Welcome to my Wednesday feature God is So Good. Here I will share stories - true and fiction, mine and others' - of the Lord's presence in the midst of trials, struggles, and difficulties.
Those of you who follow/read the encouragement blog Jewels Of Encouragement (one of my "pet projects" and favorite group blogs), this post may be familiar. It posted there a bit over a week and a half ago. It totally overwhelmed and blessed me in a way few posts have, and it seemed to fit perfectly with my Wednesday theme. So I connected with Mandy Kniskern (daughter of a JoE poster) over cyberspace and asked if I could use it here. She graciously said yes. I hope her thoughts, and her journey, will bless you as they did me - and remind you of His presence.In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33b
By Mandy Kniskern
I've been pondering some things lately, and wanted to go ahead and share my discoveries as I know we all struggle with disappointments and hurts of some kind or another, and maybe it can help encourage someone else. If not, that's okay too.
I had an epiphany several days ago. I was cleaning our kitchen, praying and asking God to give Ken wisdom and discernment as we’re contemplating some things. I asked God to protect us, to close any doors that we shouldn’t go through. Then I stopped short. I thought, I always ask God to protect us... and there's still junk that comes up. And I realized, God and I have different definitions of what “protect” means. He is still going to allow us to experience hurts, frustrations, injustice, unfairness, uncertainties. But He will walk with us in the midst of it and give us strength, perspective, and peace.
My prayers have changed a little now: I ask God to protect us the way He protects us. I'm learning to trust that He IS protecting us, no matter what comes our way. I've let go of my own expectations of what I think the results of that kind of prayer should be. Because He sees the whole big picture when I just see the disheartening part around me.
As we go through each trial, through each fire, becoming more and more refined, and we continue to believe that God is Who He says He is, and He does what He says He will do, our faith only grows deeper and stronger, which I’m learning is the whole point.
"I posted a song from YouTube several days ago, 'My Father's World,' and I loved the album cover. The album was entitled, 'Roots Run Deep.' We feel our spiritual roots growing deeper and stronger with each worldly trial we face. The storms may come and break a few branches and strip some leaves, but we stand firm because we are deeply rooted in the Truth of who God is in our lives.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord
And whose trust is the Lord.
For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
That extends its roots by a stream
And will not fear when the heat comes;
But its leaves will be green,
And it will not be anxious in a year of drought
Nor cease to yield fruit."
Jeremiah 17:7,8 (NASB)
Mandy Kniskern currently resides in Ada, OK. She is wife to Ken and a stay-at-home mom to Barrick (3) and Brendon (1). Mandy has a Musical Arts degree from Oklahoma Baptist University and has been a piano teacher for 16 years. She is exploring some new territory now as a Pampered Chef consultant as well. Mandy feels her calling to ministry is simply to be available to God in whatever capacity He chooses. She finds tremendous joy in serving God alongside her husband, even amidst great challenges. "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9
The storms may come and break a few branches and strip some leaves, but we stand firm because we are deeply rooted in the Truth of who God is in our lives. AMEN - He is SO good!
Do you have a story you'd like to share about God's goodness in your struggles? Drop me an email and we can talk!
Traveling Rough Roads With God's Strength