Tag Archive | trials

The Yo-Yo of Grief & Holidays

Most grievers go through…and understand…the yo-yo cycles of grief.

You dread the holidays…then you desperately want to have the ability to enjoy the holidays…then you agonize about the holidays…then you go through a period of time where you just wish holidays could be normal again…and then you may feel guilty when you do enjoy the holidays…then you feel weird…then come to peace about it…and the grief cycle can spin you again out of nowhere…and so on…and so on…and so on.

The thing about grief: nobody who is going through grief signed up for it.

The harsh emotional turmoil.

The guilt.

The regrets.

The crazy emotions.

Nobody in their right mind would even wish it on their most annoying enemy. I know I wouldn’t.

My holiday yo-yo began several years ago…and I sure have learned a lot about God, grief, life, family, friends, and overcoming grief ever since.

Several years ago, my 22 year old sister died on Thanksgiving Day.

It shouldn’t have happened…she had everything going for her: she was married and she was a mom to three beautiful children who she loved with all of her heart. She adored and enjoyed being a mom so much that she was trying to have another baby. An amazing pianist, she had taken piano lessons at a university since elementary school since no teachers in our area could keep up with her talent. An accomplished baker, she and I had been going to several baking and candy workshops since we were in the process of opening our very own bakery and chocolatier…that way we could always have a flexible schedule and have our kiddos with us. She had everything in the world going for her.

But then she got sick. Really, really sick. Really, really fast.

That Fall, we were all on vacation having the time of our lives…a month later, she began to have allergy-like symptoms, and then within a few weeks of feeling ill, she suddenly and unexpectedly died of Wegener’s Granulomatosis (GPA) – a very rare autoimmune disease that was only named in 1939.

Thanksgiving has never been the same since…and believe me, I have really tried.

I’ve tried vacationing during Thanksgiving to get my mind off of it – to no avail. Then I tried going on a Disney vacation…the happiest place on earth…and during that trip, I had to go to the Urgent Center since I was so sick. In fact, the first several years after my sister’s death, I’d wake up every year around 4am and become violently ill. There has never been a Thanksgiving since that I haven’t gotten sick or felt major anxiety.

The last Thanksgiving morning she was alive, she had her nurse call us around 4am and ask us to immediately come to the hospital to be with her. We threw our clothes on and got there…only to be blocked from seeing her by her medical team.

Then the Code Blue came…and they revived her. And then the final Code Blue came…and she was gone.

I guess my body remembers the 4am time – and that whole morning – because every year since, I have become extremely ill or anxious each Thanksgiving from 4am-10am.

Frustrated by Thanksgiving, I finally found a way to cope. For years, I have put all of my Christmas decorations up by November 1, so I could just go straight into the Christmas season.

I still celebrate Thanksgiving with my family…and I am extremely thankful for God, my family and friends, and all of life’s blessings…but this has helped me to not focus on the days leading up to Thanksgiving.

Although I am super thankful for life, loved ones, and every blessing God lovingly grants me – and although I put on a happy face for the sake of my remaining loved ones…mostly my sweet mom and the kiddos in my life – I just don’t like Thanksgiving.

In October, and up until this week, I was actually looking forward to Thanksgiving…it’s the very first year that I have actually looked forward to it.

I haven’t put up one Christmas tree, ornament, or decoration yet.

I was still feeling anxiety about Thanksgiving, but I was super grateful for the progress of my grief. And it felt good to not experience the yo-yo of grief the last six weeks – especially from all the years I tried so desperately to run away from the days leading up to Thanksgiving.

I’ve spent many years going back and forth trying to make my heart feel something it just didn’t feel.

I think most grievers understand what I’m talking about…especially if they’ve experienced a holiday death. But it’s not just the death of a loved one…it could also be loss of any kind.

But then this week, all of the feelings of dread are starting to creep back.

So the yo-yo is apparently still strong.

I always try to be very transparent in my grief so I can help and encourage others.

I hope this blog post doesn’t come across as whining. I truly hope it helps someone to know they’re not alone in their grief.

