Holding On Through Times of Suffering

Hey there! Welcome back to my blog. Today, I’ve got a special guest post from one of my closest friends, Luella. In this article, she will break down how suffering is ultimately for our benefit and how we should respond, while drawing examples from a special person’s life. Who is that person? Well, I’m not the one writing today, so don’t look at me, just keep reading!

~~~

When was the last time that you were in a place of hardship or suffering?

The past week, month, or even a few years?

There was a clockmaker who was quite familiar with suffering and her name was Corrie ten Boom. If you don’t know who she is, she was a Dutch woman who was born on April 15, 1892 and endured hardships she faced during both World War I and World War II.

Now, Corrie was a simple and quite frankly, ordinary Dutch woman whose days were not spent doing very exciting things. She would go for a walk with her father, get the daily supplies, tend the watch shop, help repair the watches, and in the evenings, spend time with her family reading the Bible. However, God was using her in the ministry of teaching the Bible to the mentally disabled and housing those without a home in the small village of Haarlem, Netherlands.

The Nazis invaded the Netherlands in 1940 and Corrie got involved with God’s calling for her to protect His people. Helping the Jews was a massive and dangerous undertaking because while God wanted to protect His chosen people, the Nazis wanted the extermination of them. Protecting the Jews often resulted in great punishment in prison camps. 

Even though God could have protected her from the fate she was about to face, He knew what was best for Corrie. He allowed her to be imprisoned along with her whole family to protect the eight Jews she was keeping in her house. By the Lord’s grace, all of the Jews she hid in the secret room were not found! 

Through her grueling experiences in three different prisons and all of the things that happened in them, good and bad, the Lord still kept a close watch over her life. In her story, we learn why God allows suffering, how He uses our hard situations to bless us and others, and in what ways we should respond to our own suffering.  

Ground Rules 

Let me just lay out some of the ideas and theologies I will be using throughout this article so that we’re on the same page.

Suffering and struggle in life doesn’t mean God isn’t in control of what is going on or that He is maliciously letting us suffer; instead, He is giving us room to grow and deepen our character and relationship with Him. God knows exactly what needs to happen in our lives to produce the kind of character we are lacking. Most often He does that through hard experiences, as we’ll see with Corrie.

With that said, let’s get back to her!

Why God Allows Suffering

Sure, Corrie had a great faith before the trials she went through, but God gave her the experience she needed to put even more trust in Him and an even more profound passion for spreading the gospel.

While she was helping the Jews find safe places to stay, God was shaping her reliance on His strength and His provisions that she would otherwise not have had. Later, she would be in situations where what God had supplied her with in past experiences would be put to good use. In our lives and in Corrie’s life, His gifts often come in strange packages and always at the right time.

How God Uses Our Suffering to Bless Others

Not only will our suffering shape us into the person God wants us to be, but will also be a tool He uses to skulpt other people’s lives at the same time! Through Corrie’s time in the Underground, the secret revolution against the Germans, her head was always on a swivel and she was scared for the lives of everyone she was protecting, for her family, and herself if they were ever found out.

Despite that, in that time of dread and trusting God, she rescued eight-hundred Jews! Even in her darkest hours in prison, the love of Jesus was still her lifesaver and she tried very hard to get past her own suffering to help others. 

During her time in person, she and her sister Betsie would hold prayer, worship, and Bible studies whenever they could and God would always provide them with the supply of strength, translators, and also peace from the guards. An example of this is the story of them and the fleas.

God is Ultimately Glorified in Our Suffering

Have you or your pet experienced or even just heard a story of how awful fleas are? Fleas are little insects that live and love to burrow their little icky heads into a host and drink their blood until they look like a swollen balloon. Ravensbruck prison, where Corrie and Betsie were staying at this point in their story, was infested with them! Their cots, clothes, blankets, and themselves were all stricken by these little demons of pain and infection, but they too served God’s purpose. 

Somehow, Corrie and Betsie would go uninterrupted while teaching others about Christ and helping them. That was because the guards detested the fleas and would never go into the room to ever find their prison ministry. How incredible God is to find such a clever way to use suffering for His children’s good! 

After the war, Corrie fulfilled the prophetic vision Betsie had told Corrie before she died of making a sanctuary for people who went through the horrors of prison. Corrie could personally relate to all of them since she had gone through the same thing. She also traveled the world telling people about the hardships and trials they went through, but also how God brought them through it all.

Though she died in April of 1983, her story has continued throughout the world to comfort those who are hurting and are equipping those who haven’t yet experienced pain like that with the courage they need to fight when it comes. One of the people Corrie had influenced with her story was Joni Eareckson Tada. Joni is paralyzed from the neck down due to a diving accident and battled with depression for many years because of it. A few years into her new condition a friend gave her Corrie’s first book, The Hiding Place, which gave her hope in her suffering and the power to move onto what God had for her. 

