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God's jewels

"If you want to shine with His glory, it will be on His terms". Those are the words of Joni Eareckson Tada, a woman who was paralyzed at a young age and has spent decades learning how to glorify God through suffering. In the seventh chapter of Voices of the True Woman Movement, "God's jewels", Joni explains the way God uses suffering to defeat our sin. She presents the question: "Why not cooperate with what God is doing in your life - preparing you through difficulty and hardship for His beauty to come shining through?"

One of Joni's challenges is to focus on others who are needy, using what God has given you to make a difference in the lives of others. I often think about this, as we have been given so many resources and advantages! I am limited in physical strength, however, and struggle with a great deal of pain daily. This means that giving physical assistance to others is hard. Since I find it a challenge to keep up with my own housework, I am not able to clean the homes of others when they have a need. I often give meals, but have to face cutting back on that also as I near birth and aim to stock up our own freezer to provide for us in the early months of our new child's life. So what can I do? I have a little mental list for this time in my life:

* Write cards - isn't it wonderful to receive a thoughtful, thankful card or letter in your mail box? I want to increase in blessing people in this way.
* Pray for God's provision for those I can't help physically
* Email in encouraging ways
* Blog with the goal of encouraging others
* Give financially
* Welcome everyone who comes to our home
* Visit the local community center and contribute there
* Visit those who are sick or elderly
* Attend church and encourage others there
* Say "yes" to service opportunities that use verbal or written gifts, rather than physical strength. These include opportunities to share at women's events and taking children's talks at church.
* Organise prayer meetings and attend those that others hold

At times I may have to even cut back on some of this. Visiting becomes more difficult when I am in more pain and may not be possible when the baby is tiny.  Whatever our challenges, though, we can all do something to bless others and further God's kingdom. I was encouraged when I read Joni's exhortation that "it's through obeying in small, yet great ways, that God miraculously changes you."

Lisa  – (August 24, 2010 at 2:38 PM)  

Sherrin,

It's sad to hear that you deal with regular pain. Is that something that you've dealt with for a long time? I praise God that you are honoring Him through the hardship and seeking to use what He's given you. What a great list! You've put thought into it. Thanks for sharing.

~Lisa~

Sherrin  – (August 25, 2010 at 9:33 AM)  

Hello Lisa,

Thanks for your encouragement!

Yes, I have had chronic back pain for a long time. I had a car accident 11 years ago where my spine was fractured.

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