Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

I Give Up

Today I feel like giving up. Oh, I’ve felt this way before but I confess at this moment, in the very moment that I type these words, I am at the most difficult time and place of my life. This is real. Honest. Transparent. Probably too transparent. Yet something tells me to write it and be honest because I know there are others who feel like giving up too. I know it. I pray that God brings those dear ones to this blog and encourages them.

“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” Psalm 42:11

Why are you downcast, oh my soul?

I’ll tell you why I feel like giving up, though I know it won’t adequately capture what’s going on with me. It’d be the same if you were writing about your heartache. It’s difficult to convey the depth and width of the pain. As I write this, I’ve been battling what specialists believe is a persistent and chronic lyme disease. After two plus years of treatment, I’ve made no progress. I endure severe pain on a daily basis. I feel like a 37 year-old trapped in an 87 year-old’s body. I have a vast array of symptoms in addition to the pain, including insomnia (which is why I’m writing this at 1am), gastric issues, POTS symptoms affecting the heart, dizziness, chronic sinus and other infections, splitting headaches, intense fatigue and more. I struggle with depression and anxiety with full-blown panic attacks (which I have never experienced before). I also struggle with the results of multiple prescribed medications and having to withdraw from them. There’s a lot more but I won’t babble on. I can only say that it’s horrible having to live this way, and I have no reason to believe I’ll find remission any time soon.

In addition to the chronic illness, my life is riddled with what seems like problem after problem, trial after trial. It’s almost become comical. I won’t go into detail as much of it is private, but I can only say that I often, throughout the day, shake my head in disbelief at how badly everything goes. Relationships. Finances. Events. Treatment. Even day to day living…like with the household. Everything. Everything goes wrong. It’s shocking. It’s so disheartening. It’s so hard to push forward. That’s why I want to give up.

Now, when I say I want to give up, I’m not saying that I want to take my life. That is something I will never do. I would never do that to my daughter. I would never do that to my Lord. When I say “give up”, what I mean is “give in”. I feel like giving in to despair. I feel like giving in to full-blown grief. I feel like isolating. I don’t feel like going shopping, being social or even talking, really. I feel like spending my time with my kiddo and just letting it all fall apart, since it seems to be always falling apart around me anyways. That’s how I feel, but let me assert with confidence that giving up is not the answer.

Suffering is a part of life, and some suffer more than others. Some Christians suffer more than others. It’s life in a fallen world. Sickness, stress, pain, divorce, brokenness…it was never part of God’s perfect plan. Sin brought it in along with death and decay. We live in a world that groans because of the pain and sin and destruction. We await with hurting hearts the redemption of the returning Messiah. It’s a mess, friends. I know this is the truth and so I do not resent God for the pain I’m experiencing. I know He didn’t send it to me or inflict me with it. Now, He may be allowing it, but that’s not the same thing. He has promised to make beauty from ashes and to redeem our suffering. He is the Rescuer. Deliverer. Savior. Father. King of Glory. He is all and everything and perfection.

 

““The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.” Deut. 32:4

“To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Timothy 1:17

“For the Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.” Deut 4:31

““For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”” Rev 21:4

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

 

I believe what God says in His Word. I believe it, but I’m weak. I’m broken. Brokenhearted. Broken in body. Broken Spiritually. So here’s the good news….God can and does work in our brokenness. If you’re broken and hurting like me, know that God isn’t finished. He is working and stronger than ever in our weakness and brokenness. We are not alone. We are not lost causes. God has not and will not ever forsake us…..even if we give up for a while.

 

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matt 11:28

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

“The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” Ex 15:2

“He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.” Isaiah 40:29

 

We may not know what God is doing…I don’t. I don’t understand it. I ask Him, “why? Why me Lord? How can You love me and allow this? Am I cursed? Have I done something wrong to have earned this constant pain?” I don’t know what He’s doing but I can trust in Him because He said I could and because He is good. He is God. He is love. I trust in His character and His promises. He never promised a perfect or pain-free life on earth. He promised salvation from the grave and everlasting life. He promised we would not drown when the waters overtook us. We would not burn when the fire burned all around. We would be pressed but not crushed. We would be broken but not destroyed.

