Thursday, February 19, 2009

Disappointed, but Not Discouraged

I regularly listen to a podcast produced by In Touch Ministries, and recently something Charles Stanley said really stuck in my mind.

He said that it's okay to be disappointed, but it's not okay to be discouraged.

In the last couple of weeks, I experienced first hand what this means . . . twice.

I won't bore you with the details, but two times, something I really desired and had prayed for didn't happen the way I wanted. And I was really disappointed. I would rather have had things turn out differently, but because I know God is in loving control and is completely trustworthy, I didn't become discouraged.

Many times in the Bible, we're told to take courage. In fact, that's really what "encourage" means: to give or instill courage. And thus the opposite--discourage--is to take or lose courage. So when I feel discouraged, I'm losing courage in the love God has for me. I'm failing to trust Him.

And that's sin.

Being disappointed is human. We can't help feeling a bit sad when something goes against our desire or plan. But we can keep from being discouraged by going to the Lord, expressing our disappointment, and thanking Him for His faithfulness.

If we trust Him, really trust Him, we can handle any disappointment with the assurance that, if we didn't get what we wanted, it was for our best.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

A Warrior Princess

I usually don't include quotes from other writers or speakers in my blog, but I'm going through Beth Moore's study on Esther with women from my church. I've read the book of Esther many times, and I often include parts of her story when I speak.

I love how God reveals new things, though (that's why I never tire of reading and rereading His word), and I just had to share with you what I learned in today's lesson.

It's week four, day two if you're familiar with this study.

Mordecai has learned of the king's edict, and he's torn his clothes and put on sackcloth. He's mourning the coming annihilation of his people. Esther is told about his wailing, but doesn't know why. She sends the king's eunuch to give him clothes to wear--she doesn't (yet) take the time to find out what's wrong. She just wants to solve the problem. (Sound familiar?)

Beth writes, "If people around us helped us avoid [our problems], we'd quit learning how to deal with difficulty. We'd forget how to cope and we'd crush under the least inconvenience . . . strength comes from muscle, and muscle develops with a workout. This is as true spiritually as physically. What we don't use, we lose."

I've written in previous blogs that we are works in progress; we're being refined as gold. We may not like it, but we know that the end result is worth the pain and suffering.

"As painful as the process may be," Beth concludes, "that which shatters our superficiality also shatters the fetters of our fragility . . . We are not the fragile flowers we've considered ourselves to be. We, like Esther, are the warrior princesses of God."

You are not only a beloved daughter of our Father, you are a strong "warrior princess" being refined and grown into the woman God has designed you to be!