Suffering Opens Opportunities 

This one will make your toes curl, but oddly enough, our suffering opens opportunities we would not otherwise have. Knowing what a certain type of suffering entails will open opportunities for God to work through you to help others who are or have gone through that same suffering.

As I have already mentioned, Corrie opened a house for prison survivors and truly helped them to forgive their guards or fellow countrymen who betrayed them. When we are in that suffering, God still uses it to benefit others! All of the eight-hundred Jews who Corrie assisted in saving were saved in a time of their distress, but at the same time she put herself into their suffering.

All of our suffering points to God and how He is using this time to prepare us for eternity with Him in heaven, where there will no longer be pain and suffering.

You see now, God is exemplified in the anguish we go through! He desperately wants us to have a relationship with Him and sometimes He uses our suffering to dip our toes into the world without Him. When we finally realize we need to run back to His grace, He doesn’t turn us away because we didn’t love Him before, but opens His arms to give us a warm embrace. Then He’ll sit you down to tell you how He was using the hurt to bring a certain characteristic we needed for our future along with a story of how He loved us way before we were even born.

The love we see Him pour out on us is the love of a great Father who, no matter the circumstances, will always do the best thing for His child.

Closing

With all of those things in mind we now ask, “How then am I supposed to deal with suffering?” There are three things I’ll leave you with.

First, our suffering is ultimately for our good. All God wants is for us to be is fruitful and sometimes that fruit is made with a freeze, like how tulips have to be planted before winter so their bulb will break in the winter and produce a dashing flower in the spring. 

Second, God may even plant some other bulbs in our life that we can help show how there is a time coming where they too will become beautiful flowers, like dahlias.

And finally, those flowers may be used in a bouquet or in a pot or simply left to grow for people passing by, and they will be used for a greater purpose. 

We shouldn’t be viewing our trials as trivial; instead, we should look at them the way James describes them in James 1:2-4:

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4 NASB

You Are Not Your Sin

“I’m a horrible person.”

“I’m supposed to be a Christian– why did I say that?”

“This sin is too much and it’s too hard. I can’t give this up. It’s part of me.”

How many times have you allowed thoughts like that to slip into your mind? Your heart? How many times have you told yourself you’re beyond help?

We’re sinful human beings. Even though we try, we often still make mistakes and fail. It’s easy to hide behind your failure and say things like that– whether it’s only in our head or aloud. 

But today I’d like to echo an important truth to you. A truth that came to me through a fiction book.

The Book

I’ve been reading a lot of books by one particular author recently. See, I was looking for historical fiction recommendations because it’s a genre I’m curious about writing, and the best way to start working on that is reading it.

Someone recommended a couple of trilogies by Roseanna M. White: Shadows Over England and The Codebreakers.

I really liked the books.

If I had to describe the genre, it’d be Christian historical fiction romance. Usually, there’s not just a struggle between the two characters’ relationship, but also a struggle with faith and God. The first book in the Shadows Over England series, A Name Unknown, might be my favorite of all of them. And that might be partly because Peter Holstein, one of the main characters, is a writer.

Set just before World War I in England, Peter Holstein, with a German last name and family, has to prove that he’s loyal to England before it’s too late. Rosemary Gresham arrives one day, undercover as a librarian, and is quickly hired by Peter to help clean up his library and find some documents to prove his loyalty. Rosemary, however, is really a thief hired to find evidence against Peter. Though, knowing the genre I just stated, of course something else happens instead.

This book was really well written, and if you read it, you can see the sharp contrast between Peter and Rosemary. Peter is a writer, and that’s partly because he has trouble speaking and finds it easier to express himself on paper. He usually speaks little and slowly, and when he’s uncomfortable or nervous he’ll stammer. Rosemary, however, arrives, and after just a few minutes on the job Peter asks if she always talks so much, which makes for some entertaining interactions.

This book, though fiction, did have some important truths in it. At the end of the book, when Peter has proposed to Rosemary, an important exchange goes on between them. Rosemary thinks, in a way, that she isn’t worthy of Peter’s love.

How can you? How can you want me, knowing what I am?

Rosemary Gresham, A Name Unknown

This question cuts deep. She not only refers to herself as ‘what’, but she also doubts Peter and wonders how he could love her.

But Peter responds: 

That’s not… not who you are. It’s just… something you did.

Peter Holstein, A Name Unknown

Peter’s words, though few, are huge. He points out that the sin Rosemary committed isn’t who she is. He separates the person from their past. 

That’s what I’d like to talk about today.

You Are Not Your Sin

Just because you have bad habits and make mistakes doesn’t mean that sin owns you or has power over you. It doesn’t mean that you’re beyond help or that Jesus doesn’t love you too. 

