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Trusting God When Times are Hard (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
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September 21, 2022 6:00 am

Trusting God When Times are Hard (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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September 21, 2022 6:00 am

Crystal Evans Hurst shares fun stories about her family to make a serious point: only God has the right perspective on our life, especially when times are hard. We need to understand how being a child of God also makes us His responsibility, and what that really means in daily life. (Part 2 of 2)

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Maybe instead of lamenting your mess, you just need to own your mess and say God knows what he's doing. Well, we have more wisdom to share for you today from Crystal Evans Hurst on Focus on the Family.

Thanks for joining us. Your host is Focus President and author Jim Daly, and I'm John Fuller. John, Crystal has been sharing encouragement for anyone who's experiencing a difficult time, and her starting point can be found in Ephesians 2-10, which states that we are God's workmanship, and Crystal's explaining what that really means for our everyday lives. Crystal is a blogger, podcaster, homeschooling mom, and a very young grandmother. She's the author of a book called She's Still There, Rescuing the Girl in You, and she's the daughter of our good friend, Dr. Tony Evans. And once she gets going, I think you'll recognize her dad's speaking style. She's got it, and she can preach.

And join us now for a front row seat at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center for Crystal's message at a Women of Joy Conference on today's episode of Focus on the Family. My grandmother, who had sewn clothes both for her children and also for other people to make money to send her children to youth camp when they were young. She was a great seamstress, wasn't a living, something that she just did on the side to make extra money. And I said to her in the sixth grade, will you help me learn how to sew? I was graduating from the sixth grade and wanted to make my dress. And y'all, I didn't realize that when you sew, you don't just whip out the fabric and put it on the machine. You have to painstakingly pin the fabric to a pattern and be very careful about how you cut it out. Sewing takes a lot of patience because of the stages that you have to go through before you get to the thing. You have to cut it out, and you have to be pretty careful about how you cut, because how you cut will determine how easy it is to sew the pieces together, that everything lines up the way it's supposed to line up.

Well, I didn't know all that in the sixth grade. So by the time we got to the end of the cutting, I was like, Grandma, can you just finish it? I don't think I want to learn how to sew.

I forgot about that when we started homeschooling, and my oldest daughter, who's very creative, very artsy, wanted to take a quilting class. And I said, I'll quilt with you. Well, you have to cut out a lot, a little pieces. So I got most of the pieces cut out. I even got most of the front sewn together. But by the time she had finished her quilt, binding, backing and all, I just barely had the front of mine done.

Y'all, I was so happy that the class was over, I didn't know what to do. And I just said, you know what, it's okay, I'll finish my quilt later. I folded up that top of the quilt and put it up in the closet, because I had forgotten that sewing is not the thing. I'm so glad that my daughter has gone on to be a wonderful seamstress.

I figured, just skip to generation. And one Christmas, she actually finished my quilt for me. Put the padding in, put the binding on, put the backing in, and handed it to me one Christmas.

I said, here you go, mom. I said, thank you so much, I'm so glad. I forgot about that when she got married, and I had this great idea that I was going to make her a memory quilt. Because I thought it's so great that you can take printable fabric, and I was going to have all the aunties and the cousins and the friends, and all the women that have been in her life all of these years, to give her words of wisdom or scriptures or quotes, things that would encourage her in her marriage as she went on in her married life.

And so I collected all the quotes, I printed them all out, got the fabric all situated, and then I realized that I had to put it together. So I called a lady in our church who actually had made me a quilt when I got married. I said, hi, Miss Faye, how are you? She said, I'm fine. I said, you know, I love that quilt that you made me so much. She said, baby, I'm so glad. I love making that quilt for you. I said, Miss Faye, I need a favor. She said, what is it? I said, I want to make my daughter this memory quilt for her wedding, for her bridal shower. Would you help me?

I've done all the work to print out all the quotes and scriptures and all that on the individual sheets, and I would love for you to just help me put it together. She said, I would love to help you do that. She said, when do you need it, y'all? It was a Tuesday. I said, by Friday. She said, well, I don't think I can finish it by Friday. What I might be able to do is just sew the squares together so at least you have something to share with her.

I said, I'll take it. So Saturday morning, the bridal shower came, and, you know, this is a hot mess. And if you've ever seen the back of a quilt, you know that threads go everywhere, okay? So any time you're sewing, what you see on the front is not necessarily the beauty represented on the back. On the back side, it's the sign that you were just trying to get the thing done.

