small boat. Big Storm. Sleeping Jesus?

Need help in the storms of life? Ever feel like you're in a small boat, big storm and Jesus is asleep? Traci Burns understands and has a message of hope.

I’m thankful to my dear friend Traci Burns for sharing more of God’s story in their lives.


April 14, 2012.

My husband, Weyland, and I were in Atlanta visiting our dear friends, Mike and Janice Ripley. 

Weyland and I had just finished touring Margaret Mitchell’s home when a friend of our 23-years-old daughter Anna called.

She didn’t want to alarm us, but she and some others had been trying all day to get in touch with Anna and couldn’t reach her. It was around 3:30 pm. Our hearts raced. We knew we had to get back to the Ripley’s.

As Weyland wove through downtown Atlanta traffic, we called family and friends.

Had anyone talked with her?

No.

While still driving in Atlanta traffic, Weyland’s phone rang. The caller ID showed an unfamiliar number.

As traffic sped past, Weyland answered his phone, and our world stopped. 

A coroner was on the line. Anna had been involved in an accident. Her truck had gone off the highway in the early morning hours and she’d died instantly.

To say that nothing could have prepared us for that moment would be wrong.

God had prepared us, but as Weyland heard those words and then repeated those words to me, we felt numb and overwhelmed in disbelief.

It felt like Jesus was asleep in our boat. He had to be. Because if Jesus were awake, surely this tragedy would not have happened (Mark 4:35-41).

After we reached our friends’ house, Weyland went inside and delivered the news.

Janice rushed out to the car where I sat, too paralyzed to move. We held each other and cried. Weyland and Mike joined us. We all cried.

When I was able to move from the car to the front steps, I looked up to see Weyland holding his Bible and quoting verses.  

As my emotions swirled, I heard Weyland say, “Now we have to live what we said we believe.” 

What do I believe?

I believe Jesus Christ was born, crucified, and rose from the dead so that if I chose to confess my sins and believe in Him, I can spend eternity in Heaven.

What do I know?

I know that I have a personal relationship with Jesus.  

And I also know Anna had a personal relationship with Jesus.  

So I know I’m only temporarily separated from my precious daughter. We will spend eternity with Jesus together. 

The great news of the gospel held and comforted me when the tragic news of Anna’s death crushed me. It still does.

Jesus didn’t abandon us in our darkest hour. He was still in the boat, wide awake. 

And His own death gave us the power we needed to make it through that crushing hour and every hour since. 

God won’t abandon you either. If you’re in a small boat and a Big Storm, know that Jesus is still in your boat. And He is wide awake and working out His will for you. 

I don’t just believe that. I know it. I’m living it. 

What a mighty God we serve!

And if you join me next time, I will share specific examples of how Jesus never forgot about me but was constantly working on my behalf because Jesus NEVER sleeps.

Traci


I know many others have also experienced the heart-breaking, tragic loss of a child or loved one. But not as many have been able to sing “It is well with my soul” as Traci has done every moment since they received the crushing news.

Traci didn’t scrape her way to the surface of acceptance and force herself to speak words of positive affirmations.

She stood firm on the beliefs she proclaimed and found they wouldn’t fail her.

Please follow along with us on Join the Journey as Traci reveals how we, too, can know true peace and joy in the midst of pain and smile even through our tears.

If you missed Traci’s first post, click here: Are You Facing a Storm? Jesus is Bigger Than We Let Him Be.  

small boat. Big Storm. Sleeping Jesus? If this feels like your life, here's #Hope. #JesusIsInYourBoat Click To Tweet


Traci Burns "Thoughts To Think" on Join the Journey (www.JeanWilund.com)Traci Burns is a wife, mom, and messenger of hope and healing. She never planned to be a blogger. She also never planned to live a story that must be told. Now, wherever Traci can, she shares the peace and comfort she’s found — even in the midst of pain — in a God who’s good all the time. She spreads the news with joy and laughter that Jesus Christ, the One who stills the storms, wants to steer our boat. Traci and her husband Weyland live in Lexington, SC. Their two sons live in the Greenville, SC area. Their daughter lives in heaven. 




