Monday, August 17, 2015

FRANKLY, I'M OVERWHELMED


There.

I said it out loud.

Friends, I have to be honest.

I have literally been undone by the last five weeks of my life.

I can't really go into all the details, but suffice it to say that it's been a seemingly endless parade of trials.  It's been mostly medical stuff, ours and family members – which is always fun when you have to wait for test results, and particularly trying when the results don't come out OK.

No one has received a deadly diagnosis.

And I am very grateful for that.

But there are problems that are going to require further treatment, possible complications, unresolved outcomes, and maybe some sort of surgical intervention.

Personally, "The Hub" and I have made seven trips off the hill just to take care of our own stuff.  (The joys ??? of living in the mountains, far away from easy-access medical care…).  Extended family members have their own issues, and it's much harder for me to bear their difficulties, as I cannot be there to help out.

Let me tell you, I am not good with health matters.

I have a desperate need to understand the scary things in life, and so, I am driven to the Internet in a mad-dash effort to find out information.

Unfortunately, there's a lot of misinformation out there.  And, armchair physicians like me are woefully inept at making accurate diagnoses. Therefore, I find that just about every single symptom has a way of leading to a very serious, usually fatal, disease.

And when I read all the dire stuff, I hop on the *What If Train* of fear and anxiety.  Full-speed ahead, I plunge down the tracks of no return.  

Sidelined, sidetracked, blindsided…


I wish I could say that I then find a way to rise above the circumstances, that I am then washed with supernatural peace, that I then rest in God's perfect assurances that He is in total controlbut, that usually doesn't happen.

Usually I become a screaming banshee of a disciple, rushing to the back of the sinking boat, shaking Jesus by the shoulders, and yelling above the winds and waves…

"I'm drowning here!!  Can't you see that?!"

And then I kinda crumple in the bottom of the boat, and wait for Him to calm the storm.  And when the storm isn't calmed, then I just pull a fishing net over my head, close my eyes, and cry.

Sure, I know the Lord's still there.  

But me?  I'm like an overly-cooked steak on the grill.  Stick a fork in me, I'm done.


Have you ever gotten to that point in your life?

Where you just want to give up?

Life seemed a lot simpler when I wasn't following the Lord so closely.  I didn't get the feeling that there was a target on my back.  There certainly weren't so many situations that tested my endurance.

I didn't feel so afraid.

I don't think I failed quite so often…


So, here I am.

And what to do from here?

OK, so the first thing I want to do is admit something to you.

True confession time.

I've been rather desperate for Jesus to give me a tangible sense of His presence.  To tell you the truth, I've been asking Him to show up in my dreams.

And each morning for about two weeks now, I've woken up with absolutely no remembrance of any dream whatsoever.  Nothing.  The other morning I mentioned this to "The Hub."  And you know what He said?

"Maybe He'll show up in His own time."

OK, whoa.

But still, I kept asking telling the Lord to please appear to me in my dreams.

And one morning, after "discussing" His failure to do this, I was complaining to Him (again) about it all…

"Why couldn't You just show up, Lord?  You do it for other people.  Sometimes people even have a vision of You when they're awake.  It wouldn't be that big a deal.  And I'm asking because it would just help me so very much to SEE You.  Just once.  Just to know You're there."

And then, one morning He answered me.

"Sharon, you don't need that."

(Small argument ensued – "Oh yes, Lord, yes I do.")

"No, you don't.  You KNOW I'm there, and that is enough."


Immediately, these verses came to my mind:

"Though you have not seen him, you love him." (1 Peter 1:8, ESV)

"For we live by believing and not by seeing." (2 Corinthians 5:7, NLT)


And then, as if He Himself said it out loud to me, this:

"'Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.'" (John 20:29, NLT)


So, here I ponder…

What is God saying to me?

I know that He wants to meet me here, in this place of distress.  I know He wants me to know something important.

So, in the words of Samuel, I utter, "Speak, your servant is listening."

And lo and behold, I feel something being revealed.  Three things, actually.