On the front side, it's the sign that you actually wanted to present a finished product. So I wanted to show her, but I didn't want people to see the messy back. So I asked my sister, Priscilla, to hold one side of the quilt while I held the other side of the quilt. And the edges are frayed. I didn't want anybody to see that.

So we kind of rolled the top and rolled the side and then got some binder clips from the office supply store and just stuck it together. When we opened up the quilt, every woman in the room said, oh, my goodness, that's so beautiful. How thoughtful. How lovely.

What a great gift. And all I was trying to make sure of is that they didn't see the mess on the back side. I did give that front-facing quilt back to Miss Fay. She did put it together. And I want to tell you that it is a beautiful quilt that my daughter loves to this day. But when I presented it to her the day of her bridal shower, she was just as excited, if not more excited that day than the day I gave her the finished product.

Why? One, because she didn't see the back. And two, because if she had seen the back, she wouldn't have cared. What if in the middle of our lives as God is piecing us together with our experiences and our various personalities, what if we know the backside is messy? What if we know individually the backside of our story? We know where we've been. We know what we've done. We know what we've been through. And we pray to God that nobody sees the messy back.

And let me tell you something. When you really believe that you are His workmanship, when you really believe in Psalm 139 that it says you are created in your mother's womb and God knew you before anybody else saw you, and He stitched you together with a beautiful intention for your life, when you really believe that, then you'll stop hiding because you'll understand that even unfinished, even a little messy, you're His workmanship. What would happen if you decided to show up and act like God is going to use me where He puts me?

I'm not going to apologize for the messy back. I'm not going to apologize for what's not finished because I know He's doing a work in me. That Philippians 1 says that God is going to finish the work that He started in me. So why are you hiding if you believe that that is true?

You are His and you are His workmanship. We like to hide, though. We don't want anybody to know what happened, where we've been, what we've been through.

We don't want anybody to know what's happening right now in our homes. And let me tell you something. When you hide, when God is asking you to show up, you are short-cutting your life. There's someone out there in the world, in your world, who needs to know that if they don't have it all together that God can still use them. There's someone out there in the world who goes to your place of work or goes to your church who needs to know what you've been through so that they know that God can get them through.

There's someone that needs to know that God can comfort them the way He's comforted you during a dark season. And if you show up all the time all put together, they don't know what Jesus can do. What if as you are, unfinished, unput together, it's just the way God wants you to be right now? And what if you trusted in the perspective that God is always up to something good in your life? That it's true in Romans 8 28 when it says God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him.

That it's true. If you believe that, how would you show up in your life? I want you to know that you are not an accident or an afterthought. You are here for a purpose. My friend Valerie Burton says God made no mistakes when you were created. You are uniquely designed for success in your purpose. He made you alive.

And I need you to recognize that perspective on your life, even messy, is okay. I went to a Bible study for years. I would love to say that I went to a Bible study for years because I was just so hungry for the Word of God. I was, but that wasn't my first motivation. My first motivation was it was a Bible study for young moms and they would keep my kids. Can somebody just say Amen? You're going to keep them for three whole hours?

Three hours? Two hours for Bible study and one hour for fellowship? I will stay for all the fellowship you want me to stay for. Thank God.

Thank Jesus. But I went to this Bible study and every table had a mentoring mom and at the beginning of every year a mentoring mom would get up. All of the mentoring moms, they would line up and they would share their name, they would share how long they had been married, how many kids they had, and the last argument that they had.

And so every year a woman would talk. She'd say, my name is Patty and I've been married for 30 years. I have three children. The last argument that we had was him not mowing the grass on a regular basis. And then one year there was a lady named Jade and she said, my name is Jade. My husband and I have been married for 37 years.

We have three children. And the last argument that we had was about his socks on the floor. Fast forward to the next year. Jade got up again because she was still a mentoring mom. And when it came to be her turn, she said, my name is Jade. My husband and I would have been married for 38 years this year.

He passed away. We have two children. And honestly, I would give anything to have an argument about his socks on the floor. Perspective. Sometimes the mess is actually good. Sometimes the mess you'll look back years from now and realize that that was the good old days. Sometimes the mess, the thing that you're running from is actually where your experiences in life that you will treasure are actually happening.

