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Lessons I have been pushed to learn.

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  • Bridget Night
    I was thinking this morning about some of the things I am being pushed to learn in the past few years. I thought itemizing them might be helpful to me as well
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 5, 2009
      I was thinking this morning about some of the things I am being pushed to learn in the past few years. I thought itemizing them might be helpful to me as well as others. Perhaps you can think of your own and we can learn from each other.

      1. PATIENCE: I am not always the most patient person. Some of my friends can testify to that. It has caused me to be frustrated and do sloppy work at times. I read once that patience is 'letting your motor idle til the light turns green." My good friend Niels is a master gardener and he has shared with me about how much patience is needed in order to grow a beautiful garden. He said that many roses take years to become tall and beautiful. It takes weeding and pruning. I took a gardening class at the YMCA last year and learned about perennials and annuals. Some of the flowers I planted in the fall, I have to wait to view the next spring. Forcing things to open too quickly (like helping a baby bird to come out of its shell or opening a rose bud) can kill it. When discovering my son's Same Sex Attraction, I wanted to learn all about it, like it was some kind of disease that I wanted cured fast. I cried and prayed my heart out for God to heal my son quickly. Well, a lot of hard lessons have had to be learned there. Occasionally, my impatience has pushed me to get jobs done that may have never happened other wise, like getting my book published in a short time. So, God can use even our weaknesses for good things. Learning Patience reminds me of a short story I read once:

      Why God says NO so often!
      By Lynnita Seitenstich

      I've often wondered why God answers so many of my prayers with an emphatic No! Bombarding questions have racked my mind every time I have tried to figure out why my requests were refused. Did I do something wrong? Did I pray for the wrong thing? Did I say the prayer incorrectly? Doesn't God love me? After all, Jesus said, 'Ask, and you will receive." I asked, but I didn't receive. I prayed for God's healing power when my husband's father was dying of cancer. The answer was NO. I prayed for money to buy a new flute when I was majoring in music at Indiana University. The answer was No. A few days ago, I prayed for my husband to make a sale on a vacuum cleaner so that we could pay our taxes early. My husband put in a difficult and grueling day, but again the answer was No. Why? I needed the flute, didn't I? A carpenter needs reliable tools, and a musician needs a dependable instrument. And what's wrong with paying taxes a month early?

      I finally found the answer to my question in Mark. Jesus prayed fervently to His Father to be released from His impending death on the cross. How could God deny His Son a request like that? Was Jesus wrong to ask for a way out? I don't think so. It's not wrong to desire life above death. Did He say the prayer incorrectly? Nonsense. God listens to the heart not the mouth. How could the Man who taught us how to pray, pray incorrectly? Did God not love Him? Of course, He did. Then why did He tell His own Son No? Because He knew better. An entire world would have been lost if God said Yes to Jesus. There was no other way for us to enjoy eternal life with Jesus. God had good reason to say No. He could see the horrid consequences of an affirmative answer. Likewise, He could see infinitely further than I when I made my requests. He knew it was better for my father-in-law to sleep in peace waiting for Jesus to come. He knew I didn't need a new flute, because in a year I would find that music wasn't the life for me. He knew that the money for our taxes would come in time and that my husband's business would improve. We aren't wrong in making requests of God. He wants us to. And if He says No, we can remember that He said the same to His Son. Because He knew better. He always does.

      2. UNSELFISHNESS: When I was worrying and hurting so bad in regards to my son's same-sex attraction I pleaded with God to heal my son. I came to realize that much of my pleading had to do with wanting my own worries and pain to stop. I had to learn that God has a plan for my son and some things will be necessary for him to go through in order to heal, and grow as a man. A few years ago when I was contemplating a divorce, God gave me a dream. He showed me the consequences to my family; that both of my older married children would divorce because of my divorce; thinking if mom and dad cannot make it after so many years, what hope is there for them. In my dream I saw how it would destroy my husband as a man and how he would become a drunk and then it showed me how my SSA son would never return to God because of my divorce. So, I stayed and tried to make things work. I know it was the right decision now. I am learning that it's not all about me and that selfishness does not bring long term happiness. Whenever you have to hurt others in order to make yourself happy, it just doesn't work.

