Wednesday, October 26, 2016

My Circumstances - My Platform


      The ache in my chest refused to break. The grey skies matched my mood. Our sixteen-year-old son Mark's fatal car accident was a faint memory for most people but for the past three years I started every morning with the headline, "Mark is gone. He's never coming back." Though good days popped up once in a while, this was not one of them. Calling a faithful friend seemed fruitless - what else could she say to help me? Yet I longed for a friend.

      That grey, cold day I learned a life lesson that has helped all kinds of people find purpose and joy whether circumstances are good or painful.

I    Our empty house and the cold grey skies tempted me to curl up and spend the day alone, nursing my longing for our son. But experience taught me that choice would not lead to a good place. Instead, I lit a fire in our fireplace, curled up under the afghan and started reading a book by a long distance mentor. The next few hours passed quickly as I tried to absorb the message of the my friend, Susan Hunt. A few hours later, I closed the book (I don't remember its title), filled with purpose and hope as the words, "Your circumstances are your platform for glorifying God" stuck in my heart. Mary, the Mother of Jesus, spoke to me through her own response to a turned upside down life, when an angel announced she would have a baby, though she "knew not a man."
Mary knew those few words would forever change her world and create chaos in her family and with her fiance, Joseph. Yet Mary responded, "I am the handmaiden of the Lord. May it be to me as you have said." 

      Mary's surrender to God's purposes made her circumstances a platform for glorifying her God. Her response confronted me with the question: Could I see the death of my child as a platform, a way to honor my God? The promise of Ephesians 2:10 gave me confidence that before time began God had planned out this pathway for me and that he had good works to be completed by me:  "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."The riches of Scripture reminded me that my life was not over because of Mark's death. And your life is not over if you have experienced loss. Just as Mark's days were ordained by God before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:15b), so were mine and so are yours. Whether the sun was shining or cloudy skies reigned, He promised to direct my steps as I called on  him. My responsibility continues to be to open wide my mouth. His responsibility is to fill it. ("I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it" (Psalm 81:10). (Treasures in Darkness, Page 214, 215, used with permission).

      Seeing my circumstances as my platform for glorifying God gives me a place to start with every day life. I become more intentional in the way I respond to  the tasks before me. Each task has purpose when I see them through the grid of God's glory. Consider how such thinking could change the way you respond to a strong willed child, a wayward child, an angry husband, a broken relationship. Or how you care for your family, your home, pay your bills, interact with your neighbors. Every circumstance becomes an eternal opportunity to reflect Jesus.
      If you are struggling with loss, I know this is hard. Remember this revelations was three years after the death of our son. Surrendering to God's purposes can be excruciating. We often resist because to surrender and see our circumstances as our platform for glorifying Him seems to let God off the hook for our loss or grief or anguish. But there is freedom in surrendering to His purpose and seeing every detail of our lives as a gift to offer back to Jesus as a means for helping turn hearts toward Him.  Failures, mistakes, bad decisions in our youth, once hidden in shame, can be freely shared at the appropriate time as a means to help protect someone coming behind us from making the same bad choices.

      Every person needs purpose. We want to be needed. God gives us purpose and redeems our pain when we choose to see our circumstances as our platform for glorifying Him. The mundane can be transformed into the majestic, the ordinary into the extraordinary as we intentionally embrace our circumstances as a platform, a platform for glorifying Him.

     In His grip,


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Some Wounds Only Heaven Can Heal

There are Some Wounds Only Heaven Can Heal

I first heard these words from a friend who told this story. “I was driving to the service for your son, Mark, and I was wailing and pleading with the Lord to give me a message, the right words to say. I couldn’t think of anything that would help. And then, as I waited at a red light, these words came to mind, “There are some wounds only heaven can heal.” 
She continued, "I fear saying anything to you because death's wounds leave permanent scars. Yet, there is hope is the promise of complete healing one day."

At first I thought, where is the hope in that? How can I breathe, live, waiting for heaven? i was only 45 years old. I couldn't imagine living a day, let alone the second half of life without our youngest child.

