Called to Suffer

>> Saturday, September 14, 2013

by Sarah Forbes

If God made "the Captain of our Salvation perfect through suffering" (Hebrews 2:10) and He wants to make us like Christ (Romans 8:29) why do we suppose that He would NOT choose to mature us through suffering?

Even Paul suffered and asked that his affliction be removed but God refused, instead telling him "My grace is sufficient for you" ( 2 Corinthians 12:7-10). Why do I suppose God would do any different with me?

Too often I hear references to the end of this verse, but those references skip the beginning of the verse which states, the part that HOW we will be like Christ: that we will suffer. "For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps." (1 Peter 2:21)

Called to Suffer.

That is a hard pill for me to swallow. It doesn't line up with our modern idea of God making my life better. But it is Bible. If I follow Christ, I will suffer. If not through persecution (we don't have much here in America yet) then God will use another kind of suffering to mature me in Christ. Perhaps an illness or financially difficulties. This is how I become more like Him. It is how I learn that I am utterly dependent on Him for my being (Acts 17:28).

After considering all this, I realized that I have been praying wrong. I was praying, like Paul, that God would take my illness away when the illness is evidence that God is working in me. Previously, I had seen it as keeping me from doing something for God. In reality it is what God is doing in me, what He is using to make me more like Him.
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Living with Hashinoto's

I have tried explaining the issues I have with Hashimotos Thyroiditis (an autoimmune disease) and feel that I regularly fall short of explaining just how debilitating this disease has been for me. I think this article best describes what having Hashimotos is like. I first saw it in Hashimoto's 411 Facebook group.


Hi. My name is Hashimoto's.

 I'm an invisible autoimmune disease that attacks your thyroid gland causing you to become hypothyroid. I am now velcroed to you for life. Others around you can't see me or hear me, but YOUR body feels me.

I can attack you anywhere and any way I please.I can cause severe pain or, if I'm in a good mood, I can just cause you to ache all over.

Remember when you and energy ran around together and had fun?I took energy from you, and gave you exhaustion. Try to have fun now.

I can take good sleep from you and in its place, give you brain fog and lack of concentration.

I can make you want to sleep 24/7, and I can also cause insomnia.

I can make you tremble internally or make you feel cold or hot when everyone else feels normal.

I can also give you swollen hands and feet, swollen face and eyelids, swollen everything.

I can make you feel very anxious or very depressed, too. I can also cause other mental health problems.

I can make your hair fall out, become dry and brittle, cause acne, cause dry skin, the sky is the limit with me.

I can make you gain weight and no matter what you eat or how much you exercise, I can keep that weight on you. I can also make you lose weight. I don't discriminate.

Some of my other autoimmune disease friends often join me, giving you even more to deal with.

If you have something planned, or are looking forward to a great day, I can take that away from you.

You didn't ask for me. I chose you for various reasons:That virus or viruses you had that you never really recovered from, or that car accident, or maybe it was the years of abuse and trauma (I thrive on stress.) You may have a family history of me. 

Whatever the cause, I'm here to stay.

I hear you're going to see a doctor to try and get rid of me. That makes me laugh. Just try. You will have to go to many, many doctors until you find one who can help you effectively.

You will be put on the wrong medication for you, pain pills, sleeping pills, energy pills, told you are suffering from anxiety or depression, given anti-anxiety pills and antidepressants.

There are so many other ways I can make you sick and miserable, the list is endless - that high cholesterol, gallbladder issue, blood pressure issue, blood sugar issue, heart issue among others? That's probably me.

Can't get pregnant, or have had a miscarriage?That's probably me too.

Teeth and gum problems? TMJ? I told you the list was endless.

You may be given a TENs unit, get massaged, told if you just sleep and exercise properly I will go away.

You'll be told to think positively, you'll be poked, prodded, and MOST OF ALL, not taken seriously when you try to explain to the endless number of doctors you've seen, just how debilitating I am and how sick you really feel. In all probability you will get a referral from these 'understanding' (clueless) doctors, to see a psychiatrist.

Your family, friends and co-workers will all listen to you until they just get tired of hearing about how I make you feel, and just how debilitating I am.

Some of them will say things like "Oh, you are just having a bad day" or "Well, remember, you can't do the things you use to do 20 YEARS ago", not hearing that you said 20 DAYS ago.

They'll also say things like, "if you just get up and move, get outside and do things, you'll feel better." They won't understand that I take away the 'gas' that powers your body and mind to ENABLE you to do those things.

Some will start talking behind your back, they'll call you a hypochondriac, while you slowly feel that you are losing your dignity trying to make them understand, especially if you are in the middle of a conversation with a "normal" person, and can't remember what you were going to say next. 

You'll be told things like, "Oh, my grandmother had that, and she's fine on her medication" when you desperately want to explain that I don't impose myself upon everyone in the exact same way, and just because that grandmother is fine on the medication SHE'S taking, doesn't mean it will work for you.

The only place you will get the kind of support and understanding in dealing with me is with other people that have me. They are really the only ones who can truly understand.

I am Hashimoto's Disease."
(This is originally from Gena Lee Nolan's thyroid page in her "notes" section.

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The Testimony of a Strong Willed Child

>> Friday, September 13, 2013

The Testimony of a Strong Willed Child
by Sarah Fobes

I was THAT child.

