As a wife, mother, author, speaker, addiction recovery expert, church leader, mentor, friend and survivor, Misty Arterburn has a keen understanding of how often life can become overwhelming, messy, even seemingly unbearable. Yet, through some of the most chaotic moments of life, she has experienced God’s light shining the brightest. The palpable hope of God, by which we learn that we are not just survivors, but with God’s power we are overcomers. It is a joy to welcome Misty to the farm’s table today…
In more than 25 years of parenting my five children, our family has either been to the ER or called 911 no less than—drumroll, please—38 times. This, of course, is just the number of incidents we actually remember. Lord only knows how many instances we may have forgotten.
How is this even possible?
Ready for a sampling from our list?
We’ve had soccer injuries, skateboard accidents, gas leaks, falls, gashes, suspected burglary, puncture wounds, dental emergencies, stitches, flaming marshmallow burns, and then the time I ran over my son James with the car!
Now on that one, in my defense, I was nearly parked in our garage when my 9-year-old decided to unbuckle his seat belt, open his door and jump out of the car before I put the car into park. When he jumped out of the car he slipped on the wet-from-rain floor, and his leg slid under the tire as it rolled one more rotation. That was a 911 call.
You get the idea. We are on-the-go and things are always happening.
“I take comfort that we aren’t the only ones who’ve had a litany of life crises.”
Life gets complicated and messy.
Thankful that we can now look back and laugh, I look at this list with a mix of disbelief and sheer relief, mind-boggled that we are all still here. My mamma’s heart is so thankful to have survived each of these alarming, scary, threatening, even agonizing crises.
I take comfort that we aren’t the only ones who’ve had a litany of life crises.
Let’s take a look at Paul’s list!
“Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys.
I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not.
I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm. Then, besides all this, I have the daily burden of my concern for all the churches.” (2 Corinthians 11:24-28, NLT)
“through every crisis or unexpected twist, God was accomplishing His exact purposes through Paul’s winding life journey.”
This list is exhausting just to read, let alone to have lived through.
What about your list? We all have one—an account of survival through the trials of our own human experience.
Paul was a survivor and undeterred in his mission to bring Good News. Although it may seem that Paul was deterred many times from his mission, the reality is that through every crisis or unexpected twist, God was accomplishing His exact purposes through Paul’s winding life journey.
God is doing the same for me. He is doing the same for you.
My list of crises extends well beyond the countless ER trips and 911 calls. Experiences of trauma and drama ad nauseum have accumulated over a lifetime.
Some of the pain and grief runs dreadfully deep.
“As I keep my heart surrendered to Him, I am never off course and I will always have what I need in this day, in this hour, and in every situation.”
Yet I remember Paul and others like Joseph, Deborah, and Jehosheba, Miriam and Mary, countless men and women throughout history and Scripture…
Those whose lives were not lived in a bubble of protection or clean upward progression, but whom God strengthened and equipped to meet every challenge they faced.
He is doing the same for me. He is doing the same for you.
“That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10, NLT)
“In every way we’re troubled, but we aren’t crushed by our troubles. We’re frustrated, but we don’t give up. We’re persecuted, but we’re not abandoned. We’re captured, but we’re not killed. We always carry around the death of Jesus in our bodies so that the life of Jesus is also shown in our bodies.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10, NLT)
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” (Romans 5:3-5)
Yes, I much prefer the rescue-me-out-of-trouble plan (and He ultimately will/has)—but I am oh so grateful for the equip-me-for-my-challenges-today plan as well.
As I keep my heart surrendered to Him, I am never off course and I will always have what I need in this day, in this hour, and in every situation. Amen.
Misty Arterburn is an author, speaker, Life Recovery group facilitator, and mother to five children. A Hoosier native, Misty is a graduate of Ball State University, and has spent more than 20 years studying and creating recovery literature, practicing the principles personally, sponsoring members of 12 Step programs, founding new meetings and recovery programs, and experiencing the benefits of recovery herself.
She has authored or coauthored multiple books including Lose It for Life Day by Day Devotional, The One Year New Testament for Busy Moms, The Mediterranean Love Plan, and various material in The Life Recovery Workbook and resources. She is also the founder of Recovery Girls, a growing organization for women on all paths of recovery, which offers group startup materials as well as help, hope, and life changing resources.
Misty is the author of the devotionals in The One Year Bible for Women. Each day’s reading includes a two-minute daily devotional as well as passages from the Old Testament, the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs. This perfect combination of women-centered devotionals and the beloved One Year Bible reading plan allows you to bask in God’s presence as you read through the entire Bible in one year. Learn more at theoneyearbible.com.
[Our humble thanks to Tyndale for their partnership in today’s devotion]