Here’s my advice for getting through the Yo-Yo of grief:

  1. Seek God’s heart. It is truly amazing the amount of comfort and love God will shower onto those who love Him! Making God my closest and most treasured Friend has made all the difference in the world! Even during times when I don’t think a grief situation is fair, He patiently and lovingly always directs me in the right way. I can’t stress this enough…when you feel like you don’t want to trust His plan, always trust His great heart! Fight for your relationship with God…never give up on the true Treasure of His Friendship!
  2. Be true to your grief. Don’t force yourself to feel anything that isn’t authentic. If you feel sad, honor that sadness. If you feel fine, don’t feel guilty for having a good holiday…it doesn’t mean you love someone less. Good days & good holidays are truly a gift…embrace them when they come!
  3. Share with your family and friends where you are at in your grief…and don’t be ashamed of your grief. Don’t assume they should know or that they should instantly understand…take the time to share your heart.
  4. Don’t make family or close friends be mind readers. Tell them what you need so you will have the ability and support you need to get through the day.
  5. Do only what you feel you can truly do. It’s totally okay to have a relaxed holiday. If you’ve lost someone very close to you, it can take awhile to find a “new normal” for life and holidays…and sometimes the “new normal” you found can suddenly change and need readjusting. It’s okay not to always be okay…and that is totally FINE!! Be gentle with your heart!
  6. Light a memory candle in honor of your loved one…or do something special to “include” their memory. I have found that lighting a memory candle is a very special way of including my loved ones – it’s a beautiful way of saying, “I love you…I miss you…I will never forget you…I sure wish you were here!”
  7. NEVER apologize for your grief. If other people are uncomfortable with you honoring your grief or loved one, well tough. Lovingly remind them that you didn’t sign up for your grief experience…you’re doing what you need to do to get through it. So they’re frustrated? Kindly remind them that you’re frustrated too. Losing a loved one is the highest price you pay for loving someone…just because a loved one dies, your love doesn’t die too. People sometimes forget that.❤️
  8. Be careful to not create future guilt or regrets. I love the quote, “Even though I am grieving, the clock is still ticking, and that’s why I keep living purposefully.” I take the time to truly honor my grief, but I also make a very purposeful choice to celebrate and extravagantly love my remaining loved ones. Just like my sister suddenly died, I realize that is a possibility for everyone else I know too…so I make sure not to isolate myself and I choose to make the most of Thanksgiving and other holidays. I’m very authentic about my grief, I honor my grief…but I also honor my loved ones who are here as well.

This Thanksgiving, I am praying for all of the Grief Bites Family! May you highly treasure God, enjoy your remaining loved ones, and honor & remember your treasured loved ones who are no longer on earth.

Wishing all of you a very peaceful, special, joy-filled, and loving Thanksgiving Day!!

Gratitude & many blessings,

Kim

©2017 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

❤️If you were encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage others!For more encouragement: ❤️Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net

❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617

❤️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

❤️Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships

2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed

3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites

4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays

❤️

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Where Are You God?

“Where Are You God?”
Anyone who has been through a heart wrenching situation — a situation that desperately needed God’s help, intervention, and redemption — has more than likely went through a season where God seemingly wasn’t answering your prayers.

You most likely cried out to Him, begged, pleaded with Him, appealed to Him, maybe fasted, and even claimed scripture…yet nothing seemed to happen.

I’ve been through seasons such as this during my lifetime. To be completely honest, I’m currently in the midst of the most desperate season I’ve ever been in and have been in it the last few years.

At the beginning of 2016, I asked God to give me a specific word to learn from and also for two things: one being, “Please give me a brand new season. A season filled with joy and goodness.” And the second being, “Where are you? Please intervene in and change this situation.”

There will be seasons in life with absolutely no let up. We each may go through trial after trial, and grief experience after grief experience, with no relief in sight. Life can be ridiculous or heartbreaking at times…sometimes for a very long time.

Anyone who seeks after God with their whole heart…and refuses to give up…will find that God has a purpose and plan for each circumstance though. I have found that God is very, very good – even through the toughest events in life! Even the tough situation I’m currently going through…I know God has an incredible plan.  

Back to asking God for a specific word…

The word God gave me for 2016 was Perseverance. When He gave me this word, I was not a happy camper. I had hoped for a word like “Joy” or “Healing” or another word that would give me hope that a new season was about to begin. 

With the word Perseverance, I knew I would be going through tougher circumstances. And I was right…I have.

During these trials, God woke me up to a powerful truth: it’s never been me waiting on Him…it’s been I haven’t learned a particular lesson He has been trying to teach me for several years. And for the greater overall picture, it is very important I take the time to learn it.

God isn’t trying to punish or cause/allow hardship…He’s trying to take His people to a greater level in life!

Earth isn’t where we’re supposed to find our greatest comfort or ease…that’s the promise of Heaven. Earth is an accelerated, fierce training ground to fully prepare us for Heaven. 

