Why We Need to Go Through Fire

Why We Need to Go Through Fire

This week I would like to welcome Ronne Rock to the blog. Ronne and I had an open honest conversation on By His Grace this week about church hurt, and loving the body of Christ. Ronne is a woman passionate about loving and serving her creator on the mission field of life. Today she shares why we need to go through the fire. Please welcome Ronne Rock to the blog.


Why We Need to Go Through Fire

by Ronne Rock

“I don’t get why there has to be pain. I don’t understand God’s purpose in it – it’s not fair.”

Looking back on all the prayer requests and emails and comments I’ve received when I’ve asked, “how may I pray for you right now – what’s going on in your life?” the subject that eclipses all others is pain and suffering. There are volumes of good theological discourse on why pain exists in the first place, and wonderful studies done on pain’s purpose in our bodies. What’s been churning around in my heart lately is neither.

It’s been 19 years since my mom took her last breath on this earth. And this year, there will be both the ache of her absence and the rise of fresh bravery to live my days fully in her honor.

I don’t have answers to every “why” of pain, but one of the most powerful things I’ve learned about its usefulness is the power of scorched earth.

Yes, scorched earth.   

Each time I visit LaPaz, Honduras, to spend time with the children of Niños Comúnidad, I ask if we can stop by the foundry where aluminum pots and kitchen utensils are made. We first visited one several years ago, when a local friend asked if we’d like to see a small miracle in the making. Our van wound through narrow streets for a bit, and we then parked next to a rusted corrugated metal wall. The smell of petroleum and earth was thick in the air, and waves of heat flushed our faces as we entered the yard. On the other side of the wall, men were working – all in tattered clothes and flip flops. A fire blazed in one corner of the yard to transform recycled metal into brilliant red liquid, and under a thatched roof that offered a bit of shade, the molten metal was being poured through small holes in hand-crafted molds. Bowls, plates, and large cooking pots were being made that day.

The red-hot aluminum reaches 1000 degrees before it’s poured. The laborers’ feet and hands are marked with scars – something they say is a harsh reminder of the road marked with purpose.

That first foundry in the community was started by a man who learned the art of casting pots from his grandfather. While there are factories in other parts of the world that make the same type of thing, he wanted to retain the heritage and dignity of the craft. So, he set up shop in a struggling neighborhood and made jobs available for men who desperately needed a way to earn a living.

Each item produced means a bit of money in empty pockets, and even more money can be made if the men are willing to travel. It’s difficult work, but the sense of pride in craftsmanship is evident in everyone’s faces. The work of their hands feeds their families and pays for electricity and helps start new businesses so more people can work.

Last October, friends and I visited a new foundry, located behind a small home and storefront in the same neighborhood. A growing business meant new opportunity for more men who had been trained to cast, and this new location allowed each of us to get even closer to the detailed work being done.

Metal had just been poured and large aluminum pots were cooling to the side. Two of the men looked at each other, smiled, and began a friendly competition to prepare the next casts. There was a rhythm in their well-honed labor, as they shoveled dirt into the wooden frames, packed it with their feet, trimmed it with knives, and carefully examined their work. Over and over, the process continued.

Shovel, pack, trim, examine.

Two frames would be carefully packed, and then the bowl or plate or pot would be added and packed into place with hammers, then even more carefully removed to reveal the shape to come.

We were captivated by the process, mesmerized by the joy of the workers as they had the rare chance to show off their skills. There was no vocational school or university to teach them; no, everything they had learned had come from the classroom of experience and fire and earth.

Yes, scorched earth.

You see, the dirt used by the foundry laborers to create tools used to prepare meals that feed bellies and bring life has to undergo its own transformation before it can transform molten metal. 

It has to go through fire.

The workers walk to a nearby dry riverbed and bring the soil of clay and sand. It is sifted first to remove rocks and debris, and then it is set ablaze. The fire changes the chemical composition of the soil, making it stronger, more resilient, and more malleable.

Only then can it hold its shape and cradle its creation.

The fire gives the soil greater purpose. It gives the soil life.

There’s something about fire.

In Guatemala, the volcano Fuego spews smoke and ash daily, and its lava streams threaten those who live below. It is hell-bent on destruction – and yet, life emerges. Its sister volcano, Acatenango, bears the brunt of Fuego’s fury and yet is home to some of the most robust coffee plantations in the country. Fuego’s fire is fuel for Acatenango’s strength.

