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Welcome

I'm a redeemed child of God and the momma to four vivacious daughters. I'm passionate about finding hidden blessings in the trials of life, living it out in an honest and open way, while encouraging those around me to believe in better.

9
Dec

refinement

refinement definition

The process of removing impurities or unwanted elements …

I started a bible study in my home a little over a year ago.  It was something God started whispering to me about.  Then it got stronger.  And the signs got clearer.  Everything fell into place.  It’s an amazing story really.

Actually, I’m going to attempt to put the whole story together here … I’ve not done that before.

So as I said … it started as a whisper.  God talks to us like that, you know.  He starts softly … before you get the spanking.  Oh, and for real … you better believe it … God spanks us.  How many of you can relate?

Anyway.

I heard God softly telling me he was preparing me for something.  Then I started getting signs.  Hearing signs.  I started following a blog where she talked about starting a bible study.  The whispering got louder.

Out of the blue, I’d picture myself talking in front of people, telling them my “story.”

You can read more here

So … when I finally figure out that God wants me to lead a bible study … I have no idea what I’m supposed to talk about.

Angie {the blog I linked to above}, was going to be doing a Beth Moore bible study.  So I went to the book store to check into Beth Moore studies.  They didn’t have a single one there.  Now listen … I was in a Christian book store … and Beth is as Christian as they come.  Her books and studies are typically all over a Christian book store.  So the fact I couldn’t find a single one was a huge sign.

What did I find?  A study from Max Lucado called, Facing Your Giants, the story of David.

Facing your giants, huh?  Okay … I’ll bite.  After all, I’ve got me a few giants in my proverbial closet!

I was finally putting together the pieces of the puzzle, and what I believed God wanted from me.  I believe God wanted me to share with others the “giants” I had faced {up to that point} in my life and how He saw me through them.

And if this was the case, there was just one piece left to put into place.  Without that piece, which involved permission from my husband, I wouldn’t be able to proceed.

This particular giant CJ and I have gone through is a biggie.  Doozie, if you will.  And I was purty darn sure he wouldn’t want me talking about it.  In fact, up until that point, only a few close friends had ever known.

So God?  If this is something you want me to move forward with … you know you’ve got a big hurdle to cross here, don’t you?

Wanna know how that turned out?  You can read about how God had the whole thing in His hands, right here.

The rest is really history … We had our first meeting and have been going strong ever since.  We started the study with “Facing Your Giants.”  I started that first night and shared all of the things I’ve been through in my life.  Everything.  The good, the bad, and the very, very ugly.

My purpose was to open my closet and let others see that we all have “giants.”  Some are big, some are small … but they are deep … and difficult … and need the grace of God to see us through them.

It was a great series, and a great book … I highly recommend it if you haven’t read it before.

And anyway … we’ve gone on to discuss marriage and now are studying the end times and a DVD series from John Bevere titled, “Driven by Eternity.”

And … let me loop back around to the purpose of this post …

In our study last week, John talked about being refined like gold.  And that really struck a chord with me.  I talked about it with the group and what it meant to me.  Especially given what I’m going through now with my MS diagnosis and symptoms.

So the gift I’d like to unwrap for you today is … refinement.  And maybe a new way of looking into your own trials and situations.

What is refinement?  The process of removing impurities or unwanted elements.  The process of refining gold means putting the gold dust in a crucible and heating it until it melts. It is then that impurities begin to come up to the surface as a dirty film. The refiner then takes a ladle to scoop off these impurities and discards them.

The refiner may repeat the process a number of times, ‘boiling’ the gold to bring up the impurities and removing them, until he is able to look onto the refined gold and can see the reflection of his face, as if he were looking into a mirror.  {text found here}

This is what the bible says:
“These {trials} have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.”  {1 Peter 1:7, NIV}

What I want to scream to you all … to everyone who is “down on their luck” or struggling with unforgiveness, or going through a trial, or loss, or just plain ol’ being dealt a bad hand … you are being refined my friends!  Embrace it.