It doesn’t mean we won’t enjoy life and have great times of goodness…it simply means that if we could truly understand and see the eternal perspective – the “big picture” – of all God’s plans, we’d stop kicking and screaming and cooperate. We’d fully trust and submit. Hard to do during times of great hardship, though, since we each are human. That’s why we need God’s help and grace.

Think about this:

Sometimes God isn’t near as silent as we accuse Him of being…sometimes, we just aren’t grasping what He is trying to teach us. And sometimes, God will not instantly or quickly redeem our situation because He doesn’t want us to have to go through a more heartbreaking or tougher situation later on due to not learning a lesson or character quality He is trying to build in our lives. 

We need to ask ourselves if we are wanting our comfort more than we are willing to persevere and trust His perfect will and perfect timing. Do we truly believe He’s faithful and knows what He’s doing…or do we attempt to twist the arm of God to get what we want in our own time?

If you’ve experienced major hurt and you’re respectfully questioning God or asking Him to remove the situation, you’re in good company. Even Jesus had questions.

Matthew 27:46, “About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).”

Matthew 26:39, “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

God successfully created the whole world and has kept it going since Day one…He knows what He’s doing. He is God and we are not. So why is it so hard to rest in Him and trust His plans or His timing?

Several years ago, my sweet husband offered to make dinner. He decided to make some fried chicken strips in a deep fryer, but he didn’t set a timer or read the directions on the package of how long to fry them. He chose to take the chicken out whenever he thought they looked done.

The chicken strips were fried to a light golden brown and looked delicious…until our son and I took our first bite and discovered the chicken was still raw in the middle.

How many times do we do the same with God? We choose not to read His instructions (the Bible), do things our own way and in our own time, and do not wait for His correct timing? Or we make hasty decisions? And then we become upset and surprised when whatever He is trying to accomplish in our lives seems to take forever…or something bad happens?

My husband ended up having to refry each chicken strip. And so is the same thing with God…sometimes we have to go through a same or similar situation since we weren’t patient, or the learning process has to restart since we didn’t learn or accomplish what God intended.

If you are going through a fiery trial today, my heart truly hurts for you. It is not fun to go through a situation where you have zero control. It truly stinks to go through deep grief or a heart wrenching trial and have to wait for God to accomplish His best.

It’s worth it when God redeems a situation or you can finally see what He was lovingly trying to accomplish, prevent, or teach…but it is sometimes super painful before you get to that place!

I can tell you this important truth – after going through multiple heartbreaking situations and trials: God is very faithful! He would never allow (not cause, but allow) a challenging trial to enter your life unless He had a specific purpose or plan to see you through. He NEVER wastes a hurt!

It is always best to learn as much as we can in every situation we go through so we don’t have to go through another same or similar situation due to not learning what God was trying to teach us. 

Whatever you do, don’t quit. You have great value and your breakthrough may be just around the corner.

In what area of your life do you need to stop asking “where are you God” and instead completely submit to God and seek Him with your whole heart?

He’s there. 

When you fully seek Him, you will find Him. 

He WILL be making up for all of your pain.❤

Jeremiah 29:13,You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Gratitude & many blessings,
Kim

©2017 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

❤️If you were encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage others!

Further blog posts on this topic & encouragement:

❤️Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net

❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617 

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/god-can-restor-your-lost-years

http://pastorrick.com/devotional/english/god-s-purpose-is-greater-than-your-problems-or-pain

https://griefbites.com/2015/12/30/sometimes-god-is-waiting-on-us/

❤️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

❤️Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships 

2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed 

3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites 

4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays

Delighting in God Through Trials~Part 2

Everybody will go through trials during their lifetime. Some will go through one or two, while others will go through multiple trials and hardships. 

Nobody enjoys going through trials. They’re uncomfortable, heart wrenching, and they’re even confusing, frustrating, and depressing at times.

Like a roller coaster you can’t choose to get off of, there’s intense ups, downs, twists, and turns throughout a trial or grief experience…and just when you think you’re about to go on a smoother track, life can suddenly send you going upside down or spiraling downward without any warning. 

When you become weary of the trial or grief experience you are facing, you can become depressed, anxious, discouraged, and feel isolated. When you really get tired of the trial or grief experience, you can begin to resent God or become upset with Him for not rescuing you from your trial quick enough.

Something I have found in the past — and I continue to learn — is God has a very unique timetable for each trial we go through in life. You can’t go over it, around it, under it, or above it…you can only go through it. 

So what do you do when you’re hurting and terribly disappointed by life? 