1) Though I do not see Him, I love Him.

This is an amazing thing when you think about it.  How can I love someone I've never *met*?  Well, it's possible because of God's great gift of faith. His Spirit within me enables me to do this.  For only by faith could I love Him without ever meeting Him in person.  And love Him I do, so much.

Love cannot be manufactured for a fantasy, and my love for Jesus *proves* His presence within me.


2) I am living a life of believing.

You know the old saying, "I'll believe it when I see it."  Well, I've heard it said that in the Christian walk, it's more like "I'll see it when I believe it."  The faith journey is not a journey of proof, but of conviction.  Sometimes not a journey of reassurance (something that is said or done to make someone feel less afraid, upset, or doubtful), as much as it is a journey of assurance (the state of being sure or certain about something).

The life of true faith does not demand, it depends.

It is learning to let go of my demands that Jesus "make an appearance" like a holy jack-in-box, so that I can learn to depend on the Truth that He is there.


3) In the *not seeing*, there is blessing and joy.

Looked up some synonyms for *blessed*:

Adored, exalted, glorified, redeemed, resurrected, rewarded, fortunate, blissfully happy or contented, divinely favored.

Sign me up – I want ALL of that!

And when Jesus Himself calls us blessed, He means it!

Might I paraphrase His words?

"Child, because you believe without seeing Me, you are divinely favored.  You have been given a special dose of Spirit-filled revelation and faith.  You are fortunate!  Rest assured, happy and contented, in the sure knowledge of My presence.  And be blissfully joyful that you are a partaker of My salvation."


Ah, even Scripture confirms this heavenly Truth:

"…though you do not [even] now see Him, you believe in Him and exult and thrill with inexpressible and glorious (triumphant, heavenly) joy.  [At the same time] you receive the result (outcome, consummation) of your faith, the salvation of your souls." (1 Peter 1:8-9, AMP)

Doubly blessed with joy and salvation.

Blessed indeed.


So, I guess I'm looking at things a little differently now.

I've always kinda envied Thomas for his singular opportunity to actually, physically touch the hands and side of Jesus.  But now, I'm concentrating more on what Jesus said to Thomas after this encounter.  

For indeed, He was saying these words about me (and you, too!):

"'Blessed and happy and to be envied are those who have never seen Me and yet have believed and adhered to and trusted and relied on Me.'" 
(John 20:29, AMP)


Still hiding under the fishing net, I hear Someone approaching.  I sense a hand lifting the corner.  I feel the warm breath of Jesus.  And, I hear Him whisper…

"The storms will come, and the waves will roar.  But, I am here. Believe!"

As soon as I open my eyes, He is gone from sight.

And that's OK.

For He is there, always and forever, by my side, as near as a heartbeat.

Can you sense Him, too?!






Do not be afraid.
 When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through waters of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up,
the flames will not consume you.
For I am the LORD,
your God,
your Savior.

Don't be afraid,
for I am with you.
Don't be discouraged,
for I am your God.
I will strengthen you
and help you.
I will hold you up
with My victorious right hand.




"'…blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.'" (Matthew 16:13, NLT)

"Jesus replied, 'You are blessed…because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you.  You did not learn this from any human being.'" 
(Matthew 16:17, NLT)

"'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.'  But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit.  For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God's deep secrets." (1 Corinthians 2:9-10, NLT)

"So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.  For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever." (2 Corinthians 4:18, NLT)

"For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it." (Romans 8:24-25, NASB)

"Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]." (Hebrews 11:1, AMP)

"And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever." (Isaiah 32:17, KJV)



Are you feeling overwhelmed with life? 


(No worries - we are NOT in the middle of a wildfire.  Only the refining fires of testing...)



