A Surprise: “Abiding in Him”

The swelling had begun in earnest as the tears rolled down my puffy cheeks. Another medication reaction from a medicine that was not supposed to cause reactions.  Surely, God, You saw ahead of time that this would happen? … It was the launch week of our new book, after all!

Just days before the reaction, I held a miracle in my hands. A published book of the story that my husband and I had shared together on this blog last year had come together in ways we could never have guessed. And yet now, the joy was mingling with lament.

Of course, for those who have followed any of my blogging, you probably recognize the pattern. It is the way God works in our lives, isn’t it?

Last December when I announced my “retirement” from this blog, in order to be more fully present with my husband in his retirement, a proposal popped into my inbox.

My dear friends at the beautiful chronic illness ministry of Chronic-Joy offered to compile our story into a book to be published through their ministry. They asked us if we would be willing to turn our manuscript over to their editing and subsequent publishing for their bookshelf.

To say we were floored is an understatement! And to offer our book as a resource for the ministry of Chronic Joy? Of course we would donate the profits (however meagre they might be) to this beautiful ministry that has been such a blessing to our chronic illness lives.

But then the doubts began to trickle in until they became a flood: Who was I to take up the valuable time of the small group of volunteers at Chronic Joy? … And why would anyone care to hear about our many weaknesses and failures?

Somehow, through the prayers of my faithful friends, and through the deep mercy of my Father, I heard the call of His Spirit asking me to follow Him into the new that He had planned for us.

Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

Isaiah 43:19 NIV

My dear writing friends who have blogged with me over these past years reminded me of the very words that God had spoken. Anna Smit and I had shared so sweetly together on her blog through the book God gave us there. So often we had prayed together:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV

It had never been about me, or my husband, or our many failures. It had always been about God, and HIS working in our lives. So, while I may lament about my weaknesses, about my struggles to keep from worrying, about my many “failed” medications, God is asking me to look up and praise Him in the storm.

For you see,

“My thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways My ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are My ways higher than your ways
    and My thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV

And out of the small places of our story, God birthed a beautiful book beyond our imaginings. Chronic Joy gave us a true labor of love. And in return, we offer our love back to them, and up to God.

His love is like that. It travels full circle and touches every heart along the way.

Are you in a place of doubt today?

I would love to invite you to travel with us on our journey to find that His strength has always been all we needed, and to find that in abiding is our rest.

Chronic Joy Publishing

Click here to read about Chronic Joy’s offering of our story. Their website is chock-full of beautiful resources to encourage you in your chronic and or mental illness. While you are there, why not pause and look around a bit. Their Prayer Pond is dear to my heart, where we can share our requests and pray for others too.

If you prefer, you may go directly to Amazon and purchase the book there also. Click here to be taken to our book’s page.

As I was preparing this post to share, I searched for the song that I quoted in Chapter 3 of our book. I felt prompted to share that song here, as I’ve listened to it so often throughout the years.

But what I found amazed me. Somehow, over the recent years when I had listened to the song, I had missed this version, with comments about its origins, and the full lyrics that I had not heard in decades.  God’s timing is always just what we need.

“Thank You Lord” Dan Burgess, Cynthia Clawson, Brian Mann

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Romans 5:3-5 NIV

As Dan Burgess quoted these Scriptures, I realized they are the words that God has been sowing and reaping in our lives through every struggle, every place of suffering, and every surrender. And it is now my prayer for you as we release this book to go wherever God takes it.

I have missed praying here with you my friends. Will you join me today?

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for calling us into Your family, for joining us together in the Body of Christ, and for Your precious Son, given for us. What kind of love is this, that forgives all our sins, and washes us white as snow?

Will You lift each of my friends into Your heart of encouragement today? Will You show them the glory of Your working in every place of their suffering? And will You pour out Your hope upon them today cleansing away every bit of shame?

And we will praise You, our Lord Jesus, for the blessing of abiding in You. We worship You our God for showing us that You have always been our only hope and rest. Thank You for the gift of eternal life with You.

In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

And now, I’m so happy to let you know that we have a free copy to give away! Anyone who comments here on the blog will be entered into a random drawing. I will leave these comments open until the week of November 14th, when I will announce the winner. (So it looks like I am stepping out of “retirement” for a few more weeks. 😊)

I am linking with: Remember Me Monday

29 thoughts on “A Surprise: “Abiding in Him”

  1. Dear Bettie ~

    I am so excited! I just ordered your book and should be getting it tomorrow!!