Some prematurely quit, sit down in the middle of their grief and unknowingly create a lifetime of continual hardships. Stuck. Stagnant. Very little hope.

Some grow greatly bitter and turn their backs on God or other key relationships. They turn their backs on the only One who has the power to get them through (and out of) their storms, and who has the power to use their life message to help others later on.

I think a lot of times, the trials we go through in life are thrown at us by the enemy because he knows we will become distracted by them. When we’re terribly distracted, it cuts off a significant amount of the communication and deep friendship we should be enjoying with God and other loved ones. This can also tempt us to think, behave, and believe differently than we normally would. 

There’s a better way.

When we make the decision to love God no matter what, and truly love and delight in Him through the trials we face, that’s where breakthroughs happen…even miracles.

It’s too easy to become resentful, discouraged, or bitter. Lots of people simply give up…and the enemy counts on that happening! 

You may not have the power to change the past or your present situation…but you do have the power to cooperate with God so He can bring good out of your trials or grief experience.

If you feel tempted to give up today, don’t. Like I said, there’s a better way. Today, I challenge everyone to stop primarily focusing on the trials and ongoing hardships they are going through (as much as possible)…and instead, use that time to turn your focus onto delighting in God and loving Him.

Your unfaithful mate or unkind family member? God’s capable of changing their heart. Ezekiel 36:26, “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.”

Your rebellious or prodigal child or family member? God has the power to change the course of their life and direct their very steps…Proverbs‬ ‭16:9‬, “We make our own plans, but the Lord decides where we will go.”

Your illness? God has the power to heal you. He can cause great good to come from it…John 11:4, “When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”

Your heartbreaking losses in life? God can restore your heart and bring intense healing! He can give you a double blessing! Job‬ ‭42:10, 12‬, “Then, after Job had prayed for his three friends, the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had had before…The Lord blessed the last part of Job’s life even more than he had blessed the first…”

EVERY problem or heartache we face, God has the incredible, miraculous, and powerful ability to intervene and create a strong message out of our hardships…even if our trials aren’t worked out the way we wanted them to be.

Got a mess? God can turn it into a message. Got a test? He can turn it into a dynamic testimony. Got scars? He can turn them into bright stars so others can find their way to Him through you. God can turn victims into victors…He can turn your trials into triumphs…and He can turn your pain into a pulpit that reaches many! Never doubt the incredible power and purposes of God!

So instead of becoming upset with God, sitting down or stopping halfway through the trial, or becoming angry or bitter…get angry at the one who truly caused your pain…the enemy. 

It’s interesting how we are tempted to succumb to the enemy’s prompting to be upset with God. The enemy knows if we become upset with God or become bitter, we will cut off our communication with God, harm our relationships with others, and possibly not fulfill our life purpose. We’ll also fail to learn the rich lessons we can learn through trials...and miss the treasure God has for us after we come out of the trial. 

Consider this: “So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family (of believers all over the world) is going through the same kind of suffering you are. In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. All power to him forever! Amen.” (‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:6-11‬)

No matter what’s happened…no matter how terribly you’ve responded to your trials…God is waiting with open arms right now to love you extravagantly, heal your heart, and help you through your heartache. God isn’t being mean, picking on you, or playing games with you; He loves you and already knows exactly how He is going to bring you through your trial and even use your trial to help others!

Instead of turning from God or being upset with Him, choose — from this day forward — to go out of your way to delight in Him. There truly is great treasure when you choose to love, serve, and delight in God through life’s trials and storms. 

Are you needing an example of how to accomplish this? If you’re in the middle of a trial, I encourage you to take the time to read Psalms, Proverbs, and Job. David, Solomon, and Job are all excellent to learn from on how to love, delight in, and serve God through life and also through terrible hardships.

Always realize this: God will never leave you or fail you through a storm. Trust Him with all your heart, extravagantly love Him, delight in Him, and know that He truly is on your side! He will guide and direct you to better paths!

How can you delight in God starting this week? Talk to God and seek to find in the Bible all the ways He likes to be delighted in. My next blog post will be my favorite ways to delight in Him!

Never forget how much God loves you and how greatly He treasures you!

One last thing I’d like to share…an incredible quote from Joni Eareckson-Tada who became paralyzed from a diving accident many years ago and recently went through stage 3 breast cancer: When people see us smile, in the midst of chronic pain, cancer, quadriplegia, whatever, they will look at us and think: ‘Her God must be pretty great to inspire that kind of loyalty. I think that’s amazing that she can smile in the midst of her affliction. I want what she has. I need her joy.’ Oh, what a rich testimony that is!” 