Linked with:

SHARING HIS BEAUTY, PLAYDATES WITH GOD, SMALL WONDER, MONDAY'S MUSINGS, MONDAYS AT SOUL SURVIVAL, LIFE GIVING LINKUP, GOOD MORNING MONDAYS, GRATEFUL HEART MONDAY, REFLECT LINKUP, WORDS WITH WINTER, MOM 2 MOM MONDAY, THE ART OF HOMEMAKING MONDAYS, WORDS OF COMFORT MONDAY, TELL ME A TRUE STORY, SOLI DEO GLORIA, TITUS 2 TUESDAY, TESTIMONY TUESDAY, TELL IT TO ME TUESDAYS, RA RA LINKUP, WOMEN HELPING WOMEN, INTENTIONAL TUESDAY, TUESDAY TALK, TELL HIS STORYUNITE, A LITTLE R & R WEDNESDAYS, WHOLEHEARTED WEDNESDAY, WISE WOMAN, COFFEE & CONVERSATION, SO MUCH AT HOME, THE (NOT JUST) HOMEMAKING PARTY, WORD FILLED WEDNESDAY, THREE WORD WEDNESDAY, COFFEE FOR YOUR HEART, WOMEN WITH INTENTION, WAITING ON WEDNESDAY, JOYHOPELIVE LINKUP, THOUGHT-PROVOKING THURSDAY, EVERYDAY JESUS, GRACE AT HOME, SHINE, THOUGHTFUL THURSDAYS, FROM HOUSE TO HOME, LITTLE THINGS THURSDAY, HEARTS FOR HOME, LOOKING UP LINKUP, FRIENDSHIP FRIDAY, EVERYDAY TESTIMONY, FELLOWSHIP FRIDAY, FAITH FILLED FRIDAY, SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS, COUNTING MY BLESSINGS, MAKE MY SATURDAY SWEET, FAITH & FELLOWSHIP, GRACE & TRUTH, DANCE WITH JESUS, THEOCENTRIC THURSDAYS, TGI SATURDAYS, SATURDAY SOIREE, STILL SATURDAY, WEEKEND WHISPERS, LIVING PROVERBS, SMALL VICTORIES SUNDAY, SUNDAY STILLNESS, GIVE ME GRACE




BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

45 comments:

  1. Watching people age is hard. Both Jo & I have lost parents to the aging process (my mom from cancer). My father will be 88 in October but lives 9 hours away. He has also be AWOL for most of my adult life. it is also hard to watch people we love (in my case the church) go through tough medical issues and not be able to do much for them except pray and be present. Love them. Pray for them. The best you can do.

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  2. Okay, so what is it about you and I being on the same track, time after time? My prayers have echoed your prayers, many many times. Right now he is assuring me of the same things you are writing today. Even our sermon yesterday was on this. It takes God AND my trust in him to go where he wants me to and to be that person.He provides the power as I obey by trusting. Duh!! Some lessons it seems need to be learned over and over, and that 'trust AND obey' truth is making our faith stronger as we DO IT.

    Big hugs sister!

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  3. Yes, Sharon, Jesus is, indeed, there for you and a present help in times of trouble. Thank you for reminding us of how blessed we are to believe though we have not seen. Praying for your health needs and those of your family. Blessings!

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  4. Hugs to you, Sharon, so sorry for all that is going on; it can be tiring and as you said, overwhelming. I had to laugh about you looking on the Internet for symptoms; I do the same thing, even though I should know better in my work. I remember telling a vet tech one time what I thought was wrong with Koda after what I read on the web and she said "don't believe anything you read there."

    God is always there indeed for us; sometimes it is hard for us to grasp his presence, especially if we are going through the hard difficult times. That's when he truly wants us to completely rely on him and just trust him, which can be difficult for me to do.

    betty

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  5. First off, so glad that you added your "no worries" footnote after that "fire/smoke" photo ... and most important Sharon (((hugs))) I'm so sorry for that seemingly insurmountable onslaught bringing on that overwhelming sense of "enough" already. I truly get that and pray that whoever and whatever will soon be drenched in Godly favor, healing, comfort, strength and all the GRACE needed for you and your loved ones concerned in this ... (sigh) ... it does seem endless and relentless at times! I hope as you wrote you heard God speak to you even if you can't see your friend Jesus that you are reassured and assured that "He is with you". Praying for an overwhelming sense of His awesome Presence to anchor you and see you through this 'storm'. Too much all at once does wear us out and overwhelm us ... and no "google" answer to any search can resolve as those final words of yours written. Often, I too desire to SEE but am so thankful that we can believe without seeing. Hold on to your strong beliefs, don't give in to the enemy's whim and wrestle with him, just ain't worth the energy drain nor time.
    Seek encouraging words and support, rest and be revived in Spirit!

