Posts Tagged With: trial

From Mess to Message

Sometimes we find ourselves in a big ol’ fat life mess.

Perhaps it’s due to a decision we made. Or a choice someone else made. Or a life season. Or whatever. The important thing to remember is that when we are in a big ol’ fat life mess… God is sovereign, He is over it all, and knows what He is doing.

And oftentimes, if we open our eyes (and our hearts!) that mess will turn into a pretty suh-weet Jesus message.

Been there. Done that. Living it now.

In my last post, “When you Wreck– Rejoice!” I told you all about my latest life, um, “adventure.” (Ok. Wreck. Mess. Whatever you want to call it. Adventure sounds more optimistic.) Yeah, at 34 weeks pregnant, we (as in myself and Little Patriot) were in a car accident that jacked up my car Ladybug pretty significantly. (As in… we need a new one. No pressure. It’s fine.) We were all physically ok, but shoot dang–  my nerves were SHOT.

The next day after the wreck, I was one stressed-out future Mama. Less than 24 hrs before, I had been feeling pretty legit about this whole “final countdown” to baby’s arrival… my to-do list was in ok functional order, I was swimming in the peace of God, and physically I felt pretty great.

But post-wreck day found me slightly overwhelmed– a big ball of nerves. I had yet to legitimately cry about the whole experience (that wouldn’t come til a few days later) and my to-do list had exploded in a matter of seconds. Rental car, insurance, car shopping, cleaning out Ladybug at the impound/tow lot to say goodbye (Sidenote: Those places are like car funeral homes. Super sad place to hang out) etc, etc, etc.  Oh, and not to mention that just a few days prior, our upstairs toilet broke AND our washing machine had decided to go kaput.

The peace from God I had been living in (and loving) was suddenly buried under dozens of phone calls, repairs and paperwork.

Needless to say– I was in a less-than-chipper mood. A bit stressed.

Yeah. That expression kind of captures how I felt, post-wreck. Minus the groomed-ness. And the BFF making faces in  the background.

Yeah. That expression kind of captures how I felt, post-wreck. Minus the groomed-ness. And the BFF making faces in the background.

But as usual– God showed up. In some big ways.

First, the rental car driver showed up by 9:15am (kudos for being motivated.) I stumbled into the car to go pick up the rental. I casually asked the driver Chris how he was doing.

His response? “Meh. I’ve been better. Today sucks.”

FAN-TAST-IC. My driver was a Debbie Downer. Honestly, my fleshy heart was regretting that I even said anything for small talk, because I wanted nothing more than to focus on my iPad Wunderlist to try to get a handle on what my day was going to look like.

But Jesus intervened. I responded to his bummed out answer with “Well, Chris, why is that?”

He proceeded to tell me how much he despised his job, how it was raining that day, how he wanted to move out-of-town, that it was his birthday and nobody cared, etc.

I turned to him, blinked and said, “Well happy birthday. Perhaps we should count our blessings today?”

He looked at me with sad eyes and said, “Yeah, whatever.”

At that point… I had already had enough. There was gonna be no sugar-coating from this preggo gal. Before I could stop myself, I was laying some truth on him… In a rather brash kind of way.

I said, “Well, Chris. Let’s shift our perspective a bit. Psalm 118:24 says “Today is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.” SO LET’S REJOICE!  It could be worse you know. After all, you could be the 34 week pregnant lady who totaled her car last night and is the one in need of a ride to a rental car. Also, let’s remember that you have a job, you have clothes on your back, and I am going to guess that you had the choice to eat some breakfast this morning, correct?”

It sounded kind of harsh (it was– probably not in my best loving Christian voice) but apparently, it was the kind of truth the man needed to hear. “Well… I guess you are right.” (Dang skippy, I’m right! <I didn’t say that part out loud.)

For the rest of our short drive, I softened and listened to his story… I coached him on resources to find a new job and I tossed in some advice on trusting the Lord in all situations. As I got out of the car, I wished him happy birthday again, told him he did a great job driving me to my destination and asked how my husband and I could pray for him. His voice cracked as he shared his requests… and he thanked me for taking the time to listen to him.