Amen! The only way any trial, loss, frustration, illness, trauma, grief, or heartache can win in our lives is if we fail to cherish and delight in God through it. Our victory is in and through Him! God is the way to get through our toughest trials. Delighting in Him is an honor!

Psalms‬ ‭37:3-6‬, “Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, And your justice as the noonday.”

Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-6‬, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Gratitude & many blessings,
Kim

©2016 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

❤️If you were encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage others!❤️

For more encouragement:

Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net

Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617 

FREE YouVersion reading plans:

1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships 
2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed 
3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites 
4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays

❤️

‭‭

Delighting in God Through Trials~Part 1

Psalm 37:4,Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart”

Psalm 37:4. The Bible verse everyone wants to come true and loves to hear, yet few ever truly dive deep enough to receive the blessings and gifts promised from this special verse.

Sometimes, we lightheartedly want this verse to come true…we think of all of the wonderful things we would want if God would magically grant us the whimsical desires of our hearts. Other times, this verse becomes almost a “911” sort of verse…a verse we become intensely interested in while we are going through an emergency situation in life.

God truly cares about each and every situation we go through, and He truly cares about all of the desires of our hearts—the whimsical and fanciful, as well as the emergency and important desires we have. God greatly desires to fully bless His children, and He sincerely wants to lavish great gifts onto those who genuinely love Him and delight in Him. (Matthew 7:11, James 1:17)

This past year, I’ve been going through a very tough grief experience…the toughest one I’ve ever had to walk through. A grief experience so personal and heartbreaking, very few even know about it. I knew from the start of this particular journey that there wouldn’t be a “quick fix” available. Other than praying, I eventually found I wouldn’t have the ability to do anything about this specific grief experience at all. 

God has repeatedly asked me to trust Him, to wait, build my faith, wait some more, build my faith even deeper, continue to trust Him more, and to lay this grief experience completely at His feet—simply being still as God works completely in His timing. Waiting and being still are extremely hard…I’m a much better “doer” than a “waiter,” yet God has supplied me with a greater hope, trust, and faith than I have ever known or experienced.

It was not easy at first. This grief event has tested my faith more than any other experience I’ve ever been through…but it’s refined my faith and proven it to be more genuine than ever before. 

This grief experience is what brought me to seek the meaning of Psalm 37:4. For me, it’s been an utter desperation of pleading with God to give me the deepest desire of my heart.

I’ve been blessed to learn many rich spiritual lessons throughout the past year, and I want to encourage anyone who is going through an extremely challenging time to not give up. God is listening to your heart’s cries…He truly does care…He has a plan to see you through the challenging event you are facing! He is not going to abandon you! He hears you and He sees your heartache and tears…they are not in vain.

What hard life event are you going through today? Are you, like me, seeking God with all your heart for answers? Are you desperate to have your deepest heart’s desires realized and brought to life? Are you wanting to seek and delight in God but you’re not quite sure where to begin?
I’m going to share some of what I’ve learned this past year. I truly hope it helps and encourages many today.

When looking at Psalm 37:4, I wanted instant results for the situation. God had other plans…and I’m grateful He did. Had He simply given me the desire of my heart instantly, I would not have grown as much as I have this year. I would’ve missed out on priceless, authentic lessons that have greatly changed me.

Just to be clear, I’m not over here skipping through fields of daisies and cheesily saying, “I’m so thankful for rich spiritual lessons, and you should be, too!”…No, not. at. all. The situation I’m praying for is literally a matter of life and death, and MANY tears have been poured through numerous prayers…so if God would’ve answered it immediately, I would definitely have taken it! However, I’m a firm believer in if God allows me to go through it, I’m going to grow through it.

But, sometimes, God asks us to wait. He requests that we be completely still and trust Him. And waiting, trusting, and being still is HARD! Especially when it appears that nothing is happening. It becomes even harder when things look like they’re getting worse. But…this is the exact place we’d truly want to be if we knew all of the facts from God’s perspective. 

Allowing God to train us to see life, and challenges in life, through His perspective—an eternal perspective—is what makes the difference between growing in faith…or growing in doubt and bitterness. It’s what makes the difference between pressing forward in hope and faith…or giving up. It’s what makes the difference between trusting Him and growing closer to His heart…or rejecting Him. It is imperative to have, and keep, an eternal perspective when going through grief, trials, and life challenges. If you don’t, you begin to spiritually die.

It’s not always easy, though.