Are You Facing A Storm? Jesus Is Bigger Than We Let Him Be (A Thought to Think)

Pt. 1 of "Are You In A Storm? Jesus is Bigger Than We Let Him Be." A true story by Traci Burns via @JeanWilund.com

My friend Traci Burns likes to think. I think that’s a good thing.

Every Monday Traci texts her kids a Mom’s Thought for the Week, whether they like it or not. Moms get to do these kind of things.

She shared one with me recently, and I really liked it. It gave me a thought of my own: I should share some of Traci’s thoughts on my blog.

Better yet, I should let her share them on my blog. 

So I asked Traci to Join the Journey, and she said, “Ok.”

Traci actually has more than just thoughts to share with us. She has a story only God could write.

Here’s a small glimpse of her story and a thought that made her think before the story began. 

Jesus Is Bigger Than We Let Him Be

by Traci Burns

When I attended church on Sunday, May 29, 2011, I had no idea how the sermon I heard that day would impact my life. 

It was titled “Jesus Stills a Storm,” and it came from Mark 4:35-41.

Jesus and His disciples were in a boat when a storm hit. Jesus was asleep in the bottom of the boat while His disciples faced the storm.

Frightened, the disciples woke Jesus and asked Him, “Don’t you care if we drown?”

Jesus stood and calmed the storm.

The speaker explained that Jesus could sleep because He wasn’t stressed, not because He didn’t care.

Jesus is bigger than we let Him be. He's still in your boat. He's still in control. And He's preparing to act. (Introducing Traci Burns via @JeanWilund)He told us to remember three things when we face our own storms:

  1. Jesus is still in our boat.
  2. Jesus is still in control.
  3. Jesus is preparing to act.

When a fierce storm hits, Jesus is doing something that couldn’t be done in any other environment — something He couldn’t accomplish under any other set of circumstances.

Within a year, the third point is one I would need in a way I never expected — or wanted.

Just as the disciples learned that Jesus is big enough to make the wind and waves obey and to still a raging storm, I, too, would soon learn that Jesus is bigger than we let Him be.

I’ll share what happened next time, and while it’s not a story I enjoy telling, it’s a story that needs to be told.

I know I’m not the only one who’s been in a storm and could say that it certainly looked like Jesus was neither in the boat, in control, or preparing to do a thing.

But if we thought that, we’d be wrong.

Join me next time.

Thanks,
Traci


I hope you enjoyed this first Thought to Think by Traci and will join us again for the next part of her story. As I said, it’s a story only God could write.

As I think about what Traci shared above, it makes me so grateful storms don’t disturb Christ. They can throw us into despair faster than a snow flurry can empty a grocery store in the South. But they don’t throw Christ.

He’s able to take our storms and bend them to His will. In fact, He does some of His most awe-inspiring work in the middle of a storm.

We’ll see some of His amazing handiwork in the story Traci has to share.

Traci herself is an amazing piece of work — and I mean that in the best way possible. I truly do.


Click this link to read Traci’s next post:
small boat. Big Storm. Sleeping Jesus?


MEET TRACI:

Traci Burns "Thoughts To Think" on Join the Journey (www.JeanWilund.com)Traci Burns is a wife and mom. It’s the role she always wanted and has truly enjoyed.

She stayed at home with her children and raised them with God’s help. She made mistakes along the way, but she got a lot other things right.

Now that her children are grown, she’s seeking the Lord to discover what her next role should be. She can’t wait to find out what He tells her.

She started out life in Sandy Run, SC, but now lives through the woods and down the street from me in Lexington.

We met when our children were tiny. Besides sharing parenting tips until we both agreed we don’t have a clue what we’re doing, we share a passion for coffee and comedy.

We now sip cappuccinos and laugh — or shake our heads — at some of our mistakes. Sometimes we cry, but mostly we laugh because Traci is hilarious.

I’ve told her a gazillion times (no lie, but maybe an exaggeration) that she should’ve been a stand-up comedian.

Don’t they say that most comedians are born out of adversity? I wish this wasn’t true in Traci’s case, but it is.

Her life hasn’t been all adversity, though. She’s gotten to spend a lot of time with me, remember?

She’s also been blessed with an incredible husband, children, and friends. And that dog named Lucky. Hmmmm.