 

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” 1 Cor 13:12

 

All we need to do is cling to Him and wait. Wait. One more day. One more hour if need be. We need to wait and not give up. Can we not wait for one hour? We can through the power of the Holy Spirit my friends. We can. I’m praying for you. Please pray for me too. And remember….

God is good and He loves you!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13

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My Experience with Pain

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Pain. Anyone who has experienced a broken bone, has had to pass a kidney stone, has given birth, has suffered severe injuries or has chronic illness understands pain. Everyone goes through times of physical pain. People get arthritis, back aches, muscle pain, headaches, etc. Pain is a part of life. For some, pain is a part of daily life. For the chronically ill or those who suffer from lifelong injuries, pain is a constant enemy that tries very hard to beat us up physically, emotionally and even spiritually.

I’ve suffered from pain for the last six years. That’s about when I believe my Lyme Disease started. It began with arthritic-like pain in what they call the cross area of the back (neck and shoulders). Pain was the first symptom and it has never left me….not in six years. I’ve had good and bad days, but it’s always there and it’s always getting worse.

Over the course of the six years I saw many doctors in search of answer and help. I had other symptoms as well and so I was tested by GPs for markers for lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and more. They would run blood panels and find no answers so eventually they would tell me I was fine and to go home. I knew I wasn’t fine. I also saw many specialists. Over the six years I saw a cardiologist, a neurologist, a gastroenterologist and two rheumatologists. They did x-rays of my neck and saw arthritis. One rheumatologist told me I just have a bad neck (forget about the rest of the pain) and just to take good care of it. The other gave me a shot in the shoulder and then sent me to a few months of physical therapy. The pain continued and got worse.

All of these doctors and still there were no real answers for the pain, and definitely no solutions. It was hard but for a long time the pain was tolerable. It wasn’t fun, but I could pretty much do what I needed to do. The other symptoms (dizziness, heart issues, numbness and tingling, stomach problems, headaches, etc.) were also frustrating but not terribly bad. Then I went through a tremendously stressful event in my life and it put my symptoms into overdrive.

The past 12 months have been indescribable in many ways. How do you explain that kind of relentless and crippling pain? In the morning, before I’m fully awake, there is a brief period of intermission between sleep and awake where the pain hasn’t registered yet. I value those few seconds because in a moment all of the sensors begin to awaken, reminding my brain of the widespread pain throughout my entire body. I can tell you that in those moments when the pain comes alive again to plague me for another day, sometimes all I can do is weep just a little and cry out to the Lord for help.  I imagine it’s how someone might feel after being beaten up the night before by a team of boxers. Except there are no bruises…no evidence of the pain that anyone can see.

So this pain…the pain that never goes away and never lets up… it does leave you feeling beaten up. Obviously the physical pain is there. It also affects you emotionally and spiritually. Emotionally there are times when the pain gets the better of you. It steals joy away. It reminds you that your life isn’t what you thought it would be. You can’t do what you want to do. You feel alone (even with loved ones offering support). You feel like no one understands. It can affect your marriage and other relationships. With Lyme, you worry about finances and you’re never sure if you’re choosing the right treatment protocol. Sometimes there’s a lot of fear. And sometimes you just can’t handle the turmoil of knowing that you may be looking at a lifetime of pain. It never lets up. Never a break. Imagine having the flu forever. Every day. The pain can bring you to times of struggle with depression and anxiety for sure.

