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Right Where I Am: Finding Treasure In the Ache

Shannon Wexelberg

Shannon Wexelberg | 02.15.13
Twitter: @SJWexelberg

57 comments

If you enjoy Shannon’s music, join her on The Revive Tour this March through June!

“Will I ever find Mr. Right?”

“Why can’t my husband and I get pregnant?”

“Why am I still unemployed?”

“Why do I continue to battle with illness?”

“Why did I experience such a painful childhood?”

“Why did my marriage fail?”

Maybe you have uttered one of these questions—or another one entirely. I know I have. It started on a Saturday morning when I was twelve and spotted the suitcases by the door. My parents had an announcement to make; they were getting divorced. Minutes later, I lived in a single parent home.

Fast-forward twelve years and I was a happily married young woman trying to have a baby. Five years passed and I was still not pregnant, having endured several years of infertility tests and treatments. That fifth year I finally got pregnant, only to have a
miscarriage in a hotel room after ministering at a women’s conference in Arkansas. Devastated and angry, I went home, unaware I would face an entire decade of childlessness.

In 2009, my husband Mark was riding his motorcycle on a country highway near our home. A girl ran a stop sign, and Mark t-boned the front of her truck going 55 mph. He broke twenty-three bones including his pelvis, both femurs, his knee, foot, many ribs, and his ankle. He is now the bionic man! Following his accident, he couldn’t find work for a year and a half.

Being the introspective artist that I am, it’s way too easy for me to analyze my life and identify every way it could be better. But guess where that’s left me? Plain miserable. I’m guessing you’ve experienced the same result.

We don’t often like to hear it, but the fact is we can find something to be grateful for in every situation. At times it feels like a treasure hunt . . .

For me, my parent’s divorce thrust me right into the arms of my Abba Father. As a result, I spent hours at my piano, and this broken girl became a worshipper.

Through the agony of infertility, prior to our son Christian’s adoption, I grew to trust God’s good intention toward me in the face of disappointment. I experienced joy in my longing.

And following Mark’s accident, I discovered I am good at hiking, because the Lord gave me abundant grace to climb mountains tall and foreboding! I saw Him provide in spite of joblessness. And I was granted a song in the night.

Every day I have to ask the Lord to help me give thanks right where I am. I even have it written on a chalkboard in my kitchen as a reminder. I have found when I make the choice to cup my hands and drink of Him as the rain pours hard and heavy, my heart is
set free.

And so I have a gift for you. “Right Where I Am” is a song I wrote in the midst of my struggle toward thankfulness. You can download it here for free.

Tell me . . . in what area of your life do you find it most challenging to give thanks? And what treasure have you discovered in the midst of your ache? Leave your answer below and we’ll choose five of you at random on Monday, February 18 to receive a copy of my new CD, Take Heart.

Right Where I Am

I could tune my ear to a bitter song
Or choose hope’s melody
I could curse the ground that I’m standing on
Or pray for dancing feet
I could shout at Heaven when rain pours down
Pounding hard on me
Or I could cup my hands and drink of You
Whatever this life brings

            You are good, You are good
            Though I may not understand
            (I have come to trust Your hand)
            You are good, You are good
            I give thanks right where I am

I could count the cracks in my wounded soul
Or splash in healing oil
I could break down on this broken road
Or run through fields of joy
I could count the ways I wish my life
Had turned out differently
Or awaken to each gift of grace
This pain has helped me see

Today will never come again
These moments passing by
Packaged in my deepest ache
Are treasures in disguise
The sweetest gifts I’ve ever known
From Your tender hand
I could not have guessed they would have come
Come the way You planned

words & music by Shannon J. Wexelberg
c2012 Shanny Banny Music / BMI / International Copyright Secured
Used by permission.

Topics: Relationship with God

Comments

  1. hmmm... ONE most challenging area? Not easy. First there is my being single but this has raised a lot of opportunities to use my warm feelings towards others needing friends. But if I was to choose the hardest one it would be problems at a hime front with an unpleasant (to say mildly) father which has left me fearing each time a man says or acts sharply and being on the receiving end of his angry fits every day. But it has brought me closer to God, who is a father who can hug me and comfort me in every adversity. He is teaching me how to cease striking back (figuratively, thankfully not literally) when I'm abused.

    We all have aches. I just pray we can see the teaching and God's hand in them every single day.
    posted by Anna
    on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 8:37 am
  2. Most Challenging area: A rebellious son who breaks my heart daily with his words and his actions.
    The treasure: It has humbled me and taught me how to lay it all before the throne of God and trust - really trust in Christ alone. I can't give up on my son because God never gives up on me. I've gained new understanding of God's love and grace.
    Thanks for the post today. Once again, God is pointing me to give thanks in spite of agonizing circumstances.
    posted by Karen
    on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 8:59 am
  3. My most challenging area? At this stage of my life one of the most challenging is my debt. I am paying back student loans and some frivolous spending mistakes. It seems like the harder I try the harder it gets; But I know God is at work, refining me like gold purifying me into the likeness of my Savior. I wish I could say it doesn't hurt and I welcome it openly, but that would be lying.

    It hurts and is so very difficult. But as Hebrews 12 says of discipline, "For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant. but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it."

