Remembering God's goodness in a season of trials...






A repost...because I'm back in the book of James and life is a series of "trials of various kinds" and though the trials of this season are different from those of two years ago, it's nourishment for the soul to remember God's goodness in the testings.

I'm sitting in the book of James these days when he tells me to...
Count it all joy...
when you meet trials of various kinds,
for you know that the testing of your faith
produces steadfastness.
And let steadfastness have its full effect,
that you may be perfect and complete,
lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4
....and the trials of various kinds come knocking.  

Since May 1, I've seen the plastic surgeon three times to have a cyst removed from my face, had lab work twice, a repeat thyroid ultrasound, and a dexa scan. I've made three visits to the orthopedic surgeon's office, including x-rays of my knees and three injections in one knee with two more injections to go. I've seen the rheumatologist and endocrinologist, and I leave these visits with more suggested treatment options.

And each of these appointments have been at least an hour's drive from Pollywog Creek.

The coups de grĂ¢ce - I have an itchy rash on my legs, neck and face that makes me want to rip my skin off.  

It's obvious, don't you think? I'm allergic to doctors.

And I'm losing my mind. I actually scheduled one of those appointments and a meeting with a new girlfriend who is working with me on a writing project for church at the same time I was supposed to be leading Bible study.


But you know what? God is still good. He has revealed himself in a multitude of ways throughout this month's marathon of trials and misteps and mistakes. 

The group of ladies I meet with on Tuesday mornings for Bible study are more precious to me than words.

My Thursday morning trips to the city to see Lizzie for knee injections are almost like going to church. I leave that office not just with medicine in my knee, but inspired and encouraged to steadfastness and hope.

Yesterday, between a knee injection and an appointment with the plastic surgeon, I met with my writing partner and friend Robbi for breakfast at Cracker Barrel. As we looked over the menus, a familiar hymn played through the restaurant's background music, and we both looked up and smiled. It's a gift from God just for us, Robbi said. 

Even the hours I've been alone in the car, driving here and there, have been a sanctuary. When Matt Redmon's Ten Thousand Reasons comes on the radio, I crank up the volume and sing my heart out to God, and I'm more than filled to overflowing with gratitude for all the ways God lays gifts at my feet and blesses my soul.  

After a week of hiding the incision across my cheek under a bandage, the plastic surgeon removed the stitches from my face yesterday. This was the second procedure I've had to remove a large cyst from my neck or face, and the surgeon worries both times that the meds I'm on for rheumatoid disease will prevent me from healing, but both times she announces her pleasant surprise that the incision is healing well. I praise God and tell the surgeon how good it is to have something go well. 

This morning I'm back in the city, only this time it's for my husband. He's had his own barrage of trials this month, and today he's having the first of two skin cancers removed from his face in a two hour procedure. 

I drive to Starbucks, order my favorite latte, and find a seat at a long table in Starbucks where I open up my laptop to work. Glancing across the top of my laptop, I recognize the mannerisms of the woman sitting across the table from me - so I ask, Are you a writer? Over the next hour, we introduce ourselves, exchange business cards, become facebook friends and share our writing projects, as well as our frustrations and battles with self-esteem as late bloomers in a writing world of beautiful, young, savvy and energetic women. 

But more importantly, we talk about the goodness of God. We see it in how we've providentially ended up across the table from each other - as I wait for my husband's procedure to be over and she for a friend having eye surgery. We both have stories of the evidence of God in our disappointments, His encouragement in our struggles and the abundant measure of His grace and mercy poured over and into our lives. 

James is right. No matter what, I can count it all joy, because God is always good, and these trials leave me lacking in nothing