Any Christian who has experience pain, physically and emotionally, knows that it can be a spiritual struggle as well. Accepting that God is allowing you to suffer isn’t always easy. We know the He never promised an easy life here. His disciples all suffered. Jesus suffered more than we can imagine. Still, in those times when you cry out to the Lord for help and healing and yet it doesn’t come at that moment, it can be hard. We ask God why this is happening to us. Why me when I have strived to serve you? Sometimes we feel overlooked or abandoned by our churches, often because we don’t let them see how badly we’re suffering and that we need help. We don’t want anyone to know that we are struggling. We don’t want to complain or be a burden.

Pain beats you up but I fight back and I’ll never stop fighting. I’ve been a Christian for many years and I believe God has a purpose in the pain and suffering. He brings me comfort and He reminds me that this present pain is not worthy to be compared to the glory that’s coming. He gets me through day by day, step by step. I praise Him that I can still teach and that I can still go out and spend time with my daughter. I know that He can heal me completely, and of course that’s my daily prayer, but I also trust Him that if He tarries in bringing healing it’s for a reason. I know that He has abundant grace for me on those days when I take my eyes off of Him and have them focused on the pain. He loves me when I fail and on those days when I let the pain get the better of me. He never leaves me or forsakes me. He is my Deliverer and my Comforter! Thank You Jesus!

This blog may have some across as dark and miserable, but I leave you with words of great joy. Beloved, there will be an end to pain! Yes there will!!! Pain may attack us and beat us up while we are here on earth, but there is glory and healing and complete restoration coming when we put our faith in Jesus! We will not suffer forever. We will not be left in torment. We will be delivered and restored and every pain will be chained up and thrown into the pit. Pain loses! Jesus wins! He already has won. So, even in the hardest times here on earth, we must keep our eyes on Him. We must remember we have victory in Jesus over pain and sin and every other evil thing. Victory over pain!

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Be Grateful for Those Babies!

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As a woman who suffers from secondary infertility (meaning I was able to have one child but have not been able to conceive since), I know that there are certain things that I see or hear that accentuate my pain and trigger negative emotions. It’s difficult. You see beautiful babies being born all around you. You have friends that are expecting. You see sweet little ones on television and in the supermarkets. You get to bring meals to new mommies and see the utter joy of being a mother. Then you return home and are faced with the pain of barrenness…the empty aching pain that only those who have experienced it can fully understand.

Before I was able to give birth to my miracle daughter, I had a much harder time being around pregnant women, attending baby showers or seeing pictures of brand new babies. It’s been almost 6 years since I had my girl, and my failure to conceive definitely brings me to pain quite often. I strive to be content and accept the Lord’s plan in it all. I know He is good and His gifts are perfect in His perfect timing. I am so blessed to have my daughter and never fail to give thanks for her. Still, I long for another child. It’s human emotion.

As I look around, I see women who are able to conceive and bring forth precious blessing after blessing. I like to joke that my circle of friends and church tends to be fertile ground. Baby after baby. It’s awesome. It’s beautiful. And it hurts. It’s a constant painful reminder. I want to be perfectly clear that I rejoice with everyone of these women at every birth. I’m so happy for them; I truly am. At the same time, I fight back the tears.

There is something I want to say to these lovely women. There’s an encouragement I have for them that can only come from a woman with infertility. My sisters, be grateful for those babies. Celebrate those babies. Don’t take it for granted. I know you are grateful for these blessings and I know you thank God for them, but take it from a woman like me, having children is not a right but a privilege that the Lord God blesses you with. For those of you who conceive easily, be grateful. Thank God for that. You are soooooo blessed! Women like me only dream of being able to have babies. I want to encourage you to feel that blessing deeper and to thank the Lord God every time you hold that sweet baby to your chest, What an amazing honor you have to be able to experience motherhood in this way. God bless you!

