Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 Reflections!!!!


20) Mike and I hosted a small group for couples entitled "LOVE & RESPECT' for 12 weeks....
19) Dealt with betrayal!
18) Attended the Super-Sectional Camp Conference in Wisconsin!
17) Hosted our 2nd Mother/Daughter retreat at Camp Rivercrest!
16) Attended our first HUSKER game ( I know only important for those living in Nebraska!!)
15) Attended my second NCHEA conference!
14) Implemented the first annual Family Camp at Camp Rivercrest!
13) Invested in the long hours for our second summer @ Camp Rivercrest !
12) Had the privilege of celebrating the "40th" of  2 wonderful, dear friends!!!
11) Dealt with the loss of my mother!
10) Felt the growing pains of spiritual growth!
  9) Battled excruciating back pains!
  8) Moved into the house on the neighboring camps property!
  7) Went back home to celebrate my nephews 5th birthday!
  6) Started our 3rd year of homeschooling !
  5) Celebrated Kirk's 18th birthday!!
  4) Celebrated Owen's 16th birthday!!
  3) Celebrated Lyvvie's 13th birthday!!
  2) Celebrated Mike & I's 17th year anniversary!!
  1) Experienced shock during a surprise birthday party for ME!!



speechless (yes, this ONE TOO! okay... okay.. for the first few minutes, anyways!! )

What do all these words have in common??????

The feelings I felt @ My SURPRISE BIRTHDAY PARTY!!!!

The night was intended, or so I thought, to surprise a dear friend of mine who will be moving away.  I spent some time planning with a few women from her church to come up with a perfect night!  She and I had been planning on going to this awesome Chinese place but always came up with an excuse to cancel on one another. I knew I could be the "alibi" It was planned that the women would meet us there. The surprise went without a hitch.. The evening was great... dinner was great.... We were going to go down to the old market and walk around and then go back to her house... but all the ladies had other things to do so we ruled old market out.  She was having some out of town visitors, that loved to play euchre as well,  so it was all working out perfect that we would just go back to her place. 
As we got closer to her house she realized her crockpot was not at her house as she anticipated on making some dip, so she wanted to swing by the community center that her church owns to borrow one from them.. Because there was a fundraiser going on she didn't want to walk in by herself so she asked me to go with her... Because I am a GOOD friend I agreed!! We went in through the kitchen so we wouldn't bother anyone. As she opened the door Mike was there and he was trying to put something over my face!!!! As I came into the kitchen everyone was yelling surprise.. and then it hit ME!!!! I typically am not the one on this end of the ordeal.. I am USUALLY the one throwing the surprise parties!!! (which creates it's own excitement in itself!!) The party was FOR ME!!!! I was in a state of shock for quite sometime... I tried processing the whole night, and the puzzle pieces were coming together!!
As I was trying to throw my friend a party, she was trying to throw ME a party... The details didn't work out correctly, which resulted in the revelation of my intentions, which began the whole "turning of the tables" on ME!! bahahaha...
My real birthday falls on Christmas Eve, for years it has been "forgotten" or "combined" with the other holiday activities; as a result I have always gone over and beyond for my children and their birthdays! I love throwing parties (especially surprises) for friends as a gift to them, to show them how much I love and appreciate them. It means a LOT to me to show someone how valued they are to me. My love language is quality time and acts of service so I tend to give that in abundance!!
To think... the effort that went into planning this FOR ME
TO think....the food that was brought for the celebration FOR ME
To think....the friends who gave up their night to be present FOR ME
TO think.....the thoughtfulness displayed FOR ME
TO think.....the generosity that my friends gave FOR ME
TO think.....the energy that went into preparing FOR ME
TO think....the work involved with setting up and cleaning up FOR ME
TO think...the SURPRISE PARTY...FOR ME!!!!

Words can not express how loved and appreciated that I felt! That evening I was surrounded by friends, whom I love dearly.  (I even had a friend who could not make it but made certain she remembered the night and sent a gift!!) My heart was filled with love as blessings were lavished upon me.. I am a women of simplicity but that evening was filled with luxury... as for THAT NIGHT was PRICELESS!!!!!!!


A Channel for HIM!!

I woke up this morning and thought about my BLOG!! I have really enjoyed writing (more than I thought I would) and realized I have let it go for AWHILE!!!

