“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” – Hebrews 12:11 NIV
Who likes to be disciplined? Certainly not me! Growing up, I was a pretty good kid. I think my Dad spanked a couple times, but far worse than any physical punishment was knowing that I had disappointed him and my Mom. (Still does!) After I left home for college, I was far enough away that I couldn’t see their disapproval of my lifestyle…. but the knowledge that they would if they knew how I was living was always in the back of my mind. Knowing that GOD disapproved was there, too, so I partied harder to drown it out. You know, having so much fun I couldn’t feel how miserable I was.
That works, but only to a point. I finally found a man who was like me. I had known him for years, and we decided we were better together than separate. He prayed and went to church on Sundays, we worked hard during the week, and we partied hard on the weekends. A bit of a dichotomy, but it was working for us – or so we liked to believe. After a couple of years of this, we realized it really wasn’t working very well, so we made some changes. Side note: It’s not easy to change when the people you are around are still modeling the old behavior! It was hard to say goodbye to our friends who were still caught up in those behaviors, but necessary. We found godly friends in a little church we began attending, and our life was good. God was back.
I talked about Job and his trials in an earlier post. Well, over the course of the next few years, our lives became much like Job’s. We had been rather successful in business and were living well. My stepson decided to act out, and made the decision at the age of 16 to strike out on his own since we wouldn’t accept his behavior at home. I hurt myself at work, and was let go from a job I loved and was well paid for. Without my salary, things weren’t as good financially, and I was unable to go back to work for months. Over a period of the next several years, my husband became ill, we lost our businesses and our home, and had to rely on God because there wasn’t anything else. God blessed us with a church full of people who loved us and helped us when we couldn’t help ourselves. Life was good in spite of the pain. We determined after much prayer and deliberation that we would work toward another business. We researched and looked for the right place throughout Arizona and New Mexico… and ended up back in Oklahoma!
Another church body of wonderful Christians was waiting for us, and we began our B&B adventure. It was amazing, and we were able to minister to the people who came. My husband again became ill, only this time it was affecting his brain, too, and we had to let the business and property go. I thought we could get through this together like we had all of the other trials, but the man I had loved and married became an abusive, violent stranger. I had to leave.
I didn’t want to leave, but for my own safety I had no choice. I left my friends and my church family, too. I made plenty of bad choices over the next few years. I was mad at God, and stayed mad for a number of years. God still watched over me, but His discipline can be painful! Finally, I fully realized that I could not do it on my own. Letting go and letting God take control is not easy, but He will bless you mightily if you do. Think about it.