In fact, the Bible speaks specifically on this topic. 

But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

Romans 6:17-18

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

Galatians 4:4-7

Christ has set us free from sin and death. We are no longer slaves to sin. We are children of God, made in His image, and have the gift of grace through Jesus. 

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:16

You are not your sin. You are not stuck. You are not worthless. 

If you believe in Jesus and what He has done for you:

You are free.

You are a child of God.

You are saved.

That is the identity we should be taking on. No matter how many times we fail, we are not our sin, because of Jesus.

Should We Stay In Sin?

Just because we are free from sin doesn’t mean we should say, “Oh, you know what, since Jesus has saved me I can basically do whatever I want!”

See, there’s a balance between following the law and doing good works and being justified by Jesus Christ. Ultimately, Jesus has saved us. We can never do enough works or keep enough rules to be saved on our own.

However, this doesn’t mean we go and be crazy. In fact, quite the opposite. Because Jesus has saved us, we are born again Christians. We should be trying to do better and be better because of what Jesus has done for us.

But we’re going to fail. We’re going to mess up. And that’s okay, because we have our Savior to fall back on and be encouraged to try again.

I’d recommend reading the book of Galatians for more on this topic. Yes, the whole book, but it’s only six chapters. I could give you a bunch of single verse scripture quotations, but I think it’s better that you just read it for yourself. You can find chapter one online here, and you should be able to find the rest of the chapters on that same site, Bible Gateway.

Loving Others

I think it’s important that we learn from the character Peter in A Name Unknown. He separated Rosemary from her past sins and mistakes, and we should too when conversing with others. Love the person, not their sin. 

When loving a person, you don’t have to approve of what they’re doing. You just have to be there and love them for who they are, not what their sin is.

This can be challenging, especially if the person believes their sin is part of themselves, or even denies that it’s a sin altogether. But who did Jesus reach out to?

The sinners.

The tired.

The broken.

And when He died for us, He freed us from that sin so that we can be righteous, redeemed, and healed.

Shouldn’t we show that to others, no matter what their sin is?

Remember, you are not your sin, and they aren’t their sin either.

I know that this is hard to implement, especially when some of us are still unable to go many places or converse with many people. I also know that I can probably do better in this aspect as well. But that’s another great part of Christianity: the body of Christ. Not only do we have Jesus to fall back on, but also Christian friends and family to support and encourage us as well.

Final Thoughts

Thank you for reading today’s article! If you’d like to hear more from me and get notified when I post an article, please consider subscribing to my email list. You can unsubscribe at any time. I hope you enjoyed, and I’ll see you next time.

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Have a blessed day, 

~Caroline

Easter 2021: Reflections On God’s Love

What do you think of when Easter comes around?

The world has ways of celebrating it with Easter bunnies, egg hunts, and chocolate.

And though chocolate is good, that’s not the point of Easter. 

The point of Easter is celebration, thanksgiving, and praise to God for Jesus.

John 3:16, one of my favorite verses and essentially the Gospel in a nutshell, says:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

In this article I’d like to focus on that word ‘loved’ and help remind you of what Easter really means.

God First Loved Us

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

1 John 4:10

From the very beginning, we have been choosing other things over God. We have always been this way– thinking we know best and taking matters into our own hands.

And this is the judgement: the light has come into the world, and the people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.

John 3:19

We chose the darkness. Sometimes, we still choose the darkness.

But God… He first loved us. He first chose us.

God’s Love Was Planned

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53:4-6

Hundreds of years before Jesus walked the earth, prophets spoke of Him. They prophesied everything from where He would be born to what He would do. 

God knew we would fail. He knew we wouldn’t ever be able to be enough on our own. He knew we would make mistakes again and again. 

That’s also why He sent the ultimate sacrifice.

God Sent His Son

For one will scarcely die for a righteous person– though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die– but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:7-8

We’re a mess.

We choose darkness over light.

We choose sin over righteousness. 

We choose earthly desires over God.

And yet, God loved us so, so much He sent His son to die for us. And though we still make mistakes and still choose those things over God sometimes, He still loves us and the hope we have still stands.

Jesus’s death shouldn’t be taken for granted either, nor should the things he went through before His death.

Jesus was betrayed by one of His disciples, mocked, beaten, accused of sins He never committed, sentenced to death, had nails driven into His hands and feet, hung on a cross, and died. 

He knew this had to happen, but that didn’t make it any easier. While He was praying before his arrest, Luke says:

And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground.

Luke 22:44

He knew what was coming, and though it would be hard, He said, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42)

He didn’t run or fight back or return to heaven, rather, He knew what God’s will was and went silently to fulfill it.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.

Isaiah 53:7

God’s Love Will Never Let You Go

Our lives can change in an instant.