    Sending my love, hugs and prayers with God's many blessings upon you and yours,
    Peggy

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  6. First of all, thank goodness you are not being invaded by those horrible fires! I don't know anyone who hasn't been just overwhelmed by what life can throw at us at one time or another. It seems Jesus is already speaking to you...maybe not appearing in your dreams...but speaking to your heart....or you could have never come up wit this post :) I do the same thing about sickness and disease...google it all and get myself worked up to a frenzy. I little info goes a long way and too much worries us to death! Hang in there, my sweet friend...whatever those health issues are, God's already taking care of them :)

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  7. a holy jack-in-the-box...I love that image. Sharon, I love that you always share your heart, and you do it it with humor. That draws us, the readers (at least me. the reader) in much deeper. Don't you just love/hate when the Lord speaks to us like that, giving us the answer we so didn't want to hear, but kind of already knew? I pray that these health issues will all be resolved in a positive way! Hop-scotching over from Playdates.

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  8. Sharon, I really appreciate your thoughts on the blessedness of believing without seeing. Not ok-ness or make-do-ness, but blessedness.
    I'm praying you find comfort and wisdom and trust as you deal with all the health issues.


    your neighbor from Words of Comfort

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  9. Hi, Sharon. I'm new to your blog. Nice to meet ya! Whenever I'm feeling like my faith is flagging, I do what so many in Scriptures said to Jesus when their faith was small, "Increase my faith" or "Help my unbelief." That's what I whisper to Him--knowing that God may not show up in my dreams, but He'll give me the right amount of faith to believe He's standing right here with me in the present moment. Hugs to you, my friend! Thanks for being so vulnerable and honest. Love it!

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  10. loving you, and praying for you.

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  11. Aw, Sharon, I'm so sorry. It's hard to not be frightened when medical issues come up. I love your "He is here." Pray You'll feel Him!

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  12. My dreams are dumb and no Jesus or angels showing up either. It would be nice, but I love what the Lord spoke to you. "Sharon, you don't need that." My hubby has a Dr appointment tomorrow, and we travel round trip 150 miles to see the Dr as we are Kaiser patients. He is having trouble breathing, and other problems, and I think he is also anxious. We are in God's hands. It would be lovely for Jesus to reach out his hand and calm our bodies and say peace be still and disease be gone, but so far that is not the case. Some things we must go through it seems. Fortunately Jesus is there all the way and we can know that His love never fails. Thank you for sharing your heart with us here at “Tell Me a Story."

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  13. You're in good hands, my friend.

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  14. It's amazing what faith can do as evident by your experience, Sharon. Such admirable faith you have. I know I don't have the right words to give you comfort but I also know that you are one braveheart. I hope things would get better with you and your fam soon.

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  15. Thank you for honestly sharing with us. Great reminders that He is already with us. Stopping by as your neighbor at Testimony Tuesday.

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  16. Romans 8:24 is so beautiful. I love that you combat each and every fear with the word of God. Praying for you this week and thankful for your vulnerability, so that everyone else who is overwhelmed might understand that they are not alone.

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  17. I echo what Dayle said. Stay strong Sharon.

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  18. I'm sorry to hear of your struggle, but grateful for your sharing, Sharon. God will use this time to deepen your faith and, your right, God is with you always. I look forward to seeing the fruit of your faithfulness, even if it doesn't look the way you think it should. Take care.