Maybe instead of lamenting your mess, you just need to own your mess and say, God knows what he's doing. So I'm going to engage and I'm going to trust him and I'm going to keep the perspective that I'm his workmanship. And even though this is messy, he's working on me. You are his. You are his workmanship. You were created in Christ Jesus. Galatians 2 20 says, I've been crucified with Christ and I no longer live. Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body.

I live by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself up for me. I was totally immersed and engaged in the wedding of Harry and Meghan. I got up early in the morning to make sure I could see all the little funny hats and all the women coming to the wedding and the who's who. But I had two screens going.

I had one going so I could watch the wedding festivities. And I had another screen going because I was Googling away Meghan Markle. Meghan Markle. I wanted to know more about Meghan Markle. I was amazed at some of the old photos of her because there are certain things that were not a part of the new Meghan Markle. Little things like nail polish. Many times in old photos she had dark nail polish on like the black or the dark purple. Definitely a couple times I saw red. The new Meghan Markle wasn't wearing red because royalty doesn't wear red.

Did you know that? If you ever look at their fingernails, they're always nude, natural, blushy colors. She was an actress. She gave up her whole situation. She worked her whole life to be an actress.

Had a steady job on a show, Suits, I believe, and gave that up. Why? Because Harry loved her. And she said, if Harry loves me and says that I am royalty, then I'm going to act like royalty. I'm going to believe that I'm royalty.

I'm going to adjust the way I dress, adjust the way I look, adjust the way I walk, adjust where I go, adjust where I work because Harry loves me. Question I want to ask you is, do you actually believe that you're loved by Christ Jesus? That you're in Christ Jesus? That he is covering you and because he's covering you with his blood and offers you the gift of salvation because of his sacrifice on the cross? The Bible says if any man believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, he will be saved.

That means you are covered. You are part of God's family. When you're a part of God's family, you are royalty. Are you acting like you're royalty because you believe that you're in Christ Jesus? Are you acting like you're loved?

Are you willing to change things about your life, move where you live, change where you work, change how you dress, change how you think? And look at how people referred to her after the change it's princess making. Royalty.

What changed? Who loved her? And the fact that she believed she was loved.

Now here's the thing, you know, she doesn't change back in a couple of ways. But the reality is she's still operating under the banner of Harry's love. Harry was smitten.

Did y'all see how Harry looked at her? Smitten. And when I tell you that God is smitten by you, he made you in his image and when he looks at you not only does he see a wonderful creation because there's never been nor has there ever been someone like you nor will there ever be someone just like you. Fingerprints are different. The pattern on your tongue says you're unique.

The pattern on the back of your retina, remember Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, it would scan his eyes. It's true. There are physical things about you that no one else has nor will they ever. The same is true of your soul, your personality, your experiences, your gifts, your abilities, your interests, your passions. There is no one like you and when God looks at you he says, look at her.

She's one of a kind. And you are loved so deeply and so ferociously, so much by a God who created only one of you. And if you actually believed you're loved, how does that change how you see your life?

How does that change the lens through which you see what happens in your every day? Listen, I really mean it. There is no one like you. I am barely dressed today because my sister makes sure I look decent every time I leave the house. I'm so glad she has the gift of shopping because I don't.

I believe in black. I believe in yoga and t-shirts. I believe that when God created elastic waist with drawstring he was thinking about me specifically. She enjoys it. It's a passion for her.

There's nobody like you. A lady one time came up to me and she says, I got it. I know I got my purpose. It just dawned on me while you were talking. I finally know my purpose. I said, what is it? She said, brownies. I was like, OK, that might be my purpose, too.

But why do you say that? She said, every Sunday I make brownies at church every Sunday. And I thought all this time that this is just some random thing I do. I now realize I love it so much. I do it every week.

Nobody has to ask me. I'll bring brownies or muffins or cake or cupcakes and I bring them and everybody calls me the brownie lady. But what I realized is this thing that God has put in my heart to do. He made me like that. He gave me the gift of the enjoyment of baking. And when I bring it out of my house because I don't want to eat it all and I put it on the back table at church, what I am doing in obeying my gifting, my calling, doing what I'm passionate about is setting the table for fellowship because all the people gather around the table and they talk.

It's not about the brownies. It's about me using my passion, offering it up in my local church and letting God decide what he does with it there. You've got to believe in the beauty of who you are because of whose you are.