But her words rooted in my heart and in time my present grief grabbed on to this statement as acknowledgement that our wound was too deep to ever heal on this earth. I interpreted her message as God whispering, "Trust me with your shattered heart. You feel broken beyond repair. Know that I am holding you, tightly in My grip."

These words recognized our grief in a way that slowly simmered into hope.
My friend's words acknowledged the bottomless abyss of sorrow created by the sudden deaths of our son and his friend. They gave me freedom to grieve, to let go of any expectation of quick relief and know that my ongoing grief was not faithless or frowned on by my God.

God's promises of help and hope while I walked this pathway started to make sense. Ever so lowly the days of demanding that He give me back my son, my wails that I could not bear this heavy load of grief, that I could not ever function fully again without my youngest child, slowly, so slowly I experienced minutes where my broken heart surrendered with hope to the promise that one day, He would wipe away my tears. In the meantime, the promise that He catches all my tears in a bottle gave me a glimpse into His personal love for me.

Since that horrific phone call in the dark night, God has
given me treasures in the darkness, riches stored in secret places, designed to help turn my heart toward Him, to remind me that He is my God, the One Who Calls me by name. (Isaiah 45:2-3).

Embrace the comfort of this hard truth and let it give you freedom to open your hands to the treasures He has for you in the midnight of your life. God does not leave us helpless or hopeless as we travel Heavenward with broken hearts. 

Hebrews 11, showcases the faithfulness of God in the lives of men and women who walked this way ahead of us and it seems to me that this passage is the root of the truth that there are some wounds only Heaven can heal:. The writer exclaims,

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own….they were longing for a better country – a heavenly one. Hebrews 11:13-16.

Though they did not see some of God's promises kept, they continued to walk by faith. These people kept walking by faith experiencing wounds only Heaven could heal. They died without seeing the promises fulfilled, but believing that those promises would be kept in that longed for “homeland.” Heaven. They finished strong.

This is a process and for most it is not "one and done." Over twenty years later, unexpected tears and longing for what was still stop me in my tracks. The foundation for choosing to find purpose and joy in this journey is embracing the confidence that God kept the mother of all promises, when He sent His only Son, Jesus, to redeem His people. When I doubt His goodness in taking our son, Mark, I choose to remember that my perfectly good Father in Heaven, chose to send His only Son, Jesus, perfect and righteous, to take on my sin, to conquer that sin with His death and resurrection. When I am tempted to doubt God's love, this is the picture that keeps me walking by faith. God kept the promise He made to Adam and Eve.  He so loved His people that He sent His only Son, to save us.

That is the promise the people of Hebrews 11 looked forward to. 

The often slow process of surrender to God's love and His purposes may culminate in an excruciating letting go of shattered dreams, broken relationships, control over our lives, recognizing that some promises will not be kept until we see Jesus face to face. Recognizing and embracing the character of God as perfect, perfect love, perfect goodness, perfect righteousness is the pathway that leads to this surrender.

Knowing this, frees us to live life with purpose and joy as we look forward to that moment we step into Heaven and experience our Savior’s embrace. This truth seared its way into my heart and comforted me when I was insane with grief. experienced enormous loss and change and uncertainty. 

Your grief may be a wayward child, a broken marriage, a lost friendship, betrayal, abuse, broken promises, shattered dreams of a career lost, childlessness, miscarriage. Though these wounds go deep, each of us can find healing in Jesus that embraces the hope of total healing in Heaven and strength and courage to walk by faith on the pathway He has marked out for each of us. And one more promise to cling to: Joy comes in the morning. And as we surrender to God's purposes, we can experience that Joy on this pathway as we walk toward Home.

There are some wounds only heaven can heal. In the meantime we keep walking in obedience, trusting God to keep His promises, either here or There, believing He has already equipped us for the pathway He has marked out for us, trusting He will give us what we need for each second, moment, hour. Lord, show yourself in a mighty way to those who need a special treasure today.

In my next post I'll share some thoughts on how to live with purpose and joy when healing of our wounds seems impossible on this earth. Interested? Subscribe to this blog. The Subscribe link is "Follow by Email" in the top right hand column of this page.

