Saturday Share with Bettie Gilbert

Welcome to Saturday Share!  

Saturday Share coffeeThe purpose of this weekly feature is to provide a space for regular people to share their real-life encounters with Jesus.  It’s about living in the middle – on the way to the finish line.  If we still have breath to tell our stories then our race isn’t finished.

I believe we sharpen one another and delight God’s heart when we testify of His great work in our lives.  Be encouraged to put one foot in front of the other, and spur someone on while you’re at it!

So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.  1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT  

I am honored to introduce to you, my feature Saturday Share writer:

Bettie Gilbert

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He Became Our All in All

by Bettie Gilbert

Thirty-two years ago, our family followed God’s leading and moved across the country. We picked up stakes, and together with our young children, left the familiar behind. What we could not see, were the ways that God would use that move to shatter all of our pre-conceived notions of what Christianity and the Ministry looked like.  We had so many lessons to learn. . .

“Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob,
    all the remnant of the people of Israel,
you whom I have upheld since your birth,
    and have carried since you were born.
 Even to your old age and gray hairs
    I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
    I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”  Isaiah 46:3-4 NIV

The month before we moved, a friend gave us those verses from Isaiah. And I chose to cling to the promises that HE would sustain us through every step of the uncertainty.  And He did!  But in the process, my husband suffered through a deep depression as the Lord gradually loosened our hold on a ministry dream that had too much of our own selves written all over it.  When my husband shared words that I had spoken to him with his counselor, the counselor wondered how I could have such insight.  I only knew that God was carrying us, and there was nowhere to go except to Him.

HE became our only answer.

 

SS Bettie G I will carry you

 

When we weren’t sure our faith would survive intact, God held onto us, and He led us back to our Midwestern roots.  But the trials were not finished.  Through the next 10 years, He shook up every notion of what we thought our days should look like. He drew us out of ourselves and brought us into the solid ground of His merciful sustaining grace.  We tasted what it felt like to have a failed ministry, a failed business, and no home of our own.

HE became our only home.

As our children walked with us through those moves, they watched what we went through.  And in the process, they each faced their own kind of testing. One felt the weight of fear and anxiety, one felt the tug of worldliness and ease, and the other felt the sting of not measuring up to the standards of a legalistic church.  I heard myself crying out to God.

Oh Lord! Why would you allow our children to suffer so, simply because they were made to walk through the lessons that we, their parents, had to learn?

How will they ever overcome these trials that were the results of our own mistakes?

 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.”  2 Corinthians 1:3-5 NIV

What a faithful Lord! How merciful are His judgments, beyond tracing out!  God has knit together the shape and form of our children, just as He has shaped and formed our own beings. And what was for our benefit will be for their benefit also, because of His great grace.  The very trials they face are the very places where God brought us into intimate touch with His mercy. It is the way of intercession.

BG SS He comforts us

He allows us to bear each other’s burdens for a reason. It is in the bearing that we are covered by His wings.  Under His wings we find refuge, and even when we cannot see it at the moment, He is drawing our children under His wings, as we pray for those trials to be redeemed by the power of His blood. As I prayed and watched God move, my children found their own place of refuge under His wings.

But it was in the remembering of those lonely seasons that my heart longed for other Mamas whose hearts now ask the same questions concerning their own children.  Would there be a place to connect and share those burdens?  Could we ever know that we are not alone in bearing those burdens to Jesus?  How could we share our heavy hearts together?

Jesus heard those longings, and by a roundabout journey, He connected me with a beautiful prodigal returned, one whose own Mother had prayed for her through the long years of testing and wandering also.  As she and I began to share our hearts, we realized that the Lord had given us each a kindred spirit and a longing for both the lost ones struggling and their Mamas praying over their return. It has been such a joy to be part of the team gathered at the website that my friend Anna began, BelovedProdigal.com, and to join in praying and sharing with others whose hearts are also longing for the return of wandering loved ones.

BG SS Overcome the world.png

Are you in a place of lonely praying now? Do you find yourself looking back with sadness at the lessons you or your children have had to walk through?  Does it feel that redemption of those times may never come?  Listen to these words that Jesus spoke to us:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV

As we offer back to Him those very trials and tribulations, He will redeem each one.  We may not see how, we may not know when, but He will work things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28)

HE has become our only purpose.

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Bettie G headshot SSBettie Gilbert can be found in a small town in rural Southeast Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband of 39 years. You can find her blogging at BettieGsraseasons.com where she is seeking to be transparent with the journey that God has her traveling with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, and Osteoporosis. She is also excited to be part of the team sharing words over at BelovedProdigal.com joining in as the Lord calls the lost ones back to His heart.


23 thoughts on “Saturday Share with Bettie Gilbert

  1. Dear Bettie, I needed to read this reminder today: “The very trials they face are the very places where God brought us into intimate touch with His mercy.” That is what I am finding today. God gives me peace and I thank him for that. Blessings to you, dear Bettie!

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    1. Dear Gayl,
      I am so thankful for God’s timing, and the way that He is bringing you His mercy and peace today. What a precious Lord we have! You are in my prayers today dear friend! Blessings and Love to you too!

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  2. Bettie, Thank you so much for sharing your heart here.