And the beautiful thing about you is that you were created to do something good. Every Monday in my house we have oatmeal. Every Tuesday we have smoothies and some kind of bread. On Wednesdays, every Wednesday we have scrambled eggs with cheese and bacon and make it in the oven. Once I realized I could make it in the oven and not kill myself and die of hot grease, it's like this is wonderful. I put it in the oven.

It's awesome. On Thursdays we have hot cereal. On Fridays we have pancakes. I do this because I don't want them to ask me every morning what's for breakfast. You know what's for breakfast.

It's Monday. So on Thursday mornings, I actually don't, that's my least enjoyable breakfast, we make cream of wheat or cream of rice. The reason we make one of the others, I grew up on cream of rice. I don't enjoy it because if you're going to heat milk up to the temperature it needs to be for the cream of rice or cream of wheat to cook, you have to stand there and stir it. So I just stand there making figure eights to make sure that the milk doesn't boil and that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. But the reason why I do this is because after it gets hot and just starts to boil and then I put in the cream of rice or cream of wheat and then stir it until I can feel that the thickness and the consistency is changing a bit, letting me know that the expansion of those granules are happening. And then right at the right time, I pour it into individual bowls, setting them up so that I can after that put a pat of butter right on the top because that's what the box says I'm supposed to do, put a pat of butter on the top. And when the kids walk through the kitchen and they see that it's cream of rice or cream of wheat day, they say, oh yes, she made the good stuff.

They love it. But I had to stand there and stir it. The Bible says in 1 Timothy, stir up the gift that is in you. That's 2 Timothy 1, 6. 1 Timothy says, do not neglect the gift in you. But here's the thing about what God wants to develop in you.

The good works that he wants you to do, it is the good stuff. But here's the problem, y'all. We don't like sometimes standing there to stir it. We don't want to show up and be committed in that ministry. We don't necessarily want to show up and stay in that job.

Sometimes we want to, we just are sick of the person we're married to. We don't want to stand there and stir it. But then we look at other people who are enjoying the good stuff and we want to know how they did it. Well, listen, sometimes they just stood there and stirred the thing. It wasn't time that was celebrated. It wasn't time they enjoyed.

It wasn't time that they were excited about it. But they knew, they believed that something on the other end of the stirring was going to be good. So they stood there and they put in the time. They put in the time on the job. They put in the time in their education. They put in the time to study God's Word.

They put in the time to taking care of the body. So when we see the other side of it, we say, there's the good stuff. What if the good work that God wants to do in you requires you in the season that you're in to just stand there and stir it? Just to be faithful where you are, to do the thing that's not exciting, to do that thing that's not celebrated, to do the thing that you may not even enjoy, but you're just trying to be faithful where you are.

Just trying to be faithful so that He can use you. You don't even know what the good works are that God has planned for you totally. But I can guarantee you that often when we see the good stuff in other people's lives, there's a season of their lives where they just stood there and stirred it, being faithful where they were planted. We all have a starting point at the blood of the Lamb. And I realize that our starting points are the same in Christ.

But then we have to go down the road and often along the road some things in our lives spill. I understand that it's messy. I understand that you don't like it.

I understand that it wasn't planned. I understand that you really don't understand why God would even allow this. But let me remind you of this. Regardless of what happens, you are His, you are His workmanship. You are created and covered by Christ Jesus. And if you're still here, there is still something for you to do. So when life goes awry, when life doesn't look the way you want it to look, when it's painful, when you're discouraged, I want you to keep in mind that you are still here and the seat belt represented by the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross for your sins means that you are covered, you are saved, you are safe. Keep perspective.

So no matter what the doctors say, you get to live forevermore. No matter what those kids are doing and going astray, that does not mean that God cannot redeem the time. No matter what you lost, the debt that God can recover, the locusts have stolen, God can bring that back many times over. I need you to keep perspective that as long as you're here, you're still moving down the freeway of your life and there's still more for you to do. So it's okay to cry over it, lament over it, be a little frustrated. God can handle that. There's nothing you can say to Him that He hasn't hurt somebody else.

Go on and be honest because He knows what you're thinking and feeling anyway. But then I need you to say, but what's the right perspective? Thank God that I'm yours. Thank you Jesus that I belong to you. Thank you so much that you've made me like no one else. Thank you so much that I am covered in Christ Jesus, that you are covering me no matter what is happening in my life. You are causing all things to work together for the good, my good and your glory.