Best of all, Traci enjoys a deep relationship with God that’s continues to allow her to laugh even when she ought to be crying.

I hope you’ll join the journey as Traci brings us encouragement, laughter, and hope through her Thoughts To Think. 

Jesus Is Bigger Than We Let Him Be #ThoughtsToThink #TrustChrist Click To Tweet




When Our Dreams Shatter & God Doesn’t Move, We Will TRUST IN YOU (by Lauren Daigle)

When Our Dreams Shatter and God Doesn't Move, We Will TRUST IN YOU (music video by Lauren Daigle) via www.JeanWilund.com

I’m going to a friend’s funeral today.

Cancer.

I hate cancer.

Ten years ago this May, my mom died of cancer.

I lost my dad three years later. Not to cancer, but something else hideous and destructive.

God didn’t move the mountains I needed Him to move. He didn’t part the waters I wanted Mom, Dad and our friend Kyle to walk through.

But I will trust in Him.

Two days after Mom’s funeral, I sat beside Dad. Our shoulders slumped with grief. Dad stared at the floor, fighting tears and hopelessness. 

I cried out to God. “Why did You leave us here without Mom? You know Dad’s health is not well. What will he do?”

The answer immediately came to my heart.

I said, “Dad, it’s going to be alright. If we couldn’t live here on this earth without Mom, God would never have left us. He’s not finished with us, so it’s going to be alright.”

He looked up at me. “You really think so?”

“I know so, Dad.”

He squeezed my hand and didn’t let go.

Thus began the best relationship I’ve ever had with Dad.

If Mom hadn’t gone when she did, she would’ve cared for him during his final years. I wouldn’t have made the four hour drive continually as I did.

My sisters wouldn’t have been by his side constantly, developing a bond and love greater than before. 

Even my brother, eight hours away, was able to grab special time with Dad.

I would’ve hated to have missed those three years filled with precious, powerful, and sometimes painful moments. 

At first, it seemed impossible to experience any good from their diseases.

Our friend Kyle Smiley believed the same thing — at first.

Looks can be deceiving.

God showed Kyle, no matter what mountain or ocean we face, He will never fail us.

Keep trusting.

We must take our every dream, need, and desperation, to the cross and look to the One who looked most hopeless of all.

Christ was never hopeless. He was busy conquering sin and death. 

But oh, how painful the waiting felt to those who loved Him most!

They fell into despair, unable to believe His promise of resurrection. 

They didn’t park outside His tomb, counting down the minutes.

They couldn’t see any good coming from the cross.

But the cross is where hopelessness dies.

The cross wasn’t the end of the story. It was the beginning of the best part.

They had to wait three long, painful days to see it, but it came right on time.

God’s waiting time shouldn’t determine our faith. But our faith will determine how we experience our waiting time.

God's waiting time shouldn't determine our faith. But our faith will determine how we experience our waiting… Click To Tweet

Let’s trust in the One who knows best which mountains to move and which waters to part.

When Larry and I go to be with Kyle’s family today at their church, I’ll think about Lauren Daigle’s song Trust in You and the powerful message it contains.

This song reaches to the core of your soul and stays with you all day.

After you listen to it, please watch the next video, Kyle’s Story.

In it, Kyle and Claudia share the amazing work God did in their lives that allowed him to say, “I definitely thank God for cancer.”

But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator . . .
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are Mine!
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you.
“For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
. . .
“Since you are precious in My sight,
Since you are honored and
I love you,
~ Isaiah 43:1-4

Kyle’s Story from RADIUS Church on Vimeo.

If your dreams have shattered and God hasn’t moved your mountain, I hope you’ll look beyond it, cast every care, concern and heartache at the foot of that empty cross and say to our resurrected Lord, “I will trust in You.”

Let's trust in the One who knows best which mountains to move and which waters to part. #TrustGod #TrustInYou… Click To Tweet




Parachute Lights & The Peace of Christ (They’re better than frown lines and fewer friends)

Click to read about the rehearsal dinner that led to parachute lights and the peace of Christ rather than frown lines and fewer friends. via www.JeanWilund.com

Forty-five people were coming to dinner, and it looked like we’d have no place to seat them.

This wasn’t just a regular dinner.

As if dinner for 45 people is ever a regular dinner.

