I came across a post that I wrote 2 years ago. The summer of 2010 was a tough summer. Little did I know that the next 2 years would be even tougher. However, in the midst of what has literally been the toughest years of my life, God has shown me priceless truths. I share this old post with you, which shares events from 2010....but I share it because the truth of God's reshaping still holds true in my life this day. May it be an encouragement of the reshaping God is doing in your life today!
from July 2010
The blog has been quiet over the past couple of weeks, and for good reasons. The last 3 weeks have included camp, a mission trip to Puerto Rico, and a visit from old friends. At the same time, its included some major personal challenges and emotional stretching. Its been a whirlwind of activity, but a period in my life that I will not soon forget. God is reshaping me. I have found myself in the midst of James 1. A passage that has been so near and dear to my heart since I was 15 years old has been the source of my joy and strength this month. A couple of weeks before camp, excitement filled our home when we found out that Stephanie was pregnant. The day we left for camp, we learned that she had a miscarriage. We weren't very far along but that didn't keep it from being a crushing blow. I spent the day before we left for camp in a hospital room with my wife, holding her hand and holding back tears because I wanted to be strong for her. She felt defeated and scared. I felt the same. It was one of those days that make you tired of life. We didn't know anything for sure, until we got the phone call the next day confirming the miscarriage. A miscarriage is something I wouldn't wish on a worst enemy. I can't imagine the difficulty it would be in losing a baby further along. I thank God that it was early in the pregnancy, but at the same time my heart drops for my wife and for that precious life that I will not meet perhaps until heaven. It was strange. On one hand, I just wanted to stay with my wife and daughter and do nothing but hold them in my arms, but on the other hand, I had big expectations for what God was going to do at camp and I felt that I needed to be there, witnessing His work. God was right. Fortunately, my family came to camp and it provided a healthy distraction for us. However, even in the midst of that difficult moment in our little family's history, I had an unexplainable joy. A joy that I believe can only be explained through God. A joy that James 1 encourages. 2010 has been a difficult year. Its been a roller coaster of emotion. There have been so many challenges, defeats, and frustrations. At the same time, God still continue to gives me joy. This has perhaps been the hardest year of my life in the last decade, but I haven't felt sorry for myself. I haven't stayed down. I continue to look up. I continue to be relatively joyful and happy. I can't explain it, but I know its God, and I praise Him for it. I shared the struggle with our group that went to Puerto Rico. I hesitated in even sharing, because I didn't want people to feel sorry for me. I didn't want people to make a big deal about it, even though it is a big deal. Honestly, it was difficult to get up early and conjure up the energy to leave for Puerto Rico. The last thing I wanted to do was be away from my family. I missed them dearly while I was gone, but at the same time, while we were there, there was no place that I would have rather been. God was at work, not only in my life, but in the life of the people in Cayey, in the life of our students, and in the life of our adults. I had so much joy in seeing God work. Like with camp, I was so encouraged to see life coming back into our student ministry. I read through Mark over the last month. I think it may be my new favorite gospel. What stood out to me so much was the power of Christ. I have been so overwhelmed with the conviction that my expectations are too low for God. The God who made me, saved me, and gives me joy in the midst of the fire of life is the God that I serve. Why shouldn't I expect Him to do something unbelievable every day? Through my experiences and what God has been teaching me in His Word, I know that I will never be the same. God is in the process of reshaping me and I couldn't be more thrilled. I knew this year would be tough. God honestly prepared my heart for that at the end of last year. He continues to prepare my heart for more tough things to come. I know I'll have to face them, and some days will be really hard. However, I walk towards those days unafraid. I am completely at peace and facing every day with an unexplainable joy. I share all this with you to let you know what God has been doing in my life the past couple of weeks. However, I also share it with you to gain no sympathy for myself, but to encourage you to have confident expectations in our God. Our God is bigger than our problems. In fact, He's using them to grow us. Our God is the source of joy and satisfaction. In Him, you'll find it. I share this especially for my brothers and sisters who are struggling right now. God can and will give you joy and strength. He will obliterate your low expectations. God will rock your world in a good way, so that you will be able to rock this world more effectively for His Kingdom.