One day, a few months ago, I became very frustrated about the situation I am facing. In my frustration, because no change had been seen in the situation for over a year…despite fasting and praying…I began to nurse a little hopelessness and bitterness. Heart and gut wrenching thoughts popped into my mind…”This situation is not fair…I genuinely did nothing to deserve thiswhy am I having to walk through this? God, why are you not helping me…why aren’t you helping me when You could instantly heal and fix this?”

I stayed upset for a few days…then realized how wickedly ungrateful I was being.

As I was focusing on what all I felt God was not giving me…I failed to see and truly appreciate all God had given and was currently giving to me. 

It needs to be said: having questions does not make a person ungrateful…and wading through the waters of frustration or disappointment doesn’t mean a person is wicked, lacks faith, or that they are wrong. I knew my own personal heart, though, and it verged on being ungrateful and bitter. 

Some very convicting thoughts came to mind…How many of my heart’s desires had God already given to me throughout my life…and how many of my heart’s desires has God currently been giving to me that I had not even asked Him or thanked Him for? 

I felt God asking me to make a list of all I was grateful for. As I made the list, I effortlessly wrote down 157 blessings and gifts from God I was incredibly grateful for…not too shabby for the God I was accusing of not giving me my heart’s desires just days before. And of those 157 things, other than #1 being God, #2 being family, #3 being friends/neighbors, and #4 being church family, the remaining 153 items didn’t include all of the people I’ve gotten the incredible joy of knowing and enjoying in my lifetime…or the wonderful memories I had the privilege of making with them. Many of my truest heart’s desires have graciously and extravagantly already been given to me by my Father God! My heart broke as I thought of how I was tempted to be so upset with God…thinking He owed me more…all because one very important heart’s desire wasn’t being answered the way I wanted it to be.

How many times do we focus on the one or two things God has not given us, or the one or two people or things God has allowed to be taken away from us, yet we fail to see all of the good God has freely given to us…much of which we don’t deserve, we did not earn, and we may not have even asked Him for? 

I needed to repent because I needed to want a dynamic relationship with God as much, if not more, as I wanted the dynamics of the situation to change. The situation is dire, and is still extremely important to me…extremely…just my relationship with God is more vital—and I trust Him!

Instead of saying, “This situation is not fair…I genuinely did nothing to deserve this…why am I having to walk through this? God, why are you not helping me?”….I instead choose to say, “God, the amount You have willingly and graciously chosen to put up with from me—all of my sins, ungratefulness, idolatries, attitudes, shortcomings, mistakes and failures—throughout my lifetime is not fair…The amount of kindness and goodness You have freely given to me and blessed me with is not fair or deserved…I genuinely did nothing to deserve all of Your love, goodness, faithfulness, kindness, gifts, and favor…Thank You for all of the good in my life, God…I will trust You with the path You are allowing. Work it out in YOUR time, not mine…YOU are the truest treasure and YOU should be the deepest desire of my heart—over, above, and beyond my desire for You to intervene in the challenge I am facing…I will delight in You no matter what!”

That day changed everything. I began to focus more on desiring and delighting in God, instead of focusing on my situation.

It makes no humanly sense. Really, it doesn’t. But, through eyes of an eternal perspective, it makes perfect sense.

I realized through focusing on my life challenge, I had lost my primary focus on God. It made me think of Peter in the Bible (Matthew 14:22-36). Jesus had asked Peter to walk on the water to Him, through the treacherous waves, but Peter began to sink because he focused on the storm and took his focus off of the One who had control of the storm. Jesus could have easily just stopped the storm. No doubt about it. But, the focus was never to be about the storm; the focus was to trust Jesus, take His hand, and run into His arms, away from the storm.

Today, in your situation, are you focusing so much on the storm that you’re sinking? Have you lost your eternal perspective so that you are not able to see your Savior’s loving arms that are reached out to you?

It’s entirely way too easy to do. We’re all human, in need of God’s love, mercy, help and grace. I’m super grateful God keeps that in mind!

Maybe, as I did, you need to get alone with God and pour your heart out to Him. Cry your fiercest tears, share with Him all of the hurts, pain, fears, worries, needs, and concerns. Share with Him—right or wrong—all that you are feeling, so you can run through the storm you are facing into His arms.

He IS there in your storm, and He WILL catch you! He may ask you to walk to Him, then be still…trust Him…wait…and even wait some more…but He is not going to leave you. He is not going to fail you or fail your situation! When we genuinely trust Him and TRULY delight in Him, He begins to smooth away the rockiness of our waves.