    I pray that the peaceful fruit of righteousness that awaits me is the joy of being with my Savior! Thank you so much for this post. It's what I needed to hear today.
    posted by Tracy
    on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 9:36 am
  4. Being single in a community where "you re not as much" if you re not married is my toughest thing.. Then also having a really harsh dad and cringe and feel like running every time I THINK any man wants to say something With disapproval to me. I am learning to see Jesus as the perfect Lover and all my married friends babies as "my" babies whom I can love.
    posted by Norma
    on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 9:51 am
  5. Thank you, Shannon!

    Watching our daughter and her husband deal daily with our grandson's leukemia, just finding out that my Dad has cancer and is already in hospice, and the move of our daughter's family across the country...well, I was counting the cracks in my wounded soul.

    Receivng this email from my daughter today, along with your encouraging post has "awakened me to each gift of grace this pain has helped me see."

    From my daughter: "On the emotional front. Ya know, most of the time there is just an elevated level of stress that we just sort of run on and that's just the way it is. Then there are days of, well, yes, severe hopelessness and despair. Down Days. They are not frequent but they do happen. Yesterday S.D. and I had that day...together. Normally we teter-toter and one is up when one is down. Not yesterday. It was a doozy. Crying tears together and crying out loud in anger and desperation out to God, literally, "Help!"

    The Lord was gracious and patient with us as we vented and His mercies are new every morning. Today was brighter and better. The future is not bleak. The Lord is our strength! We could not live like this without Him! He offers true, deep, peaceful comfort like nothing or no-one else can."

    Praise God for those who, "give thanks, right where they are!"

    God Bless You!
    posted by Nana of 11
    on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 10:06 am
  6. Very good message Shannon, thank you. I am learning more now than ever before, that God/Jesus/Holy Spirit is more than enough. For years I walked around stating I loved the Lord but fell to pieces every time life threw a difficulty at me. When my husband suddenly passed away one Monday afternoon, I truely met Father God. The changes in my heart/soul have been a 90 degree turn and well worth the pain of it all. I would not have chosen this way for myself but God took a hard situation and turned it around for my good. I am grateful every day for the tender and relying heart He is created in me. Ok, enough with my story, thank you again for sharing, it ministers to us all. I love your voice. God bless your socks off! Beth
    https://www.facebook.com/beth.gilliam?ref=tn_tnmn
    posted by Beth Gilliam
    on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 10:06 am
  7. I think for me, I have learned to focus on God and not my circumstances. SO hard, yet what I need to do everyday. Your story is both heartbreaking and encouraging.
    posted by Shonda
    on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 10:09 am
  8. The challenge: losing our first much-wanted and loved baby to miscarriage literally at the dawn of the new year.

    The treasure: seeing God as the Sovereign, loving King who has a wonderful plan. Learning to resist the urge to project out into the future (what if we can't get pregnant again, what if, what if...) but instead to trust the God who already knows the future and who gives grace for every moment. The other treasure is my wonderful husband. God has blessed me so abundantly with him-- my cup overflows.
    posted by Ashley A
    on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 10:10 am
  9. Most challenging area: living with a man who does not love me for more than 40 years. He is cruel and bitter. Because of this, my Father offers His tender mercies each new day. I am grateful.
    posted by Pam
    on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 10:14 am
  10. Thank-you for this beautiful post.

    For years and years, I prayed that God would bring a godly man into my life. Now He's blessed me with a truly wonderful man. And I forget to be thankful because we aren't engaged yet! This seems silly to even type out because I know it is only a 1 millionth of the pain and heartache some are going through.

    I have struggled many years with always hopping from one desire to the next, forgetting to be thankful and forgetting to see how God has worked through EVERY situation He has brought me through. However, I am learning to trust that God's plans are so amazing for those who love Him and He is putting me exactly where I need to be. I AM NOT IN CONTROL.

    Accepting this truth has set me free from anxiety and fear and lifted a weight I had been carrying around. Instead of feeling sorry for myself or manipulating situations to work out to my perceived benefit, I can weep tears of joy because right where I am is right where God has put me for this time.
    posted by Ann
    on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 10:18 am
  11. The area I find MOST CHALLENGING to give Thanks in?
    As I thought of WHAT it was first, I have to say it's FAMILY; Extended family, the family my husband & I grew up with, parents, siblings & their spouses too. Having grown up in Christian homes, everyone learning the truth...yet, they do things SO CONTRARY to the Word of God! AND there is NO TALKING to them! They refuse to hear us! Their behaviors have been SO BAD, that they have put our family in DANGER! We have had to cut them off COMPLETELY! I have MOURNED the loss of them for about EIGHT YEARS! No more Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles or Cousins for our children! All the things I didn't have growing up! All the things I WANTED for our children! We moved away & don't know ANYONE where we live. SOMETIMES, it can be VERY LONELY! No one to call & ask questions about recipes or even those things women talk about as you get older...

