My friend had an incredibly difficult 2011. I saved a paragraph from the book I finished to share with her when she came. It was such an encouragement to me and felt like it would be great for her to hear as well. What I shared follows from the book "When God Weeps", by Tada and Estes:
God uses suffering to purge sins from our lives, strengthen our commitment to Him, force us to depend on grace, bind us together with other believers, produce discernment, foster sensitivity, discipline our minds, spend our time wisely, stretch our hope, cause us to know Christ better, make us long for truth, lead us to repentance of sin, teach us to give thanks in times of sorrow, increase faith, and strengthen character. It's a beautiful image.
And it's so true. I've always reflected on life but seldom have I had a chance to STOP for any period of time to really assess what's important and what's not. This cancer has made me pause and ponder. It's also made me thankful for this "pause". I've never felt the love of the Lord through His body EVER before at the level I have now. Let me clarify that I've never been a neglected child of the Lord, but this is definitely a new level of love that I've been shown since December.
When we've been blessed with a new baby, we'd have a short pause in the routine to rest, recuperate, and enjoy life but having to stop due to pain and illness is definitely a place I've never been before. I'm unsure if I'll ever go back to the speed of life I was at before. I've always felt like my priorities were to the Lord, my husband, children, and home, but I did a lot things (really good things) that interfered with taking care of these things with excellence. Not for a second am I seeking perfection but just keeping my priorities straight and I may need to say no to more things, even really good things. What that is going to look like, I'm unsure but it's going to be good for my family.
I Thessalonians 5:18 In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Thank you Lord for teaching me so much in this short season.