Devotion: Good Out of Bad

Life is hard.

How often do we allow ourselves to grieve with God about the difficulties of our lives?

We need to be able to weep with our Mighty God about our difficulties, so we can begin to see how He is working, with fresh eyes as we grieve with the reminded that our Savior Jesus is grieving too.

Confession: I don’t like being sick, but there is something very beautiful about how our Mighty God who raised Jesus Christ from the dead – can indeed bring good out of bad.

This is probably why I love hearing Genesis Joseph’s testimony!

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”

Genesis 50:20, ESV

“My Verse” toward chronic illness has been Genesis 50:20.

When, like Joseph, we experience difficulties in our lives, we have to remind ourselves of the good things that can happen – even though we went (or are currently going) through a terrible thing

[This is not to advocate abuse. If you are being abused, call 9-1-1 and get out of that situation. If you are suicidal, call 9-1-1 and find support to find hope again as well as accountability if/when you need it or meds/therapy, because in both circumstances whether someone else is harming you or self harm is happening, you are worth getting out of that kind of situation or mindset. You are worthy of living and thriving. No judgment here. I am both on meds and see behavioral help, so that I don’t self-harm. I don’t want to even get to that point again in my mental health. ]

Jesus Christ cares for you so much, that He died on the cross to carry your sorrows and griefs as well as sins. And He rose on the third day to give you new life. New life, that you can begin living now!

Maybe for you, it is a trauma you wish never happened. Maybe, it’s a chronic illness that you have experienced for years and it hasn’t gone away. Maybe, it is the loss of your marriage. Or something completely different, but equally devastating.

I love the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and He is the Reason I can get up in the morning.

Even in a sea of depressive thoughts and chronic illness, He remains my hope. And our God never changes, regardless of how horrible our circumstances become.

My goal today is simply begin sitting with you. I don’t know if it is your first time here or hundredth. Either way, welcome to Gracefully Overcoming!

You are very loved and treasured first and foremost by God, but by me as well – so if I can pray for you or offer emotional support…

Don’t be shy to leave a comment or head on over to Facebook or Instagram to find me (I don’t check Twitter enough). There is even a Gracefully Overcoming Facebook Group for additional support.

One way you can support this page is through using the affiliated links I use in social media for your any Amazon purchases. It is an affiliated link, which means my blog will benefit at no extra cost to you! Great, right?

Like this one (double donation, since it is my devotional).

Or this one. This link actually is the one recently used in Social Media. It is for a book I am reading about hoping again. Great read so far!

In Christ,
Stace

Trusting the Artist {Trial Tuesday}

Some days, weeks, or months, life becomes increasingly difficult. To even foresee the next “thing” on our calendar can seem like a daunting task.

I found myself in this exact place, where… looking ahead seems almost impossible. The only way to explain my week is, well “bad week”. Do you ever have those days, where maybe mental illness (or another trial) is too overwhelming to look at what is even in front of you?

Life with chronic illness is hard, particularly during the holiday season. During this six week stretch, one becomes reminded of what they are (or aren’t).

One might even be asked, “Where do we go from here?” Or, “How am I supposed to face people, in the midst of this?”


Unfortunately. Life does not pause until we are well again. Life sort of stops for those of us living under the pressure of trials, while everyone else’s keeps going. All of our friends and relatives’ lives keep going. Maybe, they finally set a wedding date, have adopted their “bonus”  child, or some other absolutely joyous milestone.

Meanwhile, we try not to come unglued.

Maybe, we are too busy trying to just do that one thing: not come completely unglued.

We are deliberately attempting to find our new normal. It may not even be a version of normal we want, but it is what we have been given.

Life keeps going, even when we aren’t anywhere near a “happy normal.” Life keeps going, and we have to discover how to live the life we have been given – alongside the trials.

I know God uses everything in my life. Some days are fiercely more difficult than others. This week was one of those weeks, where there was a lot going on behind the scenes. Not even I know what God was doing behind the scenes during this week.

. . . But, I am choosing to trust Him anyway.


I am choosing to believe that He is working out all things for my ultimate good, even when I definitely don’t see it. My life is sort of like a painting. In the middle of the painted strokes, it may not look much like a masterpiece. But this Artist has an amazing reputation. Imagine if you saw a well loved painting before it was finished. Would you still see it as treasured before it was finished? We are so loved and cherished by our great God.

Even though the painting doesn’t look like a masterpiece right now, I can trust the Artist. The Creator has well proved His capabilities, so this is why I can trust Him.

I know that You can do all things, and that no thought or purpose of Yours can be restrained or thwarted (Job 42:2, AMP).


We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose (Romans 8:28).