My sisters, I also want to encourage you to do three things for those ladies in your life who struggle with infertility…

  1. Pray for them. Pray for hurting hearts and the pain they are experiencing. Pray for open wombs and fertility. Pray for their marriages, which are sometimes strained in the hurt of infertility. Pray for these women to feel whole and valuable and important. Pray for them to know peace.
  2. Be sensitive. Be aware of the situation and try to be an encouragement. Avoid saying things that may bring more pain, if you can. Maybe pray about how best to minister to your friend in regards to the infertility. Guard your words and allow the Lord to lead.
  3. Don’t act like motherhood is a right that every woman has. That’s just not the case. Some women will never be able to conceive. Some will have miracle blessings. Either way, acting like conception, pregnancy and motherhood are just regular parts of life, instead of the absolute miraculous blessing they are, is something we pick up on. It hurts. Remember to be grateful for those babies.

Life is full of pain and struggles. Infertility is awful. It can make a woman feel alone, worthless, incomplete, broken and excluded. Last night I had a dream I was pregnant with a baby boy. I was at the doctor’s office having an ultrasound. The pain that I have to deal with this morning is heavy, but I do know that God is good. I know He loves me and I know He has a perfect plan. In tears I pray for my sisters who experience infertility. Praying for peace that passes understanding and is capable of ministering to the brokenhearted.

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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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Robin Williams and a Broken-Hearted World

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In my lifetime, there have been very few celebrities whose passing from this life have hit me as hard as the loss of Robin Williams. Today the social media outlets are flooded with the sad, tragic news of his death and it is very clear that the world is heartbroken. Me too.

There are reasons we feel his loss so deeply. So many of us have grown up watching the creative and complex characters he has brought to life for us. He has made everything from comedy to drama to suspense thrillers. He has made us laugh and cry and laugh through our tears. He has made us dream big and care deeply. Both he, and his many characters, will live on forever in our hearts and our memories.

There are a few thoughts that have been floating around in my head and tugging at my heart since the news broke of Robin William’s passing. His death has reminded me that money can’t buy happiness or peace. There are hurts and depression that are not soothed by material things. Depression is just terrible, and it is no respecter of persons. When we look at the life of Robin Williams, at the joy and laughter and entertainment he brought to us all, it is hard for us to comprehend how much pain he must have been experiencing. I think we are all so sad, on some level, because we wished the love of his fans and friends had been enough, but it wasn’t.

As I continue to ponder these sad events, and the hurting of mankind, I am reminded of some very relevant scriptures that I find give us hope and healing. Praying that anyone who is suffering, mourning, hurting or depressed will read these words and find hope and comfort. Jesus loves us, whether or not we always feel that way, and in Him there is a hope we can’t find anywhere else.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”” Matthew 11:28-30

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ” Isaiah 41:10

“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” Psalm 43:5

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 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 5:1-5

 

*** If you are suffering from depression and deep hurt, please talk to someone. Talk to someone you can trust. Don’t suffer alone. Jesus said He is near the brokenhearted. He has hope to give you and wants to minister to your heart. He wants His people to serve you and love you and help you. Seek out people who love Jesus and ask for help. I say this because I know that pain. I’ve been there. I’ve been diagnosed and medicated. I had friends to help me. Now, in Christ, I have found healing. Though we will always go through trials and hurts and battles with depression, there is hope in Jesus Christ. I pray that you would run to Him and fall into His open arms. He’s waiting to help you.

If you need someone to talk to, please contact me. If I’m too far away to help you, I’ll find someone who can. Just don’t suffer alone, and please don’t give up. I care about you and Jesus loves you more than you can imagine. He has a way out. Praying for you.

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The Pain of this Life

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Most of my blogs center around a subject that I feel convicted about, study thoroughly and feel led by the Spirit to write. They are topics I am passionate about and I tend to try to leave my own emotional response or opinions on the sidelines. Tonight, I just feel like speaking from the heart.

The truth is, my little family has been going through so much lately in terms of trials and spiritual attack. As a friend and sister in the Lord reminded me, not all trials are specifically attacks of the enemy, although all are no doubt the result of sin and fallen man. Some of the problems we face are just part of life in a broken down and dying world. Others are direct assaults from the father of lies. The point is, we suffer here. Some more than others. Some much more.