I am not so sure why I avoid things when I feel overwhelmed with it... It does make things worse, for example: I am terrible about keeping up with logging in grades for the kids... so what do I do? I avoid it... My excuse is.... "I will get to it later" But later never comes which leaves me a mountain of work to do!!

Same with the blog... My goal was to blog more frequent, but every day I went without doing it... it started to become "the thing of the past" But no sooner than I thought that, I realized something. This blog is an entry into our lives as we are on our journey and I do NOT want it to be a "thing of the past" Furthermore I want to use it as a tool to look back and see where we have been and where we are going!!

During all of this thought process I am determined to self examine and figure out why I avoid things the way I do?  A part of me wants to blame it on my dad as a learned behavior... When he and my mom would fight; and their marriage got hard he would leave... I watched him walk out of the family 'dynamics' more times than I care to count. Another part of me wants to blame it on my mom as a learned behavior.... Any pressing struggle or unknown circumstance would throw her into the behaviors she knew how to act upon which was fear and anxiety. She never could face a mountain that was put in front of her!! She avoided deep issues on a regular basis. However, I want to take responsibility for myself. Yes, I may have learned some of these behaviors but I also have the knowledge to work on achieving goals that are set before me. I want to be an example for not only myself, but my family!

So... as I work through this and struggle with the commitment of not only my blog, grading papers and other things that I avoid regularly; I embark on a new challenge to work through these issues all the while going deeper with other emotional issues. To continue to rely on the strength of God,  to be obedient in the transparency of our lives; in hopes that our daily struggles, and battles will encourage and give hope to others who may struggle in the same areas.  I pray that I can be an inspiration to others only through the help of the Lord as He uses me to be a channel for HIM!!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A dark Moment turns to JOY!!!!

     My beautiful baby girl turns 13 today... Walking back memory lane, I am reminded of a dark time that once loomed over me about 14 years ago. I was sitting in the hall of our ranch style home at the time.   My heart ached because I had desperately wanted to have a little girl that I could share my hopes and dreams with, whom I could have a relationship that I had lacked from a Mother/Daughter.  I would watch relationships of people that I knew that had a healthy relationship between a mother & daughter.  I saw them actively participating and investing into their lives.  God graciously blessed me with TWO boys, whom I LOVE dearly and felt extremely grateful that I had two!! I loved their spirits, HIGH ENERGY LEVEL, make believing, playing in the dirt, rough housing, building blocks/ tearing blocks, crashing cars & trucks.  I loved playing with them. I loved watching them spend time with DAD working, fishing, helping.. Watching their relationship and the bond they developed made me have a deeper longing to have a relationship with a daughter to where I could play dress up, and baby dolls, wear lace, and headbands, and do her hair, and..... and do PINK.. Not just BLUE!! As I was sitting in the hall in the dark house while everyone was asleep, I had wept. I had just experienced the loss of my second miscarriage and somehow believed that I also lost the will to want any more children. The pain was extreme, I couldn't bear to go through this deep emotional experience selfishly while God had given me two beautiful boys.  I had came to terms that evening that the two boys was all I was meant to handle and I needed to be okay with loosing my desires of ever having a beautiful baby girl!!
 "What Are Little Boys Made Of?"       
What Are Little Boys Made Of?

What are little boys made of?
What are little boys made of?
Frogs and snails and puppy-dogs' tails,
And that are little boys made of.

What are little girls made of?
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice and all things nice,
And that are little girls made of.

     A couple weeks had gone by and my hormones still was not regulating. I was making weekly trips to the doctors so they could check my blood work.  I had decided that once my hormones had regulated I would go back on the birth control pill.  During these weekly trips I had gotten sick and didn't feel like going. Several weeks went by and the doctors office called and wanted me to schedule an appointment to which I did and kept.   That evening they called and asked for me to come back to the office first thing in the morning as they believed something was wrong.  Terrified, I demanded that they explain to me what they "thought" was wrong.. After much prompting they explained that the hormone levels shot back up triple the amount and by now it should be normal.  They were thinking that I could be pregnant with A blighted ovum. It is a pregnancy loss that happens in very early pregnancy. It happens when the fertilized egg (ovum) implants in your uterus (womb), but a baby doesn't develop. They wanted me to come in for an ultrasound scan.