Our son Bobby and his fiancee Kaitlyn were getting married, and this was their rehearsal dinner.

The groom’s family has one job. Just one. Feed the wedding party and special guests the night before the wedding. That’s it.

Plus, you want to impress the new in-laws, so they don’t grab their daughter and run.

So, what do you do when you learn the night before the dinner that there may not be a place to feed the 45 people coming?

“Peace I leave with you;
My peace I give to you;
not as the world gives do I give to you.
Do not let your heart be troubled,
nor let it be fearful.”
~ John 14:27


Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

Forty-five people are coming for an alfresco dinner with forecasts of thundershowers and the possibility of no place to seat them and keep them dry, but do not let your heart be troubled.

Sure, no problem.

My husband Larry and I pulled into Black Mountain, NC. and stopped by The Mill Pizzeria to size up the situation. 

While Jay, the owner of the restaurant, explained that the city hadn’t given him the permits he needed to finish the structure that would host our rehearsal dinner party the very next night, Larry and I listened and smiled.

I was going for a relaxed and casual smile as though I wasn’t worried at all that the dinner would be anything but a huge success. I’m not sure I achieved anything more than an awkward look.

Jay shared his vision for how he’d transform this construction site into the perfect, romantic setting for our dinner for 45 people in just 24 hours.

Did I mention there would be 45 people coming for dinner in 24 hours?

He explained how he’d take the rain-soaked parachute currently covering the footings and tie it to the excavator, which looked like a small steam shovel to me. He’d use it to hoist the parachute over one of the large tables.

If an army green parachute held up by a small steam shovel doesn’t shout wedding, then I guess I don’t know what does.

I fought the urge to laugh but couldn’t hold it in any longer when he said his next statement:

“Don’t worry. This place looks much better in the dark.”

Bahaha! I lost it — and now I have a new favorite line to repeat often.

 

I’m In

Jay instantly won me over.

All I could think was, “I’m in! Whatever he’s got planned, I gotta see it now.”

Besides, I knew the food would be great. His pizza is quite famous. Bobby and Kaitlyn chose it because it’s their favorite restaurant in Black Mountain.

What did it really matter if we had to eat in the rain, right?

There was a time when all this would have caused me to fret and pull my hair out.

Before I’d have been so stressed I would’ve snapped at Larry, the kids, and the dog if they even breathed wrong.

But over the years God has been graciously leading me through stressful situations and patiently pointing me to truth as I’ve studied His Word.

Studying God’s Word is a vital part. Before I studied God’s Word, emotions attacked me and truth eluded me.

Over time, God’s truth has begun to click and sink in as I’ve obeyed it.

Obeying God’s Word is the other vital part. If I studied it, but then didn’t do it, how could I expect His promised results? And His truths don’t really click until you put them to the test and see how faithful they are.

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
~ John 14:27

For those who’ll actually take God at His Word, Christ’s peace will fill your heart, and stress will dissolve in His presence.

Those who’ll choose to believe Christ will be able to choose not to let their hearts be troubled or be fearful.

That Thursday, Larry and I drove off in excited anticipation as to just how bizarre of a rehearsal dinner we’d be hosting.

One day earlier I’d not been so victorious.


What a difference a day makes

One day earlier I was sitting at my kitchen table throwing a crying fit. No peace to be found.

Would you be surprised to hear that a computer was involved? Not many things can bring a person to their knees faster than modern technology. 

I was trying to put together a sentimental video of Bobby and Kaitlyn’s life and love, but I couldn’t get the sound to work with the photos.

Then I realized that the wonderful Ken Burn’s Effect had effectively cut off their heads in many of the photos, and there didn’t appear to be an easy way to fix that.

I had wonderful, clear shots of their stomachs, but it’s not quite the same as seeing their smiling faces. 

I dissolved into tears. Larry could only hug me because computers bring him to his knees too.

But then, suddenly, as though a bright light of hope filled our home, our daughter Brittany came to the rescue.

She looked at my problem and then said the blessed phrase, “What if you just . . . “

Sure enough, it worked. She saved the day, and I felt ashamed.

I didn’t care that I couldn’t figure out the problem by myself. I was ashamed that once again I’d taught my daughter to cry in the face of struggles rather than rest in God.