And then thank you for the good work that you've given me to do. Help me to see it. Help me to be faithful.

Help me to do it. And then I trust you to keep me going along the road. So where do I start?

Where do you start? Listen, y'all, I ran a marathon once, one time. That's it. That's all I got. I ran through the finish line and then I kept running a Cracker Barrel and that was the end of that.

But let me tell you this. I'm not a runner. I've never been like a runner in my life.

Like it's not a thing that I've always done. But when I decided to run a marathon, you want to know where I started? I walked out of my front door and went for a walk. Went for a walk. And I walked longer.

Then I ran a little bit and then I built up to the 26.2. Marathon start with one step. One step. You ever seen a person of faith and you wondered how did they get there? How did they believe in God?

Why did God show up in their lives like that? I can guarantee you that a person in your life of great faith that you admire started with one step. It is a walk of faith. Walking one step at a time. So that means no matter where you are, you don't have to worry about the marathon. You don't have to worry about the half marathon.

You don't have to worry about the long distances. What you need to do is get up from your chair right now and decide to take one step and believe that God, as he says in his word, will order your steps and guide you to exactly where you're supposed to go. And as he's guiding you and directing you, if something in your life happens that you don't expect, you need to look up with graciousness and gratitude in your eyes and say, I don't like this mess. I wish I hadn't lost this.

I wish this wasn't happening in my life right now. But with gratitude, God, I trust you and I thank you that you hit the brakes. And I thank you that no matter what happened in my life, I am saved by grace and I can live forever with you.

And that perspective is all I need today. Lord Jesus, I just thank you for your word. I thank you that we're yours.

I thank you that you have covered us. And I thank you that you hit the brakes on Calvary so that none of us would have to live apart from you eternally. And when life blows up on us, would you forever remind us that we always get to keep in mind that we're alive? What would you have us do while we're breathing on this earth? And then even when we're not, would you remind us that we get to live forever with you? Help us to keep the right perspective. In Jesus name we pray.

Amen. And that's where we'll have to end this presentation from a Women of Joy conference featuring Crystal Evans Hurst. Wow, she is a dynamo and what an encouraging message. And it's true that we can handle the ups and downs of life better when we have the right perspective, God's perspective.

A great way to find that insight is through reading your Bible on a daily basis to soak your mind in God's thoughts. You can try a one-year Bible. It gives you short daily readings from the Old Testament, the New Testament, plus the Psalms and Proverbs. I've done that. Invest about 15 minutes a day and you'll be able to read the entire Bible in one year. Yeah, Dina and I are doing that and we love being able to exchange ideas as we read.

And we are going through the Bible in a year. It's a great program. And if you're new to the faith or if you're on the fence about the claims of Christ, let me know in the comments below.

And if you're new to the faith or if you're on the fence about the claims of Christ, let me know in the comments below. Let me encourage you to reach out to us. We have a free e-booklet called Coming Home that explains what the Christian life is all about. Get a copy when you visit our website or give us a call if you'd like to talk about it. We are here to help and our number is 800, the letter A in the word family, where you can find the Coming Home booklet and other resources.

We'll have the link in the show notes. And let me encourage you to donate to Focus on the Family as we do our best to introduce people to Jesus Christ and help them build a great marriage and be godly, effective parents. That's our mission here. And when you make a donation of any amount, we'll send you a copy of the book by Crystal Evans Hurst called She's Still There, Rescuing the Girl in You.

It offers great insights on how to be the woman God designed you to be, even if you had some detours in your life so far. Get your copy from Focus on the Family where the proceeds go right back into ministry. Yeah, just give us a call here.

Our number is 800, the letter A in the word family, 800-232-6459. Or follow the link in the episode notes to donate to the work of Focus on the Family. When you do so, request Crystal's book as well.

And when you get that from us, we'll include a free audio download of her entire presentation. Next time, Dr. Randy Schrader shares simple habits to improve your marriage. If there's one word that points out the difference between a happy marriage and an unhappy marriage, it is planning. Happy couples planned time together. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening today to this Focus on the Family podcast. Take a moment and share this episode with a friend and leave a rating in your podcast app if you would, please. Thanks. I'm John Fuller inviting you back as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ. Find out more at That's
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-17 06:42:38 / 2023-01-17 06:54:46 / 12

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