     The next morning, during the ultra sound the technician excused herself to go get the doctor.  I was panicking.. Why would she need to leave? And what was wrong? The doctor came in and looked at the ultra sound, and smiled! I was begging for them to tell me what was going on... After all the pain, heartache, loss and worry I was pregnant with my 5th child!!  I would not allow myself nor my emotions to get connected to this pregnancy for a really long time, for fear of loss... But seven months later I gave birth to a beautiful baby GIRL weighing 8lbs 8.8 oz @ 8:00 p.m. on November 13th, 2000!!!!

She was BREATH TAKING!! And MORE than I could have EVER IMAGINED!!!

Psalm 37:4 "Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart."

God used his good and perfect timing to bless me with THREE beautiful children.... One day I will meet my other two babies!! But for now, I am completely content with the blessings he has given me... And today, we celebrate the life of this precious miracle (in many ways) as she welcomes the next chapter of her life...... BEING A TEENAGER!! 




Monday, October 21, 2013

I look to YOU!!

People say that I am brave but I'm not
Truth is I'm barely hanging on
But there's a greater story
Written long before me
Because He loves you like this

These are words from "I will carry you" by Selah
It was a beautiful song written about their child God called home only hours after birth.. They knew the baby had problems shortly into their pregnancy and doctors wanted to terminate her pregnancy but she choose to carry the baby.  These words also can be used as a reflection of Christ carrying us in our defects, pain, trials, hurts or moments of feeling attacked. And as we question who could love like this? The answer is GOD loves us more than we can come close to loving him or others!!

I mentioned about being attacked in all directions in my last blog. I was thinking, if a "marriage doctor" came to us and said..... "I'm sorry.. but you two have gotten yourselves in a tail spin, you have caused tremendous hurt, your marriage is so defected that I have to terminate the marriage..
Truth is there are moments that I am barely hanging on... I think about the 13 years I prayed for Mike's salvation.. I truly carried him! I thank God for chosen ME to carry HIM..  And NOW... there are times HE carries ME! This last year has been a difficult year for us as God is teaching us to be over comers.. And he looks gently into our face and says... 


One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
             Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
                  In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
                       Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
                           other times there were one set of footprints.
                                  This bothered me because I noticed
                                that during the low periods of my life,
                             when I was suffering from
                         anguish, sorrow or defeat,
                     I could see only one set of footprints.
          So I said to the Lord,
      "You promised me Lord,
         that if I followed you,
             you would walk with me always.
                   But I have noticed that during
                          the most trying periods of my life
                                 there have only been one
                                       set of footprints in the sand.
                                           Why, when I needed you most,
                                          you have not been there for me?"
                                 The Lord replied,
                          "The times when you have
                  seen only one set of footprints,
          is when I carried you."
                                                   Mary Stevenson
The truth is, when our marriage suffers is when our priorities are not in line with the word of God.  It is so easy to loose focus on this; a gentle reminder is what is needed.. But I am a stubborn person, so I do not hear His gentle warnings.  Selfishness, pride, selfish ambition, fits of rage (Galatians 5: 21) creeps in; and soon we are on the vicious cycle of not loving/ not respecting each other. It is so easy to point out each others flaws because when we are pointing out the other persons flaws our focus is not on US.. and who wants to deal with their own ugliness? Until you are looking at the reflection in your own children.
I noticed the fighting, bickering, the dissension... All three of them have no problems tearing each other down, or not showing love or respect... IT hit me like a slap in the face, We have given them these traits to imitate.  They are simply imitating what was being modeled to them.... I felt like a failure... How can we be used to witness to other broken marriages when OUR MARRIAGE was struggling???? Then I came across this sentence....

God can heal a broken heart.. but HE needs all the pieces

My heart was broken because I reflected the past in how it tortured and haunted me... The same hurts and pain was resurfacing and I immediately labeled it as feeling lonely, unloved, rejected and not worth anything. I look up to my husband because of the amazing talents, abilities and strengths he offers to our marriage.  The problem was I have experienced the DEPTH of his love but I also have experience the VALLEYS of HIS ANGER.... Anger is an "action/reaction" secondary emotion.  The root is unknown many times, but the anger can be experienced and felt from the rippling effects.  The cycle begins I am feeling unloved HE is feeling disrespected.
 I am angry for the wasted time
I am angry for teaching our kids to act in a manner that is embarrassing
I am angry that I feel like a failure because this test that continues to lay before me I seem to fail every time
"Paul the Apostle, He was a murderer, He was angry, he was hurt, his spirit was crushed (Acts9:1-5)

Yet the LORD used him in a mighty way.. Look how his live was transformed from serving anger to serving Christ!!