    What TREASURE have I DISCOVERED in the midst of this ache?
    I have for the FIRST TIME in my life, when we FIRST moved here, I FELT "grown up!" We KNEW moving away & STILL KNOW moving away was THE BEST DECISION we'd EVER made for our marriage & our family! I learned the BOND that God really intended for a married couple! (My mother was SO CONTROLLING! HAD TO make herself THE CENTER of EVERYTHING! EVERY HOLIDAY! EVERY MADE-UP HOLIDAY! ETC.! ) AND she put her two-cents in on EVERYTHING WE DID! ALWAYS wanting to know how SHE would benefit! It was NEVER about our children when she'd come to visit (which was rare!), or when we'd visit her, it was ALWAYS ABOUT HER! I NEVER felt good about myself when I was around her! I have found the TREASURE of PRAYING FOR MY "ENEMIES!" I have had "enemies" in the past but, the pain was as I look back SO DEEP & PERSONAL I couldn't EVEN THINK about the person/s that caused the pain! I forgave them, but the PAIN was SO EXTREME...! So, I didn't pray for them, I DIDN'T THINK ABOUT THEM! Now, with these family members, who were ALWAYS THERE all those years...know me...who I LOVE...don't want to see LOST! Because I KNOW the time is NEAR! (MAYBE TOO, because I've matured some!) I have found the TREASURE OF PRAYING FOR MY ENEMIES!
    http://tladydesigns.blogspot.com/
    posted by Becky Green
    on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 10:23 am
  12. For over 25 years I was married to a man who was an alcoholic even though he professed to be a Christian. For over 10 years our son was addicted to drugs, while professing to be a Christian. Our son was also married and had a child.

    All this time I cried out to the Lord to "fix" the situation and told my husband I was going to start praying about leaving him because I could not tolerate the pain of this situation any longer. I prayed for over six months--and the Lord clearly told me to stay.

    I realized I needed to stop trying to interfear with what the Creator of the Universe wanted to do in all of our lives. I told my husband that The Lord had told me to stay and that I was going to be a different kind of wife. No more nagging and arguments.

    Two TOTAL MIRACLES have occured. Twelve years ago my husband told me God had given him the power to stop drinking--and he did. Through a seperate miracle, the Lord spoke to both me and my son regarding his addictions and his life and marriage is now healed. He teaches a "Celebrate Recovery" class at his church and gives his testimony to groups. He and his wife are now the parents of six wonderful children.

    I now am praying for our daughter, who has rejected all Biblical teaching and has led a life of numerous sexual partners and has one child. But this time I know what my God can do and I praise Him for what His plan is, even though I do not know what it will be. When I get fearful, I remember the two healing miracles that God has blessed me with and I confess my fears and praise Him. I am truely a blessed and grateful woman.
    posted by DJ
    on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 10:41 am
  13. Used to be that my most difficult area was infertility, just like you Shannon. God answered our prayers 7 years ago with a baby- and I know that is such a treasure I will never take for granted. My most challenging area right now in my life is dealing with my inlaws. I hate that it is the way it is, but it's been difficult. The treasure I've found is learning about healthy relationships, and how they are supposed to work through dealing with the unhealthy. I've found that my husband is such a godly man through it all and does what God calls him to do in the face of fire. I've learned that I am not without fault, even though I'd like to be, and that this trial, along with every one I've faced- is not about the trial as much as it is about how God is (hopefully) refining me & drawing me closer to Him. I can only change me/my heart- nobody/nothing else is within my own control to change. Thanks- I'm glad to just write this out a bit. :)
    posted by Sarah
    on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 10:45 am
  14. I struggle to give thanks for a marriage that goes hot and cold, & up & down, all the time. I tell my husband I feel like I'm on a rollercoaster! But we are committed to each other--that's the good thing. But when it is down, I feel very lonely & struggle to thank God in the midst of feeling lonely & that I can't be what my husband wants in order to keep him happy all the time. I remind myself that God loves me & He will bring our marriage out of this once again b/c He has proven to be faithful to me so many times before. Marriage has different seasons--I know that after 30 yrs.
    posted by LeeAnn
    on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 10:47 am
  15. I find it most difficult to give thanks for family members that have hurt me or been condescending to me. I have recently resolved to pray, pray, pray, when negative thoughts come into my head regarding these things that have hurt me or when I feel insecure in these relationships. The treasure I find in any difficult circumstance is that I find myself drawing closer to the Lord, and my relationship with Him grows, whereas it is easy to become complacent when life is all roses! Life's trials are a blessing to draw us near to the Father!
    posted by Mama C
    on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 10:47 am
  16. I just want to say I love you ladies for your transparency, your desire for Christ, your search for treasure within the struggle...and, oh, life can be such a struggle, can't it? So much pain. But so much hope. So grateful to be journeying with you as women after God's heart. You are BELOVED by Him.
    www.shannonwexelberg.com
    posted by Shannon Wexelberg
    on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 10:52 am
  17. Thankful right where I am???? Wow this is hard and challenging in several areas of my life but one area I am struggling with rt now is the area of my children.....giving thx when u c ur children being hurt by others....trusting God to take care of them and protect them. Trying to control my anger towards those who r inflicting the pain and not react by lashing out at them....well I failed miserably just the other day....my flesh took over and I lost my temper and verbally attacked the ones who I thought were hurting my son. Did it make me feel better....absolutely NOT!!!! I didn't sleep that night and the next day was full of regrets and tears. What have I learned and how do I control this and give praise during these times?? Well to b honest I'm still working on it and I am praying daily for God to reveal to me how I do this. Mentally I know what is rt but to actually live it out is so hard....living with a very angry father who lashed out is very hard to overcome....I know my treasure awaits and I "Cling" to the Father today and always. Loving in the midst of struggles,
    Kelly
    posted by Kelly
    on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 10:53 am
  18. I am learning to pray deeply for two of our daughters who have chosen the world instead of Jesus. We poured our lives into these girls and they once were shining lights for the Lord. But the world has great influence over their choices as women. My husband and I pray for them daily and are working through the pain.
    posted by Brynda
    on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 10:56 am
  19. I have found that my current "adventure" has been the most physically, mentally and spiritually challenging one in my life!

