by Lauren Watt
Editor's Note: I am so excited to have a new guest post by my dear friend, Lauren Watt. Lauren is a wonderful sister in Christ who has joyfully navigating some very difficult health challenges with grace and perseverance. Each day is a struggle that she keeps fighting through; however, she has beautifully trusted God throughout the process and her faith has been made stronger because of it. Therefore, I am honored and privileged to share a guest post she wrote for us on choosing joy in the midst of hardships. I hope you're blessed and encouraged.
I'm an artist.
When I took my first lesson in oil painting nearly a decade ago, my instructor told me that once I started painting I'd never look at anything the same way. And she was right.
When I look at the woods surrounding my family's home, I pay careful attention to the shadows on the trees. When I look at the colors of the sky, I am more aware of the gradation of dark to light blue. I even notice things like how light catches on dew drops in the grass.
I am aware of many little details that I overlooked before I began painting. The world has always felt like a more beautiful place since I first picked up my brush. However, none of my surroundings changed, only my perspective did.
Editor's Note: This is the testimony and life journey of a dear friend of mine and her personal experience in treasuring God's Word. Formerly a servant in the ministry of family discipleship, Stephanie Hills is now involved in the incredible work of Bible translation. This is the story of the journey God took her on to reach this point in her life and ministry. Though this isn't the style of posts I generally share, I felt that since So I Fix My Eyes... is centered around the Bible, this topic would be fitting. I pray that you are encouraged, inspired, and blessed by Stephanie Hills' story.
After a painful good-bye with promises to keep in touch, I climbed into the car and drove away from their lives. For the first two months after we moved, there were video calls every week. After that, however, it turned to phone calls. But those, too, became less and less frequent. Until in a matter of months the only messages were texts from me, as I tried to keep up. At first they were answered, but that became less and less frequent as well. Eventually, I felt like I was nagging my beloved friends. I felt like my messages were just another thing they had to do, and I should maybe send less of those as well. Now, I might hear of their lives from other people, but they don’t really know me anymore.
Since a very young age, I have always been fascinated by the stained glass windows found within the states. The stories of Jesus show forth proudly as the new day sun shines through. Casting the dark reds, and deep blues upon the faces of the congregation as they eagerly listen to the words of their shepherd. Small children investigate the photos of Christ in His ministry on earth, remembering the tales of Christ that they so often hear from their parents: the feeding of the 5,000, Christ's birth, death and resurrection. Though it may seem childish, I still enjoy spending my time looking at stained glass windows and maybe the reason behind my love of them is knowing how much they show my own story.
We make many assumptions. Too often we assume that as Christians, we don’t experience the same problems unbelievers face. It’s easy to think that once we are redeemed from our sins we don’t have as great a need of God’s grace as others do. We know that those who don’t trust Jesus for forgiveness have been blinded and hardened against the truth (John 12:40, Ephesians 4:18). However, when Jesus stilled the storm in Mark 6, the disciples were surprised at Jesus’ power because “their hearts were hardened” (Mark 6:52). This begs the question, “Can Christians have hard hearts as well as unbelievers?” Hebrews 3:14 indicates we certainly have the potential, so I don’t think we can remove ourselves from this dangerous category. Instead we should know what it means to be hard-hearted, what we can do to prevent it, and how we can be restored if we have sinned by having a hard heart.
Editor’s Note: Since my article was published on TheRebelution.com, there has been an increased focus and interest on the subject of trials and God’s sovereignty in them. So when I received an email from a friend paralleling the metal refining process with God’s work in our lives and the biblical use of metal, fire, and purification, I was so encouraged and excited by the concepts and truths brought out that I felt led to share it with you all. So here it is. While the first half may become a bit tedious—especially if you’re not an engineer—keep reading, everything will fall into place and create a power-punch at the end! May the Lord use it to encourage and build you up in your current place—whether it be in the midst of, coming out of, or recovering from a season of difficulty.
Today, as we close out the month of November and subsequently Orphan Awareness Month, I am excited to introduce the first guest post on So I Fix My Eyes… The author is a friend and sister in the Lord who, after walking the adoption journey with her family, took the time to write a special article for her new little brother from China. It is a moving piece, so ladies, I would advise you to have tissues handy—just in case.
Now without further a due, I present “When Stories Collide”…
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