Whenever trouble comes your way let it be an opportunity for joy great. For when your faith is tested your endurance has a chance to grow.
When Logan, our oldest son was little his favorite ride at Busch Gardens was the kiddie airplanes. I remember the first time he rode them by himself; he was filled with excitement as the ride went round and round and up and down. Every time he passed by I stood on my tiptoes and waving like a crazy lady, praying that he wouldn’t fall out. Fast forward 16 years and now I am sitting on a crowded airplane (a real one) with that same son, 10,000 feet in the air getting ready to parachute out. Suddenly, that ride at Busch Gardens seemed so small by comparison.
As mothers we want to protect our children from life’s difficulties and uncertainties. If he doesn’t get enough playing time in the game, we confront the coach. If her friend said something mean to her, we call the girls mom and get it worked out. If he really wants a certain teacher this year we and go to the school and make it happen. There are certainly times when we need to step in because our child is in an unsafe situation, but more times than not we do it because we want to make sure our child is happy.
John the Baptist, when questioned about Jesus’ growing ministry as his own ministry was declining said, “He must increase, I must decrease”. James 1:2-4 tells us that the troubles in life are an opportunity for our faith in the Lord to grow; as our faith grows the Lord becomes bigger and bigger to us. He increases.
In His increasing He prepares us to trust Him to do what he calls us to do. We will be able to say, “Lord I do not know what is going to happen, but I trust your sovereignty, goodness and love for me as I walk through this.” When we approach difficulty and uncertainty in this way we come out on the other side with a stronger, deeper trust in the Lord.
Walking to the edge of that airplane, counting to three and jumping out is probably the most dangerous, frightening and uncertain things Logan and I have ever done. And quite honestly jumping out of a plane has NEVER been on my bucket list but it was on Logan’s. I remember waiting to board the plane thinking I could be the coolest mom in history, or the worst mom ever depending on the outcome. We could have avoided the danger, I could have stepped in and refused to allow Logan to go sky diving, but I would have taken an incredible adventure away from him. A chance for him to face danger and uncertainty and be brave, which is an important lesson in a young mans life.
The Lord has a great adventure planned for our children, but in order for them to live it out “He must increase”. For this to happen our children occasionally experience difficulty, challenges and uncertainty. (That “trouble” James talks about so their faith will grow.) In the end, isn’t that what we ultimately want for them? For their faith to be so strong they are willing to jump into any adventure He calls them to, even if it is not one we would personally call then to? One that allows Him to increase and us to decrease. Learning to fully trust Him in the process.
My precious husband, Bill, and I have been planted in Fort Myers, Florida for almost 35 years. As a newly married couple, God most graciously had placed people in both of our jobs to share Christ with us. Its hard to believe it has been almost 34 years since we asked Jesus into our hearts! Bill and I have been blessed with four children, 3 daughters, then a son. These blessings came quickly, all within 6 years!! During these years I'm so thankful I was able to be part of women's ministry classes at our church, helping me to grow in my walk with Him. Then came the day when I was asked that question that stretched me way outside of my comfort zone...will you teach a class? Its hard to believe that I have now been teaching more than 20 years. Bill and I love to travel, most of the time going to visit our 9 grandchildren, oh ya, and their parents! I also love reading, walking and hanging out with some very special young moms in Beloved that bless my socks off!
Julie is a Kansas girl who resides in sunny Southwest Florida. She's been married to her husband Sean for 23 years and they share two boys ages 21 & 17. She enjoys baking and biking, but her absolute favorite thing is snow skiing which is a little difficult to do in a sandy 80 degree land.
She became a follower of Christ at age 10. She loves studying and teaching God's Word. She has a passion for encouraging moms to love and follow Jesus.
Beth grew up in a loving home; however, in her early 20s she faced a very lonely time. During that time, she cried out to God and asked “If You are real, please show yourself to me!” God met her where she was and she trusted in the Lord Jesus at that time. Her life verse and desire is “no matter what happens, to conduct herself in a manner worthy of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27
Beth now resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband Larry. The Lord has blessed them by blending their family of five children. They currently have eight grandchildren and are hoping that there will be more grandchildren in the future.
Donna accepted Jesus as her Savior at the age of nine and has been amazed at God’s goodness and faithfulness throughout her life. She has been blessed to have had many mentors through each season of life, who have shown her what trusting God looks like. Donna and her husband, Bryan, have five children, one son-in-law, one soon to be daughter-in-law, and one wonderful grandson. Donna and Bryan have recently moved back to their home state of Arkansas after livingin southeast Alabama the past 23 years. Donna enjoys spending time with her family, laughing with friends (usually over coffee), going for long walks with her husband, and reading a good book (which may also be accompanied by a cup of coffee).
Sarah is a true Florida Cracker. She was born and raised in Southwest Florida. At the age of 6, Sarah accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and she hasn't looked back since. Hebrews 13:8 is one of her favorite verses, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Eating delicious desserts, spending time with her family and friends, and teaching people about Jesus are a few of the things she enjoys to do in her spare time.
Sarah has been married to her best friend and husband, Brandon, for 7 years. They have been blessed with one beautiful, determined son, Asher, who keeps them on their toes. Sarah and her family live in the Tampa area. They love exploring their community together, family hugs, and eating pizza whenever possible.
Katie Flint just recently moved back home to Fort Myers, Florida with her husband, Ryan and two children, Collins and Madden. At the age of 5, Katie accepted Jesus Christ to be the Lord and Savior of her life, after attending Vacation Bible School. Through each phase of her life, God has shown her that He alone is trustworthy. The verse that has been her life source is Psalm 46:10- “Be still and know that I am God.”
She is a stay-at-home mom and enjoys exercising and baking. She has been married to her husband Ryan for almost 9 years, who is her high school sweetheart. They enjoy trying new restaurants, family trips to the beach, and relaxing at home.
Marsha grew up in a small rural town in upstate New York. In 2006, after finishing college, she moved to sunny SW Florida where she met her, now husband, Shawn. Together they enjoy spending family time with their two fun-loving toddler boys Zachariah and Kairos.
Marsha enjoys living an active lifestyle, which is helpful, considering that her favorite hobby is baking.
Though she attended church as a child, Marsha was not saved until adulthood when her eyes were finally opened to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
Since being saved, God has placed a loving burden on her heart to share the truth about God’s healing grace with those who may feel like forgiveness is not possible for them.