    I have been caring for my grandparents for several years, along with my Mom which was challenging enough! Then this past summer, all of a sudden my Mom was losing her ability to walk and having severe pain. The Dr. discovered she has a compressed and bruised spinal cord. This past December, she had two surgeries and is currently undergoing physical therapy.
    The doctor said that if she regained any of her mobility back, it would be "gravy". The surgery was to stop the progression of paralysis.

    This threw all of the responsibilities of caring for my grandparents and now my Mom onto me, along with taking care of two homes! Oh, I forgot to mention, I've been disabled myself with a heart disorder since 1991.

    Needless to say, this sent me into a panic at first and still does at times, when I forget I have One Who is walking in the fire with me and won't put on me more than I can bear (though there are times I've questioned if that was true or not)!

    Thankfully, the Lord gave me a Word a few years prior to all of this. Little did I know how much I'd come to rely heavily on these words!

    "I use obscurity and the hidden times to develop My deliverers. I forge My weapons in the fires of affliction to temper you, to sharpen you. despise not the hidden times. Despise not the trials. They are molding you and conforming you into the purpose that I have set before you to fulfill. Be faithful in the small, insignificant things and I will entrust you with My true riches. Find contentment in the place that I have set you, in the circumstances you find yourself in. It is the means that I use to purify and refine you; so that I can use you in these last days."

    This Word just isn't for me! It's for anyone who finds themselves in a fiery trial! The only thing the fire will consume is those things that had us bound!

