Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Facing Your Challenges, your skeptics and your difficult loved ones

At a recent Christian Educators' conference, the following thoughts were presented. I read them and what a light bulb moment for me! Recently, I've had struggles. I have published an ebook, an inspirational romantic suspense entitled Souvenirs and it's been difficult to reinvent that part of my writing life, to garner interest and give people the hope I showcased in that story.

But I also found myself at odds with several other people. Loved ones or not, people with whom you bump noses can still hurt you. So this short workshop really spoke to me, especially as I explain my difficulties to non-believers.

"Some people find it unreasonable to think that challenges and struggles might be a regular part of God's plan for our lives," The writer of this workshop explains. Romans 5:3,4 says "…tribulation worketh patience, and patience, experience, and experience, hope."

We tend to blame others, but really, in most situations, there is no one to blame. The mature response to tough situations is to affirm by faith God's purposes for us. These hardships give us a story to tell, allowing us to showcase the reality of God and that we don't have freedom from troubles just because we believe in Him.

But rather, Christ sustains us during those dark times.

I like how the Romans 5:3,4 in the NIV is for me more direct and clear. Suffering -> perseverance. Perseverance -> character. Character -> hope. Hope is what we get because we know we can handle tough things.

When you're struggling with a difficult loved one, remember first and foremost to love them. Your love will motivate you. Love them!! Ask them about their goals and concerns. Share your own failings. But focus on them.

Be energetic. At that conference, one writer put it well. "So often evil is portrayed as high energy and creative, while Good is portrayed as solemn and passive." Read Revelation for proof at how 'Good' really is!

Remember that we all have a touch of immaturity. We rush though easy work, but when it comes to something challenging, we hit a wall and become discouraged. Our loved one who are facing and causing challenges more than likely is facing the same. Remember that your loved one is not the enemy. Walk away if you have to, for a time, to prevent offending someone and being offended yourself. Proverbs 18:19 warns that 'an offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city.'.

God is at work when a believer is struggling with a challenge. And when the worst of the worst happens, He's at His busiest, because He's building hope, character and joy, and allowing the believer to tell others about the tough time they had. How can the believer witness if they haven't struggled themselves?

And as I work on my independently stories, as I promote them and show that they, like the Love Inspired books, are designed to inspire, I must remember that hope comes from tribulations. It's really only a few steps away.

Next time you're dealing with a tough loved one, or work is especially difficult, as it has been for me, remember that God isn't making it easy for us. He's showing us we can "Do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

I encourage you to pick up a Love Inspired book today. And consider, also, Souvenirs – a story of hope, forgiveness, and redemption.


Having been accused of murder, Anna LaBonte has no one to turn to but her mysterious neighbor, Brent Stirling. Brent knows the only reason he's helping her is to ease the guilt within him. But unless Brent can fully forgive himself, and Anna learn to trust, they will both end up dead.

Souvenirs is available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005AX7Z64

Thank you for stopping by today, and I pray that God is strengthening you to the fullest. And I thank the Christian Educators' Convention, (part of Accelerated Christian Education) for their inspiring words.

Barbara Phinney



  1. These post of yours brought back the words of Saint Paul heard in the second reading of (past) Sunday Mass:

    "There is nothing I cannot master with the help of the One who gives me strength." Philippians 4

    If we rule our lives through such reading (Paul is reflecting how being in prison brought him even closer to God and to trust everything He Sent his ways) it would make hardships easier and pain more bearable.

  2. Teresa, such wonderful words! Thank you for stopping by. You know, I find so many Love Inspired books with that theme, I just feel sometimes that those books were written just for me. Saint Paul's words throughout Philippians are so inspiring, aren't they?

  3. I've still to read or hear something of Saint Paul that isn't striking and overwhelming inspiring and comforting. He lived through the Word probably more than the other Apostoles and he didn't kept it on him but spread through all Christian Communities... I guess he had seen plenty of shadows, sorrow and pain to understand better what people needed to listen and be taught.
    Take Care Sweet Lady, I'm sending blessings your way.

  4. Very wise counsel. Thanks, Barbara.

  5. Thank you everyone. Remember, hope is just a few steps from tribulation. Hang in there!
    Love Barbara

  6. Very inspiring words, Barbara. I had a similar conversation with my daughter about walking away from an argument with her boyfriend. Thankfully, I've been blessed with a very supportive family. I get the trials in other ways.:-). Adding your book to my TBR pile.

  7. Waoh! I'm lifted. This is really blessing-filled, thanks.

  8. Everyone, I am truly blessed to meet you all. This post may have sounded a bit like a sermon, but it really yelled at me when I first read the words from the conference. Ironically, I wasn't able to go to the conference, but was given the notes on it after the fact, and just reading them lifted me up.
    Thank you all of you. I hope your Wednesday is filled with blessings.

  9. Lovely post, Barbara, and so filled with truth!

    I hold onto Phil 4:13!

  10. Debbie, I know so many people who rely so much on Phil 4:13.
    I spent the day at our school and though I am often tired when I get home, it's always a good day. And I must say it's God behind that.
    I wish you all a good weekend coming up, and remember to keep reading those uplifting LI books!


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