    My husband and I went through a similar situation. After five years in seminary and pastoring his first (and turned out last church), it felt like we had failed at ministry. My daughter absorbed the brunt of what our family went through, but in the end, it didn’t define her it strengthened her. Praise be to God. I believe that is why the Lord allows us, any of us really, to walk the hard road, because He shows us His strength in the midst of it, for us and for our children. It was a blessing that we were all going through it together in a sense.

    Indeed, the Lord did not create us to carry burdens, but to give all of our burdens to Him. Praise be to God.

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    1. Dear Karen, Oh I love the thought that you shared: that He created us to give all of our burdens to Him. What a blessed peace we would have if we could do that daily along our journeys! I am so sorry that you had to go through those trials with the church! But I am thankful that the Lord used your trials to help strengthen your daughter. He truly does make use of everything we go through to point us to Himself, doesn’t He? Thank you for your sweet comments! Blessings to you!

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    2. Amen, Karen, Jesus redeems it all. Reading this morning in Ephesians 1 that God says as His children we have been given every spiritual blessing. Our Father has lavished on us His grace and His steadfast love is for us. Thank you for joining us here and for encouraging Bettie with your comment. Thank you for encouraging us all by adding value to our conversation! Eyes on Jesus… you’re shining, Karen!

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  3. Dear Bettie, the precious words from Isaiah are such a needful reminder for me this week, when I am leaning heavier on the Lord than before because of extra health challenges. Such times show us our great need of God’s comfort, support and sustaining power in our all too human frailty and weakness. Thank you for sharing how God has held and kept you and your family, revealing His goodness and grace during seasons of added strain and stress. I have found these words to be true in our friendship and also the friendship I have with Anna and am experiencing with the lovely Beloved Prodigal team: “He allows us to bear each other’s burdens for a reason. It is in the bearing that we are covered by His wings.” Amen, so we are! This is such an inspiring and encouraging read. Blessings and love! xo

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    1. Dear Joy, Oh, yes isn’t the truth of that passage from Isaiah such a beautiful promise? To think about His strong arms carrying us through every single season of our lives is an amazing blessing. I am so thankful for the support and friendship that the Lord has created for us also, dear sister! And this joining together that He has created through Anna’s willingness to begin the Beloved Prodigal group is such an encouragement. I pray that we will continue to let Him open our hearts and arms to share that grace. Love and Hugs to you my friend!

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  4. Dear Bettie! Your precious words! Only God knew how much I needed this tonight! You and I have shared about some of this, and you understand the many deep concerns I have about the effects of our heavy trials. I am so thankful for your reassurance that God will redeem it all for our good and for His glory. You are such a dear blessing to me, and I love and appreciate you so much. God bless you.

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    1. Dear Cheryl,
      I am so very thankful for God’s timing to bring you such encouragement! He truly does see everything that is hidden and wants so much to carry our hearts during those difficult days. I am continuing to pray for you and your dear family in the midst of the heavy struggles you have faced. May the Lord bring you great comfort to know and to see His redeeming love! You are a blessing to me too dear friend! Hugs and love to you!

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  5. I recently came upon that verse in Isaiah, sharing it with women who are in Women’s Shelter. Their faith always ministers to me, knowing God is sustaining no matter the circumstances, even when homeless. I find myself in a lonely season, and not sure how to navigate it. Leaning in to God is the way and so appreciate your words and transparency here!

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    1. Thank you, Lynn, for your willingness to share your own vulnerable place in life. I am praying for you now to experience the love of God overwhelming you with peace in your circumstances. I have a friend who says when all is dark around her she realizes it’s because she’s tucked in tight under God’s wing of protection – Psalm 91. So even as you might feel lonely and in a dark, dry place maybe you can imagine God tucking you tight under His mighty wing.

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    2. Dear Lynn,
      What a precious verse to share with those struggling women. Isn’t it amazing how God uses the very words we give to another, and brings them back to our own hearts? I am praying for you now, that He will cover you with that knowledge that He is carrying you. May you feel how pleased He is with your leaning into Him! Truly He is our only strength, isn’t He? Thank you for sharing your heart too!

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  6. Your words are full of treasures, Bettie. I’m so thankful you have shared pieces of your story with me this past year. Reading here again touches my heart. Today, these words especially: “The very trials they face are the very places where God brought us into intimate touch with His mercy. It is the way of intercession.” I’m seeing that already, even though my girls are still so young. So thankful for His beautiful mercy. And for you. Sending you hugs from afar.

    And Lisa: I am so thankful for this place of sharing you’ve created here. I have been so blessed each week, so encouraged in the LORD. God bless you for creating this space and for the love and encouragement you’ve been showing me personally.

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    1. Thank you, Anna, for stopping in here to be encouraged yet again by Bettie! No wonder you two are such deep-hearted friends.
      What a JOY to share our stories of God’s abundant grace and marvelous works on our behalf!
      ~Lisa

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    2. Dear Anna, Oh what a precious Lord we have! And the ways that He lets us share His story with each other is such a gift and comfort along our journeys. I am so thankful for the grace that you are offering your sweet girls in their journeys too. Truly He is moving through your days there. And, I am so very grateful for your friendship and the gifts you have brought to me also! Thank you Lisa, for coming alongside and encouraging us to look for and share about the ways that Jesus is working in our lives. Love and Hugs to you both!

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    1. Thank you, dear Bettie, for sharing your story with us. Please feel free to respond to any comments here. It’s your story… We’re so thankful to God for your leadership on the journey with Jesus! Eyes on Him… you’re shining bright, Bettie!

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