    I've learned to rely heavily on His grace and I've found His grace is not only sufficient, but very powerful! I've looked back at other impossible trials He's brought me through and you know what? I'm still here and standing, by His amazing grace!
    posted by Rhonda Justus
    on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 11:15 am
  20. My most difficult forgiveness issue which I have had for 12years now is my memories of the tragic divorce with three grand children involved. The father took the children from their Mother and she came to live with us. We helped her raise these children and helped her thru the depression of divorce after 16yrs of marriage. My forgiveness issue is to know that these children have been denied a Christian mother to be with them everyday. God has enabled me to get past the divorce between the couple and the father is on his 3rd marriage now. But the deception and pain and hurt to the children I am unable to forget and forgive. the birthright of having a loving caring Mother can never be regained again. The loss of a Mother to love and nurture a child each day of their life was deceptively taken from them. Everytime I look into their faces twelve years later now, I see the face of the little one that didnt know whyand I remember holding them tightly why they were crying when they had to return to their father. God hates divorce.
    posted by GKL
    on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 11:45 am
  21. Thank you for sharing your very pesonal and touching story. it was beautiful!
    2 areas in my life that i have hardship and struggles with are I'm still single, always have been and just waiting on the Lords timing to bring someone into my life....as well as my weight! i have been over weight my entire life, and just the struggle with trying to get healthy. It's hard to find the strenght daily to try to stay on track with my eating and exercise habits.
    One treasure i have found through all this is to trust in God's timing. There are many days where i have thoughts of "I'm never going to get married, I will be alone for the rest of my life!" and I am so scared. God just reminds me daily that I need to follow His lead, His plan, and whatever that may be, it will be right, and healthy and beautiful for my life.
    Praise the Lord for His guidence!
    posted by Mandy
    on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 11:49 am
  22. I just want to say I love you ladies for your transparency, your desire for Christ, your search for treasure within the struggle...and, oh, life can be such a struggle, can't it? So much pain. But so much hope. So grateful to be journeying with you as women after God's heart. You are BELOVED by Him.
    www.shannonwexelberg.com
    posted by Shannon Wexelberg
    on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 12:08 pm
  23. My childhood was abusive so as much as I've overcome there are still wounds. One of my devotionals asked me if I had a choice of father, what would I choose? My heart immediately said that I don't want to choose. It was then I realized how much God is to me, that He would bless me with healing enough not to even want a perfect life. Lately, I've been going through a several year season of sickness and I have seen this week when I am not quite alert that God penetrates most. In other words, being sick breaks down my ability to gat in Gods way. Its beautiful!
    posted by Jennifer
    on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 12:21 pm
  24. Forgiving my husband after he admitted to a sexual addicition and multiple affairs. Even more so than letting go of the past and forgivng is being able to trust in the future becase we have stayed together. It is the most difficult thing i have ever dealt with even more than my own childs death because my husband made these choices of his own free will and I have to deal with many consequences. In the midst of it I have come to know "Revive Our hearts" ministry, have been going to Bible Study reguarly and me and my husband are praying together in addition to reading our Bible everyday. He is a new man and that brokeness brought him here. God is doing a work in both of us!
    posted by Sue Pascale
    on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 12:33 pm
  25. I love your new song. I live with Chronic pain/from an arthritic condition and Migraine, but yet these physical pains are nothing to the pain in my heart. The challenging part of giving thanks comes when you do all the "right" things and yet suffering is out of your control. For me, we've fostered and adopted my beautiful, wonderful children. But their hearts where so broken and wounded that their behaviors are difficult to manage. No one, but my husband and Mother know and understand our struggle with Oppositional Defiance Disorder because, by God's grace, we still manage to do okay (I fear adolescence). But imagine every day watching your child chose to disobey EVERY time there's a choice to make. Imagine trying to lead this child to Christ's love, grace and healing, but knowing that no matter how much you try you can't do it for them and that they might reject His free gift. It's hard to be thankful for their struggle because just like any parent I want the absolute best (best meaning a Christ-filled life) for them. And unlike others, we move around in the military so often that roots are something you eat not something you have--so consistency, continuity of care are nice ideas, but impractical. It also means that I'm mostly a single parent.
    posted by Ariele
    on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 12:48 pm
  26. THANK YOU SHANNON for your BEAUTIFUL SONG! :) I just downloaded & listened to it! AND I read your blog too! God IS GOOD! :) He is making us READY!!!!!!!! NOT just for hard times to come BUT, to be presented HOLY TO HIM! GOD BLESS you in your ministry!!!!!!! :)
    http://tladydesigns.blogspot.com/
    posted by Becky Green
    on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 2:20 pm
  27. I live a seemingly perfect life, but in reality, my marriage is a shell. Two people, working together to raise our kids, but doing nothing to fix our lack of love for each other. I am working hard to focus on Christ's love when I don't feel it from my husband. I know that God is seeking a relationship with me, just as I am seeking a relationship with my husband. I want to just turn and run. That would be the easy thing to do. But I know I need to fix the problem, not run from it.
    posted by Jodi
    on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 3:21 pm
  28. My health and parenting trials. They are afflictions that have drawn me closer to the Lord!
    posted by Kim
    on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 3:31 pm
  29. Biggest challenge: homeschooling and foster care.
    Biggest treasure: homeschooling and foster care.
    posted by jodi
    on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 6:20 pm
  30. Oh, ladies...I just sat down and read through every one of your comments. What a blessing to share this journey toward gratitude with you. For me, it's definitely a daily thing...some days I have a breakthrough and other days I fall flat on my face with a grumpy, ungrateful heart. And that's OK! What I love about our Father is that He understands our humanness, and He receives us, helps us stand up the next day and start anew. I pray for each and every one of us - no matter what we are facing right now - that we would continue to walk toward the FREEDOM that is found in gratitude, one tiny baby step at a time. It's worth it...the struggle... because while we can't often change our situation, we can always lift our eyes. Easier said than done, yes...but AWESOME when we are able. LOVE YOU, DAUGHTERS OF THE KING!!! Your stories have been a gift to me today and I commit to lift you up in prayer as we walk together.
    www.shannonwexelberg.com
    posted by Shannon Wexelberg
    on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 8:09 pm
  31. Our challenge is being able to believe God sees us, and hears our prayers, when a husband and father to 3 beautiful daughters leaves our family. Not understanding why this happened, and refusing to give up praying for the restoration of our family, although the pain and desolation run deep. Feeling alone.
    posted by D.
    on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 11:15 pm
  32. Thank you so much for the lovely song. It puts into words exactly what I'm struggling with at the moment (and have done on and off over many years) - the temptation to "count the ways I wish my life had turned out differently". I know from past experience that God's grace really is sufficient and that all the things you name in your song are freely available from Him if I will choose to receive them instead of choosing self-pity. But sometimes I feel like I don't want grace, I want things to be different - how foolish! Thank you for being so honest about your struggle to be thankful - I feel like I've found a kindred spirit!
    posted by Joanne
    on Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 5:54 am
  33. Loneliness in the midst of marriage. A common place many women find themselves. Maybe it is for a season or for the long haul, yet it is times to sing out You (God) ARE GOOD!
    posted by Lou Ann
    on Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 7:36 am
  34. What I find most challenging is the thought of starting out on my own. I'm about to finish graduate school and move states to a new job as a young single woman. I am often tempted to feel sorry for myself, but that's when Christ reminds me that He is enough. He can provide for me when I'm alone. He can satisfy my heart when I'm lonely. He can and will supply me with courage when I set out on the journey that He has planned for me.
    So my greatest treasure is that, had I never faced the challenge of being on my own, I would never know the sweetness of having nothing to lean on except my Savior, and finding Him fully and wonderfully capable of supporting me in every way.
    posted by Carla
    on Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 10:01 am
  35. My challenge to give thanks is when life is not
    "fair", but the treasure I find is knowing
    that God is in control and is sovereign
    over all and has allowed everything that
    comes into my life for my good and His glory.
    posted by Kim
    on Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 10:14 am
  36. Being in a marriage where my spouse doesn't love me or even like me anymore and lets me know it. Thank God He has become my Husband and reminds me daily that He loves me with an unending love and is preparing a place for me to be with Him forever. My greatest treasure is that God loves me and reminds me daily in His Word. Thank you for sharing your testimony and your song with all of us. God bless you all.
    posted by Bev
    on Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 12:50 pm
  37. This response is for Ariele. You have found someone who completely understands the life of a child with ODD. Our son is five and it has been the hardest 4.5 years of our lives. I felt like no one understood and it has felt hopeless with our son. Our lives are consumed by it because you can experience a healthy or normal family life because of it. And you feel helpless to reach them. When are you dealing with just a defiance/strong will issue, and when are you dealing with a physical/psychological problem? Well, after praying for 4 years and seeing so answers, God has given us hope and led us to some doctors who do not use Meds but do nutrient therapy because they have found how many people/children's struggles with beyond normal defiance, aggression, violence, lack of control, etc, can be linked to thier body chemistry being off. This area is so neglected in the Christian community because people see families with a child like this and are quick to assume they are not being raised well. But sometimes and more often than people realize, there is more to the story. And kids are going through life without any help and are just bring labeled. God has been teaching us to put our trust in God, not man. I am not able to raise this child. I fail multiple times every day. But God can, and will. And he is leading us to some hope that only He can give. If you'd like to contact me for more information on the help we have been finding, message me on Facebook under "Sarah Walton". As I have read all these women's struggles, it's easy to wonder when suffering if this world will end. But I'm clinging to the truth of the Psalms, "You keep track of my sorrows, This I know, that God is for me. He will keep my feet from falling." Ps 56
    "My heart throbs, my strength fails me, and the light of my eyes-it has also gone from me. But for you, o Lord, do I wait, it is you, Oh Lord my God, who will answer." Ps 38:10
    posted by Sarah walton
    on Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 1:24 pm
  38. I love your song, Shannon, and your understanding of what God wants to give us through our LACK. I'm just discovering how to really be free of disappointment with myself and with God. I've been a Christian since I was 16 and now am 57, and I kept waiting for me to achieve the greatness I was sure God required of and needed from me. To be a missionary who laid down her life for the lost, a winsome evangelist to her family, a lover of God and people, creating ways to show Him uniquely to the world. I haven't the objectivity to know what I've actually accomplished, but it always seemed to be far less than I figured I should. So, I went for inner healing and lost the burden of trying to save the world and be performance-oriented. But didn't have what I needed to fight for my OK-ness after time went by and I still felt like a failure. Thankfully, God is helping me see how I am not a failure to Him and He is not a failure to me. I've learned a lot along the way and am more prepared to abide in Him. And in the ambiguity of life. Being vulnerable to Him and real with Him is what I seek for myself now. I think I've learned to be much less critical and to suspend judgement.
    posted by Mary
    on Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 5:20 pm
  39. Thank you so much for sharing your story, and thank you for the gift of your song!