And I don’t mean, for one minute, to sound trite.  Believe me … I know.  I know what it’s like to go through some unspeakable things.  As honest and open as y’all think I am, there are still some things I can’t talk about here.

What I can tell you:
~ my parents separated when I was young
~ my father pretty much never wanted to see us
~ my parents divorced
~ the last time I saw my real dad was 32 some years ago
~ and the last words I heard from him were, “you are not my girls anymore”
~ as a child, I was sexually molested three times, by three different men
~ on a separate occasion as a child, I was held at knife point and almost raped
~ I’m divorced myself
~ 4 miscarriages in just over a year
~ I’ve been diagnosed with MS

That’s about where the story ends for now.

Because some of the other things I’ve been through are intensely private and involve other people, I can’t share some of the other things I’ve been struggling with for the last four{ish} years.  And not that I wouldn’t share … I have shared with the 20 some ladies in my bible study group … but because I honestly don’t know how many and who all read this blog, or where the information would go …

But what I do want you to know is … I’m no stranger to pain.  I know a trial or two.

What I also know … God will spank give you, again and again, the same trials sometimes until you learn {or embrace} the lesson He needs you to get.  Much like the refiner of gold continues to repeat the ‘boiling’ process.

So here’s the thing … and I’ve talked about this before … but we need to be people who embrace what God’s given us.  We need to stand at attention.  Step up to the plate and be ready to swing.

Ask God … talk to Him … find out what He wants you to learn.  We can. not. let our circumstances overcome us.  We must rise above them.  We must realize God has a plan for our lives.

There are a couple of songs that I love.  Give me chills and make me cry every time I sing or hear them.  I’ve linked the titles to a YouTube video of the song.  They’re long videos {over 5 minutes each}, but they’re such inspiring songs.  Maybe you could link and play the music in the background.

Please read the lyrics carefully … let them really sink in …

Bless the Lord
For your beauty,
For your goodness,
And your wisdom.. Awesome God
Praise the Lord oh my soul, Praise the Lord.

For your power,
For your honor,
And your splendor… Mighty God
Praise the Lord oh my soul, Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord oh my soul, Praise the Lord.

{chorus}

For your Kindness
For your Favor,
For your Mercy.. Gracious One
Thank the Lord oh my Soul, Thank the Lord.

For your fire,
For your testing

And your Spirit… Holy One
Thank the Lord oh my Soul, Thank the Lord.
Thank the Lord oh my Soul, Thank the Lord.

{chorus}

For your Suffering,
For your Anguish
And your sorrow.. humble King,
Bless the Lord oh my soul, Bless the Lord
Bless the Lord oh my soul, Bless the Lord

For your Victory {Victory},
For your Triumph,
And you’ll soon come and reign over all.

The above song … we are thanking.  And praising.  And blessing the Lord … for His fire.  For His testing.  But also his power, kindness, favor and … wisdom.

I rest … trust … in the fact that our Creator has wisdom.  He’ll not have me go through my trials {the trials He’s given me} in vain.

And here’s another thing … I believe when we can have this outlook … this kind of faith … He gives us the peace inside we need to get through it.  I mean, isn’t that a lot of times, the worst of it?  The torment and worry and frustration?  Wouldn’t you want to have a source to “hold” that torment and worry?  Don’t you want a place to rest?

The bible tells us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  {Matthew 11:28, NIV}

 

 

Blessed Be Your Name
Blessed be Your name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name
And blessed be Your name
When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be your name

{chorus}
Every blessing You pour out I’ll
Turn back to praise
And when the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name
When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s “all as it should be”
Blessed be You name
And blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

{chorus}

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name
I will bless Your name

{chorus}

And again … with this song, here we are blessing the name of the Lord.  In plenty and in want … I’ll choose to say, “blessed be your name.”