Was this helpful in your journey? Do you have a friend who needs encouragement today? Pass on this message of help and hope and feel free to leave a comment for prayer. Our team wants to get to know our "visitors, listeners, readers." Our vision is to offer help and hope to the hurting. Help us do that by briefly sharing your story and introducing others to our free resources on MARKINC .( 

In His grip,

For free resources that offer help and hope, visit

There you will find many stories of people living by faith in the middle of life crises often too painful to talk about or even acknowledge. Some of our topics:

Loss of a Loved One
Coming Home from War
Terminal Illness
Living with Chronic Illness

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Same Sex Attraction - Dr. Rosaria Butterfield

 Do you have questions about same sex attraction? Is it wrong? Is it ok? Are you struggling with same sex attraction personally? Is your child?

Chuck and I recently had the privilege of asking these questions and many more of Dr. Rosaria Butterfield, nationally known speaker and author of Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert. Dr. Butterfield's down to earth, compassionate, common sense and biblical approach to same sex attraction resulted in a conversation that we wish everyone could hear.

We live in a culture that challenges us to reexamine long held convictions and decide if what we believe is really scriptural or culturally based. None of us wants to be on the wrong side of the issue of same sex attraction. People we love and respect are making choices that beg for acceptance and compassion. What must our response be? Chuck and I had the unique privilege of asking this and much more of Rosaria. We hope many will listen with an open heart and mind, hungry for truth, and conclude there are solid biblical answers.

Dr. Rosaria Butterfield

Perhaps the best recommendation of all comes from this man:
If you have a friend or family member who is dealing with same sex attraction, here is a great resource that was just issued by MARKINC Ministries that may help you in understanding what they are going through and how to hopefully minister to them. Thank you to Chuck Betters and Sharon Betters for putting this resource together. I wish that I had been able to have something like this many years ago that could have helped me to navigate through the dark waters that I was drowning in. But God is faithful and perfect in His timing and provided me a life raft and brought me back onto dry land and into His Grace and Mercy.

For anyone struggling with the question of same sex relationships, this interview with Dr. Butterfield will encourage, strengthen, challenge and enable you to offer the help and hope of the Gospel to others who are struggling. Dr. Butterfield is uniquely qualified to provide guidance and wisdom to those who are desperate for help and hope as they are challenged by life choices that are foreign and even scary. In this interview we ask the kinds of questions that many others have asked us. This is not only Roasaria's personal story, but it is filled with practical counsel and help that will cut through the fog of confusion surrounding this life crisis.Listeners will be encouraged and better equipped to walk this pathway as well as come alongside of others who are struggling with same sex attraction.

In the studio with Dr. Rosaria Butterfield
Dr. Butterfield's story quickly grabbed our attention when we read her book, Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert. From her book:
Rosaria, by the standards of many, was living a very good life. She had a tenured position at a large university in a field for which she cared deeply. She owned two homes with her partner, in which they provided hospitality to students and activists that were looking to make a difference in the world. There, her partner rehabilitated abandoned and abused dogs.
In the community, Rosaria was involved in volunteer work. At the university, she was a respected advisor of students and her department’s curriculum. And then, in her late 30s, Rosaria encountered something that turned her world upside down—the idea that Christianity, a religion that she had regarded as problematic and sometimes downright damaging, might be right about who God was, an idea that flew in the face of the people and causes that she most loved. Rosaria describes what happens next as a “train wreck” at the hand of the supernatural. Her book is an account of her secret thoughts about those events, written as only a reflective English professor could.
For more about Dr. Butterfield visit

Please share this resource widely. And please leave a comment to let us know your thoughts.
An Interview with an Unlikely Convert - Dr. Rosaria Butterfield

In His grip,

Friday, October 7, 2016

Townville Community - A City of Tears

Townville, SC (WLTX, WSPA) - The mother of Jacob Hall, the 6-year-old who died from injuries sustained in a school shooting in South Carolina, called her son a "angel" who loved his mommy and taught her how to forgive. (Source: WLTX< WSPA, October 5, 2016)

