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    Women's Retreat Sierra Pines Church Oakhurst
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Sierra Pines Church

12 Ways to Turn Your Pain into Praise

Sapphires from Psalms

Better Than Jewels

 

Has the state of the nation got you so worked up that you can barely work? That’s what was happening to Nadine. She needed a counselor and I was glad to be there for her. Sitting down across from me, she unloaded her burdens. (Don’t worry. Nadine said I could share this because she isn’t the only person to come to me needing encouragement with the current state of the world.)

She opened up about her workload and her worries. She had worked two jobs and taken care of her ailing parents for the past six years. Her parents were gone now, but stress was still taking its toll.

“I come home from work, watch the news and it’s all downhill from there. I stress out about whether the company I work for will last. I look at who is running for president and my confidence in our nation plummets even further. I get so depressed that the values our nation was built on aren’t even considered by either political party. And if the country goes down the tubes, I don’t know if I’ll ever get to retire. I can’t sleep and my stomach hurts all the time. I need help.”

 “Nadine, you are obviously a hard working lady,” I informed her. “You are doing the best you can. There comes a time when we realize that we are to do our best and leave the rest to the Lord! Otherwise we will circle the drain in hopeless despondency—and clearly, lady, that is what you have been doing!”

I shared with her some tools from my book, Twelve Ways to Turn Your Pain into Praise: Biblical Steps to Wholeness in Christ, that have helped others on their path to peace.  “It isn’t easy for any of us baby boomers who are close to retirement age,” I offered, “but this is when having faith in God pays off! He’s in charge and we’re going to let him be. It’s our only choice, thank goodness!”

The current state of our nation can get so tied in knots, so discouraged that we can barely function. If we give up, nobody wins, except Satan! Here are some tools I passed on to this dear lady in my counseling office, as well as examples of others who found faith foundational for any of life’s hurts.

1. FIX YOUR EYES ON YOUR FOUNDATION

Larry was new to the church and to the faith. He discovered God in a recovery meeting eight years prior and when his friends invited him to church, he discovered Jesus. “I finally get my life together after drinking for years. My marriage is good, my business is better than it’s ever been because I’m not drunk on the job any more. But I’ve busted my hump for the seven years to make sure the wife and I had a nest egg and now I have to watch all I’ve worked for crumble!” Larry lamented. I could feel for him. Can’t you?

Then I remembered what my old pastor used to say, “Did it ever occur to you that nothing ever occurs to God?” He asked that question a lot to get us thinking about God’s sovereignty. I had to concede that God knew before time began that we would all be going through this financial, political, and moral insecurity, and He can be trusted to bring good out of it.

“His Word tells us that God is our security (Psalm 91:1 That’s my “911 Prayer,” I shared with Larry. “When hard times come, we are going to focus on our foundation not our 401K!”

 2. FOLLOW THE FREEING THREE

 Psalm 91:1 isn’t the only scripture that gives us peace. God’s Word is alive and it can change our hearts. When we know the truth of His Word, it sets us free. I recommend you search for three verses that address your need. Here are some examples: Fear--Isaiah 41:10, 2 Tim 1:7; Anxiety--1 Peter 5:7, Isaiah 26:3; Hope--Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 15:13.  Write down 3 Verses and read them 3x a day for 3 weeks. Put them in 3 Places where you will see them often i.e. your screen saver, mirror or if you’re like me, put it on the refrigerator. I’m bound to see it there! Let these words become your self-talk instead of the worries or the nightly news.

3. FOCUS THE FAITHFUL FIFTEEN

Larry had a lot to thank God for. His marriage had never been better. His drinking had caused him to lose his first marriage. “Since I became sober all of my kids have reconnected with me. It’s wonderful to have them back in my life. I’ve even got grandkids now and a chance to make up for what I missed out on with my kids. I realized I do have a lot to thank God for,” Larry admitted.

“Take the first fifteen minutes of each day to thank God for His faithfulness,” I advised, “and watch how it changes your perspective. Neuroscientists say that it will even change your very brain chemistry for the better.

“Instead of focusing on what’s not in your wallet, focus on what is!” I know that can be difficult. But I used to chronically see my cup half-empty,” I confided. I’ve worked hard for years to stay positive, and I’m still working at it.”

“You may have lost money in the stock market, but you have a roof over your head,” I continued to instruct. “You may not know what is going to happen to your company if the economy shifts during the upcoming election, but you have a job today. There is always something to praise God for. Look for it.”

4. FIND YOUR STRIDE

Satan would love to keep you so busy worrying about the future, you miss all that can be done in the present. There is very little you can do about who us running for president, but you can do something about the kids program at your church. There is work to be done today. Let God handle tomorrow. Get busy and you’ll find yourself worrying less. Remember to keep your eyes on the Christ, not the crisis!

These tools are simple but not easy. They require focus and intentionality. God is faithful and He will prove that to you.

Nadine took these tools to heart. She shifted her focus to something she did have control over and found herself in a much better place.

 

 

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