    I have found it challenging to give thanks for my muscle weakness, fatigue, and deteriorating health. But God has been giving me many years to practice, so I'm getting there. :) Along this journey of a progressive chronic illness, I've learned to trust the Lord and rest in Him. I have joy and peace and hope. I've learned so much, and it has been worth it all.
    http://www.cranberryteatime.com
    posted by Rachel Lundy
    on Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 11:00 pm
  40. I have found it most challenging to give thanks as my husband and I continue in our search for a church AGAIN! We have had many disappointments in this area but have learned and are learning that "man" is fallible but God is infallible and faithful each and every day. Thank you for allowing us to see your heart and heart aches through song.
    posted by Melinda
    on Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 9:25 am
  41. We have struggled with infertility so I definitely felt it there. We were blessed with our miracle baby and now I'm scared we will face the same trials again the 2nd time, but I'm thankful right where I am....holding my baby girl and trusting that no
    matter what is ahead it is for His glory!
    posted by Rachel
    on Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 9:39 am
  42. My challenge is trusting that God will change me, that He'd even bother to as it 'feels' as though I have no hope for real & lasting change. I deal with anxiety, anger and depression, it suffocates.

    Daily praising Him in thankfulness for His grace, this practice is strength enough for the next day.
    posted by Jenny
    on Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 1:24 pm
  43. My son went home to be with The Lord at the age of 21. For me the challenge is watching his friends get married, have babies...all things he wanted and would of been so loving and good at. Although I am VERY happy for his friends...I sometimes struggle with this. The thing is...this thorn in my side has brought me to a closer relationship with Christ. Daily He tells me that I am His and That I do not know the bigger picture but that He does! S I keep trusting in Him! He is my rock!
    posted by Gail
    on Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 3:16 pm
  44. We are going through some challenging times...disabled Veteran struggling to get benefits, along with my unemployment has brought on some stressful times. But so thankful that our almightly God supplies our daily needs. Psalm 46:10 comes to my mind, "Be still, and know that I am God."

    Thank you, Shannon, for blessing us and inspiring us through your example and your worship of praise!!
    posted by Marilyn Moore
    on Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 4:32 pm
  45. Thank you, Shannon, for this thought-provoking post. Both my wife & I have dealt with severe chronic pain most of our lives. For me, the worst is the around-the-clock battle with headache pain that is often debilitating. For my wife, even though being delivered through open-heart surgery to replace her Aortic valve, she still deals daily with Fibromyalgia & allergies. Our God is good and sustains us... yet, each day is a struggle all its own. Thank you for this reminder that He is still I Am... and that is where our deliverance begins.
    http://soothingthesavagebeast.blogspot.com/
    posted by Terry & Patricia Lampel
    on Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 4:45 pm
  46. My aches and pains come from infertility. I got married in march 2009. My brother n law got married december 2009 and they were pregnant with in months. They had Emma and then a month after emma was born came rebecca. It is hard to be in the same room as them and I can not seem to get past this. I am trying so hard to do what is right by my family but this secret pain is killing me.
    posted by Kelly
    on Monday, February 18, 2013 at 12:09 am
  47. So timely!! The ache in my heart right now and has been for almost 36 years....the God-given mate. Honestly.....I am still finding the treasure in my ache.
    posted by Jana Godfrey
    on Monday, February 18, 2013 at 2:55 am
  48. Thanks for offering the song and CD!