Jacob's parents, Renae and Rodger Hall, said in a statement before the funeral, "Jacob came into our lives six years and four months ago and changed it completely. He showed us how to love, laugh and smile even on days we did not want to. God gave him to us, and he was taken away from us by a senseless act."
Grief rocks the community of Townville but in the middle of the dark abyss, the one most shattered by sorrow offers comfort with statements like these:
"Jacob was forgiving. What happened to Jacob, Jacob forgives already. He's in heaven smiling down on us and he's asking his mommy to be strong to forgive just like he would have."  
“We know that Jacob has already forgiven this child for what he did to him and his family because that's the kind of child he was. Jacob was sent to this earth for this short a period of time to show us that there is such a thing as pure love. Jacob is in heaven with God now and everyone who loves him. Words cannot express how much we will miss him."
The sweet memory she shares of Jacob telling his mommy and daddy that he was Catboy immediately pulls in every parent of a happy, imaginative little boy who believes he will save the world and protect those he loves:

"He told me and his daddy one day he said, you know what I got a secret. I got superpowers. He said I'm Catboy. And at night when you and mommy and daddy are sleeping, I got out and I save the If you ever feel a chill on your back, a brush on your cheek, you know that that was my Jacob coming to save the day."
As for so many other parents, her words bring back vignettes of our two little boys in their Superman PJ's with makeshift capes, conquering the bad guys of the world.
 My heart breaks for this precious family because I know so well the long, treacherous grief journey they must travel.
I know this journey so well because I continue to walk the pathway of sorrow after the death of our youngest child, sixteen-year-old Mark.
Such a horrific loss in Townville stirs up not only deep grief for Jacob's family, but also for the entire community. 

Townville Elementary School and Fear
Last week over three thousand people read my post, Townville Elementary And Fear.  Such interest reveals the hunger for help in dealing with the profound emotions shaking this community. Shortly after posting it, little Jacob died. Grief already permeated this community - grief over the shattered life of a fourteen-year-old boy who wreaked such horror by killing his father and then randomly shooting elementary school children who were on recess. Grief over the lost innocence of the town's children. Grief for the family of the fourteen-year-old shooter. The death of a beloved six year old boy exponentially compounds such sorrow.
One of the immediate questions for those who love Jacob's family and the family of the fourteen-year-old shooter is, "How can we help?"  While Jacob's mother intentionally makes decisions with the goal of helping Jacob's classmates process his death, the total horror of the loss of her little boy will hit her like a tidal wave as the shock starts to wear off. This broken family will need all kinds of support as they try to find a new normal without their little boy.Though Jacob's family expresses great faith, even with great faith, there is deep pain in grief. Speaking as a bereaved mother, I thought the pain of Mark's death was beyond bearing in the first days and weeks, but that sorrow was only a taste of the approaching grief tsunami. Without faithful friends, I would have succumbed to despair.

Often our fear and feelings of helplessness grow when the brokenness of this world intrudes into the lives of our family and friends. We are fearful that what has happened to them might happen to us. And so we sometimes avoid hurting people because we don't want to be confronted with the reality of living in this messy world. Once we get past that barrier, though, we frequently conclude that we are ill-equipped to comfort or encourage someone whose life has been turned upside down by grief or loss. Yet God commands us to weep with those who weep. To comfort others with the comfort we ourselves have experienced.