      3. SELF-DISCIPLINE: I tend to be a momentary pleasure person. I love chocolate, desserts, and rich foods. Part of my German upbringing from parents deprived of food during the war. Food was comfort, fun, enjoyment; celebration, and feeling love. "Nothin says lovin, like somethin from the oven, right?" Well, I am being pushed to learn that short term pleasure, versus discipline for long term health and happiness is the only way to really feeling good. You just can't get away with stuff as you age and you get punished more severely when breaking the laws of health.

      There is a poem that says it is in the valleys we grow, not in the plateaus. The pain and suffering I have felt in those valleys have been horrible at times. There have been moments when I wanted to die or run away from it all. It can be so overwhelming and I can sometimes go into a deep depression over it. Thankfully, God has not left me alone in those valleys. He has sent me good people, good books, inspiration, comfort and support during some bad times. So, I will end this post with another short story that helped me a number of times:

      The Dark Periods of Life
      By Don E. Wildmon

      "And Jacob awaked out of his sleep and said, 'Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.'" Genesis 2:16

      I once read of a little girls experience in riding a train through tunnels. The first time she was on a train which passed through a tunnel she scooted over real close to her mother and held on for dear life. However, after a few experiences the little girl was much more relaxed while passing through the tunnels. Eventually, after just leaving a tunnel, the little girl turned to her mother and remarked: 'Mother, I like tunnels" Rather stunned, the mother asked why she liked tunnels. The small child replied: "Because tunnels have light a both ends."

      There are many tunnels we must pass through in life-tunnels of deep hurt, disappointment, sorrow, grief. In the midst of life's tunnels, when it is blackest, there are some things about God which we need to remember. One thing we need to remember is that God is with us, working for us, even when we aren't aware of His presence. God doesn't hang out a sign which says: 'The Almighty is at work here." God goes about His business of healing the hurt in our lives, and He does it unseen, unheard, and unnoticed. God is much like a majority of the people responsible for the production of a movie. They work behind the scenes, putting the pieces together so that the movie will have meaning to it.

      Often the presence of God is more of a conviction than it is a feeling. His presence, you see isn't dependent upon our feelings. Sometimes the hurt is so great in the darkness of the tunnel we are not aware of God's presence. But tunnels have light at both ends. Keep traveling. Don't stop. Another thing about God we need to remember when in a tunnel is this: Even when we fail to ask for His help, God continues to help. Sometimes the hurt in life is so deep that we cannot utter well-worded prayers as we normally would. Perhaps we even fail to think of God. Does a parent always wait to be asked by his child before he begins to help? Of course not. Neither does God wait.

      If we have given our life to God and have tried our best to be true and faithful to Him, it isn't His nature to run out on us simply because we temporarily forget to ask for His help. God knows us as a parent knows his children each by name, each as an individual person. He helps us even when we fail to ask for help. It is a dark tunnel when life deals a hard blow. But God continues to help even if we fail to ask for it. There is light at both ends. Keep moving.

      One other thought about God will help us in life's dark tunnels: Even when we doubt if God can help us, He is still steadily working to help us. God's ability to help heal our hurt isn't totally dependent upon our mental capacity to believe He can. God is not limited by our finite minds, nor even by our doubtful hearts. All too often God is helping us even when we say He can't help us. Arthur John Gossip was a well-known Scottish preacher from Aberdeen, Scotland. After his wife's unfortunate death he preached a sermon entitled: 'But. When Life Tumbles In, What Then?" In it he said: 'I cannot comprehend how people in trouble and loss and bereavement can fling away peevishly from the Christian faith. In God's name, fling to what? Have we not lost enough without losing that too?...You people in the sunshine may believe the faith, but we in the shadow must believe it." When passing through a tunnel, remember that there is light at both ends.


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