But, first, we must learn to TRULY delight in God. 

Ask God to teach you to authentically delight in Him…asking Him to speak powerfully to your heart. If there’s sin in your life, ask Him for His grace to remove the sin and then, with His daily help, choose to sin no more and replace your sin with the fruits of His Spirit and His righteousness. If there’s extreme hurt and bitterness in your heart, ask Him for His grace to remove it…and ask Him to replace your hurts and bitterness with a softness of heart and genuine love. If there’s pride, or any other negative character quality or emotion, ask for forgiveness and give God full control of your life and situation. (Ezekiel 11:17-21)

Do whatever it takes, whatever is needed, so you truly are freed up spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically to delight in God and to love Him with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength!

When it all comes down to it, God—and our relationship with Him—is far more important than anything and anyone. He is totally worth pursuing with all of our heart! And He truly rewards those who seek Him when their motives are pure and right. (Jeremiah 29:13, Psalm 14:2, Acts 17:27-28, Hebews 11:6, Matthew 6:33-34, 2 Chronicles 30:18-20, Deuteronomy 4:15-40, Ezekiel 36)

What an amazing, rich, incredible gift we each are allowed and given every single day! A gift so miraculous…so incredibly special, prized, and powerful! God has blessed us with the ability to choose to unwrap this amazing gift every single day…the extraordinary gift of a deep friendship with Him and the ability to talk to Him anywhere, anytime!

We have the ability to talk with God of the universe…the very One who formed and created the entire world and the stars…the One who lovingly hand knitted and created us and the people we love and cherish the most…the One who, through Him, everything came to be! The Creator of everything! God, of Heaven and earth, who is preparing a place in Heaven for us!

Why wouldn’t we want to talk to God and delight in Him most? Over and above all the people we know and love? Over and above our interests and the activities and hobbies we enjoy everyday? And…yes, even over, above, and beyond the situations that break our hearts and attempt to steal our joy and our focus on the One we should desire and love the most?

I’ve found, this past year, that the problem wasn’t God not answering my prayers or not giving me the desires of my heart…the problem is I failed to genuinely honor, love, and truly obey Him, and authentically delight in Him.

If you had asked me if I did these things before, I would’ve absolutely replied, “yes,”…yet, God has shown me “blind spots” in my life that I didn’t realize were there that have needed correcting. And, these blind spots kept me from fully delighting in God.

Today, what blind spots are keeping you from fully delighting in God? Are you willing to humble and get real with yourself and allow God to remove them?

As I was talking to God about everything, as well as my blind spots, I realized how much change was needed in my heart. I even went the extra step of asking those closest to me to share the blind spots they personally saw. I was serious about delighting in God and removing anything that prevented me from doing so. Warning: don’t ask those closest to you about your blind spots unless you truly want to hear uncomfortable truths. Your feelings will probably get hurt, too. Be prepared to take an open minded, honest look at your life with an expectation to humbly handle it in love and with a goal of truly wanting to change. 

As you seek to delight in God, be prepared for Him to weed out the garden of your heart. He wants your whole heart, and He genuinely cares what condition your heart is in. God will reveal all that is keeping you from truly delighting in Him…your idols: all of the people, things, possessions, activities, sins, hobbies, attitudes, thoughts, blind spots—everything. He desires your whole heart and He wants your heart to beat with health and life!

I think as we go to God and learn how to deeply and authentically delight in Him, we begin to care more about the desires of God’s heart…and we begin to ask Him, “What delights You? What are the greatest desires of Your heart?”

When we get to that point, and it truly is genuine, I believe God begins to work in miraculous ways…ways we’ve never seen or experienced ever before.

God brought me to this excellent passage of scripture. As you read this, please allow God to speak deeply into your heart.

Hebrews 12: 1-3, “Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! 4-11 In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through—all that bloodshed! So don’t feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children?

My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline,

    but don’t be crushed by it either.

It’s the child he loves that he disciplines;

    the child he embraces, he also corrects.

