Wednesday, August 20, 2014

4 Life-Saving Lessons When Adversity Strikes

The story of Daniel in the lion's den is not just a childhood tale for Sunday school classrooms.  It's a story that applies to adults like you and me.  If we look past its intrigue and simple exhortation to trust in God, we begin to ask the right questions.  Namely, who are our lions and what do our own dens look like?  And more importantly, how does our God save?

There are times in our lives when we are simply brought to our knees.  The circumstances are too dangerous for us to live through alone - too emotionally taxing, too physically draining, too spiritually challenging.  Sometimes these circumstances are the result of unfair actions on the part of others, as was the case with Daniel, but they are always the result of living in a broken and fallen world.

We have no choice but to stand naked before God in scary vulnerability.  We want to believe that faith can move mountains, but the physical facts are undeniable and bleak.  After all, Daniel was in a den with hungry lions all night.  The only exit was protected by a huge boulder and the king's decree that it remain in place.  Hopelessness was certain.

In situations of hopelessness, we can discover the true nature of God.  The greatest gift God provided Daniel was a protective presence that never left him.  Daniel spoke of an angel who shut the lion's mouths.  There is a promise embedded in his story for us.  For what God has done once, he will do again.  God continues to shut lions' mouths today - your lions' mouths - so they will not consume you.

Deliverance looks different from person to person.  Sometimes the immediate circumstances change as a result of prayer, and sometimes they do not.  But here are four lessons I've learned:

1.  God gives us a perspective that allows us to rise above our circumstances.  Our time in the lion's den is not an isolated incident, but one incident on a journey with God.  When we look at adversity within the context of a faith relationship, we can experience the freedom of a new perspective and better recognize the footprint of our Creator's love.

2.    God will always bring deliverance when we remain faithful.  As I examine my journeys through adversity, I recognize "lifelines" that I often did not recognize as such at the time.  I marvel at God's gracious provision in retrospect.  So if you are currently in the lion's den, keep moving forward.  God is working.

3.  Sometimes deliverance is best evidenced by a change in our hearts.  The lions may prowl, our circumstances may or may not change on the outside, but make no mistake that there will be changes on the inside.  If we remain dependent on him, God will honor our humility by grafting more of himself into us.  And that new part is stronger.  Much stronger.

4.  Deliverance comes with reward.  An earthly king rewards Daniel after his survival in the lion's den. There is an earthly king in Daniel's story so that we do not forget a far more powerful king.  The King of Kings is with us and watching.  Who knows what blessings our faithfulness will unlock?

We can't forget these lessons.  Write them down.  Pass them on.  Remember God's unfailing presence, and trust.  Psalm 91:11 says, "For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways."  Angels still protect.  Romans 8:31 reminds us, "...If God is for us, who can be against us?"  God still fights on behalf of the faithful.  When you are shut up in the lion's den, feeling the cold and darkness of fear, remember:

"Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark."  ~Nobel prize winner Rabindranath Tagore

Sing, dear friends, sing.


If you want to read more encouragement, I love this article on the value of our suffering entitled A Field Guide for Suffering Well, which was posted on Her.meneutics.  Also, check out my other posts entitled Truth in Suffering and Warning: Peaks Ahead.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

What Anorexia Taught Me about Self-Worth

This week, I'm sharing a personal story from my past.  Thank you to for featuring this article in the hopes that it can affect many women and families for Christ.  I'd love to hear from you either by commenting or showing some Facebook love!

What Anorexia Taught Me about Self-Worth

My struggle with anorexia in middle school might be closer to your own story than you’d think.

I still remember sitting at that table in art class in the sixth grade.  I was sitting with my best friend, and across the table was the new boy at school whom we both liked.  We had talked about him in hushed voices under our blankets at slumber parties.  We had recounted interactions with him for hours with giddy and hopeful hearts.  And we had wondered what it would be like to kiss him – sixth grade style, of course.

There I was, looking at him across the table and knowing how my friend and I felt.  The three of us talked about a variety of topics, but somehow the conversation turned to how much we weighed.  As an adult you might read this and think, “What?”  But as a middle schooler, you wouldn’t be surprised.  Middle school is wrought with fledging attempts at self-definition, and weight is a hot topic – whether it is verbalized or silently brewing beneath the surface as an eating disorder.  Anorexia is actually the third most common chronic illness in adolescents.

My friend, who was shorter and skinnier than me, was quick to say her weight.  It was a good ten pounds less than what I weighed.  The boy and my friend asked me several times what I weighed.  At first, I refused to answer.  Then I answered with a number that was five pounds less than reality.  And a new conviction was born:  I needed to lose weight.

I was thin to begin with, but I developed anorexia.  With every pound I lost, my sense of self-worth increased.  My friend was a faster runner on our school team.  After losing weight, I told myself that I would be faster too.  My friend was wearing smaller clothes sizes.  After losing weight, I told myself that I would wear them too and be the one the guy liked who had asked me that simple question at the art table.

Fast forward in our lives – the circumstances are different, but the pressures haven’t changed.  We want others’ approval.  We want to be admired and respected.  We want to accomplish our goals, which often involves an appetite for competition.  This is human nature, but if left unchecked, it can result in the same distorted sense of self-worth...

To read the rest of this article, please click here to find it on 

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