When the sun’s shining down on me … or the road’s marked with suffering … I’ll choose to say, “blessed be your name.”

Ahhh … I could go on and on.

Obviously, I feel passionate about this.  I’ve been working on this post for over a week now and it’s been brewing inside me for even longer.

And if you’re still reading, you deserve a prize! :)

Even after yesterday’s discouragement … I trust in a God who has a plan for me.  I rest in that fact.

Wow … this is a post of all posts … and no photos even!  Sorry ’bout that … but hey … wanna know what God’s been whispering to me lately?

I’ll give you a few hints … it involves:
~ writing
~ chapters
~ a title
~ a hardcover
~ and a lot of work!

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Posted in bible study, inspiration, multiple sclerosis, tuesdays unwrapped

 

8 Responses to “refinement”

  1. Leslie says:

    You are such an incredible woman, Tracie. Last night’s bible study really struck a chord in me . . . and this post kinda sent me over the top! (And doggit, I just used my last kleenex about an hour ago!) I, personally, am glad that God grabbed me by the shoulders and turned me in a different direction — towards you. I may not have understood it as it was happening, but I can certainly see it now. :-)

    I was just thinking how beautifully articulate you are when you present your thoughts on faith. You definitely should start writing! (I’d be first in line to get a copy!!)

  2. Heather says:

    This post is a whopper my friend! But an awesome reminder that God is working hard in each of us, has His hand on each of us, and wants us to listen, trust, obey!

    And now I’m apparently going to have to refer to you as “My best friend Tracie who I don’t really see anymore because she added author to her long list of hats she wears everyday”? :-) Just teasing you…you can truly do anything you set your mind on. You are amazing!

  3. Erin says:

    “God will give you, again and again, the same trials sometimes until you learn {or embrace} the lesson He needs you to get.”

    This.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

  4. cyndi says:

    You’ve touched me to the very core yet again. I have to imagine you do that to more people than you realize and we become better people because of you. You make me see things in a completely different light and I love how you make me challenge things. You’ve clearly had a TON of challenges and yet you’re as positive, upbeat, and lovely as they come (more so, quite honestly). You, Tracie, are a blessing in my life. Thank you for being you and I promise to continue to listen (and buy a hardback version of whatever you may be working on!) Hugs yet again…

  5. Lindsey says:

    I just wanted to comment now while my tears are flowing and feelings are raw to say thank you for writing this. Not only because it inspired me but for others out there too that need to read this. Thank you for always inspiring me. I hope to write more later after I reread and dwell on this a bit.
    thank you Traci!

  6. Terry says:

    I always am in awe of your writing abilities everytime I read your blog so can only imagine reading a book that I could not possibly put down until I was finished and then would want more. With all you have been through and still continue to share makes me feel very special to be a part of your spiritual growing and know that I will eventually figure out what God is telling me to do as well. Thank you for your continued support and resilence to continue on even when you feel so overwhelmed. I love, LOVE the cd that you made us in the very beginning and listen to it all the time and find it very calming.

  7. Dawn says:

    wow. let me just take a breath. and wipe the tears away. wow. i never doubted that God is real and i never doubted His power. but to read the things you’ve experienced in your lifetime… and to know the parts of you that you share here, it is beautiful to see what God can overcome, what He can bring us through. that 2nd song is one of my favorites. right along with “praise Him in the storm.” i know.. i get it. and i am truly amazed by you. i know that is not why you wrote all this. but i just wanted you to know. and i am praying about those chapters. i am. :)

  8. What a beautiful post, Tracie. Thank you for being willing to share your struggles and experiences so that others may have hope and increased faith as well. The refinement process is never fun, but I know that it produces beautiful results! I am just praying that I make it through this season gracefully and learn the lessons that He has for me! (I don’t really want to do this one again!) Thanks for being an encouragement to others, and for always pointing us to the one who loves us the most! Have a wonderful weekend!
    Rachel @Twin Tough recently posted..One Day at a Time

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