Brilliant, Jean. I keep acting human! Imagine that.

But I can be taught.

So that’s why, when it appeared that 45 people would show up to a construction site for the dinner on Friday in the rain, I was laughing on Thursday.

God had mercifully reminded me through the video meltdown that resting in Him is infinitely more fun and productive than throwing a hissy fit.


To fret or rest. That is the question.

If you’re facing a trial today, you have a choice to make. Fret or rest.

Your trial may not be as inconsequential as feeding 45 people. It may be downright serious.

Regardless of our situations, we all have the same choice. Will we choose to fret or choose to rest in Christ?

How tragic that so many of us followers of Christ either refuse to follow His example of resting in the face of a trial (like I had with the video), or they don’t believe they can.

Many Christians actually think they can’t help but fret even though the Spirit of Christ assures us we can rest. He promises He’ll do it in and through us if we’ll choose to trust Him and choose not to let our hearts be troubled.

Christ is our example. He wasn’t feeding 45 people when He told His disciples not to let their hearts be troubled.

He’d already fed 5,000 with five loaves of bread and two fish without fretting.

Christ wasn’t feeding a crowd in the rain. He was facing His crucifixion.

Just look at what He said to His disciples next:

You heard that I said to you, “I go away, and I will come to you.” If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. (John 14:28)

When Jesus tells them they should rejoice that He’s going away, understand that He’s already been telling them that He’s going to be killed at the hands of His enemy.

I’m not talking about Christ being given a lethal injection. He knew He was going to be tortured. But much worse than torture, He knew He was going to become sin and be separated from the Father.

God would turn His face away from Christ as Christ bore the detestable sin of the whole world.

That’s a little heavier than a rehearsal dinner dilemma.

In fact, Christ had just sent His disciple Judas off to betray Him. And now Christ is scolding His disciples for not rejoicing over His impending death.

“Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe. I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me; but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here.” (John 14:29-31)


But God, You don’t understand!

“But God, You don’t understand! I can’t have peace in the face of this circumstance!”

You can try to stand your ground and convince God of how right you are, but you won’t succeed.

God knows the truth. He is the truth.

You will, however, succeed in making yourself miserable if you don’t do what He commands. 

He’s actually commanding us to be happy, because when we trust Him, we experience His peace, which leads to happiness.

But Christ didn’t say He’d do exactly as the Father commanded Him so He’d be happy.

He says He’d do it so that the world may know that He loves God.

Happiness shouldn’t be our goal for choosing to rest in Christ in the face of trials.

That the world may know we love God should be our goal.

God’s glory should be our motivation. Choosing to rest peacefully in Christ is the path. Happiness is just a natural by-product of Christ’s peace.

 

Do you love the Father? Do you love Christ?

Then do exactly as He’s commanded you.

Stop fretting. Stop throwing hissy fits.

Trust.

Rest.

Rejoice.

And get up and go.

Leave the unrest in your heart.

Enter into the peace of Christ.

Remember that God’s taking care of everything that concerns you.

He may call you down a hard road, but He’ll lead you every step of the way.

And He won’t lead you down a place you don’t want to go unless it’s necessary.

We can choose not to worry.

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
~ John 14:27


Follow the logic. Follow Christ.

I’ve never met a fretter who was happy.

I’ve never met anyone who worried themselves into joy.

But I’ve met perennial fretters and worriers who have frown lines and fewer friends.

We all have our moments, but if we’re characterized by fretting and worrying, we’re headed for misery — if we’re not there already.

I’ve never met anyone who truly rested in Christ who wasn’t happy or filled with joy. They tend to have laugh lines and people who love to be around them.

Follow the logic. Follow Christ. 

After my video debacle and in the face of a potential rehearsal dinner disaster, it was time for me to stop talking about trusting and resting, and do it.

 

Both Christ and Jay were right.

So, how did the rehearsal dinner turn out?

It was brilliant! And Jay was right. The place looked amazing in the dark.

But not because we couldn’t see anything. But because he’d created an artistic and serene ambience with lights strung everywhere, glowing through the darkness.

His wonderful, creative vision had turned into a fabulous reality.

It’s the same with Christ.