People are often afraid to reach out to a shattered person because they don't know what to say or how to fix that person. There is great comfort in knowing our job is not to fix a shattered person. Our job is to offer  help and hope that will help turn their hearts toward the Ultimate Comforter, our God. Living fearlessly in a fear-filled world requires a commitment to care about those around you. Here are some helpful ways to offer comfort to a grieving friend:
1. Each person's grief journey is unique. Their grief is their's. Don't tell them how to feel, how to act. 
2. Say the loved one's name. You will not make things worse. I still tear up when someone mentions Mark. You are not making their grief worse. One of our greatest fears is that our loved one will be forgotten. Tell stories and ask the bereaved friend to share stories. Simple words like, "I miss him, too" will help carry the grief and never be forgotten. 
2. Do not try to fix what cannot be fixed. This might seem like advice that communicates hopelessness, but in reality, it is comforting for a bereaved person to know they are with someone who recognizes the sorrow cannot be wiped away by human hands. This is also empowering to the encourager, to know that your job is to help turn their hearts toward the Only One Who can "fix them."
3. Be willing to absorb and watch your friend express unspeakable sorrow and anguish. This will be terrifying, but we need people who are willing to go into hell with us. Guard the privacy of your friend's private grief. Be a safe place for transparency.
4. Don't say, "Call me if you need me." Your friend will not call you. We don't have energy to even think about calling you. Anticipate needs that the bereaved person cannot identify. People just showed up for us and took care of practical things like watering plants, taking out the dog, etc., without asking.
5. Realize your grieving friend will most likely hurt your feelings, say things that are mean, forget to appreciate you. Don't take it personally. Grieving people can barely breathe, let alone cultivate a friendship. Grief is ugly and sometimes selfish. This is not about you. But, make sure you have friends who support you so that you can go into the darkness with your friend. 
6. Give up needing to be the public "best friend" of the grieving person. Be willing to do the background work of life for them, such as practical ways to keep their household running: putting out the trash and bringing in the cans, walking the dog, watering the flowers, things they may never know you did but will make their life easier as they do the heavy lifting of grief work.
7. Check with your friend about tasks that seem mundane. Don't change the bedsheets or do the laundry or paint over the fingerprints on the wall without asking. These little things might have special meaning that cannot be replaced.
8. Don't take authority over big decisions that is not yours. Make sure the bereaved wants you to make decisions about their loved one (funeral arrangements, etc.). Are you beginning to see how complicated comfort can be? On the one hand a bereaved person needs friends to step in and take care of daily tasks, on the other hand, the bereaved person needs to feel in charge of decisions about their loved one. Follow your friend's lead, gently, carefully.
9. If you are close to your friend, with her permission, be a gatekeeper. Relay helpful information to friends, help visitors know to keep their visits short.
10.  Show up and be dependable. Show up and unconditionally love the shattered person. Educate yourself on what your friend might be feeling and needing. 
Loss of a Loved One
My husband and I share our grief journey in an interview you can listen or download for free: Loss of a Loved One. Bereaved people often ask their families and friends to listen to this resource as a way to better understand what they are feeling and how their friends can help. I would love to hear from you, the reader, how people encouraged you, or how you encourage others.


A Bright Star in the City of Tears

Jacob's mother is a bright star in this dark sorrow. While our hearts break with these words: 
"He loved me, his mommy we had a bond like no mother and son will ever have. He loved his daddy, he loved to tell stories, he had an imagination that was as big as he was and as bright as he was."

We have hope as Jacob's life encourages us to walk by faith in this messy world:
"Jacob taught me to love God. Jacob loved God so much that he was not afraid to go home to God. Anytime I was sad, or had a bad day, he would touch my face and tell me to pray to Jesus, Jesus would make it okay."

May we each find a way to offer this same comfort to broken people in this messy world.
Leave a comment and let me know how you encourage others, or how people are encouraging you in a dark place. Your comments will encourage others to "go and do likewise." Thank you!

In His grip,
Sharon W. Betters
MARKINC Ministries

For more Help and Hope: 
Treasures in Darkness, A Grieving Mother Shares Her Heart

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Townville Elementary School and Fear

The mother of a student at Townville Elementary School told CNN Greenville Affiliate WYFF  that her daughter and classmates huddled in a bathroom.
"Her teacher was shaken up. I know all the kids were scared. There was a bunch of kids crying," the unidentified woman said. "She didn't talk for about five minutes when I got her. ... I'm just so scared. I don't even want her to go to school now."
The mother said she was praying for the families of the injured. (Source: SC Shootings: Three wounded at School, Man Dead at Home by Steve Almasy and Keith Allen, CNN)