Gold must melt to remove its impurities so that it becomes worthy to wear as a covenant symbol. Minerals moved through fire become glass and pottery that only then is used to pour out and serve. And you and I, moved through fire, become too. What we become depends on our response to that fire. Again, I don’t have answers to every “why” of pain, but I do pray we are unafraid to become scorched earth through its presence in our lives, and let pain become a road marked with purpose. I pray that with the ache comes the bravery.

I pray that the fire gives us greater purpose, and gives us life. Click To Tweet


Ronne Rock believes that you are hand-crafted by God for a life that is rich and vibrant and filled with stories. She travels the world to find hope and restoration in the midst of brokenness, and she invests in the lives of women to provide encouragement and wisdom for faith’s journeys. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, or on her website at RonneRock.com.

Ronne Rock

Tell stories that change stories.

writer | speaker | advocate | adventurer

Website: ronnerock.com

T/IG: @ronnerock

FB: facebook.com/RonneRockWrites


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Much Love,

 

Misty Phillip

Can You Stop a Mom?

Can You Stop a Mom?

The long awaited day had finally arrived. It was months in the planning. Everything needed to be just right.  I spent hours searching online, for the perfect decorations, and yummy food for a couple’s bridal shower, well not a just a couples shower, but two couples showers.

I was standing in my kitchen talking to a sweet friend, who had come to share a devotional for the young couples. She was commenting on how beautiful everything was, and how wonderful the food turned out. She said,” You are amazing! I can’t believe you did all of this!”  That is when it hit me, how do you stop a mom? But we’ll come back to that in a minute.

What made my friend think I was so amazing? Well, six weeks earlier I was riding bicycles with my boys. My oldest son Jacob was training for the MS150, a 150-mile ride from Houston, Texas to Austin, Texas to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis. Jacob, my youngest son, and I set out to go for a ride. As soon as we got to the trail my oldest son took off. The big ride was going to happen soon, and he needed to train.

Ian and I ambled from one park to another enjoying our ride and time together. I thought I was so clever. Attaching my phone to the front of my bike with Velcro, so that I could track my fitness, and control my music.

It was a beautiful day, and we were on a trail in the middle of the woods, that runs along a creekside. When all of a sudden around the 15-mile mark, my phone started to slip out of the Velcro, and my headphones were yanked out of my ears. I was afraid that they would get caught in the tire, and make me wreck. So without thinking, I reached for my phone with my right hand, and I squeezed the front break with my left hand, and came to a screeching halt! I was catapulted straight over the top of the handlebars, and without thinking, I put my hands out to brace my fall and snapped both of my arms.

Without thinking, I reached for my phone with my right hand, and I squeezed the front break with my left hand, I came to a screeching halt! I was catapulted straight over the top of the handlebars. I wasn’t wearing a helmet, and without thinking, I put my hands out t brace my fall, and snapped both of my arms! My left arm was nearly a compound fracture, and both my Ulna and Radius were broken. Fortunately, I only broke the Radius in my right arm, but that meant that I had two broken arms, and needed surgery to repair them. I had three plates and twenty screws inserted into my forearms.

My surgeon said it could take three months to a year for me to heal. Click To Tweet

Three months to a year? What? What did he just say?

At my follow up appointment two weeks after surgery I asked him, “How soon I can drive?” and he just laughed at me. I am a busy wife and mom. I have a husband and three boys and I am a busy homeschool mom.

I don’t have time to slow down, or stop for that matter!

If you are a mom then you know the drill. Someone is always vying for our attention, needs something, or we just run from one activity with our kids to the next. Which brings me back to that question. That question, that struck me so profound, that I couldn’t get it out of my head. As I was standing in the kitchen talking to my friend, and she was saying I can’t believe you did all of this, with two broken arms!

I simply replied, “ How do you stop a mom?”

But the fact of the matter is I did stop. I had to stop. I couldn’t brush my teeth or hair, feed myself, dress myself or bath. I couldn’t do anything for myself, or anything around the house. I couldn’t drive, grocery shop, laundry or cook for months. Besides hosting that bridal shower, I pretty much didn’t do anything else for almost a year! The one thing I could do was pray, and I spent a lot of time talking to God!

