of this life.

While pain is very real, and we are by no means safe from its reach, we have a blessed hope. We know that when we cry out, our God will save us. He will replace mourning with dancing. He will carry us through the fire. Cry out to Him. Cry out!

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18

 

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