Christ’s truth looks amazing in the dark, too.

In the face of uncertainty, I chose to rest in Christ and His promised peace turned into fabulous reality.

Christ’s truth shine brightest in darkness.

Even the army green parachute held up by the steam shovel was magical. Seriously. He’d hung branches and lights down from the center that drew oohs and ahhs from everyone.

The picture below doesn’t do it justice. It was amazing.

Look in the bottom right corner and you'll see Jay working the steam shovel.

Look in the bottom right corner and you’ll see Jay working the excavator.

And we all got a great laugh when Jay decided to raise the parachute up a bit to give more clearance for our heads.

He cranked up the excavator and raised the parachute higher.

He gave a literal meaning to the popular phrase, “raise the roof!”

When he turned the excavator off, it all settled back down. The decorations almost popped Larry’s dad in the head.

Everyone laughed as he quickly cranked it back up again and hoisted the parachute and branches even higher.

That’s a story I bet no one else has ever gotten to tell. And as my sister Kimbi loves to say, when everything runs smoothly it’s boring. There’s no good story to tell, and everyone loves a good story. (She’s so right!)

And then came my video debacle.

Not the one at home while I was making it. The one at the restaurant when I was trying to show it.

We couldn’t get the sound to work.

Oops.

After much clicking of buttons and switching of cords, we realized that the problem was me. I’d somehow saved it without the sound.

Hmmmm.

Fortunately I had the original copy of it that did have sound.

Whew!

With the cheers of 45 people spurring me on, I started the video — just as a train came roaring by.

No one could hear a thing.

More laughter.

I hit pause and waited for it to pass.

It passed, I restarted it, and it went off without a hitch — until everyone noticed that on the last slide I’d typed the date of their wedding: July 25, 2105.

July 25, 2105

Oops! Apparently they’re not getting married for another 90 years.

More laughter.

Oh, and by the way, it never rained! Thank you, God!

 

I choose laugh lines and friends

I could’ve have been embarrassed, but laughing is so much more fun.

I could’ve fretted all week about the dinner, but excited anticipation is more fun.

I could’ve been upset that the restaurant wasn’t exactly as Jay had said it would be when we reserved it in the Spring. But the setting he created was not only more fun and unique, it made for a fabulous story.

Choosing fretting and frustration leads to frown lines and fewer friends. 

In this world we will have troubles. That’s a promise.

But when we choose to rest in Christ, we choose to glorify God. All who glorify God will be blessed.

Choosing the peace of Christ leads to joy and laughter.

I choose laugh lines and friends. I choose peace.

Not peace as the world gives, but the peace that Christ freely gives to all who trust in, rest in, and follow Him.

What will you choose today?

Click to read about the peace that Christ gives (John 14:27) and a pretty funny story too.

(I woke up the morning after Bobby & Kaitlyn’s wedding to this gorgeous, peaceful view of the mountains with the clouds resting among them.)


If this post encouraged you, then I’m thrilled our misadventures could bless you. I hope you’ll pass it along to others. 

And if you’re ever in or near Black Mountain, NC you’ve got to visit The Mill Pizzeria. Outstanding pizza baked by Jay, the fascinating, visionary owner, and his dog Anchovie. (Anchovie doesn’t make the pizza, but he’ll be glad to eat some of yours if you’ll share. Don’t worry, he’s not pushy.) Check them out on Facebook.


 

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When Your Child Is Suffering: An Interview with Author Michelle Medlock Adams – Part 4

When Your Child Is Suffering: An Interview with Michelle Adams Part 4

 

Andrea came running to the door screaming, “Mrs. Jean! Brittany got hit in her eyes by a bungee cord, and she can’t see.”

My legs lost all strength as the sound of her wailing in the backyard reached my ears.

Even thinking about that moment weakens me over ten years later.

I hurried to Brittany, praying every step of the way.

“Father God, You do all things well. If Your plan is for Brittany to live blind, then I accept it, and I’ll trust You in it. But Father, if it’s not, then I pray You will get us to a doctor right away and heal her eyes. Give me the strength and ability to remain calm. Help her calm down, too, Father. Please, help my child!”

The sight of Brittany was terrifying. She was screaming out my name, reaching frantically around for me, in pain and terrified. 

