I’ve often said parenting is the most excruciatingly rewarding job I’ll ever possess. Last night we had parent teacher conferences and learned of some things that made my mamma-bear rise up. I’ve been in prayer over this situation since, and though my husband and I feel the need to address the issue, we also realize God is using the incident to grow and strengthen our daughter. Nothing can level a parent like seeing their children struggle. Today fellow ACFW writer Karen Jurgens shares a similar situation and what she learned from it.
But first, I want to congratulate the winner of last week’s book drawing. Lourdes Montes, congrats! You won a copy of Smokey Mountain Investigation by Annslee Urban! I’ll be contacting you shortly. :)
The Heat of Trials by Karen Jurgens
Years ago, I had lunch with my six-year-old daughter who was enrolled in a day camp during her father’s summer custody. She sat at a long, metal table dominoed on each side with children wilted from the noon heat. Brightening as I approached, she smiled at me with eyes that longed for freedom. The heat index that Texas afternoon was 108 degrees.
“Mommy.” Her enormous blue eyes sparkled with tears. “I wish I could go with you right now and get out of this heat. I’m sooo hot.
I smoothed the damp hair back from her face and examined the freckles on her sun-scorched nose. Longing to grab up my baby and head for the air-conditioning, I was forced instead to forget my agony for her by offering up words of comfort, along with a drink of ice water I had brought along.
“Honey, it’s almost over. You get to come home in a few days. Just wait a little while longer.”
I continued to tell her about all the wonderful, cool things we would do together. She seriously digested my words along with her Lunchable. When it was time to head back to the playground, she hugged me as hard as she could and took a final, cold drink. I watched her trudge off, still hot and sticky from the heat, but filled with hope that this uncomfortable time would come to an end.
As I drove away, now with tears in my eyes, I thought of Jesus who sees us through our trials in much the same way. As we cry out to Him to rescue us from the fierce heat of trials and persecution, He comes to us with His reassuring presence, bringing us living waters to revive our parched spirits. He often chooses not to take us out of the trial, but rather to carry us through the heat.
Remember the Old Testament story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who walked through the fiery flames with the Lord by their side? The king had sentenced them to death for refusing to fall down and worship him, thus casting them into a furnace heated seven times hotter than usual. The king’s wide-eyed incredulity witnessed four men walking around in the midst of the fire. When he called to the three Hebrew boys to come out, he was amazed that not only were they not burned, but there was not even the smell of smoke upon them.
When our spirits are hot and weary from the fiery flames of life, Jesus is waiting to bring comfort. Drink deeply of the icy, cool water of His Word. Allow the Comforter to whisper encouragement to your spirit to be patient a little while longer.
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing;” (1 Peter 4:12-13a NASB).
And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you” (1Peter 5:10).
“And let the one who is thirsty, come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost” (Revelation 22:17b NASB).
Take heart, beloved, the end is in sight.
Karen Jurgens has been a high school English and French teacher all her life. She has recently retired and is beginning a ministry to encourage others going through life’s trials. Her current WIP is about her own powerful testimony. She speaks to Christian groups and blogs at KarenJurgens.com.
Let’s talk about this! Are you in a trial right now? How might knowing God sees you and is walking beside you–even carrying you–help? As a parent, do you struggle with seeing your children go through trials? How might remembering God loves and is with them help? During a difficult time, for you our your children, how might focusing on God’s character give you peace and strength? Share some of God’s character traits you find most encouraging. You can share your thoughts here in the comments below or on Facebook at Living by Grace.
For those of you who have been following my blog tour, here’s where I’ve been this week:
On Friday I visited Everyone’s Story to talk about one word that makes all the difference, regardless what task or endeavor we undertake. You can read my piece here.
On Inspy Romance I finally finished my serial story. You can read the ending here, and if you haven’t been following, you can follow the links on the page to read the other portions of the story.
I’ve been on Shannon Taylor Vannatter’s blog three times this week, sharing a real life romance story, doing a character interview, and on Friday, she’ll post an excerpt. You can read my real life romance here. You can get to know Ainsley, the heroine in Beyond I Do, here.
I also visited Christine Lindsay’s blog to talk about… heart rot. You can read that post here.
Yesterday I received a pleasant surprise when a friend alerted me to a post Shannon Vannatter wrote, in which she mentioned a fun memory, my second novel, and why she purchased a copy of Beyond I Do. You can read that here.
Today I’m on Zoe McCarthy’s sharing my thoughts on something that will probably get me in trouble. ;) You can read that post here.
Have a blessed fall day. :)