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  19. Ahhhhhh ... overwhelmed. Often. I'm so sorry you have been in that place of medical world. It is frustrating at the least. It is so easy to try to figure out all the problems with use of Google! But, it can become too much. Education is good, but obsession with finding the answers takes our eyes off Jesus. After years of dealing with my own health issues only to have a child with significant special needs, I identified with all that you said. He is there and our faith says that He will get us through even when we don't see Him in the answers. Thanks for blessing me today! So glad I stopped by from #PlaydateswithGod!
    Blessings and smiles,
    Lori

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  20. "The faith journey is not a journey of proof, but of conviction." That's a great point you make. I'm studying Jonah and read Ch 2, his prayer and saw this morning that in the midst of it all, disobedient Jonah starts praising the Lord in his awful circumstances and I realize it is never too late to run to the Lord, even when I'm knee deep in it. The big fish spitting him out on the land was a good thing, deliverance! It comes in all kinds of ways!

    I truly hope things get better for you real soon!

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  21. I have done the internet physician thing too, and honestly the best thing I did was realise that it wasn't helping anything and decide firmly (asking God for help!) to stop looking up things! It can be quite addictive! I love how God spoke to you through this, and I hope that all the issues will be sorted out soon :)

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  22. I love that you are open and honest in your writing. I also love that we can tell God when we are overwhelmed and angry and he can take it. I have done the same thing in my walk and during those silent times when I don't see or feel him, God ends up showing truth to my heart just like he did for you (in His time ) blessings to you

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  23. Your raw honesty is so refreshing and I love that you share, play by play, what is happening in your life and in your conversations with God. You are such a treasure and I am praying for your medical needs, that healing is not far away at all.

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  24. Dearest Sharon, know you are not alone in your feelings, thoughts and prayers! Health is so scary and frustrating and I know exactly what you are going through. My husband and I are only 23 but I've already been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic daily headaches, and he has to undergo cancer screening and genetic testing because of his family history. Sometimes I just want to give up with my fibro. I want to sink into the ground and disappear. Sometimes with the hubby's cancer history, I want to cower in fear and hide under my bed sheets. But that still small voice of God silences my fear every time I get worked up. He is faithful and He is in control. Thank you for your honest post and I will be praying for you! Happy to have found you through the "While I'm waiting" linkup!

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  25. Sweet girl, I wish I was there to put my arms around you and give you a big hug. Trials get us all down from time to time and that's when Jesus reminds us to stop what we are doing and encourage and pray for each other. Jesus always promises to take us through the storm and He will do that for you....I am praying for good results from your tests and peace in your heart....

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  26. Wow, yet again, it seems many of our recent experiences have been very similar, health issues, anxiety, worry and feeling sometime like just giving up. After reading your posts I often feel less alone, thank you for sharing as u do.

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  27. I'm always fascinated by how the most difficult of times in our lives always turn out for the best and point to the glory and sovereignty of our Father... not that I don't kick and scream like you, Sharon.

    Thanks for your honesty and heart. You have a wonderful ministry in them. I'm praying for you and yours, sister. God bless.

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  28. Oh, I completely understand. I'm relating to your desire to have Jesus show up big time and release you from fears...the what ifs! He could .......in a second.....but so often He says, trust Me and My promises! I am always with you. Always.

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  29. Sometimes I can totally see Jesus on the shore, cooking the fish, I put myself in the place of peter jumping out of the boat to race to shore just to be with Jesus. Oh how joyful that day will be! I pray your health issues are resolved quickly.

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  30. I'm right there with you, Sharon, feeling so overwhelmed in this season of chaos in our lives. I know God cares, but oh how I want Him to just make it all stop! Much love to you as we walk through this time when our endurance is tested. Oh, why did that have to be my word this year!

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  31. BLESSINGS of the day! I literally feel your pain as both me and Ed have some health issues and far too many co-pays ahead of us. I'm under the fish net myself, at times. Brilliant word picture, by the way. May you know God's healing in your own life and those you love . . . In His time.
    Joy!
    Kathy

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  32. Ah, friend. I am sorry you are feeling over whelmed. I have those moments too. It is zero fun X 1000 (which is like super zero, right?)

