*** All purple text are direct quotes from Lysa***
Chapter 14 Pressing Through The Pain
In Chapter 14, Lysa tells the story of a couple from their neighborhood. Married 40 years, Mary went home to be with the Lord by way of cancer. Her dear husband, Ken, was heartbroken. One evening after dinner with the TerKeursts, as Ken was leaving he stopped to smell one of Lysa's flowers. It was an answer to Ken's expectant prayers to the LORD. Lysa said that the "the secret to pressing though the pain" is "learning to depend on God, asking for His provision, and then remembering to look for His ready answers." We need to be in tune with the Lord to gain sight for His ready answers. Pray with confidence, expect God to answer and ask Him to give you His eyes to see. He won't disappoint! "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (Hebrews 4:16, NIV)
"My greatest secret desire must always be for more of God in my life. This is the only desire that's certain to never disappoint and can never be taken from me." For me the key here is that more of God in my life does not always look like the believing phase or the resurrection phase (which we will begin next week). More of God means more desert and more death too. I know I have mistaken desert and death to be a bad thing, undesirable. But I now know that those are just growth spurts on the journey to soaring to new heights. "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, NIV)
Chapter 15 God Isn't Surprised By Death
Nothing that goes on in our life surprises God. We, quite often, are caught off guard. We were expecting one thing, but God has other plans. For instance, 4 months ago I was certain I would no longer be working where I am now. I just knew it was time to move on. I was eagerly anticipating my parole. But that was not what God had in mind. That dream died in church one Sunday. The teaching felt as if it was spoken directly to me. What God spoke to me was "Be thankful for a job as others are getting laid off just cubes over from you. When I am ready to move you, I will make a way." And so I am still there. Was I surprised? Yes, surprised and hurt. I really wanted to leave. Was God surprised? Not at all. He has a plan He is working and that death did not surprise Him one bit. Lysa said "At times like this, I have to live my life based on the truth of who God says He is and not my feelings." Thank goodness for that because my feelings can be so out of whack with God's reality for me!
"Brokenness is what must happen before God can put the pieces back together in the way He can shine through the best." If I'm going to be a cracked pot, a broken cistern, then at least let God get the glory for it! I'm getting first hand experience with this by putting into practice what my husband and I learned in our marriage class this past year. One thing that was covered for the husbands was loving your wife as Christ loved the church. I've experienced my husband applying that principle and it has blessed me tremendously. For the wives one thing was submission, letting my husband take the lead in the household. Oh my, how I did not realize how much I don' t like giving up control. Even though I had prayed for him to lead our house, when he began to do it...momma was not too happy about it. I was used to being in control, making the decisions, being the spiritual giant. Well God is breaking me from that. While I am still involved in decisions, there are times when the Holy Spirit clearly says, "Stand down. Let him lead." It's been a serious struggle for me.
Last week, God got to shine through without struggle from me. My husband put our two beauties on punishment. They come in from school and our living room and dining room are disaster areas within 10 minutes. Even though I tell them to clean up the mess, they usually don't. Husband got fed up with the laziness and the disobedience. He put his foot down and announced, 'Tomorrow, no TV or computer for either of you." He explained why and basically let them know there was no room for negotiation. I stood beside him as he exercised his authority as dad. My girls started complaining to me. I was able to say, "Your dad made the punishment. If you don't like it, discuss it with him. You should be doing what you are told. And do not try to bad mouth him to me. I won't have it."
There was God, just a shining away! It was really quite fabulous and you know what? I realized that at that moment, I was stress free. No yelling , cajoling, sighing. None of that. They did what they should have been doing all along and it was great! I pray for more moments of brokenness if it means God can have the glory and I can have some peace. "And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts." (2 Peter 1:19, NIV)
Finally, at the end of the chapter, Lysa included a prayer. I'll share the line that struck a chord with me. "Only Your perfect way through brokenness can reveal the best road to travel." On your journey, let God work brokenness in your life so that you will travel the best road. The end destination is sure to be better then you ever imagined! "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." (Ephesians 3:20-21, NIV)