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When life gets messy, it’s easy to get stressed. Or angry. Or bitter.

But most of the time we’re in the middle of a mess, God wants to sharpen us, mold us, and transform us. So we might as well respond the way He desires so we can get out of the mess, don’t you think?

As I was writing my newest book, When God Sees Your Tears, I realized there’s lots of reasons to trust God in the middle of the mess. Stress kills, so save your health, pass the test, and please God by trusting Him in the middle of the mess.

Here are 6 reasons to trust, not stress, when you’re in the middle of the mess:

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You, too, may have heard it all your life. God is in complete control of everything.

But, oh how that rubs when the crud of life comes your way.

What do you tell a young woman who is pregnant with her first child when her husband of less than a year abandons her?

What do you tell the wife of a pastor who is shot dead on his church campus while serving the needs of his congregation on his day off?

What do you say to the woman who has served God all her life but now fights a fatal cancer that is eating away at her bones?

All three of those women talked with me recently about their unanswered questions. All three of them today have an intimacy with God that I long for. And all three of them are leaving a legacy…not just in their life but in the lives of others. They are proof of what happens when God sees your tears.

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praying_women_blackI’m sure you’ve heard some of these well-intentioned comments:

“At least you have a husband.”
“At least you already have a child.”
“You may not enjoy it, but at least you have a job.
“Well, at least you’re healthy.”
“At least you still have________________
“At least you don’t suffer with _____________”

Oh, the sting of well-intentioned remarks when there’s something more that is burdening your heart. And, oh the sting of those two guilt-ridden words: “At least….”

As I’ve ministered to women over the past 30 years, I have seen quite a few women settle for “at least” in their life. And yet, I believe that if God went to such great extremes to show His love for you and me by having His only Son die on the cross for us, then He did not intend for us to be content with “at least.”

Yes, God’s Word says we are to be thankful “in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). He also tells us that “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6). But God doesn’t want our gratitude and contentment to be a form of resignation (“I guess I should be happy with this, since it’s all I will ever get anyway”). Rather, God wants His children to be full of anticipation for the “more” that He is so capable of giving — to the point that we thank Him ahead of time for all that He is about to do.

This God who tells us to be thankful in all things actually raises the bar when we decide to settle for less or at least what life brings us:

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to do listA mother of three young children, who works part-time,  told me this past week that she wrestles with guilt feelings that she’s not  leading a ministry or serving in some capacity in her church.

“I sometimes wonder if I’m doing enough for God,” she said.

Have you ever found yourself saying that?

We live in a world focused on doing to the point that busyness is our badge of success and multi-tasking in the church is what appears to others — and ourselves — as ultra spiritual. But  although a relationship with the Living God produces a desire to obey Him and serve Him,  that service results in joy and rest, not perpetual stress!

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Do you ever feel that you’re not doing enough to please God?

I recently asked a group of women how their spiritual life was going. They each frowned and began to recount to me all that they had not been doing. They were each concerned about  not praying long enough, not reading the Bible consistently enough, and not doing enough in their overall efforts to please God.  I’m sure they all thought they were getting a “C” from God for simply being average…if not an “F” for failing. read more

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