I took my precious child into my arms and guided her to the house. And I prayed.

Andrea stayed by Brittany’s side while I scoured the internet for an eye specialist. And I prayed.

They told me I could bring her in right away. They said to hurry. I prayed.

I can’t even remember the doctor’s name, but he was a most kind and gentle doctor.

He rushed her in and checked her eyes. After the exam, he told me that most times accidents like this cause retina detachment, which is very serious. But Brittany’s eyes were completely fine. He saw no damage.

We praised God all the way home!

In one afternoon, I went from sheer terror to exultant praise.

Michelle Medlock Adams, author of When Chocolate Isn’t Enough: An Inspirational Survival Guide for Moms, didn’t have the benefit of a quick release from watching her child suffer.

But God met Michelle and her daughter in their pain and taught them more about His overwhelming grace.

Here’s their story and Michelle’s helpful words of wisdom for moms whose child is suffering:

 

Jean Circle Blog PhotoJean: I know from reading your book that while your resume may make you look like you live a perfect life, you and your family have been through painful struggles when one of your daughters was suffering.

Watching a child suffer is the worst for a mom.

What would you say to the mom who’s child is suffering?

 

Michelle Adams Circular Bio PhotoMichelle: I don’t always do it right. I am as real as they come.

If you’re in this world, you’ll go through stuff, no matter who you are.

Afterwards, we’ll look back and see that it was all worth it, but in the moment it’s hard. When the bad stuff comes, it’s hard.

Our struggle was anorexia.

I couldn’t believe that one of my girls could go through this.

I’m the affirming mom!

I’ve written many stories about anorexia for newspapers and magazines. I was so aware of it.

The fact that my daughter had it didn’t make sense.

I did everything right.

I felt such guilt.

How did I fail her?

I had to get over that before I could help her.

God said, “Are you going to give this to Me? It’s not your battle to fight.”

Even if you missed it somewhere down the line, that’s not important. 

What if’s and why’s get you nowhere.

It’s not your job to fix your child. Your job is to stand in the gap and pray for your child in a focused way. Love and pray for your child.

At the time, it may not feel like things will get better, but God will provide.

God knows what He’s doing in the things that He lets happen in your life.

God provided for Ally. And now we see how God is using it to help people in the industry she’s in. Anorexia is common in the fashion industry. She can point them to God because she gets it!

Remember that God is still in control. He’s never left the throne. He’s right there fighting with you. You can trust Him with your child.

It’s really hard for us to dedicate our child to the Lord. We think we know better than Him. We want to take them back.

It’s not a one-time thing of giving our child to God. We have to say, “I know you’ve got this, God,” and then give them to God again. 

And our other children need us, too. There’s never enough of us to go around.

During Abby’s freshman year in college, she was on an athletic scholarship. She wanted us to come to her game, but Ally’s condition was serious.

We couldn’t be in every place. That was so hard.

Don’t carry guilt!

God will restore to you the years that the locusts have eaten. (Joel 2:25) He’s doing that for us now.

Abby is in her senior year and is student teaching here in her home town. Now is our time with her.

Ally has moved far away, and Abby is now local. We have one precious year with her before she goes off on her own.

No one can ever prepare you for when something happens to your child.

It’s important to pray for them and remain in Christ.

They’re His!

To be continued . . .

 

“No one can ever prepare you for when something happens to your child.” Too true!

And when it does, it feels like it’s happening to you. 

If my child gets cut, I bleed.

If I feel even partially responsible for my child’s injury, I bleed out.

But as Michelle said, we can’t carry the guilt. Those if only’s will kill us and not help our child. 

But it’s so hard at times.

I gave Brittany the bungee cords to play with.

Guilt jumped all over me. If she wound up blind because of it, I knew I’d have to figure out how to live with that guilt.

I’d have to do what Michelle said. I’d have to give my guilt and my child over to God, a lot.

I’m so thankful it wasn’t God’s will for our lives at that time for Britt to be blinded.

I’d give up ever drinking coffee again if God promised that none of my children would ever have to suffer again.

Some of you understand how major that is for me. 

Yet, do I really want that?

Yes.

And no.

I absolutely can’t bear for my children to experience pain of any sort. I don’t even like beating them in a game — although I can do it.