But time is not wasted when we use the conflict to further gain knowledge in learning how to love the unlovable... Let's face it.. We can all act unlovable at times.

The shield comes down as the words of my heart are set forth on paper, tears streaming down my face as I allow myself to experience the emotions that I have been feeling for months.  In anticipation I cry out, being in a familiar place, the questions that has been looming in my mind How do I love the unlovable? How do I learn to respect someone I admire so much and love so deeply but yet experience unloving behavior? And How can I stand to know I am treating Him so badly, as I clearly am not the "responsible" one continually disrespecting him.  I feel unworthy of not only Mike's love but Christ love... I definitely feel as if Mike has gotten the raw in the vows as I've been given the years of pain, and health issues. A bit of jealousy breeds in my heart as things comes so easy for him.. The things I admire about him so deeply: is his work ethic, his ability to protect and provide for his family, his wit, his comic relief, and his servant heart are the things I find trying to compare and compete with!!

Galatians 6:4 "Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else"

                                       Selah "I look to You"
                                       As I lay me down,
                                       Heaven hear me now.
                                      I'm lost without a cause
                                     After giving it my all.

                                    Winter storms have come
                                    And darkened my sun.
                                    After all that I've been through
                                    Who on earth can I turn to?

                                            I look to you.
                                     After all my strength is gone,
                                       In you I can be strong
                                            I look to you.
                                     And when melodies are gone,
                                        In you I hear a song.
                                             I look to you.

                                     About to lose my breathe,
                                   There's no more fighting left,
                                   Sinking to rise no more,
                                  Searching for that open door.

                                  And every road that I've taken
                                         Lead to my regret.
                              And I don't know if I'm going to make it.
                                  Nothing to do but lift my head

                                            I look to you.

                                    After all my strength is gone,
                                        In you I can be strong
                                            I look to you.
                                    And when melodies are gone,
                                         In you I hear a song.
                                            I look to you.

                                       My levees are broken
                                        My walls have come
                                       Tumbling down on me

                                        The rain is falling.
                                         Defeat is calling.
                                     I need you to set me free.

                                Take me far away from the battle.
                                             I need you.
                                            Shine on me.
    I look to YOU! I desperately want to be the wife that Mike deserves and needs. I want to overcome the battles that  you have placed in my life because you have given permission for them, I want to overcome this cycle of disrespect and give you the broken pieces of jealousy, rejection, fear & anxiety and lay them at your feet. I want to choose to love.  I want you to find grace and mercy upon me and use my life; by shining your light through the brokenness that you turn into beauty. I pray that we can come together in unity and serve you as a whole in the ministry you have called us in. I pray that others see Jesus in me, that if I boast in anything it is in your goodness, your faithfulness, your restoration, and your salvation!!!!!
In Christ Name,

Eye Opener

The other day I had the privilege to help a friend with a fundraiser.  Part of that was to host a corn hole tournament (which we love playing!) I have always looked at this event as a fun event... We ended up having 12 teams play which was nice! I spent a lot of time researching "official" rules, making brackets, organizing the boys to build new boards, asked another friend to make new bags all in preparation for this event.
The day came and the weather was beautiful! We used a tape measure to get an accurate count for the official space apart for each board making sure the event was as fair as could be; since there was cash prize involved. The event started late and chaotic but with determination we got it back on track! Everything was great.... until, a team started feeling as if we "rigged" the event.. Negative Comments started spreading like wild fire. My first reaction was to ignore the behavior, but it continued.  Both of my close friends went through this with me as they were hearing the comments as well.  My emotions were going on a wild roller coaster, my main goal was to ignore the behavior so that the event would remain a positive event.  The comments belittled me and tore my character as they were directed towards the "organizer"  It ended that my husband and oldest son won the tournament!!  At first I gloated, boasted and wanted to do a victory dance... GOOD Prevails over EVIL... But the more I thought about it, I couldn't let it go.

How could they question MY character?
How could they spread negative comments about something I view as such a positive event?
How could I let them effect me so much?
How could they ruin MY event?