Our lives can end in an instant.

But we have an amazing, imperishable, everlasting, great hope.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

That love God showed us when He sent Jesus to die for us will never leave us. Even if we lose everything– God is still there, and He loves you.

This Easter

This Easter, remember how God showed His love for you. Remember what Jesus did. And don’t just dismiss it– pray, praise, and reflect. This holiday and event in history is one of the most important parts of our faith. It’s why we don’t have to worry about being perfect. It’s why we’re okay to stumble. It’s why we have this confidence in life.

Because we know, no matter what, Jesus has saved us. 

Since, therefore, we have been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Romans 5:9-11

Let us rejoice this Easter.

Final Thoughts

Thank you for reading this article! I hope it was encouraging or helped you in some way. Let me know if there’s any way I can serve you as we near Easter Sunday; even though we have Jesus as our hope, life can still be hard. If you need a prayer or words of encouragement, don’t hesitate to email me at live2thelord@gmail.com or through the Contact page on this blog.

Have a blessed day and wonderful Easter,

~Caroline

P.S. Here’s A Song

Here’s a song I’ve been listening to recently that especially fits this Easter article:

Thank You Jesus for the Cross – Life Worship

One Year Of Blogging

You know, I had an idea or two for what I would do for this day.

Today is supposed to be a celebration of a whole year of blogging.

But… those ideas didn’t go too well.

It’s not that they failed. It’s that I failed to really do anything with them.

Last night I was realizing that I had nothing for this occasion that was supposed to be special.

Thankfully, God gave me a wonderful best friend to tell me to get some sleep and provided me with the capacity today to write this blog post anyway.

So here it is– my thoughts on one year of blogging.

One Year Ago Today

One year ago, I launched this blog. I had started working on it before that, however. There was a lot of preparation, a lot of me just messing with the theme and trying to make it look right, and a lot of excitement.

Let’s start at the beginning.

In February of 2020, I joined the Young Writer’s Workshop. It’s a program for young writers to learn and grow in their writing. They are given access to an extensive content library for learning and a community of other writers like themselves.

In the program, one of the things they emphasize is growing a platform. Growing a platform is important for writers to get their writing out there and build an audience. This is what I had in mind as I watched the lessons on setting up your blog and platform.

Originally, I thought my blog would be book reviews. However, my perspective was shifting a bit, and I started specifically saying I would do “book reviews from a Christian perspective.”

I’m not entirely sure how I made the switch to what Live to the Lord is now, but it seems I was leaning that way anyway. So on Friday, March 20, 2020, I posted my first article (other than the introduction post): “Why Reading the Bible Is Important For Your Faith.

I was especially excited at the beginning. Consistency was easy. However, I won’t say it stayed easy. In fact, it got a lot harder.

During the summer of last year, I struggled with a period of doubt in my faith, which thus caused me to doubt my blog and what I was writing. It was hard. Thankfully, I had a family and friends that supported me and I got through it. 

Even though I haven’t exactly stayed perfectly consistent, the blog is still going, and I have only the Lord to thank for that. He held onto me when I felt my grip slipping from Him, and right now He is giving me the ability to write these words for you to read.

It’s interesting to think about fearing God. Really, He could take us away to be with Him at any moment. I like to think of Gandalf’s quote from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. For a bit of context, Frodo is speaking to Gandalf about the evils happening in their world and the One Ring.

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.

“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

I also find this quote relevant to our present day circumstance with the pandemic. We can’t decide what times we live through or what trials we see, but we can trust God’s plan and do the best with the time God has given us.

But believe me, using out time wisely is hard. I mean, this blog post is so late partly because I didn’t spend my time wisely. I’m not perfect, and I hope none of my blog posts ever convey that I am, but I hope that my words have helped you at some point.

Speaking of you, reader, I’d like to thank you for sticking with me all this time. Whether you’ve been reading my writing since the beginning, only for a few weeks, or even just jumped on this post today: thank you. Thank you for taking the time to read my words and support me. 

I’d also like to share a bit about me and why I blog, or, more generally, write. I don’t know if any of you have ever wondered this, but this question has arisen before as part of my YWW Academic program, and so I thought I’d share my answers for that assignment with you guys.

Why I Write

Here are the slightly revised reasons I gave in my assignment:

1. I write for joy.

I write because writing makes me happy. Writing gets me excited. Writing not only helps me escape reality but dive deeper into it. Writing sends me on adventures I would never be able to experience otherwise. Writing gives me freedom to create worlds and stories filled with whatever I want. Writing reminds me of the glory of Jesus when I write about Him. 

2. I write for Jesus.

I write because God has given me this gift, in both nonfiction and fiction, to write. I can move people with my words, whether it’s a blog post talking about the Gospel or a fantasy story about a woman choosing forgiveness, my words can matter to someone, and I want them to matter in the right way. 

