When You Taste The Bitter Pill

5_Habits_Woman-195x300I finished week 2 of the #5HabitsBook study with #P31OBS. Our second habit in the study was She follows through with her commitments despite how she feels.

It should not have been a surprise to me how the reading last week nudged deep places in this tired, battle weary heart. We all go through these seasons of life where our hearts are under attack, and as the attack continues our hearts stiffen. We go into what the hubs calls “survival mode”. You stop thinking about the future. You stop making plans. You have one goal and one goal only, and that is to make it through today.

The thing about this stiffening of the heart, is that it happens so gradually, we don’t truly realize the effects of it.

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Refinement Hurts Before It Heals

5_Habits_Woman-195x300I just finished Week One of the #5HabitsBook study with #P31OBS. This week we were focused on the first Habit which is The Assignment of Refinement. 

In addition to the book itself, I also invested in the “A Woman Who Doesn’t Quit” study guide. Everyday there is a “Quit Quitting Verse of the Day”. Two of these versus stood out to me more than the rest because of the word “HOPE”, my One Word for 2016.

 

Hope.

Accepting the Assignment of Refinement is easy when we see the hope attached to the assignment. The difficulty comes with “life”. This world is an incredibly messy place. It’s messy for men, for women, for children, for families, for everyone.
I watched a video recently where the speaker said something to the effect of “It used to be parents had many children, now children have many parents” commenting on marriage, divorce, re-marriage, etc. Life gets messy, right within our own four walls, without everstepping outside.

This ties directly into my assignment of refinement.
As wife.
As mother.
Big titles with great responsibility, and yet, it really is about how I handle all the little things in life as wife and as mother. The day to day stuff that matters a great deal.

Oy. Vey.

When I first read our verse of the week and the first few chapters, I was inspired. I was on fire. I was all about making it to the end!

Bless my heart, I’ve struggled just making it to the end of this week.

Refinement is hard. Don’t get me wrong, it’s beautiful, it’s wonderful. It’s what we need. In my mind I see myself standing, stripped down to nothing, my hair pulled back, the Lord taking a heavy and coarse brush and literally scrubbing off my hardened, dull, dying, decaying pieces so that something new and soft and beautiful is left behind.

I mean, let’s be real ladies, we love it when we get a really good pedicure. We leave and our tootsies are smooth, soft, freshly painted and ready to say hello to the world! The harsh winter toughness is literally soaked, scrubbed, and buffed away! This is what I envision the assignment of refinement looks like for my very soul!

But it hurts before it heals.

The Lord starts opening our eyes to where we have emotionally checked out. To where resentment has layered itself on thick without us fully realizing it. We see hope, we get excited and inspired, but the truth is our hope is in shallow soil. Affliction comes and burns our hope away because we had no root. No endurance. No proven character. So no hope.

So the real question is, at the end of this week, can I be determined like Ruth?

Determined to look at my Jesus and say to Him:

Where You lead me I will go.
And where You plant me I will stay.
And the family You love and have given to me,
I will love truly and deeply,
with the same truth, compassion, mercy, and forgiveness
that You Love me with.

I’m in a season of life where a lot of days are hard. Tough. In the process of being scrubbed. Praying others will submit to being scrubbed too. Praying we can all walk through this painful scrubbing together so that once all the dead, decaying, infected junk is scrubbed off, the soft pink skin underneath can be truly healed and transformed.

I think HOPE is found in a beautiful cycle. We Hope in Christ. We face afflictions. Hard, unexpected, tough stuff. We determine ourselves to endure it by depending entirely on Jesus. See it through to completion. This allows Him to scrub us down, and prove our character. This gives us Hope, grows our faith as we can see our character transform. So We hope in Christ more, and the cycle continues until we are on the other side of heaven.

We determine ourselves to endure by depending entirely on Jesus.

And that’s the truth of it sisters.
At the start of this week, I was depending on Jesus.
By the end of this week, I started depending on myself.
This Assignment of Refinement will hurt before it heals.
But the hope is,
It will Heal.
It will Transform.
Because We Can Trust God.
We Hope In Christ.
With Hope as our starting point and our ending point,
We accept our assignment of refinement.

Lord,
I want Hope to be rooted deeply within my heart and soul. To be a woman determined to be faithful with the little things you’ve given me. The day to day things. The mundane things. The things that create my character and make up the reality of my life. Forgive me this week where I have been unfaithful. Where I have inquired of myself instead of inquiring of you. Where I have been unforgiving, bitter, and quick to judge harshly. Thank you for your compassions which never fail. Your mercies which are new every morning. Your patience and your great Faithfulness. I am accepting Your assignment of Refinement. I am ready to be healed by your scrubbing grace. I am ready to be like Ruth, a woman determined to follow even when it may look hopeless to others.
Amen.

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