FMF – Rush to Ask Our Friends {4 Questions}

: : Rush : :
A Sudden Movement

** While this post is designed for reaching our chronic illness friends, I believe these are questions to ask any one of our friends. All can benefit!**

Lately, I have been aware of my life and how isolating it can become. As I look at my life, I can’t help but think. . . Would I want to be my friend? Not particularly.

I honestly think it might be scary or intimidating to have a friend to someone like me. Chronic illness is scary. And it is so easy to be concerned that we might say something wrong to someone who is already in great pain – physically and emotionally.

But, what if we rushed to our friends’ aid anyway (obviously listening more than speaking)?

Our friends need us to rush toward them, so they aren’t alone!


What To Say

I want to share some things we can ask our friends who are hurting. These are questions I mentioned elsewhere, but they can help us meet our friends right where they are. These things can truly deepen our friendships.

How is God speaking to you right now?

This can open up many doors for our conversations with friends. Our Lord Jesus Christ can speak to us through so many things! Let’s begin asking this big question and grow – as we learn from one another!

How can I pray for you?

Ohhh, how our friends need us to ask this question. In all honesty? They probably aren’t asked this question, enough.

What are you watching on Netflix or YouTube? Or reading?

Chronic illness or not, many of us use one of these sources of entertainment. Even if we are not a TV watcher, we can share what we are reading.

If someone asked me this question, my answer would change depending on the day. While one day I may be a Gilmore Girls observer, the next I might be fully wrapped up in the book of Isaiah.

This is a very basic question that we can ask, even to a brand new friend. And, it opens doors to new shared interests.

What is on your mind?

This one, can open so many doors.
Our minds can wander to many places. Even if we may not feel well, our hearts might be focused on the Middle East or the homeless.

This question allows us to really meet our friends, and see what is on their hearts and maybe even breaking their hearts.

How is your mental health holding up, in spite of your trials?

This is such an important question. We need to check on our friends, so they aren’t fighting suicidal thoughts on their own. It is so easy to find ourselves in our own war. We need to join our friends, and help them however we can.

Featured image by Tim Foster (of Unsplash).

Blessings to you, my friends!

In Christ,

Signature

Fisher of People

Far too often, we let our emotions stop us from things. As an introvert, I have developed this “protective layer”. A lot of times when I speak, the words don’t come out right. They fumble out. I wonder if I was understood. In times of anxiety, many words begin popping out as I try to explain more and more…and it’s things that don’t need any additional explanations. It is just learning to accept and take social interaction as it comes. From my own experience, that “protective layer” of fear has stayed for far too long. Fear of rejection. Fear of miscommunication. Fear of being misunderstood. Those fears are big enough all on their own.

For five days, I spent my days at a friend’s house on a ‘staycation’. I spent my time spending time  with my Creator, sorting through my thoughts, processing my identity, and the frustrations of my identity- the very thing that is part of how God created me. I am wired differently. God made me who I am with a great purpose in mind. I am coming more to a place of trading the lies and guilt of who I am not, for the truth of who I am.

I am an introvert. Others may have their own opinion about me. I am someone who faces chronic illness. Others may have their own opinion about me. But, their opinion is not that of God. God loves me. I am accepted in His eyes. I am chosen by God. God has redeemed me, through the blood and resurrection of His son Jesus Christ!

Fisher of Men

“Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!”

Now as a Christian, I want to see others come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. I want them to experience the eternal joy and peace that only He can give them. I want them to know how He can satisfy their aching, longing hearts. I genuinely want this. I want to learn to love my neighbors and be a witness- to how God’s love and compassion for me can change everything when I came to Him.

Part of the transformation process:

I am learning to overcome anxiety.
It’s ridiculously easy to let anxiety or fear play the center part.
And, I hate conflict.
Conflict happens.
We live in a fallen world.
I believe I want to guard myself from that however possible.
But, I do not need to fear conflict or anything else.

My own questions

Is the anxiety, fear, and other things greater than my desire to see others come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and see His freedom and abundant life in their own lives? I don’t believe so. I know the passion I have to see others come  to know Christ and all He has to offer is greater!

How can I, an introvert, love others, bless others, minister to others, and share the Gospel in everyday life with others? What gifts can I be utilizing that I am keeping to myself?

How can I pursue deep fellowship and community? How could I be more about looking for opportunities to disciple others- teaching others God’s truth? How could I be more about pursuing God’s Kingdom?

All of this is something to pray on, because I know God has already equipped me for this. He has made my personality and all my traits as it is for a reason, for His purposes, to bring glory to Himself! He will use me to help others know more about Him, as long as I remain willing.