Rest in Difficult Times

This will not contain many statements of what is wrong in this world, but of what is right!  God so loved the world that He gave His one and Only Son…. John 3:16

God gave His One and Only Son For Us!  Wow!  Each day I live with what He has done for me personally, and my short fall of His extended Grace.  That blows my mind every time I think about it.

Growing up we always went to church.  I wondered if everyone truly lived for the Lord.  The many Sunday school lessons had me looking at others to see if they were good enough for Jesus.  Of course, I did not look at me, because after all it was not a problem, correct?  Then instead of looking at them, something happened to make me look at me.

At the age of 12, I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior and Philippians 4:19 became my verse.  Everything seemed to be going my way.  I had a lead role in a musical, a cool nickname “peanut”, and my popularity was on the rise.  Life seemed to be going my way.

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 NLT

However, at the age of 14, a drastic turn of events changed everything to less favorable, at least that is what I thought.

On a very cold December morning, during Christmas vacation from school, my sister’s friend had spent the night.  Upon waking, I began to be my normal crazy self, making my sister and her friend laugh.  However, something was different.  After throwing myself on the bed, I began to shake uncontrollably.  At least that is what was explained to me afterwards.  The last thing I remember was talking to my sister and her friend.

Then I remember opening my eyes and being cold and sleepy, dressed in pajamas, and in the back of our car.  What was happening?  Why am I here?  Is this real or a dream?  Conversation seemed to escape me.  I never had problems like that before!  Sleep claimed my immediate attention.  Upon arrival at the hospital, I woke up again.  No strength to ask questions.  Upon talking to a doctor, his diagnosis of my seizure was puberty.  The seizures would possibly stop after the changes in my body occurred.  Well, that certainly did not give me any peace!

Almost exactly a month later, another seizure occurred.  After a short stay in another hospital, a test was set up for me with a neurologist.  No diagnosis was immediately given.  When the results of the test became available, the pediatrician gave me the diagnosis from the neurologist.  I had Epilepsy and would have to constantly be on seizure control medicine!  If the seizures continued after 18 years, epilepsy would be part of my entire life.  He also advised me to stay away from drugs and drinking.  Neither of these two would be hard.  Drinking did not appeal to me, at all!  Waking up after a seizure with a headache for most of the day was not fun.  Dinking to become drunk, is like asking for a headache.  No thank you!  To this day, I do not really know what happens during a seizure, but know what comes after, and it is not enjoyable.  Why take recreational drugs, when I now had to take prescription drugs?

I was told that having children was not part of my future either.  Wait a minute, no children!  At first that upset me, but then I could not imagine having children with the possibility of something being wrong with their brain because of me.

Actually the seriousness of the situation escaped me, until I went back to school.  Somehow, my closest friends no longer wanted to be my friend.  Earlier we had signed up for the same classes because of our similar interests.  It was tough no longer being their friend, and seeing them always reminded me of the friendships that we once had.  They would make sure people knew we were no longer friends by ridiculing me.  There was not a day that I did not go home in silent tears.  I never told my parents what was happening.  They could not change it for me.  Besides my one “true” friend was becoming more real to me each day.  He was not only my Savior, but my Lord!  Isn’t it wonderful that our Lord knows more what we need than we do?

High school was not enjoyable, but I now had a mission.  Instead of praying to become better, my prayer was to become more sensitive to others, and to what God was doing in their lives.  How could I love someone like He loved them?  He allowed this to happen for a reason.  What was that reason?

The love and strength portrayed by the parent, Jairus, in Mark 5 is awe inspiring.

Jesus got into the boat again and went back to the other side of the lake, where a large crowd gathered around him on the shore.  Then a leader of the local synagogue, whose name was Jairus, arrived.  When he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet, pleading fervently with him.  “My little daughter is dying,” he said.  “Please come and lay your hands on her; heal her so she can live.”  Jesus went with him, and all the people followed, crowding around him. Mark 5:21-24

While he was still speaking to her, messengers arrived from the home of Jairus, the leader of the synagogue.  They told him, “Your daughter is dead.  There’s no use troubling the Teacher now.”  But Jesus overheard them and said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid.  Just have faith.”  Then Jesus stopped the crowd and wouldn’t let anyone go with him except Peter, James, and John (the brother of James).  When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw much commotion and weeping and wailing.  He went inside and asked, “Why all this commotion and weeping?  The child isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.”  The crowd laughed at him.  But he made them all leave, and he took the girl’s father and mother and his three disciples into the room where the girl was lying.  Holding her hand, he said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means “Little girl, get up!”  And the girl, who was twelve years old, immediately stood up and walked around!  They were overwhelmed and totally amazed.  Jesus gave them strict orders not to tell anyone what had happened, and then he told them to give her something to eat.  Mark 5:35-43 NLT

How would you like the first thing you see to be Jesus, and then your parents.  Jairus and his wife had followed the call, believed in Jesus, and their daughter lived.  This story sends chills up my spine, and gives credibility to loving parents who dedicate their children to the Lord.

Each and every day, something new seems to pop up.  How do we continually give those changes to God?  Do they control us, or does God have dominion over everything in our lives?  Life is not always easy, or always difficult, but we often focus on the difficult parts.

Teaching our children how to live during a crisis, is so very important!  There were so many teachable moments that my parents used, without saying anything, just living it out.  They relied on God to get them through, and for Him to take care of me.  I now know that my life truly began in the summer of my 12th year, and the guidance received from my parents, pointed me towards a life-long relationship with God.  That made all the difference in the world.

Read with your children the below verses from Matthew.  Discuss with them how they can go to Jesus at anytime with their burdens, and He will give them rest.  Give them a personal example of burdens you have taken to the Lord, and what the outcome was.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NLT

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Karen Leaman

Karen Leaman

Karen Leaman has a passion for students, and for over 25 years has been volunteering within churches, leading and mentoring students.

Karen, and her husband Ken, have been married for 26 years, and have a 25 year old son.  They live in McKInney, TX, just North of Dallas.

As Karen and Ken, repeatedly witnessed many Christian students who were active within the Church walk away from their faith shortly after graduating high school, they grew frustrated.  Studies show that about 70% of young adults leave their faith after graduation, which is a huge issue since they are the future of the Church.  After much prayer and searching God's direction for many years, the Leaman's felt His calling to start a ministry to address this problem.  In 2014, they gathered like minded Christian professionals to help begin Young Adults of Worth Ministries.  We believe that this ministry is from God, and it will be blessed by Him for His glory alone.