Terror in an Elementary School
Media quickly spread the cause of these chilling words from the mother of an elementary aged child:
Two students and one teacher shot, one student critical.
·       Teenager in custody, subdued by a volunteer firefighter.
·       Father of suspect, Jeffrey Osborne, 47, found shot dead at nearby home.
·       Investigators know of no motive.
·       Source: Huffington Post, Townville Elementary School Shooting
I thought of our elementary aged grandchildren as I visualized terrorized little children running to the bathroom of their classroom,  gun shots ringing in their ears and I recognize the fear and profound shock in this mom’s words. Who cannot imagine the tears and near hysteria as the children tried to remain quiet, hoping the gunman would not find them. Did scenes from other school shootings rush through their young minds?
Because of my own life experiences, I know that these families will not soon “get over” the fear of sending their children to school or even letting them out of their sight. If I could speak to this mother, I would share how fear drove me to find a way to live life without constantly waiting for the “other shoe to drop.”
My story goes back to a summer night in 1993.
I Guess We’re Starting Over Again
Chuck and I followed our seventeen-year-old son, Dan, out to the car. Our faces revealed the fear bubbling up into our words. “Dan, follow the speed limit, don’t rush, watch out for other drivers. . .” And then we repeated the same instructions, knowing we had to let him go, terrified this could be the last time we would see him alive.

Fear. The root of fear is the fear of death and it can be a powerful force for good. Stories about fathers lifting a car off of their child or a mother’s strength overcoming grown men trying to stop her from running into a burning building to save her sleeping baby. . . These stories fill us with awe and we wonder if that same supernatural strength would be ours if our loved ones were in danger. And we're sure nothing could stop us from saving our child.

Yet, Chuck and I could not prevent the deaths of our youngest child, sixteen-year-old Mark, and his friend Kelly, who were in a fatal car accident a few weeks before this moment with our son, Dan.

Dan was eighteen months older than Mark. We often commented that the boys were connected at the hip. Before that horrific accident, Mark would have been getting into the car with Dan that warm summer night. That night that we hovered like helicopters over our third child.

Dan showed remarkable restraint for a seventeen year old, as we repeatedly cautioned him to be careful. He looked at us across the hood of the car and kindly asked, “I guess we’re starting over again, aren’t we?”

I could barely respond, as tears threatened to fall, “Yes, Dan, we’re starting over and I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.”

Even as I’m writing those words, the terror of those days rushes back and tears freely fall.

“It’s ok, Mom and Dad. I get it. And I’ll be careful.”

That was over twenty years ago, and Dan came back safe and sound. But that was the beginning of learning to face each day without allowing fear to control my thoughts and actions. It’s been a long journey and such news stories remind me that fighting fear is a ongoing battle.

Fear can be a powerful force that drives us to make decisions that will protect not only us, but those we love. But the flip side is it also can be a force that locks us up into a cage, a prison.
As parents we have to demonstrate how to acknowledge fear but also how to master it.

For me, the only place I found strength and wisdom was in Scriptures that encouraged me to see my God as my Rock, Rest, Rescue and Refuge (Fortress), Psalm 62.

The Scriptures give us a transparent picture of fearful men and women struggling to face life with strength and confidence. The writer of Psalm 62, David, describes himself as fearful, forsaken, running from enemies who wanted to destroy him. In this fearful prison of anxiety, he turns to the only place He knows is secure. He prays and through prayer David concludes, “My soul is still only if turned to God” or “My soul is still if focused on God alone.”
            He brings his fears, struggles, afflictions, problems, stress, all of it -  to God through prayer.  He worships through prayer and something supernatural happens. By worship his thoughts are turned from terror to focusing on God: His Rest, Rescue, Rock and Refuge.
Now he is still. Now he is peaceful.  He no longer wavers.  He is sure.  Because his soul focuses on God.  He now has a firm footing – he is standing on the Rock.  He is now protected from assault.  David finds refuge in his Fortress.
           His seeing, thinking, and whole life point in a different direction.  He sees life from the stand point of God’s perspective.  No matter what may happen to him in this life –God will eternally rescue him – God is his salvation.  Imagine this strong man, taken down by fear, desperate for a way to survive. Did tears stream down his cheeks while he wrote these words:

My soul finds rest in God alone;
        my salvation comes from him.
    [2] He alone is my rock and my salvation;
        he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

        He draws strength from the time spent focusing on God.  He wears a different set of glasses through which to view his circumstances.