This world. Sigh. This decaying, broken down, full of sickness and pain world. How I tire of the endless disappointment, heartache and despair I see in the faces of suffering people. How it wears me down to hear of children battling cancer and terrorists using the elderly and children as human shields! This world! It’s falling apart at the seams. The Bible says it’s groaning as it longs for redemption.

There are so many heartaches. So much pain. So much evil and darkness. So much sickness. Everything, even our bodies, are failing. They are growing weaker by the day. More cancer. More diabetes. More chronic pain and diseases that are progressive and misunderstood. We are eating food that isn’t food and our bodies are crying out for relief. We are filling our homes with violence and divorce and our children are bearing witness. We are flocking to therapists and psychologists and holistic healers to try and heal the brokenness and make sense of the pain. Well, it does make sense. When we look around us, we see darkness, pain and hurt everywhere….both inside and outside the church.

So what’s the deal then for us Christians? I can tell you that more than once have I wrestled with how to maintain hope and joy in the midst of heartache and trouble. As I write this, I am battling it now. I am battling the pain. I’m fighting the despair. I know God is in control and that He will never leave me. I know that I’m blessed in many ways. I know that He will get me through this too. I’m just tired, my friends. So tired. So ready for the next part of God’s plan. Like the earth, I’m groaning inwardly awaiting the return of my Savior. I’ll not cling to this world. I’ll cling to Him with every ounce of my strength. Amen!

What to do now about pain? I think there’s nothing to do but a daily surrender. We need to place every care and concern and hurt and disappointment and pain into the capable and powerful and loving hands of the Father, and leave them there. For me, I have to do this every day because, as He is my witness, it seems we have a new trial every single day as of late. Every day I wake up, give my trouble to the Lord, receive new burdens, and have to hand them over too. It feels like I’m a hamster on a wheel sometimes. Feels like it will never end. Yet I know it will. He is coming back friends! He is coming soon! Of that I have no doubt.

In the beginning of this blog I mentioned that some suffer more than others. That’s truth. There are some that have it way worse than we do and some who suffer far less. There are times and seasons where the trials are more abundant, and there are times of refreshing quiet. The truth is, it doesn’t matter. We can focus on who has it easier than we do, but what good comes of that? Is there a reason we suffer while others don’t? Sure. I’m sure God’s got a reason. He is sovereign. He could take our troubles away, but for some reason He is allowing them. Maybe it’s for our good. Maybe it’s for someone else. Perhaps it’s to give us a witness or to test our resolve. Whatever the reason, we have to hold fast to the promise that these present sufferings are not worthy to be compared to the glory that is to come. We have to believe it! We have to cling to it!

I have many troubles. I have many cares. I don’t know why God is allowing it, but I will choose day by day to trust Him. It’s all I can do. I will hold onto the hope. I will hold fast to His promises. I will not be moved. When my heart fails, God is greater than my heart. When my emotions deceive, the Word of Truth will bring me back to reality. When the enemy attacks, I take up the armor of God and fight. I’ll fight to the death, because I know that God has already won the battle. I know where I’m going. I know that there is glory to come.

If you are suffering right now, you’re not alone. There are many Christians who are suffering. Sometimes we’re afraid to admit it because we think people will look down on us. We aren’t perfect? Honestly? We know there is pain, so why put on a fake smile and pretend? I pray that you would be able to share your suffering with brothers and sisters in the Lord. Be real and be honest with someone you trust. Ask for help and prayer. I pray that you would find hope and encouragement in the Word. Believe those promises and grasp them firmly with both hands. You can make it through. With Jesus, you will. He will carry you through this and someday it’ll all be worth it. It’ll be worth every tear.

If you aren’t a Christian, this suffering will only lead to a worse ending. Eternal suffering is what awaits the man or woman who dies without being reconciled to Christ. There is hope in Jesus. He knows you, loves you and wants to have a relationship with you. Cry out to Jesus. Repent of your sins. Ask Him to change your heart.