    This crazy season is probably the reason why I haven't been able to stop by your place as often as I would like. Which is not awesome for me.

    But God IS here. Now! And know that you are on my green sticky note on my prayer wall closet. Love you, lady.

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  33. Much love and prayers, Sharon. Yes, I can relate to the feeling of being on a never ending hamster wheel of crisis. One thing I've learned over the last couple of years is that when I don't feel like God is showing up or giving me a good Word, I just need to stick with it and stay connected. -- Looking back now at 2012 when I ended up flat on my back, I see the Scriptures I wrote down, and I now see how He was tenderly speaking to me -- it's just that I was in so much pain that my ears were not very perked up, I guess.

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  34. Oh, my sweet friend. There's nothing I can say that you don't already Know, with a capital K. I don't even find it wildly ironic that your one word for 2015 is healing, it's just God being wild. After all, He's not a tame lion. It's not pleasant, but God is blessing so many through your weakness. And He will bless you for your love and obedience to Him. He already has. Much love and prayers, my friend. PS I do pray for you, really, I do.

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  35. Even on the hard days, you manage to encourage. :) Hang in there. And thanks for linking up at #ThreeWordWednesday.

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  36. Featuring this on my Tuesday Talk this week. Come back and see your name in lights!!!! Enjoy your weekend. Beautiful and real post.

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  37. Oh, I'm sorry about all the trials. I know just what you mean about waiting for God to show up. I too, have been in a season of refinement. Not the same circumstances, but definitely needed God to relent in sending trials. But God began to show me that I need to look to Him, rather than the thing I want Him to provide. He is teaching me that He will refresh me, but that may just be a spiritual thing vs physical.

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  38. I do the mad dash internet stuff too and yes it can be scary but for me I feel it helps to be informed. I also keep asking God to show up in my life and the bible verses are true, H is always there. Even before I started being a true believer I use to say "God is preparing me for something" when something bad happen and I had to face hard times. However I always want Him to give me answers to my questions and we know that His timing is never the same as ours. Praying for you and your family.......

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  39. What a trying time you're in! Sorry to hear it. Praying with you, Sharon. I'm so glad He's there even when we don't feel it, and I never thought about "adored" being a synonym of "blessed." That's really cool! Thanks for sharing your struggle and process. Blessings to you!

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  40. Walking by faith is so much easier when the skies are blue and the road is clear, but God is with us even in the midst of wildfires and hurricanes. I'm grateful for the faith to believe.

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  41. Thanks for linking on Amanda's Books and More, Sharon! You don't have to "see" Jesus in your dreams, but you can ask Him to speak to you in your dreams. He orders our thoughts when we sleep. He speaks to us in dreams and visions (but I've never had a vision). I will pray for you and your family. Peace.

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  42. Your words are exactly perfect for my life right now. Every single one of them! I love how you described yourself in running back to the boat, sinking down low and eventually pulling the fishing net over your head and crying. Yep-been there, done that recently. Know you have a kindred spirit in me but more importantly that we both have God who never gives up on us. Blessed you shared this at Weekend Whispers.

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  43. Oh, dear friend! I am praying for you and believing God to see you through these turbulent, trying times. You are so right...the closer we get to God, it seems that the tests become more frequent and hard. A minister friend of ours always says, "When you reach a new level, you face a new devil." So true! Keep looking up, and stay encouraged! Sending you big hugs and much love!

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  44. Truly that overwhelmed place is where none of us like to be. Sometimes we are there. Happens to us all. I am grateful you have shared openly about that. Why do we sometimes feel weak or like we can't share how we really feel? I think you have given us permission to speak our truth because in our weakness He is strong and that strength is shared when we share our frailty. Thanks so much.

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  45. Thanks so much for sharing with us at #JoyHopeLive!

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"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)