You know the one. The explosive, high maintenance, strong
me, 5 years old
willed one. The one that the teachers thought --at first-- was really sweet, until something didn’t go my way. Then out world! I stomped, yelled, kicked, and threw things. I ran away from school. All this was before fourth grade when my parents brought me home for school.

I didn’t like public school. I could blame my behavior on the school system, but that wouldn't be the truth. I’d like to say that homeschooling changed my behavior and all that nonsense stopped. But it didn’t. My brother still cringes over the Saxon math book I threw at him when I didn’t like his explanation of my math questions. I can’t count the number of pencils I broke and doors I slammed in frustration at the world which I thought was set against me.

I am sorry to say that my mother must have endured many tears and sleepless nights over me.

So what did she do? She prayed. She endured. She corrected me. She insisted that I do right. She taught me Scripture. She kept on loving me no matter what. Oh, the drama I put her through. It grieves me now, as a mother myself, to think of the hurtful things I did and said to her.

Once, in a fit of anger after running away from home at age 11, I told her she didn’t love me and never had. I can still clearly remember the wounded look on her face. Even as I said it, I knew it wasn’t true. In fact, I was a miracle baby and my selfless mother had spent nights awake caring for me, listening to be sure I was still breathing, vigilant on my behalf. Her love for me was always evident in what she did. This is one of those moments in my life I regret. One of the memories that Satan uses to discourage me when I am down. I used my words to crush someone who loved me and cared for me more than anyone else ever had.

Back then, I didn’t really care what my parents thought. I did what I wanted with little regard for their rules or standards. I overheard a conversation between two ladies at church: they were sure I would be pregant by fifteen. But the seed of my parent’s love for God had been planted in my heart, and it was slowly growing. In my rebellious moments, I could hear the Lord calling. I could see my mom snuggled in bed with her Bible, my dad on his knees by our couch in the early morning hours. I could feel a draw to God. I heard Him calling through the life, love and daily example of my parents.

One day shortly before my 13th birthday, I went to a friend’s house. She was an unbeliever. The family situation was deplorable. She had been smoking since she was seven and “physically active” since ten. She was the only girl my age in our the neighborhood, and I thought I wanted to be like her. She was pretty and fun. All the boys liked her. That day, I didn’t know that her parents were not home and that she had invited boys over for a “party.” As soon as I got there, I realised what was going on --that they were pairing off in different rooms. An older boy picked me.

At that moment, my world stopped.

I had watched my friend live a life of promiscuousness. I saw the seeds of darkness in her life. I wasn’t sure that was the life I wanted. I saw two paths separated in front of me. One was the life my parents lived, one of seeking to serve God --imperfect though that service may be. The other was a path to sin and destruction. I had not read “Pilgrim’s Progress” nor Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken.” But I to this day when I hear references to either of those, I am taken back to this moment. This defining moment when I would choose to follow God or abandon my parent’s faith.

So what did I do when this boy “laid claim” to me? I fled. I ran. As fast as I could and I didn’t look back. Joseph and Potiphar's wife comes to mind. I ran home and locked myself in my room. I urged my friend to come with me, but she refused. She was even excited to stay.

Though I had fled from sin, I had not yet decided who I would follow. At home in my room, the weight of this decision was heavy on my heart and my mind. I struggled to decide if I was going to follow the world or the Lord. I barely ate or emerged from my room for days. All the while I could feel the Lord calling to my heart. I remember sitting with my back against the door rocking back and forth with sobs, all the while letting the desires of this world melt away. I had seen how the sin of this world was destroying the life and family of my friend. God’s love and forgiveness stood in stark contrast. God’s love compelled me so strongly that I had no desire to say “no” to Him. All else paled in comparison to following Him. I didn’t say a special prayer, though I had “asked Jesus into my heart” when I was four. What I did was I DECIDED. I chose the less traveled path and have never --not for one moment-- regretted it. (To this day, praise the Lord for prompting me to flee. I fled with my innocence intact. My friend was pregnant before her sixteenth birthday. Had I not fled, the overheard conversation at church may very well have come true.)

I didn’t tell anyone about this battle in my heart until many years later. After I had children of my own, my dad and I were discussing the salvation of my children. That was when he described the change that he and my mom saw in me: Suddenly, out of nowhere it seemed to them, I changed: I cared what they thought, I started to obey without fighting them, I sought their wisdom, I began to choose better friends and modest clothing, I wanted to go to church, I read my Bible of my own accord. When Daddy described this change I knew exactly what had facilitated it. I always knew I had changed in that moment, that the Lord had changed me. What I didn’t know was that everyone around me saw it too.

It occurs to me now that God made this change in me without my parents direct involvement. They didn’t even know what had changed or why. They simply lived a godly life in front of me as an example for me to choose to follow. They were not perfect parents, but they were sincere in their faith.

So Mama... so Dad.. out there reading this... wondering about

your own little spitfire. Don’t despair as you watch your child strong-willed child struggle. Plant the seeds of a godly life and let the the Lord water that fruit. Live a godly example, love unconditionally like Christ, and pray fervently... and then pray some more. Be an example of a sincere godly life that your child can clearly see. God IS calling your child. Even in my darkest moments, God was calling me to Himself. He loves your child more than you ever could and He will never give up on him. When you are at the end of your rope, remember... even when you can’t see it: God IS working.

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All this is a result of my personal hard work. Do not take any of it and claim it as your own. Feel free to link and use my photos IF you give me credit. Please be honest. Any other use will need permission. Email me at (sarah.beyondallmeasure at to request permission for other uses.


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