Tag Archives: challenges

From Disaster to Divine Appointment

Isn’t it so much fun when crazy things happen to us?  NOT!

 

I was definitely not feeling “happy” Tuesday night when I busted a tire and had to pull over.  And then sit and wait for help to come.  And then scramble to find a tool that was not in the car.  And then having to call for different help – and to be told I would have to sit for about 2 hours, waiting.  In the middle of an empty parking lot.  As the time crept past 10:00pm and kept going closer to midnight.  Trying to keep my very tired eyes open and my very active thoughts somewhat calm.

 

And I could have panicked.  I could have verbally berated myself for causing the problem.  I could have sat and cried from the combination of frustration and exhaustion.

 

But instead I sat and waited.  Praying for people who came to mind.  Praying for my peace of mind.  Planning out my day the next morning.

 

Of course I knew why I was sitting there, unable to go home.  But I wondered about the purpose – what divine lesson was playing out?  And would I ever get the blessing of finding out what it was?

 

Well, to my extreme delight and complete surprise, I did find out.  Only 9 hours later.  And it was the biggest blessing of all that happened in that 24 hour period.

 

See, I had been safe and never once worried about my safety.  Everyone I spoke with made sure I was well taken care of and in no immediate danger.  The roadside assistance people kept me in the loop about when help should arrive and what I could approximately expect to pay.  The dispatcher for the tow truck told me to go home and rest because of the lateness of the hour – after I spent an hour waiting and would have spent another 2 more before it arrived.  I made it home safely and got the bonus of having a nice conversation with the Uber driver on my way home.  I got to sleep in my own bed.  My car was delivered to Firestone without issue, and they texted me with pictures to confirm.  Firestone made me their first priority the next morning, and everything was fixed within two hours of opening – and at minimal cost (thank you tire protection).

 

All blessings, when I think about what could have happened.  But all of these combined don’t add up to anything compared to the biggest blessing of them all.  The real reason for all my woes.  Her name is Miss Bea.

 

From Disaster to Divine Appointment

 

Miss Bea is the part-time Uber driver who picked me up Wednesday morning to take me to my repaired car.  God purposely put me in her path.  Because she was driving before one of her part time jobs to make money to support herself, her daughter, and her granddaughter.  I asked her about her beautiful accent and found out she is originally from Nigeria and has been here for 23 years.  God recently moved her to Woodstock.  And Miss Bea is looking for a church home in this new area of town.  I happen to love talking about my church, so I told her about the church and the pastor – and how friendly everyone is and how God makes all people feel welcome there.  Then I find out she has been curious about this church for a while, because one of her jobs is across the street at the new Costco!  So she has seen the church each time she goes to this job, and she has been wondering if she should attend.

 

And we both realized very quickly how God was working.

 

Because Miss Bea wants to get connected in the area so she can get closer to God in corporate worship.  And she has been praying – for her future jobs (hoping to condense from 3-4 to 2), her family (she is taking care of her daughter and granddaughter), her finances, and her faith.

 

So God had me tear up my tire Tuesday night so I would need a ride Wednesday morning.  And He sent Miss Bea, who was an Uber driver in the area driving before work, to pick me up.  How would we have met otherwise?  How would I have told her about the church she has been wanting to visit?  How would I have given her my phone number to call me?  How would she know who I was when she excitedly said she would be there Sunday?

 

I am hoping to hear from her, confirming that she will in fact be there Sunday.  I hope she finds herself right where God wants her to be and can get planted – with her family.

 

No matter what, I pray that God meets her right at her greatest needs.  That He provides a more stable and better paying employment opportunity for her.  That He continues to bless her with great Uber riders who tip well.  That He helps her settle into her new life and eventually into a new home.  That He surrounds her with grace to lead her family well.  That He continues to show her the beauty and benefits of holding onto hope and faith.

 

So what I thought was a careless and inconvenient accident turned into an amazing divine appointment.  And I am still sitting in complete amazement that God orchestrated everything so I could part of His plans.

 

And I hope I am always available to His purposes in the future.

 

Loving Father,

Thank You for loving me no matter how crazy I speak, think, and act.  Thank You for keeping me safe during times of trouble.  Help me to calm and quiet any crazy thoughts and out of control words – so I can focus on You and the plans You are bringing to pass.  Help me remember the blessing of Miss Bea – and how there is a blessing at the end of each trial.  In Jesus’ all-mighty name.  AMEN!

 

Marie Fremin.  9/20/18

 

Contentment

2 Corinthians 4:7-10But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.

 

This verse has been burning in my soul this past week.  I feel it is especially meaningful as I am in a season where I am struggling with contentment.  I am questioning everything about my life.  Am I working where I am supposed to work?  Am I working too hard?  Am I living in my full purpose?  Am I spending my time wisely?

 

I know as a Christ follower I am called to be content where I am.  Paul so elegantly models contentment in Philippians 4:11-12 – “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.  I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.”

 

Contentment.  To be satisfied with my daily portion while still hoping for the fullness of God’s blessings.  To be happy about my place in the world while seeking out opportunities to reach out to people.  To demonstrate love in even the most impossible circumstances.  To know that no matter what happens God is in control of all things.  To believe that God will work all circumstances, even the hard and distressing ones, for our good and His glory.  To not have a desire for extravagance simply for pride and prestige sake.

 

But how do we have contentment when there is a spiritual battle waging in our soul?  How do we surrender to peace when things look impossible to our human eyes?  How do we trust all to God when unfair and unreasonable things come at and attack us?

