To Be Fully Satisfied

My hearing loss has been impacting my life in a big way recently, as it gradually gets worse. Over the last 2 years I went from scoring a 52% on a word discrimination test, WITH the help of my hearing aids, to just a few weeks ago scoring a 38%. What that means is… communication is HARD, and getting harder. Without hearing aids I’m almost completely deaf, and with them, the strongest available, I still only hear about 38% of what people are saying. I rely on body language, facial expressions, lip reading, and it’s a great deal of work. Some days I feel defeated and end up in tears, exhausted by the effort of trying to decipher the day’s sounds.

But some days… I sit in sweet fellowship with my God and tell him thank you. Thank you for the silence. Because He speaks in the silence, and I love to hear His voice. When all the other voices are fading around me, His whisper has become louder in my life. His words clearer. He has drawn me in closer and revealed himself to me in ways that I may never have known without the experience of my loss. My commitment to him has grown deeper because of it. My dependence on him in even the most average of moments keeps showing me clearly how faithful and good He is. He keeps showing up and showing himself strong for me.

“The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to give strong support to those whose hearts are committed to him.” 2Chronicles 16:9

He truly does seek opportunity to support us when we sincerely desire the strength of his presence. He is faithfully by our side in the midst of every moment, extraordinary, difficult, or mundane. He will never leave us.

One of the hardships of hearing loss is the extreme loneliness that can be felt. Even with hundreds of people surrounding you, and so many conversations in your midst, it is normal with hearing loss to feel alone in the middle of it all. To sit in the midst of family and friends and desperately wish you could be part of their conversation, but no matter how hard you try you just can’t hear enough to figure out what is being said, can be the loneliest feeling. But God whispers loud in those moments and reminds me He is there. I pray for those who I can’t hear, and God’s peace settles over me. The prayer life that God has grown in me is one of the sweet blessings that cause me to thank him for my loss. When I start to feel alone, but turn to him, I find that his presence fully satisfies.

A precious friend recommended a wonderful book to me called He Speaks In The Silence, by Diane Comer. She shares her story of hearing loss, and how through her loss she finds greater intimacy with God. The first half of the book is her unique story, but the second half is both of ours, because it’s mostly about how God shows up, and He is good. Reading her book blessed me! Or rather, reminded me of how I’m blessed!

“The word translated as blessing in the New Testament is derived from the Greek word, makarismos, which means “to be indwelt by God through the Holy Spirit and, therefore, because of His indwelling to be fully satisfied in spite of the afflictions of life.” (Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament) To be blessed actually means to be fully satisfied. To thrive on the inside even if life is falling apart on the outside. To be so filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit within, that we are able to endure and taste the sweetness of His love even in the midst of bitter reality. Even when it hurts, even when we do not understand.” ~from He Speaks In The Silence, chapter 6.

God is good. ALL the time.

Shared from my heart ~ Stacy

For the Joy Set Before Him

I find comfort in Jesus’ humanity; the frail part of him that prayed to His Father before going to the cross, asking him to “take this cup from me” (Luke 22:42). My own frailty finds me often asking God to take trials away. There is nothing wrong with hoping against trial and suffering, praying for a difficult “cup” to be taken from us.  And yet Jesus did not end his prayer with that plea. He simultaneously maintained his willingness to surrender to His Father’s will, even if it meant drinking that cup; enduring the cross. Endure, by it’s very definition requires suffering.

Endure: to suffer without yielding

Jesus suffered. Willingly. Without yielding. With Joy.

“For the joy set before Him, he endured the cross…” Hebrews 12:2

The experience itself was certainly not an enjoyable one, joy was found in what that experience would accomplish, what was “set before him”. The salvation of mankind brought him great joy and made the cross worth enduring. We are his joy.

I often turn to that reminder when facing a trial in life. Chronic hip pain, hearing loss, trials are certainly not enjoyable experiences. But trials often have great value in our spiritual growth, in the opportunity to see and proclaim God’s faithfulness, in fostering a more intimate relationship with Christ

An intimate relationship with my savior brings me great joy. When life is hard I set Jesus before me, at the forefront of my thoughts, for He is the joy that grants me endurance.

Shared from my heart ~ Stacy

Five Minute Friday – Joy

Solace in Solitude

laptop-pictures-1054

It’s been quiet around here.

When I switched to WordPress a year ago, my subscriber friends and comments vanished somehow, as well as several photos. I’m technologically challenged I confess, so I’m sure I did something wrong. It saddens me a bit, but also seems very fitting with the feel of this past year. God has taken me through a year of quiet solitude.

A few months ago we made our new home in a new city, and a new state, where I don’t know a soul, aside from my husband and kids. Anticipating a move, I had stepped away from this wonderful Bible study ministry which has enriched my life and granted sweet fellowship with dear friends for the last 13 years. How I’ve missed the connection of like minded sisters by my side. I’ve also had kids’ chatter, laughter, activities, questions, discussions, and interaction filling my days for the last 11 years of homeschooling, but our kids are growing older and our homeschooling adventure came to an end this year as well.

So I’ve been spending my days alone. Such a foreign experience for this Momma of 6 boys. Quiet and empty.

As the 2016 New Year began I had posted that I wanted the theme of my year to be “simplicity”. Of course when I wrote that I was thinking simplicity; easy, not simplicity; empty. In empty, or lonely seasons, hope and devotion are tested… tried…  but, when we draw near to God, strengthened. Have you been there?

“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8a

“The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.” Psalm 145:18

He hears. He knows. He brings the quiet to make room for more of Him. And loneliness vanishes in his presence, He is so good! I’ve started another study of the book of Job recently and I’ve been encouraged by Job’s story as a picture of finding HOPE when life feels empty. Hope found only in Jesus.

“For I know that my Redeemer lives… whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold…” Job 19:25,27

Shared from my heart ~ Stacy

Counter Pressure

a99a470d-cb11-4d7b-a1ca-8756df04e347

 

She handed me this card on my way out of Bible study. I had found the courage to share with our group that night that suffering hearing loss was hard, extremely hard, but I was confident that there was purpose in it, great purpose. It’s something God has been showing me through the years. Trials press in on every one of us. Some days, some months, some years press harder than others, and in our weakest moments we may question why there must be suffering. Why does God allow this? Why must we take these hard-pressed journeys? But one thing I know; Of one truth I am absolutely certain… God is good. Always. So when this life presses in on me, I remember: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed...” (2Cor 4:8)

We are Jars of Clay.

I took an art class long ago and learned the most basic of pottery.  But I loved to watch the more gifted artists work at the potter’s wheel, forming beautiful jars of clay. The precision and devotion encouraged me. The end result amazed me. The entire process of forming each masterpiece required the master’s hand to apply pressure both from without, and from within. Without pressure on both sides, the entire jar collapsed; crushed. Imagine walking through this hard-pressed life without the Holy Spirit living inside of us. He keeps us from being crushed by the pressures of this world. “But we have this treasure in jars of clay…” (2Cor 4:7)

God’s Holy Spirit inside of us gently presses against the trials, firmly holds us up against the suffering, applies counter-pressure, and in the process forms a beautiful work of art; a vessel in His image. Suffering transforms us. Great purpose.

 

“But now, O LORD, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8pottery

We will only regret that we did not suffer more.

Shared from my heart~ Stacy