God showed me there was nothing that I needed to do for HIM, and that even in the midst of my sin, Jesus gave His life up for me. During that time He showed me how much he truly loved me, and cared for me. He ministered to my soul in ways I didn’t even know I needed. It is definitely not what I would have chosen for myself, but I wouldn’t exchange that precious time spent with the Lord.

Ronne Rock: Church Hurt

Ronne Rock: Church Hurt

Ronne Rock and I have a far-reaching conversation about church hurt and the love of the body of Christ. She believes that you are hand-crafted by God for a life that is rich and vibrant and filled with stories. She travels the world to find hope and restoration in the midst of brokenness, and she invests in the lives of women to provide encouragement and wisdom for faith’s journeys. 

Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, or on her website at RonneRock.com.

Unexpected Events

Unexpected Events

We all face trials in life, some big ones, some small ones, and others that require a healthy dose of longsuffering. Today I welcome my friend Karen Smith to the blog. Karen has faced many difficult struggles in her life and has put her faith and trust in God to see her through her darkest days. Nothing is wasted in God’s Kingdom economy. Please welcome Karen Smith to the blog today.


Unexpected Events

By Karen Smith

Unexpected events sometimes happen in our lives.  We are caught off guard. I don’t know about you, but when unexpected events occur, I often feel that I am not emotionally prepared to handle such circumstances.  Sometimes my eyes leak tears, or sometimes my mouth spills not lovely words. Other times, I’m left speechless.

As I shared with you, I had an unexpected event that brought many tears to my eyes.  I had a 9-year-old and an 11-year-old. The diaper days were completed and the baby items sold.  Until….the unexpected pregnancy came and brought much surprise into my life. I had been sick and couldn’t seem to shake the sickness, or so I thought.   Then one evening we walked into a fast food restaurant and that all too familiar morning sickness hit my stomach with a vengeance. The stop at the store for a pregnancy test soon confirmed my suspicions–my illness wasn’t a virus; it was a baby.  Not just any baby, but an unwanted baby! What made matters worse was I had a friend that had been unsuccessful at conceiving a new baby, and now I was pregnant with one I didn’t think I wanted. The tears began to flow. For two weeks, I cried almost non stop before the realization that life would go on began to settle in.  

Unexpected events can bring sadness into our lives and cause tears to spill from our eyes. Click To Tweet

A few years ago, my husband’s health had been declining.  He had been on short term disability as he was recovering from a difficult chemo season.  He was preparing to go back to his job as a physicist. As he was getting ready for his first day back at work, he took a fall in the bathroom.  It was soon evident to me that he had a leg that would not hold any weight. A trip to the ER was in his future, and not the day at work he had planned.  It didn’t take long for us to discover he had a broken hip. This season of chemo recovery, a broken hip, and ALL three of my children came down with head lice I was not prepared for this season of unexpected events.  Yes, some tears leaked from my eyes, but more than tears were the ugly words that raged out of my mouth.

Where was God?

Was He even looking at me?

How much more did He think I could handle?

I think there were many words that I shall not repeat as well. My son stated it so eloquently one night, “Mom, I’ve heard you say more curse words in the last few weeks than I have heard you say in your entire life.”  Unexpected events can illicit undesirable actions!

A few months ago, I had a doctor insist that I attend an eating disorder treatment center.  In a week and a half, my life went from what I thought was reasonable to unraveled. It felt like I was walking in a cloud.  Everything was moving forward, but I was oblivious to its movement. The paperwork, the medical tests, the saying goodbye to my family, the arrival at a treatment center were all a blur.  Even though I was the primary participant in all these events, it did not seem real. Two weeks into treatment, I begin to start to feel again. I remember scratching my head thinking how in the world did I get here?  How did I agree to this? Unexpected events can paralyze us and make us a spectator to our own life.

We all have stories.  Every single one of you could take different situations and plug them into mine.  Unexpected events that have left you with tears or questions and not lovely words or situations that have caused you to be a spectator to your own life.  

Your stories are different, but the result is the same.

The more experience I have, the more I am learning to do three things that help me walk through unexpected events better.  When I can remember to do these three things, it allows me to have a much different response to unexpected events.