    My greatest challenge of the moment: facing the loss of my family home; coming to terms with the dysfunction of my past; feeling homeless/rootless; and coping with all this while alone/single.

    The greatest treasure I find here: God Himself. There are days that I know I'm forcing myself to push my lips into what sounds like praise, when every note I sing sounds like plastic. But He accepts it and He loves me. I can't wrap my head around such love.
    http://www.sidewaystiara.com/blog
    posted by Sharon
    on Monday, February 18, 2013 at 7:25 am
  49. It seems as if I am better at encouraging others to believe God and see Him working in their situations than I am for myself personally. I am getting to know God as a friend now and to hear Him say, "I love you, no matter what!" is helping me to really know His love. Being healed of an unstable childhood and an emotionally distant father is the treasure I am finding. Now I want to help others find love and healing in God, through really getting to know them and "doing life together".
    posted by April
    on Monday, February 18, 2013 at 7:37 am
  50. Good morning, ladies,

    I'm listening to "Right Where I Am" right now and thanking God for each of you.

    Congrats to Ann, DJ, Jennifer, D, and Kim. You just won Shannon's new CD. Check your inbox for more details.

    Blessings,

    paula
    posted by Paula Hendricks
    on Monday, February 18, 2013 at 10:40 am
  51. Woo-hoo! Congrats to the winners of "take heart"! I sat down this morning to read through the remaining comments I hadn't yet had a chance to sift through. Thank you, ladies, for joining this conversation and for your vulnerability. For me, I know it means so much when a fellow traveler shares their story and heartache with me. Because as I listen, relate and help carry their burden, it also helps lighten my own. I pray that even through reading each other's comments we are encouraged by the fact that, while in this world we will obviously have trouble, we can truly take heart and give thanks...for HE has overcome the world. Love you, ladies!
    www.shannonwexelberg.com
    posted by Shannon Wexelberg
    on Monday, February 18, 2013 at 11:29 am
  52. My biggest challenge was several years ago as I began what would turn out to be 8 years of intensive therapy to come to grips and heal from being sexually abused from around ages 7 to 17. The men: my father, grandfather, and 3 neighbor men. It was like I had this sign around my neck. My father was abusive in every manner of the word and I feared him. I lived into adulthood thinking it was all my fault. I never forgot, but just accepted this was my doing and tried to get on with my life. I was a believer, so the guilt was even greater; to think that I could disappoint Jesus. I had accepted His forgiveness but could not forgive myself. My thinking was so messed up! One day my facade came crashing down. I was doing laundry, and the tears came. I was a good wife, mother, church helper, etc., but I knew something was holding me back (Satan!). The tears came and I had this overwhelming push to make a phone call to see a professional counselor. I had seen a Christian counselor before this, actually 2. One told me my sexual drive was to be satisfied and that was God's way of taking care of it! The other told me that God would forgive me for it all and we prayed. He never told me I was a little girl and that it was not something I did. I was BROKEN!! I saw an intake therapist. She mentioned that a support group may be part of my therapy so I looked up one. Went and it was AWFUL!! They read about God in a notebook, and then the talk became so bad that when I left, I realized later it was only by God's grace I made it home, because I couldn't remember the trip. Only that there were several trees along the way that would do the job. I got home and called the intake therapist, told her what had happened and she gave me her home number and asked me to hold on until the next day. That day I was connected to a psychologist whose name was also Carolyn. I don't know if she was a believer, but I knew in my heart I had to go with this. My insurance didn't give me much options, but somehow I knew I was in the right place, and I was. If I had known that day what laid ahead, I would have run. It was the hardest thing, and everyday I had to also tuck it down inside so I could carry on being wife, mom, church worker, yada-yada. It took a LONG TIME for me to even begin to think it was not of my doing, let alone begin to believe it. I began to really pray and get into God's Word. I saw that while the abuse was not my fault, my sin was in not believing He could fix my broken heart, mind, body. I began to ask Him to use Carolyn to work towards that goal. As I began to talk about God in my sessions, she never let on whether she was a believer, but she never put down my faith, either. As memories came and went, healing began to come and stay. Then a bomb: our 14 yr old son was sexually victimized by some other teens, and it got ugly. By the end of 8th grade he was nearly suicidal. But the healing, the miracle? As I took steps to help him, doing things that I had needed in my childhood, I found God was not only giving me strength to do them, but it was like those steps were also healing me. The kids that hurt him, continued on verbally by calling him a fag, gay, and that was only the beginning. It lasted all through his remaining school years. The whole time, I was still working on my issues which I could not let become his issues. There were ROUGH days and my daughter was a big help. Yet, later I learned that I was not always there for her the way she needed me to be. Finally, I realized I was ready to end my therapy, not only feeling, but BELIEVING I was free of it all. There were still some tough times, but God got me through. The plus: Life is GLORIOUS. My children are believers, active in their faith and church. In a conversation with my daughter, my apologizing for not always being there, she said, "Mom, you have said that because of what you went through, you see the gifts God has given you. While, I have gifts received from Him for going through that time with you. I love you." The gifts: I am sensitive to others, especially those who have been abused, suffer depression, have other needs. I love doing what God asks in helping in whatever way I can; music is an awesome gift as I have always played piano, but during my therapy I began taking lessons again. It began to blossom and I began playing for church, and just for personal praise time. I love with a deep love. GOD IS SO GOOD! It has been quite a few years now, and there was a short time when I sought out another therapist as I felt the depression return, and was treated for chemical depression and now feel much better. God healed me, He forgave me for not accepting the fullness of His forgiveness, I forgave my abusers (it took some time to get there), and I forgave myself. I love Him and give Him praise for the victory that is in Him, alone. I'm sorry this is so long, but it was a long time in coming. I hope my story will help another. Remember, God is faithful. I loved the words to this song, because it was a mindset I had to develop in order to get where I am. Thank you for putting them together so eloquently.
    posted by Carolyn Putney
    on Monday, February 18, 2013 at 12:23 pm
  53. Carolyn...the True Woman team has been forwarding me the comments from my blog, and I just read yours. Thank you so much for sharing. I can sense the freedom in your spirit radiating through your words! And the words of your daughter are so true...that God uses even our own struggle toward wholeness in the lives around us. I've seen that in my life too. Usually, when I am most struggling with some aspect of my past or my outlook on life or God, I cry, sob, worship and then a song comes out. God, in turn, takes that "offering" and multiplies it. He is doing the same with your life - and the lives of each of us! How beautiful that truth of "comforting others with the comfort we have been given by Him." Bless you, dear sister, for sharing this part of your story (along with all of you!) and for giving testimony to the way the Lord is writing these victorious new chapters! I LOVE IT!!!
    www.shannonwexelberg.com
    posted by Shannon Wexelberg
    on Monday, February 18, 2013 at 12:48 pm
  54. Eight children and a husband who has struggled to find his "niche" in life has led us to move 55 times in 31 years. By the grace of God our children are down-to-earth, secure young people who make friends really, really, easily.