3. I write for the joy of others.

I write because my words have the chance to move people. I write because, when my words do see the light of day, they can cause someone to laugh, to cry, to want more, and ultimately bring them joy as well. I write because I can share the Gospel directly to those who need it. 

Now that you know a bit more about why I do what I do, let’s talk a bit about some blog changes.

Changes Coming

In the coming weeks, I’m going to attempt to revamp a few things on my blog. First of all, I’m going to try to post more consistently again. You also may see some of my first ever guest posters very soon, so be on the look out for those.

Also, for those of you subscribed to my email list– I have not forgotten you (well, maybe I did for a bit, sorry)!

I will begin sending out weekly emails. These won’t be like the blog posts, but more informal thoughts from the week or, if there’s enough interest, a challenge to work on a specific spiritual discipline together.

If you don’t want to be getting those weekly emails, feel free to unsubscribe. I’m not going to be offended; I understand inboxes can get messy. I’d encourage you, however, to see how it goes at first before you unsubscribe. 

Final Thoughts

Thank you so much for being part of this journey with me. I’m curious though, what do you want to see on the blog? Any topics you want me to write on? Things you want me to do? Changes you’d like to suggest? Feel free to comment down below or go to the contact page and shoot me an email!

And if you’d like to get those emails I mentioned above, you can subscribe right here:

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Have a blessed day,

~Caroline 

I Was Published On The Rebelution!

Hey friend!

Today I have something very exciting to tell you instead of the usual blog post.

Earlier this week, an article I submitted to a website called the Rebelution was published! The Rebelution, or the Reb, is where teens and young adults submit articles about rebelling against low expectations, Christian-living, relationships, and other topics. It was founded by Brett and Alex Harris, co-authors of the book Do Hard Things.

My article is about why Christians should read the Old Testament, so if you’re interested in that topic, you can check it out HERE.

I hope you enjoy the article if you decide to check it out!

Have a blessed day,

~Caroline

Eric Liddell: Making Sacrifices

Hi, friend! Welcome to my blog. I hope you’re doing well!

Today it’s time to kick off the Live It! series. The first person we’ll be talking about is Eric Liddell.

Who Was Eric Liddell?

Eric Henry Liddell was an Olympic runner and missionary to China. Born on January 16, 1902 in Tientsin, China, Liddell was the son of a Scottish missionary family. He spent his early years in China before being brought to Scotland with his older brother for his education at Eltham College.

During his school years, Liddell excelled in sports of all kinds, “At the age of 15, Liddell was named best athlete of the year and became the youngest in school history to captain both the cricket and rugby teams.” (ABWE, ‘Jesus In Running Shoes’: Honoring Eric Liddell 75 Years Later.)

After graduating from Eltham College, Liddell went on to Edinburgh University in 1921. During his time there, his running took off and he won several prizes from university races and competitions. In April of 1923, he also spoke in front of an audience about his Christian faith for the first time at an evangelistic campaign.

In July of the same year he qualified for the British Olympic team for the 1924 Olympics in Paris, France. Liddell’s best race was the 100-meter. However, since the qualifying races for that event were held on Sunday, he refused to run in them. This caused quite an uproar.

Some people even called him a traitor to his country. A man unfit to represent Scotland.

Something Greater Than Gold, p. 46

Liddell, however, stood by his decision. He agreed to run other races that weren’t held on Sundays, but he still sacrificed potential gold medals for standing by his beliefs.

After the Olympics Liddell decided he wanted to follow in his parents’ footsteps and pursue mission work in China. While in China, he taught Chinese students science and was liked by many people he worked with for his “friendly and energetic personality.” (ABWE, ‘Jesus In Running Shoes’: Honoring Eric Liddell 75 Years Later.)

While in China, Liddell got to know Florence Mackenzie, a daughter of another missionary family. He liked spending time with her and being around her, and after getting to know her, he decided he wanted her to be his wife. He proposed to her when she was still pretty young, but they waited until Florence had graduated from nursing school to get married. After several years of waiting, they were married in March of 1934. 

Liddell and his wife continued their work in China together. In the 1940s, however, things began to change and living in China was becoming more dangerous. In 1941, with World War II brewing, Liddell sent his two young girls and Florence, who was pregnant with their third child, to Canada. Liddell decided to stay behind in China to continue his work.

Escorting Flo and his daughters to the ship that would take them to Canada was probably the most difficult thing that Eric Liddell ever had to do in his life.

Something Greater Than Gold, p. 162

What makes Liddell’s decision so noble is that it was entirely voluntary. No one would have blamed Liddell for taking the easy route by going with his loved ones. This extraordinary sacrifice distinguishes Liddell as a man of utmost obedience.