Sometimes people just need to know that you care… and even more to so to know that Jesus cares. As quick as you could say, “Would you like extra rental car insurance?” God had changed my mess– into His very powerful message.

Messy and ok with it,
SGK

“That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” ~Romans 8:28 MSG

PS: In what life instances has God used a mess and turned it into a message? I love to hear your feedback, stories and testimony. Be bold and comment below!

Categories: witness | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Opposition & Obedience

“Hi. My name is Sharita, and I have issues with obedience.”

(Insert chorus of “HI SHARITA” here.)

Sigh. Maybe I’m the only one… But my stubborn, driven nature sure provides opposition to my call to be obedient to the Lord.

I’m dealing with that right now. The seasons of our life in our family are changing and I think I am in denial. I had a good groove going, and now God is shaking up my little snow globe life, changing things all around.

I don’t mind change. I really don’t. Only I was really digging the chug-a-lug of the way things were.

However, He’s calling me out. And as I try to listen, I am faced with opposition from a variety of directions. Here’s a little opposition list, in no particular order.

1. The world. This wonderful (fallen-sigh) world that we live in is all about success, cash, being driven, self-gratification, more-is-more mentality. But all of that goes against the principles that Christ laid out before us. It makes things complicated.

2. The enemy. Oh yeah, can’t forget about this jerkface. The author of destruction and confusion gets all up in my grill, wreaking havoc on best intentions. This sneaky punk has a way with selling little half truth-lies to my brain/heart. And let’s not forget that Satan has a tendency to use GOOD things to distract us from GOD’S BEST. Have I mentioned that he is REALLY good at his job?

3. Myself. This is probably the biggest issue that I face. My flesh. My brain. My will. Me, me, ME. The first two opposing factors of obedience really accentuate the challenges that I have with the “Me factor.” However, as of late, God has really convicted me (again)… And here’s why…

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am very excited about the fact that this sweet blog/ministry is over a year old. I was stoked that I was able to blog plus/minus five days per week for a year. But in the last several weeks, God has spoken to me and called me to go something of a different direction with gentle (but heart-tugging) reminders like:

“Remember daughter, you are NOT defined by what you do, but by WHO you are in Christ.” 

“Be Still… And Know… That I AM Lord.” 

“When you work, remember WHO you are working for… You are employed by ME.” 

That being said, my Big Boss upstairs has called me to a season of SLOWING DOWN. (He has instigated this mandatorily through my continued struggle with pneumonia and other physical junk.) I have struggled taking time to rest and be with Him via Sabbath and regular sabbaticals. And this inability to physically slow down is spilling over into my spiritual/emotional life.

So, in a challenging act of obedience, I am taking a few weeks to reduce my blogging from daily (aka  five days a week) to three days a week. It might be temporary. It might be permanent-ish. Only God knows. (Literally.)

It kind of freaks me out. Because I like my routine. But I know that the Lord knows what He is doing. Plus, He has called my husband to tackle another month of the 7 Experiment by Jen Hatmaker... So for the next month we are fasting MEDIA. As in, no TV, no digital games and minimal Facebook/Twitter time for me (to simply keep my ministry going.) I am allowed 8 min per day on Facebook, 5 or less on Twitter. (And yes, I use a timer.) Oh, and absolutely no technology after my hubby walks in the door from a day of drill sergeant-ing.  Which is a great excuse to try out this less-computer, more-Jesus lifestyle.

I am not quite sure what this new season looks like for us… But I am excited to see what God is going to do!

Overruling the Opposition to Obedience,
SGK

PS: Where do you struggle most in your life with being obedient to God? What are your biggest obstacles or opposition? It would be so encouraging to hear about how God lifts you up through your experiences. Leave a comment below!

“Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.” ~2 Corinthians 10:6 (MSG) 

Slow Down

Source: Blogger Ralph via Flickr

Categories: God, obedience | Tags: , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Bad things. Good People. Great God.