        How intriguing that he speaks about his enemies in the third person, as though he is detached from their personal attacks.  Previously he was in torment because of their lies and implications and slander against his character.  But now, they don’t have the same emotional impact.  There is a contrast in his emotions

    [3] How long will you assault a man?
        Would all of you throw him down--
        this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
Psalm 62:3

. Replace his tormenters with your own:
“How long with fear pound in my heart? Will it destroy me? I feel so helpless.”

       Bring this home, Name the emotions that torment you. When fear threatens to destroy my ability to enjoy life, I admit with David, that I am a teetering wall, a tottering fence. I am weak, ready to allow fear to control me. What to do, what do. Oh God, help me.

Yes, We Are Starting Over Again

David had a long history with trusting God. And yet, in this moment, fear brought him low. We see this theme again and again throughout David's writings. Fear overcome by something greater. What was that something greater?

In the secret place of David's heart, something supernatural begins to happen. Through prayer, David discovers a deep source of strength, a strength hidden from his tormentors.  Mysterious strength, but clearly flowing through his soul.  These afflictors will not master him.  They are in his life, but they are not the focal point of his life.  The circumstances are not changing.  They are still trying to throw him down, to topple him. And yet this secret source transforms the illusion of giants into gnats.  Annoying, yes.  Powerful?  Not any more.

David doesn't keep his source a secret:

    Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
        my hope comes from him.
    He alone is my rock and my salvation;
        he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
    My salvation and my honor depend on God;
        he is my mighty rock, my refuge.  Psalm 62:5 - 7

From Misery to Mercy To Ministry
The world is a scary place. Attacks on schoolchildren will not stop and the headlines scream that terrorism is here to stay. How can we walk without fear in this desperately uncertain world? This is a big question that cannot be adequately addressed in a blog. But this I know. We can not only learn to confront fear, we can offer to others the help and hope that we have experienced.

David cannot keep his antidote to fear to himself.  Trust in God does not lead us into isolation but rather back into our world, empowered by our time with Him, eager to offer others the help and hope that only He gives. My counsel to the moms and dads and teachers at Townville Elementary School is to give yourselves time to process these horrific events. Be careful of how you communicate your fears to your children. Realize they will take their cues from you. As you quietly spend time soaking in the truth of David’s own battle with fear and embrace his antidote, realize the battle against fear will not be won quickly. Speak truth to yourself again and again, the same truths that David clung to. That God can be your Rock, Rest, Rescue, and Refuge. We often cannot control our circumstances, no matter how hard we try, but we can control our response. Our children are desperate for parents to be their place of Rest, Rescue and Refuge. That happens when we embrace God as our Rock.

Just as David exhorts others to trust in God at all times, to pour out our hearts to Him, encourage your children to find strength in Him through recognizing that the God who gave His Son, Jesus, as a means to offer help and hope through redemption, that God can be trusted, even in the broken places of life. As you experience strength and peace, slowly and surely communicate that peace to your fearful children, moment by moment, day by day, week by week, month by month.

Trust in him at all times, O people;
        pour out your hearts to him, (Be honest about your fears)
        for God is our refuge. Selah  Psalm 62:8

And so like David, when fear threatens to color the way I view life,  I talk to myself, I exhort myself. Sometimes I must repeat this again and again and again until my heart rate slows down and I can take a deep breath as I confront those fears:

    Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
        my hope comes from him.
    He alone is my rock and my salvation;
        he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
    My salvation and my honor depend on God;
        he is my mighty rock, my refuge.  Psalm 62:5 – 7

Each time I hear about these horrific events, I know the journey toward peace will be long and hard for the families affected. My prayer is that you will find rest in God alone, as you face each day battling fear in order to offer strength and peace to your children.

Sharon W. Betters
MARKINC Ministries

For more help and hope, especially to those grieving the loss of six-year-old Jacob Hall, listen or download free of charge:

Loss of a Loved One - Grieving Parents Share Their Hearts

For more Help and Hope, visit and click the Help and Hope link where you will find numerous stories that address difficult life circumstances.

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