When God Teaches Us Difficult Lessons

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.”
1 John 3:1-3 NIV

Working with children can be exhausting, exhilarating, and everything in between! Our son is old enough to start sleeping in his crib. If he sleeps on mom or dad he wakes often, cannot get comfortable, and as a result gets very poor, interrupted sleep. I know he is not getting the rest he needs to grow and thrive. So after feeding him and changing him, I put him in his crib making sure he is comfortable. Then comes the difficult part: watching him learn. He cries, he struggles, he wails. Often he cries so hard I can go into his room and put his laundry away. He is so focused on his unhappiness he doesn’t even notice me.

Maybe his thoughts are: “Why am I alone? Did I do something wrong to deserve this? How can I get out of this situation?” My heart breaks to watch him cry, but I love him and want what’s best for him even though it is painful for both of us. When my son finally accepts being in his crib, he is calm. He plays quietly, he rests. His circumstances have not changed. He accepts mom has placed him in his crib and it is time to be still.  Once he accepts being in his crib he sleeps peacefully. I know his body is getting the rest it needs to build and help him grow.

Do you see the comparison coming? When God sees us having a difficult time growing, He knows it is time for a lesson. It breaks His heart to see us suffer, but He knows we need to learn the lesson to have a deeper, more resilient faith. He hears us cry out, “Why am I alone? Did I do something wrong to deserve this? How can I get out of this situation?” Often, we are so focused on our own misery and circumstances we can miss seeing what God is doing!

We can change our attitude even though we cannot change our circumstances. It is certainly not easy learning the lessons God teaches us. My own reaction is always to focus on my own suffering first. I must constantly examine my heart and adjust my attitude. I am a work in progress!

What tough situations are you currently facing? How are you coping? Is there a heart attitude with which you need God’s intervention?

In Him,

Amy Horton


Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.
Psalm 100 (NKJV)



woman-on-phone-300x200The telephone rang. “Hello,” I answered. My daughter–in-law Leigh was on the other end of the call. “Nana, are you busy?” She always asks that question when she calls. Of course, I rarely answer her with the truth … I’m always busy. But, not too busy to talk to my girls. Girls. It took 25 years before a girl joined this testosterone, male dominated family of ours; 31 years to have a female born into it—our first granddaughter, Natalie.

But I digress…”Nana, are you busy on October 18th and 19th?” Leigh inquired. My thoughts ran wild as I tried to envision my calendar. “Whatever it is, I need to clear it,” I thought, “because I bet I’m about to be invited to keep my grandsons while Mom and Dad take an overnighter.”

Because of mission trips, writing deadlines and ministry business, I hadn’t been able to spend much time with the grandchildren for a couple of months. Lonely for them, I was afraid they were feeling like second fiddle—neglected for The Cause. That concern always brings conviction to my heart—that I’d let ministry duties get out of balance.

Mothers and Grandmothers do that sometimes. We get busy with Important Stuff. Good Stuff. Jobs, church work, ministry, volunteer causes, hobbies, walk-a-thons—whatever.  Before you know it, we’re over-committed. And tired. And cranky. And forgetful. And if we don’t stop the process, our family relationships will suffer.

Family. After our relationship with God, it’s our first priority. It’s our most important blessing. God meant family to be the foundation of our lives on earth, not a sideline thought. He created family to be the foundation—the glue of society. When we cease to put Him and Them first, our whole lives get out of whack.

So, I listened closely to Leigh to see if my suspicions were correct. Was I going to get an invitation to lay down my responsibilities in ministry to serve my family and fellowship with my precious grandsons, Asher and Mason? Ah, but wait! Serving our family and fellowshipping with them IS ministry! Our most important one!

Leigh’s voice came through the phone once more. “Can the boys stay with you that Wednesday and Thursday? Brady and I have to go out of town for his job …”

“Yes! Now, what will we do those days?” I thought.

Join us tomorrow as the planning, and the joy … begins!

Until tomorrow,

Your Traveling Companion,