‘Jesus In Running Shoes’: Honoring Eric Liddell 75 Years Later (ABWE)

Liddell was taken to a Japanese internment camp in 1943 before he could make the trip to Canada to return to his family. Liddell didn’t let the circumstances hinder him, however.

Eric was probably the most popular person in the whole camp. His roommates got tired of the constant stream of children parading past the door looking for Uncle Eric.

Something Greater Than Gold, p. 185

Sadly, though, Liddell’s health began to decline. He died in the internment camp from a brain tumor on February 21, 1945. He was never able to meet his third daughter or see his family again, and it was a couple of months before Florence heard of his death. 

The Legacy

Liddell sacrificed a lot in his life. He could have run on Sundays. He could have continued his career as an Olympic runner. He could have gone home with his family to Canada.

Instead, he gave his life to God. He didn’t run on Sundays. He decided that he would pursue a career as a missionary. He died in China, far away from his loved ones.

It’s terrible to read about his death at a young age away from his family, but it’s also beautiful. It’s beautiful that he was willing to continue to serve the Lord despite the dangerous circumstances. It’s beautiful that he chose to be a light to those in China and the internment camp, even though the situation was far from happy. It’s beautiful that he chose Jesus over everything else.

So what can we learn from Liddell’s life? We can learn that sometimes we have to make sacrifices. Sometimes we have to give things up, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be filled with joy and happiness in what God has done for us.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2

Liddell ran his race, but for a much greater prize than gold, and keeping his eyes on Jesus all the way.

Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s article on Eric Liddell! If you want to learn more about Liddell and his life, I’ll link the sources I used for this article down below. Thank you so much for reading! I’ll see you next time!

Have a blessed day, 

~Caroline

Bibliography

Benge, Janet and Geoff. Eric Liddell: Something Greater Than Gold. Seattle: YWAM Publishing, 1998.

Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopedia. “Eric Liddell.” Encyclopedia Britannica, January 12, 2021. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Eric-Liddell.

McCasland, David. Eric Liddell: Pure Gold. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Discovery House, 2001.

Skinker, Loren. “‘Jesus In Running Shoes’: Honoring Eric Liddell 75 Years Later.” ABWE.org, February 21, 2020. https://www.abwe.org/blog/%E2%80%98jesus-running-shoes%E2%80%99-honoring-eric-liddell-75-years-later.

The People Who Lived to the Lord (+New Blog Series)

Hello, friend! Welcome to my blog. I hope you’re doing well.

To start off today’s article, I’d like to tell you a little bit about my bookshelf. Don’t worry, I’m not going to describe it to you in detail (though if you really want that, I could), just hear me out. 

My Bookshelf 

On my bookshelf in my room, one of the shelves has several books by the same authors and publishing company. Each of these books talks about a different person’s life. There’s one with the name ‘Rachel Saint’, another with ‘Hudson Taylor’, a third with the name, ‘Gladys Aylward.’ The majority of these people were missionaries or those who lived for God.

Why I Love These Biographies 

I have several of these biographies on my shelf because I enjoy reading about these people’s lives. Each story is different and their dedication and love for Christ is a shining light in them.

Let’s talk about one of the names I mentioned above: Rachel Saint. Rachel’s brother, Nate, was a missionary pilot in Ecuador and worked on a team with four other men. One day, Nate and his friends were killed by tribesmen they were trying to reach in the jungle. Rachel, however, continued her missionary work to these people and later, to quote the biography, 

Now Rachel found herself looking into the eyes of the man who may well have speared her brother to death… [she] felt not anger but compassion toward him.

Rachel Saint: A Star in the Jungle, p. 148

Rachel Saint continued to reach out towards these people and helped progress the Gospel significantly. Her love for them despite what they did to her brother is incredible and truly inspirational. We can also learn from her story. She exercised love and forgiveness when faced with these men, even though she knew what they had done in the past.

Introducing the Live It! Series 

Now I’m happy to introduce you to the Live It! series, where we will focus on the lives of missionaries and others who lived to the Lord. I will be going into more detail, using these biographies and other resources, about these people’s lives. Please remember, however, that even though these people did great things, Jesus should still be our ultimate role model and hope. These people lived for Jesus, and though they can inspire us to do the same, they should not become idols.

Final Thoughts 

Thank you for reading today’s article! Are you excited about the new series? Do you have a missionary or person you’ve read about that you’d like to see an article on? Let me know in the comments below or through the Contact page. I’ll see you next time!

Have a blessed day,

~Caroline

Hope in the New Year: 2020 Wasn’t All Bad

Hi, friend! Happy New Year!

Can you believe it’s 2021? It’s crazy to look back at 2020 and wonder how it could go so fast and yet so slow at the same time. It’s also crazy to think about all that happened this previous year as well.