    Your life, your humility, your faithfulness, your deep, deep love for our LORD and your beautiful trust in Him along with your wonderful husband teaches me, model for me, the way to walk rightly with God. It comforts me and encourages me to keep walking forward while holding God’s hand, even when life doesn’t have a seamless flow.

    I love you dear sister and thank God for the privilege of knowing you, even across the miles.

    In Christ’s Peace,

    Melody ~

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Melody, thank you for the privilege of knowing you also! What a compassionate and caring Father we have. I’m so grateful that He blessed you through these words that He gave us to share. You have so often blessed me as well–His comfort overflows among us! May you be so graciously blessed by the Lord, dear sister.

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  2. “His strength has always been all we needed, and to find that in abiding is our rest.” Amen! Thank you and Barry so much for sharing your story and now amazingly also in book form. I LOVE the cover! 🙂 Love and blessings of strength for each day and light and peace for the way!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you dear Trudy for all the ways that you have been an encouragement! Isn’t our God so amazing, the way that He keeps teaching us more about His grace in our lives? And that cover was such a gift from Chronic Joy. It meant so much to me this summer, especially after the Lord had sent a brave goose to strut past our car right after my Shingles diagnosis this spring. It was as if He was sending a special gift of courage my way! I love the way that we can share our heart for His nature-gifts together! Blessings and love to you dear friend!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you dear Karen. I have appreciated your support and encouragement so much. Your prayers and words have been Heaven-sent for me, so many times! Blessings and love to you dear sister!

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  3. Congratulations on your book! And, thank you for writing from the viewpoint of pain. It takes a lot to be vulnerable but it is also a blessing to many who read it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you dear Jerralea. I appreciate your understanding so much. It really has been a journey with Jesus to share from those painful places. But He has brought such comfort every time. So I do pray for that same comfort to overflow to those who may read these words. Blessings to you today!

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  4. Dear Bettie, what a joy to see your book published. Your story is such an encouragement to me and I know will be for so many others. I had never heard the song you shared, and this was a beautiful arrangement and so cool to hear the story behind it. May God continue to bless and encourage you and Barry in this season of your lives. You continue to be such an encouragement to me, dear sister/poet/friend! Much love and many blessings! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you dear Gayl for being an encouragement to me too. I’m so thankful that the Lord wove our paths together to share His support and grace along our journeys! And yes, isn’t that song so good? I’m so glad that this version is available now. I pray blessings and love over you an your loved ones today!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am so blessed by God’s working in your life, Bettie! I miss reading your words regularly, but I am grateful that God gave you and your husband the words, strength, and community to share your story to bring hope to others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Lynn, thank you for blessing me today. You have brought tears to my eyes, and gratefulness to my heart for all of God’s weaving here over the years. I pray that He continues to bless your writing and beautiful photography also!

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  6. Oh, dear friend! I am SOOOOO happy for you and Barry! I know this book will go forth and minister to many and bring much glory to our dear Lord. I trust He will keep His hand upon it and allow the two of you to see many miracles as a result of your sharing such intimate details of how He has led you. You are such a blessing and encouragement to me and so many others. I am just thrilled that your story is being told. I love and appreciate you and am praying for you. I am looking forward to posting about your book and will do all I can to help you promote it. God bless you always, sweet friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Cheryl thank you so much for all of your prayers and love thru these years here. You have been such an encouragement to me also! Your support means so much to me. I pray that each one who reads our story will be blessed to know God’s beauty and help for them too. May God cover you and your dear family with His overflowing grace and mercy! Love & hugs dear friend!

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  7. Bettie, how I miss your words, but totally understand your decision to retire! May God bless you abundantly in this season, and may He continue to bless you through your story as it touches the hearts of many, inviting them to true abiding in trials. You have inspired me with your soft, but powerful words!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Donna I’ve missed our sharing together too. Thank you for your encouragement to keep trusting God as He changes the seasons and times. Your prayers mean so very much. Yes, May He touch hearts to know how deeply He cares for each of us. And I pray for you too, that God will continue to lead you & guide you along His path. Blessings and love to you.

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  8. Congratulations, Bettie and Barry!! Rejoicing with you in the LORD to see the beautiful fruit of His leading in your lives now being shared with a bigger audience. May God continue to touch and heal hearts in His compassion and mercy through you both. So thankful to God for you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you dear Anna, and thanks be to our Living God! He has been so full of goodness as He wove our paths together with yours. All of your prayers and love across the miles have meant so very much to us. May He continue to bring our surrenders up from the deep places of His heart within us. Hugs and love to you!

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