As for the McCafferty family, we pray that the days ahead get easier and we ask the Lord to deliver us from these present troubles, if it is His will. Still, if the troubles keep going, we will stand firm. Our faith won’t die. We will praise the Lord through our tears and heartache. We will trust Him and continue to hand over our troubles. We will find hope in the Author of hope and find rest in the easy yoke of Jesus. I pray the same for you dear saint.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Revelation 21:4

Thanks for letting me share my heart. God bless you!

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Physical Pain for the Wife & Mother

“When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” John 11:4

This is a topic that’s been on my heart quite a bit lately. Due to my own health issues, I’ve come to identify with the struggle of our sisters who deal with chronic pain and disease on a regular basis, and how difficult it is, particularly as a wife and mother. My own battles with chronic pain began almost two years ago, and the symptoms I face get stronger and more challenging to deal with day by day. I am, as of yet, still undiagnosed and currently awaiting testing at a hospital known for superior diagnostics, so praying to get some answers there.

The calling of wife and mother is no easy one, even for the healthy-bodied woman. On any given day there is laundry, cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, meeting the needs of the children, meeting the needs of the husband, schooling, ministry and anything else that may come up. There is hospitality, discipleship and ministering to the lost. Then there are those of us who also need to make an income. Some women work outside the home, and others (like myself) work from the home so that I can home-educate my daughter. Let’s face it ladies, our plates are overflowing with activities, tasks and projects. The truth is, we don’t have time to be sick.

We don’t have time to be sick; not even with the flu. At least with the flu you can safely assume a few days of down time and then a recovery. This is not the case with chronic disease and pain. A woman with painful medical conditions, such as Fibromyalgia or Lyme Disease, can almost count on waking up each morning in pain. While there are generally good days and bad days, there is no expectation of complete recovery, except for through miraculous healing from Jesus. While we pray for healing, we also accept God’s will, and sometimes His plan involves allowing us to experience pain and sickness for His glory to be revealed.

In the verse above, Jesus is talking about his friend Lazarus who is very ill. Jesus says this illness is not going to lead to death, but to the end result of revealing the glory of God. His disciples are quite perplexed indeed when Lazarus does die, but our Lord Jesus Christ knew that the death was but a mirage. He would raise Lazarus from the dead. Even knowing that, Jesus wept for His beloved friend.

To my beloved sisters who share in my struggles with pain, let us be encouraged. Sometimes we may wonder by God isn’t healing us now or why He allows us, His daughters, to suffer. My heart has posed these questions as well. We see that sometimes God allows sickness, suffering and pain because somehow in the big picture it brings about a good result. Sometimes it draws attention to God’s glory. Perhaps when people see us persevering through pain to serve our families and minister to the lost, they see God’s mighty hand carrying us through. God gets the glory. Be further encouraged to know, sisters, that Jesus’ words are true for us too. This sickness is not to death. Even though this life is a constant struggle and there is much pain, we are promised an eternity with our God in new bodies that will be untouched by pain. We are alive forevermore with Him who gave His life for us. The pain is for a short while, but our life eternal with Christ is what follows. We have to press on as best we can and trust the Lord to lift our weary arms and hold us together.

As I write this blog, tears fill my eyes because I know there is hope. I’ve definitely felt hopeless at times. I’ve felt defeated when I didn’t have the strength to finish my housework, or when I couldn’t chase my daughter in the park. I’ve cried out to my Lord, begging Him for answers. We will have those days of inner conflict, but we must admonish ourselves to remember Jesus’ words. This sickness is not to death. We have victory in Jesus and He will help us through every hard day, hold us when we are week and weary, and mend our hearts when they are broken. I pray sisters that today you know that your sickness is not to death. If you know Jesus and He knows you, you will one day be pain free. Hallelujah!

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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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