I’ve heard several people talking about their opinions of 2020 as a whole, and many are angry, upset, and ready to move on. However, today I’d like to point out that 2020 wasn’t all bad.

That’s right. The year 2020, though it was challenging, wasn’t all bad.

Curious? Great, let’s get into it.

Our Lives Put On Hold

The virus hit and suddenly our lives were thrown upside down. We were told to wear masks, do this thing called “social distancing”, hand sanitize constantly, and stay home.

It was stressful and hard during those first weeks of lockdown, but then it just kept going and going. Even now, depending on where you are, there are still rules in place concerning your health and how many people can be inside a building at the same time.

When the lockdown happened, our lives were, in a way, put on hold. Schools closed, churches went online, activities were cancelled, etc. It was as if someone had turned off the lights of our lives, and we were scrambling around in the dark, disoriented and stressed.

But what if those lights turning off did more than leave us lost? 

A Reset That Led To Realization

Let’s be honest, 2020 was hard.

I don’t want you to ignore that or ignore the pain and grief you may be going through because of what happened this year. 

But should we look back on 2020 and think that nothing good came out of it?

I don’t think so, because through our hardest struggles of 2020, God was still working. He used this year to help people realize that they aren’t in control of what happens. They can have a high social status, be skilled in a sport, and doing well in school, but all of that can be taken away.

And God? He’s still there. He’s the one who matters. 

The lights seemed to go off for a little while, yes, but God was working. He helped us realize what we needed to be rooted in. We needed (and still need) to be rooted in the Gospel, because in the end, that’s what really matters.

So now, as we move forward into 2021, I think it’s better for us to think about the good that came out of 2020 and what we should be thankful for, rather than the bad and what we lost.

I’m thankful for our current level of technology that allows us to stay connected despite distances, my friends and family who were by my side through this year, that we do have this hope in Jesus, and that we can trust Him in everything.

What about you? What are you thankful for?

What Does 2021 Look Like?

I doubt that with the New Year everything is changing for the better, because we’re not out of the storm yet.

However, we can use the New Year as a chance to be thankful and grateful for what God has given us and remind ourselves to be rooted in Him and not in the things of this world.

In 1 Peter 1, Peter tells us about our living hope.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 1:3-7

Our hope and inheritance is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. Worldly things, however, are perishable, can be defiled, and fade. Isn’t it better to set our hope in Jesus?

You can see a more thorough study of these verses in this post:

Imperishable Inheritance: 1 Peter 1:1-12

What I’m Doing For 2021

I’ll be starting a new Bible reading plan with my mom called the Legacy Bible Reading Plan. It assigns you books each month (along with Psalms and Proverbs) so that you can take it at your own pace.

Other than that, and maybe coming up with some with some ideas for this blog and my writing, I don’t have many plans for the New Year. What about you? Do you have a Bible reading plan for this year? Any New Year’s Resolutions? Let me know in the comments below or through the Contact page!

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, 2020 was hard, but it wasn’t all bad. A much-needed reset and refocus came out of 2020, and helped us remember that God is in control, not us, and we need to be rooted in and focused on Him.

Thank you for reading today’s article! If you have any feedback or ideas for this blog for 2021, let me know! I hope you have a happy New Year!

Have a blessed day,

~Caroline

Encouraging Songs:

Way Maker – Leeland

Living Hope – Phil Wickham

The Joy of Christmas: Celebrating In 2020 (+Book Review)

Hello, my friend! Merry Christmas!

Today, despite all the festivities and fun you might be having, I’d like to remind you who Christmas is all about and wrap it into a special review of a book I’ve been reading this holiday season. Ready? Let’s get into it.

A Brief Book Review

During this Advent season, I have been reading David Mathis’s devotional called The Christmas We Didn’t Expect: Daily Devotions for Advent, and I’ve really enjoyed it. Mathis has covered the craziness and the unexpectedness of all the different aspects of Jesus’s birth and has reminded me constantly that this day is about Jesus.

If we push past the Santa Claus movies, crazy Christmas decorations, and the stress of gift-giving, and go all the way back down to the core of Christmas, we find Jesus. 

We find Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes. 

We find Jesus lying in a manger. 

We find Jesus visited by shepherds and wise men. 

We find Jesus, the Son of God.

We find Jesus, the man who saved us all. 

Mathis lays that out in brief but powerful chapters for each day of Advent. Each devotion also has a beautiful closing prayer that helps guide you to speak with God after what you just read. I think I will be using this devotional next year as well, and I highly recommend you check it out too. 

The Good News

To quote Mathis’s devotional:

The real magic of Christmas is not in gifts and goodies, new toys and familiar traditions, indoor coziness and outdoor snow. What lies at the heart of Christmas, and whispers even to souls seeking to “suppress the truth” (Romans 1:18), is the most stunning and significant fact in the history of the world: that God himself became one of us.

