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12.31.2008

Count it ALL Joy!

Greetings my precious friends. Thank you all so much for your thoughts and prayers. The last few days have been very difficult but the Lord has given us the strength we have needed to continue down the path He has laid before us.

I am sitting in the ICU of a local hospital as I type. My Memaw has been here since very early Sunday morning. After hearing the news of the death of her husband of 58 years, her body was overcome with grief. There are a number of things that we have dealt with, too many to name, but we are seeing improvements each day and are trusting in the Lord for His plan to be carried out.

It's during times like these that we are tempted to ask "Why?", tempted to get angry, tempted to blame God, but God's plan and timing are perfect. His ways are higher than ours and His plan is to strengthen His children. I had some time to myself this morning to reflect on these truths as I cleaned my Pawpaw and Memaw's house.

Over the past few months I have been preparing to teach a Bible study on the book of James; this morning the Lord showed me why. God showed me that my digging into the book of James was not so much for the teaching of it to others, but it was to prepare my heart for what was coming my way. In James chapter 1 verses 2-4 James says the following, "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."

If you look at the definition of "trial" in the Greek language this is what you will find: this word connotes trouble, or something that breaks the pattern of peace, comfort, joy, and happiness in someones life. I think it would be fair to say that my family is in the midst of a trial right now- speaking from the side of human nature the pattern of peace, comfort, joy and happiness have been interrupted. Part of me has been tempted to question "why?"- "why now?", "why this way?"

God reminded me this morning, that my response was not to question, or to blame, or to get angry, but to rejoice and to count it ALL joy, because through this time He was going to increase my faith in Him and strengthen our relationship. There have been several things that I have specifically prayed in faith for over the past few days, and I've seen the Lord answer those prayers. God has bestowed His grace, mercy, strength, and comfort upon us all and I know that He isn't finished yet. He is at work in my heart and in the hearts of others. He is developing perseverance and maturity in the hearts of His children and I believe His is drawing others to Himself so that they are able to have that first time face-to-face encounter with the All-Powerful, Almighty God of the universe.

My God is at work and I am excited to see His plans completed. Yes my heart aches, but He is the lifter of my head and from Him comes help and comfort.

I would ask that you continue to lift us up in your prayers. Tomorrow we will be having visitation at the funeral home. Please pray for strength, comfort, and a peace that passes all understanding. Pray that the love of Jesus will be shared and souls will be saved. I love you all!


"I lift up my eyes to the hills— where does my help
come from? My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth."
Psalm 121:1-2, NIV

7 Lovely Thoughts Shared:

Dotwigg said...

Wow!!! even in the midst of personal "trial" you are able to share the Word and show the awesome blessings God gives us. Keep feeling the Love and strength, comfort, joy and peace.

Your family is very lucky to have you with them right now and God is using you to comfort them.

Continue to shine :).

Candy said...

Jenifer you are in my prayers.. your life has been struck with such grief over this holiday season I have been there .. my heart aches for you and your family .. only the LORD can comfort hug hug ..

Victoria said...

I'm praying with you sister!

Mariel said...

Jenifer~
The Lord laid you on my heart this morning, so I stopped by here to see how you are. I had no idea all you were going through! I am so sorry about all the trials you and your family are having to endure. I am praying the God of all comfort covers you and your family during this very difficult time.

hugs and prayers, Mariel

Beth in NC said...

Oh Jenifer, I am so sorry! I pray God gives your Grandmother peace -- even in her organs. The grief must have really overtaken her. I can't imagine.

I also pray you and your family will have strength and peace during the funeral process.

He is faithful to carry us.

Love,
Beth

Ruth A Stiles said...

I can't follow you..there is no link to click on....let me know...have a great night!

Jenifer said...

Thank you all so much for your words of encouragement and prayers! It means the world to me. We are keeping our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. And trusting that He will work this for His good!