    My great struggle has been giving up the dream of having my house with a white picket fence. God has taught me that He is my house with the white picket fence and His people have been who He uses to encompass and bless me with every change, every new place, every goodbye.

    Jill
    www.generationalwomanhood.wordpress.com
    posted by Jill Farris
    on Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 10:14 am
  55. I am struggling to be persistent and consistent in spending time with God. I always get mad from the words my husband says to me and i stop praying. Just this weekend we were in disagreement about something he mentioned that i have a bad attitude and the people who like me do not know how it is wake up next me, they dont know me. To me i get mad in reaction to what he says and he tells me i have a bad attitude.

    I am discouraged.
    posted by WhoamI
    on Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 11:52 pm
  56. Kelly,

    I know how difficult this trial is for you, Kelly – living with unfulfilled longings for a child. Though we may not understand God’s ways, we know that He loves you and longs to fill the empty places of your heart with His love and peace.

    Have you shared with your family that you are struggling through the trial of infertility? Bringing the “secret” out into the light may give you a freedom and begin a process where your family can support you through prayer and encouragement during this time. If you don’t feel like you can open up with your family about this, I encourage you to find an older godly woman you can speak with about your “secret” pain. She can pray for you, encourage you and walk with you through this valley. She can keep you pointed toward the Lord and help you guard against bitterness.

    Mindy Kroesche, one of our True Woman bloggers has also struggled with infertility (http://www.truewoman.com/?id=598). I hope you take the time to read through her blogs for encouragement. As you read, may God speak to your heart to assure you that you are not alone in this.

    I know this is not an easy road to travel, Kelly! I want you to know that I am praying for you right now and asking God to draw you near to His heart and comfort you as you choose to trust His heart for your life.

    Serving Him,
    Lorree
    posted by Lorree, with the TW Team
    on Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 1:02 pm
  57. @WhoamI...Understandably your husband's words are painful for you. Let the Lord Jesus be the One you run to...not the One you run away from! He is the One who will soothe the wounds of your heart from the words spoken. He is the One who will give you strength to refuse to argue with your husband--to meet rebuke with grace. He is the One who will speak words of peace and grace over you in the day and in the night. He is the One who loves you with an everlasting love. He is the One who will bless your home with HIS goodness and grace as you experience His presence and peace. All of these are promises in His Word. Run TO Him, run to Him.

    Read the Psalms when your heart hurts--start with Psalm 103, 23, 46, 73, 139. Let the words of the psalmist wash over you. Sing a song to the Lord. Find a chair in your home where you will go to meet the Lord when you are discouraged. He will meet you there every time through His Word and your turning your thoughts to Him. I am praying for you just now that God will draw you to Himself and His Word in irresistible ways--that you might find your hope and peace in Him.
    posted by Sarah, with the TW Team
    on Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 1:26 pm

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