The Christmas We Didn’t Expect, p. 11

Jesus came into the world in such a humble setting and He even went beyond that beginning and humbled Himself to the point of death for us (Philippians 2:8).

You know what else is great about Christmas, especially this year?

In the midst of the world’s troubles: the pandemic, family, finances, etc., we can still celebrate. Why? We can still celebrate because Jesus is worth celebrating. Even when our traditions go out the window, we suffer from loss and grief, and question this year as a whole, Jesus is worth celebrating.

The meaning of Christmas is not just that he was born among us but that he came to die for us. He came to secure for us eternal saving benefits.

The Christmas We Didn’t Expect, p. 141

Maybe you physically or mentally can’t celebrate Christmas this year because it just hurts too much, doesn’t feel right, or something or someone is missing. However, there is good news. When the angels appeared to the shepherds that glorious night, they said,

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

Luke 2:10-11

Cling to that good news today and ask God to give you joy in celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior. Remember also the words of James when in trials and struggles:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4

Even if we can’t have fun traditions, see family, or have the Christmas we want, we can still have and celebrate the Christmas we didn’t expect: the Christmas when God came down to ultimately give us the greatest gift of all. What is that great gift? Or should I say who is that great gift?

That great gift is Jesus, who saves people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).

Have a blessed Christmas, 

~Caroline

Songs For Celebration & Encouragement

Truth I’m Standing On – Leanna Crawford

Emmanuel You’re One Of Us – Rend Collective

Hope Has A Name – Passion

Today Is The Saviour’s Day – Rend Collective

Thanksgiving Challenge (+ What Have I Been Up To?)

Hey, friend!

I know, it’s been a while. You might be struggling to remember who I am and, if you’re subscribed to my email list, why you’re receiving a notification for the first time in weeks. I apologize for not posting. I went on vacation with my family and didn’t get back into it, and a few other things have been occupying my time, which I’ll talk a bit about in this post along with some thoughts about the holidays!

To start off, what have I been doing? 

What I’ve Been Doing #1: School

If you’ve read my homeschool post, you know that I’m homeschooled and have been for years. That doesn’t make high school easier though. School still takes up a lot of my time, can be challenging, and isn’t exactly something I can get out of doing. 

What I’ve Been Doing #2: NaNoWriMo

NaNo what now? Don’t worry if you’re confused– most people who aren’t writers are when someone mentions this funny acronym.

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It happens every year during the month of November, and writers everywhere race to write 50,000 words in a month. It’s exciting, fun, and at times exhausting. You have to write approximately 1.6k words a day, and depending on how fast you write and how prepared you are, that can take a while.

Since I have this in here, you probably know what I’m going to say next: I’ve been doing it! I’m writing a fantasy novel, and there are just a few days left! 

Now let’s talk about the holidays.

Let’s Be Joyful

I know the holidays are coming up soon and how they’re going to be for each person this year is going to vary greatly on where you live, how your family feels about Covid, and what’s been going on. For some of us, it’s going to be hard. For others, it will be joyous.

But here’s a piece of hope for all of us: we don’t have to stop celebrating just because things aren’t what they were last year. We have a choice. We can choose joy in Jesus and celebrate the gifts He has given us and His coming, or we can choose the opposite and focus on everything that went wrong this year. 

I recently heard a really good song that was sung at my church. It’s called “Set My Heart” by Vertical Worship. Here are a couple of lines that have such great meaning:

"I believe You're moving even now,
Right here, right now.”

Jesus is moving even when we don’t see it. He’s moving and working even when things look hopeless, when the pressure is crushing us, when everything seems to be falling around us.

Jesus is there. He is there. He has saved us and we are free indeed. 

Thanksgiving Challenge

If you’re in the United States, yesterday was Thanksgiving! I know this post is going out on what is technically Black Friday, but that doesn’t mean thankfulness has to end there! In the comments of this post, write down 1-3 things that you’re thankful for. They can be big or small: I’d love to hear from you!

Here are three things I’m thankful for this year to start it off:

  1. My parents for supporting me and working so hard to take care of me and my siblings.
  2. My online best friends for being there especially during the hard parts of the year.
  3. Lots of good food. Isn’t it great that God gave us so much variety? 

Go ahead and post your thankfulness and praises down in the comments below!

Final Thoughts

Thank you for reading this post! I hope you enjoyed, and please consider, if you haven’t already, subscribing to my email list to receive notifications when I post, three exclusive articles, and my newsletter when it comes out! I’ll be trying to get back into a blogging routine as NaNoWriMo comes to an end, so stay tuned! Happy (late) Thanksgiving! 

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Have a blessed day,

~Caroline