 

It isn’t always easy to “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:13).  Our faith gets stretched.  Our contentment gets challenged.  Our commitment gets questioned.  Do we stand firm, or do we waver?  Do we believe, or do we question?  What is true?  What is right?

Contentment.jpg

Yet 2 Corinthians 4:10 says we have the power of Jesus in us to sustain us, propel us, keep us, and protect us.  Because though we are challenged and wrongfully engaged, we are “not crushed”.  We are not so flat or so broken that God cannot restore and heal us.  Though we are accused and slandered, we are “not forsaken”.  God does not abandon us or leave us to fight alone.  God walks with us into the fight and stands with us until the battle’s end.  Though we are knocked down and pushed around, we are “not destroyed”.  We are able to get back up and continue to fight.  We have prayer, the power of God, and the compassion of friends to help us up and keep us going.  We may be devastated in the moment, but that moment isn’t the end or undoing of our faith journey.

And why?  Because God is with us, for us, and in us.

  • Romans 8:35,38-39 – Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • Deuteronomy 31:6 – Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake
  • Deuteronomy 31:8 – And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.
  • Joshua 1:5,9 – No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. … Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
  • Psalm 9:10 – And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.
  • Isaiah 41:10 – Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

 

So let yourself live and feel beyond the moment to find His peace, joy, and security.  For though there are rough moments, they do not have to confine you.  They can define and refine you.

 

And as for me?  I will continue to question and to wonder.  Yet through it all, I will live as Hebrews 13:5 commands – “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”  I will believe I am where I am supposed to be in this season.  And I will thank Him for every opportunity, every lesson, every miracle, and every good thing.  I will learn from every hard, difficult, and impossible moment, hopefully thanking Him for refining and polishing me.  I will do my best to make the most of my influence and be gracious and encouraging.  I will live fully and freely in the season.

 

And if the season is only temporary, I will trust God to help me know when the season is over.  And when it is, I will trust Him show me His open doors and new opportunities.

 

And through it all, I will try to be like Paul and be content.  For to be content is to believe that no matter what we go through and what happens to us that God is with us.  To be content is to be thankful for His unfailing love and amazing grace that covers a multitude of sins and bad choices.  To be content is to know that we are forever in His loving embrace.

 

So though I am jostled, challenged, alienated, pressed in, tripped up, overlooked, and unappreciated, I am loved.  I am cherished.  I am cared for.  And in this I can be content.  God, help me to believe this and carry it with me every step of my journey and every moment of my life.  AMEN!

 

Marie Fremin.  3/17 and 4/2/16.

Why Bad Things?

Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?

Why Bad Things.jpg

What a big question. How does one answer it?

 

I think the truth starts at the fact that we live in a world broken by sin. That means we are filled with sinful and selfish desires and surrounded by people who sometimes only care about themselves. We live in a broken world where we think it is OK to do what we want when we want without regard for ourselves and others.

 

That’s the penalty for Adam and Eve’s choice to choose pleasure over God. That’s the result of sin infesting and infecting God’s goodness in the world.

 

For we live in a broken world. We have to deal with other people’s bad choices. We have to go through the consequences of our bad choices. But we don’t have to be defined by them. We don’t have to be weighed down by them. We don’t have to be held back by them.

 

Because there is grace. By God’s infinite grace, He allowed Jesus to be the recipient of all the world’s sin, bad choices, and selfishness. With every stripe (lash) He took, He showed how much He loves us as He absorbed all our “badness”. And not only did He absorb our brokenness, He gave us a new way to live.

 

Because Jesus already took all the crap of life and will exchange it for His goodness, His peace, and His joy. When we surrender to him. Meaning He wants a daily, ongoing, familiar relationship with us. Not a hit or miss, only pray or know Him in the bad times. But every day. Constant trust. Growing faith. Burgeoning belief.

 

And when we get to that daily place of knowing Him, we become able to endure through the bad times. We become empowered to forgive people – and ourselves – for selfishness. We become able to live above the lies of our emotions, which are fickle and lead us away from God. We become confident in making the better choice, even if it goes against the broken standards of the world. We willing choose God’s best, even if it is not the easy or acceptable (worldly) way.

 

We realize that God want to get our attention and draw us near to Him. It is those bad things that drive us toward Him. It is those hard things that draw us closer to Him. It is those impossible things that make us realize how dependent we should be.

 

And ultimately we realize that God is in control. He never promises a smooth path or an easy way. What He does promise is that (1) He will redeem every experience for our good and His glory by allowing us to help others and (2) He will bring good out of every experience when we trust Him.

 

His part is to redeem every bad moment. Our part is to trust Him and hang onto Him through it all. And to continue to pray. For in the process of praying. God changes us. God enables us. God softens our heart. To react differently. To respond lovingly. To forgive fully. To stand firmly.

 

Remember that the only person you can control through it all is yourself. You decide how you will think, feel, act, react, and process. No one can do that for you. And you are the only one accountable for these things to God. So decide who you want to be and allow your behavior and your mindset to follow. Don’t let people and their opinions or behavior influence or effect you or your progress. It only hurts you when you do.

 

No matter what you go through and no matter what happens to you, remember that God is bigger. God is bigger than every emotion and every outrage. God is bigger than every situation and every circumstance. God is bigger than every hurt and every pain. God is bigger than every offense and every defense. God is bigger than every excuse and every evasion.  God is bigger than every disappointment and every diversion.

 

So we may not fully understand why we face the challenges and circumstances we do. But we need to remember that our loving God has every challenge and every circumstance in His loving hands and will enable us to get through them.

 

Marie Fremin.  1/13, 1/16, and 1/19/16.