As I pondered on all these questions... I experienced an eye opener! First and most important NONE of this was MINE.. I had selfishly claimed the event as mine because of the work I invested in it.. But who was I doing this for? I was working unto the Lord, therefore the comments were not intended for me but to show others how to handle Gods love in a situation that wasn't easy.  I have gotten so comfortable surrounded by those who share my faith. We are called to be the light to the world even if that means a game!  It is easy to love the lovable... But how do you love the unlovable???

In the book "40 Days of Community" by Rick Warren
He reminds us about the five purposes that we are placed on earth in his book "The purpose Driven Love" is the following:
But did you know that this purpose is not meant to be lived alone?
So how do we fulfill the purposes for each of our lives?
First by deepening the community of love and second reaching out in love (R.W)

Love is a choice... Real love takes knowledge, God's grace and lots of practice!! (R.W) I did not exercise this love during the tournament. Life is about learning to love!

God's love FOR us gives us the reason to love others (R.W)
God's love In us gives us the ability to love others (R.W)
God's love THROUGH us gives us the way to love others (R.W)

I had felt like a complete failure. I had missed a chance to show God's love through this situation!!

In fact, all the while there was a storm raging within me on the home front as well...  I was feeling attacked in all directions. (NEXT BLOG)

Kay Arthur had this on her status
"Has there ever been a time in your life when your disappointment in your circumstances or personal relationships caused you to go into an emotional tailspin? Have you ever felt you might drown in discouragement?

Have you ever fallen into a well of depression and in that well found yourself in such a state of despair that you were so demoralized you couldn't even figure out how to climb out of                  
your prison—or even try?

Once you come out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God, then whether you want it or not it’s war—warfare with the prince of this world! And though you can’t be snatched from the Father’s hand, Satan will do everything to keep you from being effective in your walk with the Lord!

Don’t lose focus!!! Remember you are an overcomer!!

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” - 1 John 5:4"


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I feel guilty!!

Photo: We made this blanket for my MOM as a gift for Christmas several years I hold onto as a memory!! 

All I have is a memory!!

I never thought it would be this hard.... I don't have much time to think about the passing of my mother; not sure if that is a good thing since I am a "stuffer" 

There are days I feel guilty:
I feel guilty because I didn't restore our relationship sooner
I feel guilty because I thought I had time
I feel guilty because there are days I don't think of her
I feel guilty because I should miss her more
I feel guilty because I should have tried harder
I feel guilty because I let my selfishness and pride get in the way
I feel guilty I wont allow myself to grieve
I feel guilty because there are times when I am angry 
I feel guilty because I hold on to a memory of what could have been
I feel guilty because I miss her
I feel guilty because I am sad
I feel guilty because no matter my feelings


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Pain: we can use it or waste it (Part 2)!!


After I listened to the sermon by Rick Warren I really started pondering on my current situation.

My physical pain is used to tempt me to cause me give up.  Trust me there are those dark moments when I really want to give up.. Times are tough, the pain is overbearing, I have really had to learn new limitations, I have had to deal with weight gain... the list goes on... BUT, I can use the Pain or waste the pain.  There is no where I would rather be except in the will of God.. This is part of his plan for me and I will except it!

I pray for deliverance but while I wait I pray for strength.. fresh and anew!
Yes I am weak but God's spirit is inside of me... I will NOT be defeated!!
I will call upon the LORD and he will answer me......

During these last two years of physical pain I HAVE FOUND the LORD.. I have experienced his PEACE, his LOVE, his GRACE, his COMPASSION, his LOVE, his FORGIVENESS... There was a time I ran from God; because he was too much for me... I would NOT exchange this time if this is what it took or takes to keep me grounded in LOVE.  I may walk the deepest and darkest valleys at times; but I am not alone!!!

Hillsong "Where feet May Fail"
You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your Name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine


Pain: We can use it or waste it!! (Part 1)