But as I look back over my life, in those moments of deep pain, God met me. He faithfully taught me priceless truths about Himself that’s made all the difference in my life.

He could teach me those same powerful truths when life is great, but I’m not as interested in stepping out into life-altering faith when I don’t have to.

God quite often has to lead us down the valley of the shadow of death to get our attention.

But to really know Him and His power is worth it all.

Do I really want my children not to know God in every way that He can be known?

They’ll never really know God as their comforter until they need comforting.

They’ll never really know Him as their rescuer until they need rescuing.

They’ll never really know Him as All-Sufficient until they’re at the end of their rope.

No, I’m not asking God to throw my children into a fiery furnace or a lion’s den so they can experience the wonder of His rescue.

I’d rather He just point them to the stories in the Bible from the safety of their home.

But I am praying that God does all He knows He needs to do to draw them as close to Him as they need to be — and to do it as GENTLY as absolutely possible.

I think that’s a fair prayer for a mom.

What about you? What have you found that helps you through the times when your child is suffering? Please share with us in the comments.

If you’ve missed any of the earlier posts this week with my interview with Michelle, please check them out. You really don’t want to miss them. Follow the link at the bottom of the page with the left arrow. 


 

Remember, today is the last day to enter to win Michelle’s fabulous book and some awesome chocolate. Log in and leave a comment to enter. I’m excited to see who’s going to win it. I’ll announce it tomorrow!

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Michelle Adams Book Signing pic july 2013Michelle Medlock Adams is an award-winning journalist and best-selling author, earning top honors from the Associated Press, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Hoosier State Press Association. Author of over 70 books and a regular blogger for Guideposts, Michelle has written more than 1,000 articles for newspapers and magazines since graduating with a journalism degree from Indiana University.

Michelle is married to her high school sweetheart, Jeff, and they have two college-aged daughters, Abby and Allyson, as well as a miniature dachshund and four cats. When not writing or teaching writing, Michelle enjoys leading fitness classes at Priority Fitness, and cheering on the Indiana University Basketball team, the Chicago Cubbies, and the LA Kings. www.michellemedlockadams.com.  Connect with Michelle also on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.


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A Prayer for My Soldier from “While My Soldier Serves” (by Edie Melson)

Click to read A Prayer for My Soldier taken from "While My Soldier Serves: Prayers for Those with Loved Ones in the Military" by Edie Melson via @JeanWilund.com

Click to read A Prayer for My Soldier taken from “While My Soldier Serves: Prayers for Those with Loved Ones in the Military” by Edie Melson via @JeanWilund.com

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Dear Lord,

I’m asking You to protect my loved on by helping him make wise decisions. I know at times he has to make split-second decisions — life-and-death decisions. Please give him the information he needs to choose wisely. I know he’s exhausted and tired of the situation he’s in. Don’t let him make decisions that will harm him or those around him.

I also know he’s far from home, and there are many temptations surrounding him. I ask that You give him the strength to resist the things that would harm him. Show him clearly the consequences of poor choices. Make his path clear, and put people around him to make choosing wisely easier.

Surround him with buddies who will support his good choices and point out his poor ones. Give him the friends he needs for this specific situation. No one knows what can happen when we choose one thing over another, but You do know. Let him hear You clearly as he decides what actions to take. Most of all protect him, even when he chooses poorly. Keep him in Your perfect care.

– Amen.


 

It’s not always easy to know what to pray for our soldiers, especially when our emotions have our thoughts going in a million different directions.

Edie Melson has written a powerful book of prayers, “While My Soldier Serves: Prayers for Those with Loved Ones in the Military” that gives us numerous powerful and specific prayers we can all pray for our soldiers.

(See the book in the photo below. Better yet, click the picture below and read more about it and enter to win a free copy.)

There’s still time to win a free signed copy of this book of prayers. Check out this post and enter to win by clicking on the picture: 

Click to view music video "Letters from War" by Mark Schultz and read about "While My Soldier Serves: Prayers for Those with Loved Ones in the Military" by Edie Melson via www.JeanWilund.com


 

I hope you’ll share this post with others, especially with those who have loved ones in the military. Our soldiers need our prayer support, and so do their families. 

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