  1. Remember God’s faithfulness in the past.  When circumstances steal my joy, recalling the times in my life that God has been present and carried me through help bring a calm assurance into my heart.  It brings confidence that God hasn’t left me in the past and He will not leave me in the future. Our God is steadfast in love and faithfulness. Psalms 86:15 states,  “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”

 

  1. Sing loudly.  Go ahead and laugh now, but I mean it.  Sing His praises. My God is a big God and is worthy of praise.  No unexpected event is bigger than God! So go ahead and sing loudly about our awesome God.  For real, He determines the number of stars and gives them a name so He surely can handle my unexpected storm. “He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.”  Psalm 147:4-5

 

  1. Hold hands with a friend.  This number three is harder for me than number one and two.  I am a do it by yourself kind of girl. I like to hold my struggles close, not allowing others to enter into my world.  However, Scripture says in Galatians 6:2, “Bear one another’s burden and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Allowing others to enter our world encourages us to keep going.  Allowing others to hold our hands gives us the security to face unexpected events. Hold hands with a friend, let a friend bear your burden.

 

When unexpected events come raging into your life, I challenge you to remember to claim God’s faithfulness, sing loud and hold hands with a friend.  These three things will surely help you navigate the next unexpected season.


 

Karen lives in Huntsville, Alabama with her husband and three (20, 18 and 9-year-old) children.  She has served as Preschool and Children’s Minister and Women’s Ministry Leader.  When her older children were younger she directed a MOPS group.  She has also taught 2nd grade at Freedom Project Academy.  

Currently, she homeschools her youngest as well as caregiving to her husband.  Karen’s husband suffers from a debilitating disease known as Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. Karen loves to minister to women in crisis.  She spends many hours in hospitals alongside those who need to know they are seen and loved. Karen speaks at Women’s Conferences and has a passion to help women learn to connect with one another.  She has come to understand that much of aloneness in life is not someone else’s fault, rather it’s each’s own inability to receive.  She also teaches women that in their brokenness, they are not disqualified from serving God and others.  In fact, in the middle of brokenness she teaches women the secrets of what she has learned in order that they may live life with more love, grace, and gratitude in the middle of brokenness.

Karen regularly shares glimpses of their faith and struggles with others, via her blog.  She has encountered what it means to be stripped of everything that seems normal to her all the way down to what she puts in her mouth.  But after being stripped down, she sees how God is using some of the darkest places in her life to comfort others in their darkest moments!  

Karen blogs at www.glimpsesoffaithandstruggles.com

You can find Karen online:

https://www.facebook.com/glimpsesoffaithandstruggles8694/

https://twitter.com/kksmith8694

https://www.instagram.com/kksmith8694/


 

Unexpected things may take us by surprise by God is never caught off guard. He has a plan for our lives, and it is a good one. We can trust him with the unexpected events in our lives. I sure enjoyed this post by Karen Smith today, and I hope you did too!

I have some exciting news to share with you today!

Karen Smith and I are both contributors to a ministry called A Wife Like Me  We wrote a book to address the need for wives wanting to grow deeper in connection with their husbands. The book is called Dear Wife and it comes out May 1st, but is available now for pre-order on Amazon at Dear Wife Book.

Dear Wife provides you with twenty-six heart changing invitations to discover how Christ desires connection with you and how through connection with Christ, you’ll develop a deeper connection with your husband. In this book, you will: Replace boring and busy with building deep intimacy and love, Swap ongoing complacency with an intentional connection, Spend guided alone time with your husband and God, Experience more depth in your marriage relationship, Restore and build a connection with God and with your husband. For more information visit Dear Wife Book.

Thanks so much for joining us here today! Remember, you are never alone in your struggle, and God is always there to see you through!

Much Love,

 

 

Misty Phillip

Karen Smith: Unexpected Struggles

Karen Smith: Unexpected Struggles

When Karen unexpectedly becomes pregnant, she didn’t respond with the typical joyful response you might expect. Listen to find out how God used this unexpected blessing in her life.

Karen lives in Alabama with her husband and three (20, 18 and 9-year-old) children. Currently, she homeschools her youngest as well as caregiving to her husband.  Karen’s husband suffers from a debilitating disease known as Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. She also teaches women that in their brokenness, they are not disqualified from serving God and others.  In fact, in the middle of brokenness, she teaches women the secrets of what she has learned in order that they may live life with more love, grace, and gratitude in the middle of brokenness.

Karen blogs at www.glimpsesoffaithandstruggles.com

For more information about the Dear Wife book www.dearwifebook.com

 

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