I have heard this phrase in many conversations. I have witnessed it on Facebook statuses. I have even seen it on a billboard.

“Why do bad things happen to good people?”

That is a good question. And a tough one at that. I’m not gonna get all theological on you today (my brain isn’t quite up for that level of discussion) but I think that “Bad things” happen to “Good people” due to sin.

I don’t mean those folks who experience the “bad thing” have sinned. I mean, they have sinned… Shoot, we all have… but God doesn’t PUNISH us for things we do. That is what the cross is for. “Bad things” happen because we live in a fallen world. I would like to think that if Adam and Eve hadn’t messed it up for the rest of us, we wouldn’t have to deal with things like pain, sickness, loss, death, betrayal.

But let’s be honest. If it wasn’t Adam and Eve, I’m sure somebody else would have come along 15 seconds later and jacked it up for us. Sigh. Isn’t human nature (and Satan) frustrating?!!

Anyways, bad things happen to good people in this life. I’m willing to bet you are sitting there nodding your head thinking “Tell me about it, sista.”

But here’s the good news… Even though bad things happen to good people, we have a great God. The other night during prayer week at church, we were briefly looking at Job chapter 38. God is reminding Job that HE is bigger. HE is the creator. He is THE ONE.

As I sat there and mediated, God gave me these words:

“Only when we start from the bottom of the valley can we truly appreciate the mountaintop. When we experience how bad it can be, we can know how great God IS. He is above it all.” 

In essence, we have to go through the crappy (pardon my French) parts of life to TRULY experience the fullness of God’s love. Otherwise, what kind of heaven would we have to look forward to??

When your path seems uncertain... Know that the God of Love and Peace is guiding your footsteps!

In the last few months, I have encountered several good people going through some pretty “bad things” in life. My beloved boss and mentor dealing with the loss of her husband’s grandmother while BOTH of her parents battle cancer. A soldier who lost his wife and daughter, now a single father to his 11-year-old son. A close friend struggling an illness. Another friend questioning her purpose in life.

We’ve all been there. I don’t know where you find yourself today. Are you in the midst of a “bad thing?” Or coming out of it? Or perhaps facing it soon? Take heart. We have SUCH an incredible promise of a future world with no pain or heartache. And while we walk through our current “bad things,” God is walking with us. Daily. Know that while bad things might happen to good people… we can rely on an incredibly GREAT God.

Thankful to worship a kind, loving, merciful God,
SGK

“I’m thanking you, God, out loud in the streets, singing your praises in town and country. The deeper your love, the higher it goes; every cloud is a flag to your faithfulness.” –Psalm 57:9 (MSG) 

Have you ever been through a “bad thing?” How did God see you through? (Or if you are going through a “bad thing” right now, leave a comment here and I will pray for you. Or you can email me via sharita{dot}knobloch{at}gmail{dot}com.)

Categories: affirmation, challenge, Christ, cross, death, faith, God, Goodness, life, Live, mercy, pain, promises | Tags: , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Clarity in the Chaos

Today I have a little brain teaser for you… What does this mean to you?

DLEKMTRUSTIPWETRTIINWIGNXTHESLEQP
PDRELORDADVCWITHOIWTHIALLSLGMDIW
CYOUR XSAQLKHEARTCRETWMEAMENLSGF

Is it just a random jumble of letters to you? Or were you able to break it down and see something hidden in the chaos? Not sure? Look again…

DLEKMTRUSTIPWETRTIINWIGNXTHESLEQP
PDRELORDADVCWITHOIWTHIALLSLGMDIW
CYOUR XSAQLKHEARTCRETWMEAMENLSGF

Cool, huh? It’s amazing what we can see when we take a few moments to slow down and look closer at something that initially looks a little bit chaotic. (It kind of looks like I just punched the keyboard.)  This isn’t just true for randomly created puzzles for a blog… It also holds true to God’s plan for our lives.