Yesterday Mike jumped the jeep and decided to drive it to camp (we now think it's just the battery) I met him later in the day so we could eat dinner. We ended up going down to the outside chapel and just sitting there and talking until it got dark.  What a wonderful moment; it was almost as if time stood still!! After our moment we decided to drive home.. I was following Mike. He had gotten away from me as I had to wait longer to pull out on 77..... In the distance I can see blue/red sirens and to our dismay Mike had been pulled over!!
I drove past and started to pray; we have heard that a ticket is outrageous here in Nebraska!! I didn't think he was speeding so all I could do is hope for some mercies... I got home unloaded the suburban; still worried on how things were going back with Mike and then it happened. I stepped onto the porch steps, they were slippery, and I fell. I tried to catch myself, but failed and back down I went!! My wrist, knee & back just throbbed. I tried to be brave as I needed to share the information with the kids for everyone to pray for the situation. Most of you would understand that importance of this; we simply do not have extra income, which is the very reason we drive trying to obey all the rules!!!
Lyvvie ran into the house to get the boys which they came out immediately.  A boy on each side of me to help me in the house.   (Oh, how I love having two boys!!! ) They asked what happened, I started to cry!!
Kirk got me some ice for my back and we waited for Mike.....
Mike came in, he was extremely upset.... We have tried so long to get the jeep to run, we got it started and off Mike went without considering the fact our plates were FIVE MONTHS expired!!!! He had NO PROVE of insurance or registration in the vehicle AND HE HAD a headlight OUT!!!!!
Needless to say he was not a happy camper when he walked in the door... Looking back I am so thankful we had that moment of serenity and peace as we had no idea what was about to happened. I am not sure why when one bad thing happens it puts us in a tail spin of pity party and maybe it's just me who goes through this... Instantly, I was feeling defeated; My back was throbbing and I had this huge burden in front of us.. Then, the whole pity party for one began.. and I went to bed!!!
I woke up this morning and decided that I was not going to let this get me down. Remember one of my them songs currently is "Overcomer" by Mandisa... So I began to listen to it!! I turn to music for inspiration.  We missed church since Mike is hosting at Camp so we took the opportunity to sleep in.  Rick Warren now has his sermons online, they play on the hour. So we gathered in the room to listen to a sermon ( I highly recommend listening he is an amazing Pastor)
Here are the notes I took based on HIS sermon:
God has 5 purposes for your life
*Know & Love Him (worship)
*Love other people (Fellowship)
*Grow up spiritually (Discipleship)
*Practice serving (Ministry)
*Mission ( Life Message)
God uses PAIN to fulfill these purposes; often times we do not cooperate with his plan so we waste it

Galatians 3:4 "You suffered so much because of the Good News you received. Was this all of no use?"
                                    Have you grown from your pain or have you wasted it? 
            Five ways that you can USE your PAIN
*1) I can USE my pain to draw closer to God
           a.  We will either run TO God or Away from God
           b. 2 Corinthians 1:8-10 " We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters,[a] about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us"
*2) I can USE my pain to draw closer to others
         a. Suffering sensitizes you
         b. 4 levels of fellowship
              sharing, studying, serving, suffering
*3) I can USE my pain to become like Jesus
        a. Grow in Character (showing fruits of spirit)
        b. Choice: You can choose to become bitter or better
        c. If we are supposed to be "like Christ" then we will go through the same thing Christ went through... God does not exempt anyone.   Jesus was lonely, maligned, judged, tired, tempted, suffered, and went through pain.  So WE ARE going to go through the same times.
The difference between those who will "win" verses those who will "lose" is Resilience.
Resilience-The ability to bounce back (determination)
       d. 2 Corinthians 7:11 "And now, isn’t it wonderful all the ways in which this distress has goaded you closer to God? You’re more alive, more concerned, more sensitive, more reverent, more human, more passionate, more responsible. Looked at from any angle, you’ve come out of this with purity of heart. And that is what I was hoping for in the first place when I wrote the letter. My primary concern was not for the one who did the wrong or even the one wronged, but for you—that you would realize and act upon the deep, deep ties between us before God. That’s what happened—and we felt just great"
  e.) The answer to resilience is perspective
            1.) Do you have the perspective of eternity?
            2.) or do you have the perspective of the worldly view?
Christ endured the suffering on the cross because his eyes was fixed on the reward!!
*4) I can use my pain to help others
       a. God says its the highest use when we use our pain to turn our focus and refocus on others
       b. 2 Corinthians 1: 4-6 "who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer"
       c. Don't hide your hurt; Let God utilize it to help others
*5) I can use my pain to witness to the world
      a. Highest form of witnessing is in our pain
      b. prosperity vs adversity
          1.Suffering gives creditability not our fame, fortune or successes.
          2.Fame does not earn faithfulness; Standing through hard times faithfully gives you creditability
      c. Philippians 1:2 "May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace"
      d. 2 Corinthians 4:6 "For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light" shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.
      **The greatest witness of God's love was the suffering of Jesus on the cross**