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My Birthday Gift From God

Today is my birthday.

Last night was Prayer Meeting at church. I couldn’t get my mind off family problems.

I sniffled through the prayers and wiped away tears quickly before anyone raised their head from praying to catch me crying. After the service I scurried to the bathroom to fix my make up.

God forbid anyone see me cry in church and think I have spiritual problem. Why do we do this? Or am I the only one? I have a loving church family. Why don’t I reach out when I need them? Sometimes the loving laughter and hugs bring me pain becasue it reminds me my family is no longer whole.

Once I got home from church I was still weepy. I’m doing a ThreeLac Yeast Cleanse so I blamed my mood swings  on the “die off” form the candida cleanse.

I got a much need hug, pat, and encouraging words from hubby and went off to bed to pray.

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep or NOT

I brought each of my children to the Lord in prayer, as I do every day and every night. The more I prayed the more I cried. The “If onlys” came in to haunt me.

If only I listened more, if only I worked less, if only I read the Bible to them more, if only I was more demanding, if only I didn’t lose my temper, if only I was more loving, If only I said yes more, if only I said no more, if only I showed more grace…If only…if only…No one else family is this dysfunctional. I’m a failure as a mother.

Then the “whys?” came. Why us? Why my family? Haven’t I been through enough? Isn’t it someone else turn? Why do all other church families seem so intact and happy when mine is so broken?

I finally stopped fighting sleep and switched on the computer. I worked on a lesson on the Twelve Disciples  for Children’s Camp this weekend. Studying is the ultimate peaceful place to be for me. It usually knocks out any form of depression. But not this time.

I crawled back into bed after midnight and realized I am now 54 years old. Wow. I knew my birthday was coming but I never thought about the number 54 until yesterday. It is a big number. Still no sleep. Just more silent tears.

To get to my birthday present from God, I have to back up a week. (Nonbelievers will have a hard time with this but I know, that I know, this was divinely orchestrated by God. He does this sort of thing all the time for me.)

Listening to Little Prompts

Last week,  I was skimming my bookshelves and the book   A New Kind of Normal caught my eye. My book mark was still on the first chapter. I made a mental note to get back to this book.

A few days ago I read the top Christian book best sellers. I even sent out a Tweet on Twitter. “A New Kind of Normal” was on the list, another prompt  I wanted to get back to that book.

A few days later the book caught my eye again, this time I placed the book on my nightstand as a reminder to get back to it.

So last night when sleep efforts failed for the third time I grabbed  the book  “A New Kind of Normal” off my nightstand.

God knew JUST what I needed.

I spent the next two hours getting to know Carol Kent’s story. I needed to get to know another mother going through deep disappointment and grieving. I cried with  Carol and other broken families stories and with  Mary, the mother of Jesus, empathizing with  those emotions she was feeling as she relinquished her son to God.

The book inspired me to examine my pain, disappointment and hurt through the lens of God’s eternal perspective. To view despair, doubt, suffering, disappointment, sorrow, loss and hopelessness as life-derailing roadblocks then replace each with trust, perseverance, gratitude, vulnerability, relinquishment, forgiveness and purposeful action.

I didn’t feel alone anymore. I know God has a plan and will work out things for His good (Romans 8:28). I may not see it now but He is working in Carol’s family and in my family.  I can rest in Him because He has a special plan.

Jesus said He would give rest to those who were weary and heavy laden. The Christian life is not a life of working but of dwelling in Him. As we dwell we become transformed into His image, being changed by His glory.

Book Description:

Normal isn’t a word that makes sense to Kent, a bestselling author and speaker whose only son murdered his wife’s ex-husband in 1999 to protect his stepdaughters from suspected abuse.

Kent’s latest writing continues this harrowing story of rebuilding life where no “normal” exists; where holidays and Sundays are spent in prison visitation lines, and where pleas for leniency go unheard. Kent and her spouse employ dynamic journal entries and soulful personal stories to recount the ongoing, sometimes debilitating, journey to hold fast to God’s hope despite dismal circumstances. Kent’s inner ache is transparent and her pain raw, yet she delves into trusting God when despair is overwhelming, relief is beyond reach, privacy is no option, and loss overpowers all other emotions. In the midst of the pain—more in spite of it—the Kents choose hope, every day, every hour. This is their message of triumph to all Christians who suffer yet continue to hold fast to God’s promised provision

A New Kind of Normal: Hope-Filled Choices When Life Turns Upside Down begins with the story of that horrible night when Carol and Gene learned their son had been arrested, but it doesn’t end there. In fact, Carol knows what it means to live with an unthinkable circumstance that will never change — and to still make hope-filled choices.

Through the eight chapters in this book, Carol will use their own story, the story of Mary mother of Jesus, and stories of women who have experienced their own “new normal” to share how God has led them to choose life, gratitude, vulnerability, involvement, forgiveness, trust, and action.

