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Difficult Circumstances Don't Go Away

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She wrote to ask for my help. The details of her story poured out on my computer screen, and gripped me with sadness. How could one’s life, so fully devoted to Christ, be caught in this severity of confusion and misunderstanding? Could I possibly offer a balm of encouragement for her aching soul?

Since Difficult Circumstances Don’t Go Away, where do you and I—like my friend—find the how-to’s for scaling life’s granite faced mountain?

Pulling from the Pages of God’s Word and from the archives of my own life, I offer three dynamic ropes:

How to face difficult circumstances:

Recognize that He is with us!

Isaiah 43:1-4b

But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; … Since you are precious and honored in my sight … and because I love you …

How to survive difficult circumstances:

Realize that He provides for us!

2 Peter 1:3

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

How to thrive in difficult circumstances:

Rejoice that He prospers us!

2 Corinthians 9:8 NKJV

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

I turned a corner in maturity when I unearthed the following erroneous patterns:

When

•Erroneous thinking leads us to believe that life will be great when this problem is solved, when this trial abates, when this challenge is met, when this person transfers. When, when, when, when, when. Wrong. Life is not when; life is now.

Either/or

•Erroneous assumptions cause us to think that life is either/or; either filled with joy or filled with sorrow, one or the other. Quite the contrary. Both sorrow and joy exist—even coalesce—simultaneously in our sojourn.

Fix it; then forge ahead

•Erroneous tendencies tempt us to try and fix life, and then get on with living. Such a perspective is simply not accurate. No. Walking in the power of the Holy Spirit, armed with the Word of God, we forge ahead, and carry life right along with us.

No wonder, we celebrate the Words of Psalm 84: 5,7.

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage … They go from strength to strength …. So, my fellow climber, take a deep breath, and breathe in celestial air right in the midst of pollution. Take a deep breath and keep scaling onward and upward, difficult circumstances and all.

Living With Eternal Intentionality®

Which of the above Scriptures brings you the most encouragement in a circumstance you currently face?

Where does God want you to turn a corner in maturity by correcting an erroneous pattern of thinking about life?

One Epic Drama of Motivation, Perseverance, and Focus

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Sadness descended upon me when the book ended. I like I was saying goodbye to a boatload of dear friends. Literally.

The Boys in the Boat is a compelling drama involving the lives of nine American athletes and their journey to Hitler’s Germany in the 1936 Olympics. Author David James Brown—almost poetically—weaves the personal lives of these young men into the gripping events leading up to World War II. Incorporating romance, suspense, history, drive, and dreams, he brings the reader to practically sit inside the boat with these University of Washington boys on their heroic adventure to the Langer See in Berlin.

Inspirational Quotes: Motivation

A smorgasbord of quotes from George Yeoman Pocock, the team’s shell builder, add intrigue and insight into the overall wonder of the manuscript.

Rowing is perhaps the toughest of sports. Once the race starts, there are no time-outs, no substitutions. It calls upon the limits of human endurance. The coach must therefore impart the secrets of the special kind of endurance that comes from mind, heart, and body. (p. 71)

Rowing a race is an art, not a frantic scramble. It must be rowed with head power as well as hand power. From the first stroke all thoughts of the other crew must be blocked out. Your thoughts must be directed to you and our own boat, always positive, never negative. (p. 105)

Good thoughts have much to do with good rowing. It isn’t enough for the muscles of a crew to work in unison; their hearts and minds must also be as one. (p. 297)

To see a winning crew in action is to witness a perfect harmony in which everything is right…. That is the formula for endurance and success: rowing with the heart and head as well as physical strength. (p. 321)

Insightful Lesson: Perseverance

When you row … your body burns calories and consumes oxygen at a rate that is unmatched in almost any other human endeavor, Physiologists, in fact, have calculated that rowing a two-thousand-meter race—the Olympic standard—takes the same physiological toll as playing two basketball games back-to-back. And it exacts that toll in about six minutes. (p. 40)

Invaluable Take-Away: Focus

“M-I-B, M-I-B, M-I-B!” This command shouted from the coxswain … was a reminder that from the time an oarsman steps into a racing shell until the moment that the boat crosses the finish line, he must keep his mind focused on what is happening inside the boat. His whole world must shrink down to the small space with the gunwales … Nothing outside the boat—not the boat in the next lane over, not the cheering of a crowd of spectators, not last night’s date—can enter the successful oarsman’s mind. (p. 89)

In summary, I agree with author David Laskin: “This is Chariots of Fire with oars.”

Living With Eternal Intentionality®

When did you last read a book that left you sad for it to end?

Describe the inspiration you gained from its contents.

What was one lasting, invaluable take-away?

7 I Will's For Today's Busy Mom

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You know, I find myself feeling so deeply for today’s mother. Her challenges in managing a 21st century household are unprecedented. Insistent demands seem to multiply like rabbits, and activities squeeze their way into already overflowing calendars. While she ramps up to coordinate the demands of the day, her own soul starves for nourishment and rest.

I believe that mothers possess the world’s best, most influential profession. However, rarely do we benefit from a 360-job review to objectively access our strengths, weaknesses, limitations, and flaws. Too often, our major assessment tool tends to be introspection, and that never works, does it?

So, Mom, to replenish and move forward with confidence and freedom, I invite you to pour a cup of coffee, find a quiet corner, and hold a conversation with yourself to reflect on Seven I Will’s of Grace.

Seven I Will’s of Grace for Today’s Busy Mom

1. I will move forward with confidence and freedom in my own shoes, and quit comparing myself to other mothers.

2. I will resist thinking so much about my children’s future that I miss their present.

3. I will refuse to criticize my children’s dad.

4. I will release my unrealistic goal of trying to be a perfect mother, and focus on being a loving mother.

5. I will bring God more and more into every equation, situation, decision, and crisis.

6. I will accept God’s forgiveness for my past mistakes and move forward with His Holy Spirit’s equipping.

7. I will celebrate—like never—before the awesome privilege of being a woman of influence as I invest in the lives of the next generation.

Happy, Blessed Grace-Filled Mother’s Day!

Living With Eternal Intentionality®

From the list above, which I Will draws your heart like a magnet to the truth it contains?

What do you think is God’s view of you as a mother?

How does your answer match with the words of Jeremiah 31:3?

I have love you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

and

Isaiah 40:11c?

… He gently leads those who are with young.

On this Mother’s Day, will you give yourself the blessed gift of grace? (He does.)