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My Much-Needed Reminder

The beauty that arises after fire scorches the ground can be unexpected, surprising, captivating. The stark contrast between the desolate, damaged foliage and the simple, delicate new growth of a lovely flower amidst ruin brings hope–hope for continued growth and beauty despite difficult circumstances.

Alright, OK, this isn't an actual flower. I found this fabricated beauty in the rubble on our ranch after the fires and windstorm swept through a month ago. The fake hydrangea was once on my mom's porch, but now has found a new home amidst the burned landscaping. Had to search for it. Beauty in the ashes. A much-needed reminder.

In anticipation of today—the one year anniversary of my Daddy’s passing—I’m writing this entry to myself. For even though I think I'm fully trusting in a sovereign God above all, sometimes I'm distracted by the craziness of life and need to be reminded of the beauty around me, the growth that is still occurring, and that God has a purpose for all of this because He loves me and He knows me best of all.

With last night marking our 30th night living in a hotel due to the California fires, it seems that lately I have been prone to allow frustration and doubts to creep into my pea-brain, while stirring up emotions and affecting my ability to function as a mom, a wife, a daughter, and a friend. Throw in a dash of insomnia, (actually, make that a large dash), and you have one lady needing to re-learn every last lesson from a difficult season of grieving for her sweet Daddy whom she loved so very much.

So, Jill. Here's a quick reminder of some of the lessons you have been learning through Scripture, sermons, friends, and through Bridge's book, "Trusting God, Even When Life Hurts." Read, believe, repeat.

• Your Daddy loved the Lord, and right now is in His presence, pain-free and joyfully

worshipping Him forever. Be happy for him. You'll see him again, one day.

• God has allowed circumstances in your life in order to bring about growth in you.

He is carefully molding you into the woman you need to be for His glory. Don't fight

it; embrace it. And as Bridges said, "Trust is not a passive state of mind.

It is a vigorous act of the soul by which we choose to lay hold on the promises of God

and cling to them despite the adversity that at times seeks to overwhelms us."

• Your first goal, every day, needs to be to honor and glorify God by fully trusting in

Him for everything. Doubting God's sovereignty and questioning His goodness means

you're failing to trust in Him completely. Stop it, lady.

• Stay in the Word, for there is where you will find your strength. Cling to the promises.

Worship Him through the Psalms. Find hope in the gospel.

• Grieving is a process.... it's OK that it's taking longer than you thought. And God sees

each tear. Psalm 56:8 -- "You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all

my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book."

• Psalm 18:30 "As for God, His way is perfect." Who are you to question His wisdom?

He always knows what's best to bring about the growth you need so you can become

more and more like His Son. Sanctification is a daily process.

• Since God is in control, you can fully trust that whatever may happen will be for your

good and His glory.

• You DON'T need to see the bigger picture. You CAN'T see the bigger picture. Only God

can, and that is why trusting in Him is so important. (And logical!)

• Search for the beauty around you. Be thankful for the little things. Find joy in the

blessings of family & friends. Be present. Acknowledge the growth and press on.

"Cast your burden upon the Lord for He shall sustain you. And He shall never suffer

the righteous to be moved." Psalm 55:22 Prayer is of utmost importance. God wants

you to hand your cares over, for He deeply cares for you.

Choosing to be grateful, choosing to find the beauty in the ashes, and choosing to trust in a loving, faithful and sovereign God is the best place to be. For in that state, Jill, you can experience peace amidst upheaval, and joy through the pain, knowing God is in control of your life and He knows what is best for you.

Simple? Nope. Doable? Yup–but only with the help and strength that comes from a loving, sovereign God. Consider yourself reminded.

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