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Tag Archives: Rachel Olsen

  • What It Takes to Struggle with Something Hard

    Posted on November 30, 2012 by Rachel Olsen

    Rachel Olsen

    "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." Romans 8:37 (NIV)

    Beginning in my twenties, I wrestled each day with chronic pain and fatigue. The first few years of it, doctors had no idea why.

    Then came the diagnosis: fibromyalgia.

    I was told this condition was poorly understood, not very treatable, and also not reversible. In fact, they called it "degenerative," meaning it would worsen as I aged. In short, doctors said I had no chance to conquer this pain.

    The pain worsened for a couple years and I couldn't image what my life would be like five, ten or fifty years down the road. I prayed for deliverance.

    Looking back I'm astonished that despite my pain, I continued to work a full time job and take courses for a master's degree. I really don't know how I did that—except through Christ—because it was such a struggle daily. To concentrate on my work or schoolwork took an inordinate amount of effort because I had to focus over top of the ever-present pain in the foreground. Not to mention, a lack of quality sleep.

    Fibromyalgia was the thorn in my side, quite literally. And I leaned into God for strength. Often through tears.

    A long-distance friend wrote me this week to tell me she was experiencing a near debilitating condition: fibromyalgia. She gave me permission to share a portion of what she wrote:

    "Life has thrown me some pretty horrible punches and I have always gotten right back up. Except now. And to be honest with you, Rach, this is NOT a LIFE! And I can't BELIEVE that GOD would do this to me ... why isn't He healing me? All He has to do is say the word! I BEG Him to do that daily. While He keeps His mouth shut [on the healing] He did give me Psalm 88 the other night, and I cried a river. I was jumping for joy in my heart, but at the same time. Do you know what I mean?"

    I did know what she meant. So I told her my story. I told her that I walked this painful path too. I gave her my best tips for physically managing this condition. I told her how I tried to do all the right things according to my doctors. How I prayed, and prayed, and prayed for healing—sometimes out of faith and sometimes out of desperation.

    I told her how, seven years after my pain began, I was walking by a lake one day praying yet again for deliverance from this. And while I had often sensed God heard my prayers, this time I sensed He also answered. I sensed deliverance.

    Year-eight saw me pain free from fibromyalgia—the incurable, degenerative condition doctors don't totally understand. My condition stopped degenerating that evening by the lake and instead began improving.

    So in honesty and with compassion I told my friend:

    "Will God heal you soon? I don't know."

    "His ways are higher than our ideas of how things should go. But I can tell you this: It is possible. He hears your prayers and He is not indifferent to your plight. God loves you. Above all, don't equate your suffering with how God feels about you."

    Because despite all this stuff we're struggling with, victory is ours through Christ who loves us.

    I don't know what your story is today—what you are struggling with or against. But I know this: God knows your situation and He is not indifferent toward it or you. He loves you mightily! And His right arm is not too short to save you.

    So lean into Him because you need His strength until His deliverance comes.

    Lean in, pray and persevere despite the pain you are in. And keep hope alive in your heart. For this is how we struggle with something hard while holding the title "More than Conquerors in Christ." In Him overwhelming victory is ours.

    Dear Lord, thank You for rescuing me from all my troubles–either here and now, or in eternity. Strengthen me until your deliverance is seen. I believe victory is overwhelmingly mine through You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Lose the long list of resolutions and do something about one thing this year instead of nothing about everything. In My One Word, Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen help you find lasting change by spending an entire year focusing on just one word that represents what you most hope God will do in you.  Prebuy My One Word by Rachel Olsen

    It's No Secret: Revealing Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know by Rachel Olsen

    Reflect and Respond:
    Study and take heart today in the truth from Romans 8:18: "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." (NIV)

    Power Verses:
    Romans 8:22-25, "We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Rachel Olsen. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Romans, Rachel Olsen

  • A Sparkling Confession

    Posted on October 29, 2012 by Rachel Olsen

    Rachel Olsen

    "The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity." Proverbs 11:3 (NIV)

     

    I slipped the ring with the garnet colored glass onto my young finger. My hands clasped behind my back as my mom and I exited the store and climbed in our station wagon.

    Once in the car with my mom's eyes on the road, I laid my hands in my lap and began admiring my new ring.

    On some level I knew it was wrong because I didn't ask Mom if I could have it. And I surely didn't pay for it — I was only five. But it was my parents' store I took it from. Didn't that also make it mine? And it was my birthstone — it practically had my name on it.

    Apparently age five is not too young to rationalize.

    It's also not too young an age to learn about integrity.

    I have often heard it said that integrity is what you do when no one is watching.

    When no one was watching, I stole a ring.

    My mom noticed the ring on my finger and asked me where I'd gotten it. I think I told her my friend had given it to me. She knew better. But she didn't say so yet.

    Instead, she told me that if I refused to tell the truth she, and others, wouldn't be able to trust me. And she told me that if I didn't confess and correct my mistakes when I realized them, I'd feel awful with guilt. She gently warned me that ignoring that guilt would eventually harden my heart.

    I asked my mom to turn the car around because I needed to go back to the store. When we arrived, she didn't let me quietly put the ring back on the display. She instructed me to tell the lady working the register what I'd done, and apologize.

    I was torn. Part of me wanted to come clean. But part of me didn't want this lady to think less of me for stealing. I loved visiting our store—all the employees treated me so well. They cooed over me, complimenting my dresses and dimples. They gave me mints or gum from their purses.

    I feared confessing would cost me their favor.

    Billy Graham once said:

    "Integrity is the glue that holds our way of life together. We must constantly strive to keep our integrity intact. When wealth is lost, nothing is lost. When health is lost, something is lost. When character is lost, all is lost."

    Proverbs 11:3 says it this way, "The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity."

    I nervously set the ring on the counter and told the clerk I'd taken it earlier. She furrowed her brow and told me that was wrong, and never to do that again.

    Then she smiled, reached down, picked me up, and told me that stolen things lose their sparkle, but that an honest girl never would.

    My five-year-old heart wanted to be the kind of girl that sparkles. (And my grown-up heart hasn't changed much.)

    If yours does too, pre-decide today to do the right thing. To tell the truth. To flee from temptation. To be modest, or to be gracious, and to never steal.

    Although it may be hard—it may even seem to cost us something—integrity will guide us safely. Jesus said it will also allow us to see God (Matthew 5:8). And it will ultimately help us to shine.

    Dear Lord, I want to shine with integrity. I want a pure heart that readily sees You. And I want You to be pleased when You look at my heart. Forgive my sins and help me walk in a manner worthy of my status as Your daughter. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    For more on how confession and integrity restores our sparkle and vitality, see chapter 10 of It's No Secret: Revealing Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know by Rachel Olsen. This resource with Bible study questions at chapters' ends makes a great book for a women's small group study.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What recent wrong do you need to confess, apologize for, or make amends for today?

    What do you need to pre-decide today?

    Journal your confession and decision.

    Power Verses:
    Proverbs 20:7, 11, "The righteous who walks in his integrity—blessed are his children after him! Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright." (ESV)

    Proverbs 12:22, "The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Rachel Olsen. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Proverbs, Rachel Olsen, Confession

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