God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in (or experiencing) isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God12-13 So don’t sit around on your hands! No more dragging your feet! Clear the path for long-distance runners so no one will trip and fall, so no one will step in a hole and sprain an ankle. Help each other out. And run for it! 14-17 Work at getting along with each other and with God. Otherwise you’ll never get so much as a glimpse of God. Make sure no one gets left out of God’s generosity. Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time. Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite. You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God’s blessing—but by then it was too late, tears or no tears. 18-21 Unlike your ancestors, you didn’t come to Mount Sinai—all that volcanic blaze and earthshaking rumble—to hear God speak. The earsplitting words and soul-shaking message terrified them and they begged him to stop. When they heard the words—“If an animal touches the Mountain, it’s as good as dead”—they were afraid to move. Even Moses was terrified. 22-24 No, that’s not your experience at all. You’ve come to Mount Zion, the city where the living God resides. The invisible Jerusalem is populated by throngs of festive angels and Christian citizens. It is the city where God is Judge, with judgments that make us just. You’ve come to Jesus, who presents us with a new covenant, a fresh charter from God. He is the Mediator of this covenant. The murder of Jesus, unlike Abel’s—a homicide that cried out for vengeance—became a proclamation of grace. 25-27 So don’t turn a deaf ear to these gracious words. If those who ignored earthly warnings didn’t get away with it, what will happen to us if we turn our backs on heavenly warnings? His voice that time shook the earth to its foundations; this time—he’s told us this quite plainly—he’ll also rock the heavens: “One last shaking, from top to bottom, stem to stern.” The phrase “one last shaking” means a thorough housecleaning, getting rid of all the historical and religious junk so that the unshakable essentials stand clear and uncluttered. 28-29 Do you see what we’ve got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. For God is not an indifferent bystander. He’s actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and he won’t quit until it’s all cleansed. God himself is Fire!”

Through reading Hebrews 12, I realized it was a missing piece of the puzzle for how to truly begin to delight in God. I clearly was able to see how important it was to strip away anything that was keeping me from fully loving God…how important it is to allow Him to garden my heart…to burn away anything that is keeping me from running a clean and effective race for Him.

You may be thinking, “You have no idea what I’m going through…or the pain I’m drowning in…I’m at my wits’ end!”…

If you are drowning in the middle of the ocean and in the eye of the storm of a massive heartache or problem, please understand that usually is where God reveals the most treasure…and the very place where the strongest testimonies are in the making! Consider the following two passages of scripture:

Psalm‬ ‭107:23-32‬, “Some went out on the sea in ships; they were merchants on the mighty waters. They saw the works of the Lord, his wonderful deeds in the deep. For he spoke and stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves. They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths; in their peril their courage melted away. They reeled and staggered like drunkards; they were at their wits’ end. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind. Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people and praise him in the council of the elders.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭43:2,When you pass through the waters, I will be with you…”

I hope all of the Bible verses and my transparency today was helpful and I hope your heart has been encouraged.

So very sorry for the longer than normal blog post; I was going to break it up into a 3-day series, but I wanted to help those who are desperate for help now.

Ask God, right now, to help you in whatever grief journey or life challenge you are facing. Ask Him for His grace to fall more deeply in love with Him, to see your situation from His perspective, and for good gifts of His choosing. He never fails His children and He can make great good come from any situation. It may not look anything like what we had originally wanted or desired in our own hearts, but with God’s power, it could be more than we could ever ask, think or imagine!

May God ABUNDANTLY bless you as you seek His heart and learn how to delight extravagantly in Him!

Always remember: Psalm‬ ‭34:18-19‬,The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all”

A few more scriptures to encourage you. Long, but well worth the read, as it ties everything together:

Hebrews 12:1-2, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”

Philippians‬ ‭3:8-14,Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him [of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly]. For His sake I have lost everything and consider it all to be mere rubbish, in order that I may win (gain) Christ (the Anointed One), And that I may [actually] be found and known as in Him, not having any [self-achieved] righteousness that can be called my own, based on my obedience to the Law’s demands (ritualistic uprightness and supposed right standing with God thus acquired), but possessing that [genuine righteousness] which comes through faith in Christ (the Anointed One), the [truly] right standing with God, which comes from God by [saving] faith. [For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope] That if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body]. Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own. I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.

Friends, press on toward the goal and prize Christ has for you. Seek Him with all of your heart. If you feel you are drowning in your situation, remember that God has not brought you there to drown you…He has allowed you to be placed there to teach you treasures in the deep and to cleanse and renew your heart! Learn to fully delight yourself in God and His amazing, beautiful heart!

Isaiah 45:3, “And I will give you treasures of darkness–secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name.”

I plan to blog about some special ways God has taught me to delight in Him. I hope this future post will be helpful and encouraging as well!

Gratitude & many blessings,

❤️Kim

©2015 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

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For more encouragement:

Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

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FREE YouVersion reading plans:
1. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays

2. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships 

3. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed 

4. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites 

Kim’s book: Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617