Life can be CUH-RAZY. Sometimes it seems like plans change every 14 seconds. It is hard to keep up, let alone embrace and thrive in the midst of it. We can easily become confused or overwhelmed if we try to deal with all of our issues/challenges/questions all at once.

But here’s the best part: God has already got it figured out. He breaks it down and feeds it to us in little chunks. Sure, sometimes it feels as if we are going to choke on those chunks. And I know it is cliche– but God really isn’t going to give us more than we can handle.

Anyone else out there ever beg God to show you the “whole picture?” I know I do. Especially in the midst of tragedy or trial. “God, why oh why am I faced with this?!? Tell me what the purpose is!!” As much as I think I want to see the big picture, I believe there is a very legitimate reason as to why God doesn’t give us the whole big picture of our life mission at once.

If He did, we would like to think that we would say “Ok, that make sense, Father. Thanks for that. I appreciate the clarification. It’s cool. Do yo thang.” But if we are being perfectly honest with ourselves, I can’t help but wonder if we wouldn’t be overwhelmed with the huge things that would eventually be facing us.

I would probably feel the same way you did when looking at that “brainteaser” above. I personally might be inclined to panic. Or be confused.  My eyes would swim. A headache would approach. I’m a human. I would probably still want to doubt God’s plan. Or at least negotiate.

Sometimes it feels like life is one big puzzle.

I don’t know what you are facing right now in your life. I would be willing to guess that things aren’t always hunky-dory perfect. Maybe things seem overwhelming… confusing… scary… uncertain… or just straight up give you a headache.

But there’s great news. God is the ultimate problem solver. He is going to take a the jumbled up word puzzle that is our life and show us the answers. It might take awhile. But eventually, God will reveal His plan for our life, whether on this side of heaven or the next.

What things seems chaotic in your life right now? Share your story by commenting below– I would love to pray for you! And  remember that you can trust God with all your heart… and He will ALWAYS bring clarity in the chaos… no matter how long it takes.

From clueless to clarified,
SGK

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.” –Proverbs 3:5-6 (MSG)

Categories: chaos, clarity, confusion, God, puzzle | Tags: , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Raising the Stakes

At the very beginning of 2012, God chose my “word” for me to live out for the year. That word was “DEPENDENCE.”

It has been now been 80 days. What started as a seemingly simple challenge has blossomed into a literal life-changing experience.

In the past 80 days, God has put the following events into our lives… ALL of which have drastically built my dependence on Him:

  • Ranger school– aka, complete removal of my husband communication (see: Just me and Jesus)
  • Launching a personal ministry
  • Finding out we were pregnant with our first child
  • Losing our first child (See yesterday’s post)

Now my beloved Brandon and I have 10 days (ok evenings-ish) to be together before he picks up another Basic Training Cycle and we are faced with our third Red Phase (again– limited interaction/communication.)

Anybody ELSE think we need a vacation??? Sigh.

But through it all, God has been with us. He has raised the stakes for me to live out my word: DEPENDENCE.

A fellow blogger has recently challenged us to take our word and create an acrostic… So here is what my tired, yet God centered brain came up with…

Denying myself and taking up my cross to follow Him

Expectantly Waiting on Him– ALWAYS

Praying fervently about all things

Experiencing Him more deeply than ever before

Noticing God’s sweet gifts in everyday living

Daily submission

Emphatic trust

Never letting go of His promises

Conceding Control

Exclaiming His goodness and faithfulness to the world!

So yes, God has raised the stakes for 2012. And yes, I admit there are a few times I have wanted to quit– perhaps changing my “word” to EASY or RELAX or BEACH… But I’m still in the game, laying it on the line, playing with everything I have… The question is… Are you?

All in,

SGK

“I heard a voice out of Heaven, “Write this: Blessed are those who die in the Master from now on; how blessed to die that way!” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “and blessed rest from their hard, hard work. None of what they’ve done is wasted; God blesses them for it all in the end.” –Revelation 14:13 (MSG)

Categories: faith, God, One Word, trust | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

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