Thank you God. I needed that!

Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.

And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us. (1 Jn 3:21-4:1).

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About Robin Sampson

15 comments

  1. Happy Birthday!!

  2. Christine

    Happy Birthday! I hope (and pray) you can reconcile things with your two adult children. God bless you! <3

  3. We truly have a caring, loving and awesome God! 🙂 What a wonderful birthday gift He gave you this year. In His perfect timing!

    Hope you have a wonderful day on your special day. Praying for you and your family.
    hugs!

  4. AmishPrimitives

    These are really hard days for families. Sorry about your 2 children. Maybe God will work things out, maybe you’ll discover the secret that will unlock Satan’s grip some day. It is strange but things can work that way, God can use all things to the good of the called. That is His precious, tried, true, and sure promise. Sometimes things that happen in our lives can make us seek harder because certain things mean more to us than others. My heart goes out to you. Jesus said there will be misunderstandings in families. A sword will divide some 2 against 3, 3 against 2. Even some close relationships like father and son betraying one another to death. Sad sometimes, but you must keep praying for them. I do believe our offspring is very important to God.

    Kim

  5. words cannot express the pain in my heart to read this and know of broken areas in your life. may the shalom of yehovah be upon you this day. know you are loved not only by the LORD but by many who are praying and thinking of you daily!

    happy birthday!

  6. Isn’t it comforting to know that the tears we so frequently try to hide from others, are ALWAYS seen by Him who loves us most?! I’m so thankful he saw your need, dear Robin, and responded w/the perfect birthday gift for your soul!

    Hope you’re having a great b-day, and as I’ve already said on your FB page, I’m SO very thankful you were born!:o)

  7. a very happy birthday to my dearest sister! know that you are very very loved 🙂

    blessings, Penny Raine

  8. Sweetheart,
    What a wonderful present from Papa to you!!! I also have grown children that we don’t hear from…I also pray always for them….I understand your pain. The verse I cling to for my peace and sanity is Isaiah 54:13 “ALL your children shall be taught by Adonai; your children will have great peace.” Notice it says ALL your children? Well, Sweetie, He meant it. Cling to that verse, along with Romans 8:28 and know your Papa WILL work things for your good…and the good of your children. He loves you more than you love them! And He loves those children more than you ever could. Rest assured, He’s gathered everyone of those tears as He’s wiped them from your face and replaced them with droplets of His Love for you. Shalom, Spitfire
    PS 54 isn’t that old….age is only a state of mind….if you don’t mind, age doesn’t matter! Grin…

  9. Sandra

    Mazel Tov and Happy Birthday, and the very best wishes to you and yours for an abundant year! Thanks for your articles and encouragement on a continuing basis, it has made a big difference to me. I continue to share your blogs with others too. Ya Bless you Robin, Sandra

  10. Robin,
    Happy Birthday to you!
    The Lord rejoices over you with Joy & with singing! (as you know well) ;o)

    Will pray for you, today, Robin!! It hurts to read about the pain you are going through. The Lord is going through it with you, and will carry you through (as you know), and will manifest His Help to you and your family in due time!
    It is so hard to wait until things are resolved! He will be there, with you, all the way through, though. Keep trusting! Keep praying! The Lord YHVH Shammah is there, and He will be sufficient for you!

    Kathy
    trusting in El Shaddai, YHVH Shalom

  11. Lisa Arndt

    I can relate to the feelings you expressed quite well, as I am a single mom who so desperately wanted to keep the family together. But now that it’s been about 2 years since the divorce and another year of separation before that, I know it was best to get out. I have learned that even an intact family can’t be my god, and so I continue learning that only the LORD truly is my life. I filed for divorce after MUCH prayer, realizing that my kids were going to be hurt badly if I didn’t. Thanks so much for sharing. My oldest son went through some big time anger and rebellion about a year ago and I thought I might lose him to a foster home or social services. Thankfully, we found a truly loving and helpful church where we do not feel judged. I thank God for this. But I too cry, only I cry for all that my kids are missing out on without a dad. So when I read your posts, I get so inspired to go on and be thankful and know that God sent me here to read your stuff. Thanks so much.

  12. Robin, i am 43 and I too know this pain that involves 2 of my 5 children. It is so encouraging to know I’m not alone in this. Jesus is always the answer. I am learning “no condemnation” and the power of intercession and faith and my confessions (what I speak over my sons and myself)and others! Don’t despair. Psalm 18

  13. Robin K

    God is good! Not only do you and I have the same name, we’re also the same age and are going through the same pain. I have cried many tears in prayer for my grown children and like you, I beat myself up for all the “if onlys” too. Last night was another night of prayer and tears and regrets. But today, for the first time, I came across this blog and knew God had led me here. He is merciful and wants everyone to be saved, including our children. Let’s keep praying for them and for His peace to saturate our minds and give us rest.
    God bless you on your birthday and everyday.

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