Not forgotten..

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Are you ever reading the scriptures when a verse that you have probably read numerous times all of a sudden jumps out at you?  I had that happen the other day when I was reading in Genesis. The story of Joseph is probably my favorite bible story, and yet for some reason Gen 41:52 kind of leaped off the page and I can’t stop thinking about it.

“Joseph named his second son Ephraim, for he said, “God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief”

I got to thinking of all that Joseph went through. He was just seventeen…same age as my son Ben when he was kidnapped by his brothers, who put him in a dark, cold cistern and then later sold him into slavery. He was separated from his family and all that he knew. Separated from his father who loved him dearly and to whom he had a close relationship with. Pain, rejection and loneliness would have been his companions. He was living in another country, not his homeland. The culture would have been different and foreign to him. He would have felt so utterly alone, and yet God was with him. I haven’t researched it but I have to wonder if he even would have known the language. I am guessing not.

Gen 32:2, 3 “The Lord was with Joseph, so that he succeeded in everything that he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master.  Potiphar noticed this and realized that Lord was with Joseph, giving him success in everything he did.”

And because of this Joseph was put in charge of Potiphar’s household. Everything ran smoothly and flourished. His position did not last too long because the wife of Potiphar lusted after Joseph and falsely accused Joseph because he refused her continued advances day after day after day.

So, he was thrown into prison and forgotten by everyone, but he was not forgotten by God.

Gen 39:21 “But the Lord was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love. And the Lord made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden.”

Even in prison, Joseph succeeded. He was put in charge of all that happened in the prison and the warden didn’t have to worry because Joseph took care of everything. We are told that the Lord was with him and caused everything he did to succeed. Yet still in prison he remained.

God gave him the ability to interpret dreams while he was in prison. He interpreted two dreams that came to pass, while in prison. He told the cup-bearer that he would be re -instated to his position and asked him that he mention him to the Pharaoh, so that he could get out of prison.” For I was kidnapped from my homeland, the land of the Hebrews, and now I am in prison, but I did nothing to deserve it.” But again, Joseph is forgotten. The cup-bearer, once reinstated, did not give Joseph another thought…and in prison he remained.

It was two full years after this, that Pharaoh has a couple dreams and is greatly disturbed by them. He knows they have a meaning. Finally, the cup-bearer remembers Joseph and he is sent for.  He was able to shave, clean up and change his clothes before he stood before Pharaoh. And after Pharaoh told him his dreams, the Lord gave Joseph the ability to interpret the meaning. Afterwards, Pharaoh recognized that Joseph was filled with the spirit of God and Joseph went from being in prison to being in charge of the court and everyone would take orders from him. The only one with a higher positon was Pharaoh himself. What an emotional day for Joseph that would have been!

Gen 41:41 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hearby put you in charge of the entire land of Egypt. Then Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his hand and placed it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in fine linin clothing and hung a gold chain around his neck. “

So, he literally went from the prison to the palace.

He ends being reunited with his brothers and his dad in a very emotional reunion. The brothers must have been so afraid when they realized he was Joseph. They knew what they had done and carried the guilt around for years knowing the grief their lies and deceit caused their father….and now to find out he was alive and second in command to Pharaoh.

Gen 50:20

You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them.

So, that brings me to that verse, ”God has made me fruitful in the land of my grief”

Sometimes, God allows us to go through things. Pain.  Things at the time we don’t understand. Things that seem unfair. We might go through rejection. Loneliness. We might be falsely accused. We might be imprisoned. We might feel forgotten.

Joseph went through all those things and yet he still trusted in God. Even though he was in the land of his grief, he never complained. He never became bitter. He knew that God was with him. He felt his presence in his life through years of hardship. God allowed him to prosper. He gave him favour with everyone. Everyone recognized that there was something special about him…that God was with him and His hand was upon his life. Joseph prospered in all that he did… All the years of pain and suffering were for a purpose. God had a plan. God used him in his grief.  In the end there is forgiveness. There is restoration of a family once broken . There is redemption. The world at that time was saved from starving because of Joseph and his wisdom. Good came from evil.

God is faithful. He has not forgotten us. Just like he was with Joseph, he will be with us through every season we walk through in this life. We don’t have to do this journey alone.

A different kind of Mother’s day…

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There was time in the early years of marriage that going to church on Mother´s day was something that quite frankly I dreaded. More than anything I wanted to be a mom, and Mother’s day in church was always a glaring reminder of all that I wasn’t. I used to feel “less than”,  or not good enough, if that makes any sense. I think I would have rather stayed home and pulled the covers over my head for the day. Today my heart aches for those who are walking that path, for those are barren, for those who have lost children, for those who are single and long for children. Because even though now things have changed..my heart still remembers .

Fast forward a few years, when three small children entered out lives as foster children and later became officially ours through the miracle of adoption. Born in my heart. Three precious gifts from God. Even though there have been many times where I didn’t know what I was doing and I made a lot of mistakes along the way. By no means have I been the perfect mom.  Still, I’m blessed that they call me mom.

Below is a photo from a few years ago..

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This year is a little different because just last summer we began the empty nest stage of our lives. How quickly the years fade one into the other.  Just like the changing of the seasons, the seasons of our lives change as well. Our oldest is no longer here with us in Honduras, so it’s the first mother’s day since the kids came into our home, that I have not had all three children here with me. I miss him so much and wish that he were here today.  At times today I have felt waves of sadness and had to retreat to a quiet place to let a few tears fall. I did get to see short video greeting of him at church today though so that was nice and very unexpected.


God truly blessed me with an amazing mom. She is selfless, compassionate towards others. She is probably the most hospitable person I know. She loves to cook and have others in for a meal. Especially those who are alone. I wished today I could have talked to her or seen her and given her a hug. For one their internet/phone is down so that meant I couldn’t even call or hear her voice.  I dedicated an entire post to her last year….It can be found here..
https://cjruttan.wordpress.com/2016/05/09/on-this-mothers-day/

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And finally this is the first Mother’s day that Dale’s mom is no longer with us. Her first Mother’s day in heaven. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her. Not a day goes by that my heart doesn’t  ache with grief. She was an amazing mom to Dale and his brother David.. An amazing mother in law and Grandma. There have been so many times we want to pick up the phone and call her, share with her things going on in our lives and ask advice. She was  supportive and she prayed diligently for us…but we do rejoice in the HOPE of seeing her again one day…

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Through the fire

I have been in the mood to write lately but I have not known what to write about. It seems this year is just flying by. It’s already May and in less than a month we will be on a plane and flying back to Canada for a few weeks. I was mentioning it to Dale that I had no idea what to write . My mind was blank. He said that it’s because we’ve been here four years almost and I’ve already written about everything. Also he said that there have not been a lot of new experiences or sights. There may be a little truth in that. Not that life is mundane by any means. But, I guess we do have our routine and not much has changed as far as that goes. We are still teaching the Bible in the classrooms every week.

I mentioned in another post back that our theme this year is Super Heroes of the Bible. This month we are doing one of my favorite stories. Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego. It’s the story of three young Jewish men who were in charge of all the affairs of the province of Babylon. We tell the children of the King who made a huge golden statue 90 feet tall, and how he ordered that everyone bow to the statue whenever they heard the music play. If anyone did not bow, they would face certain death because the punishment was being thrown into a blazing hot furnace.
These three men stayed true to their faith. They were unwavering. Even though they knew they would die when the music played, they still refused to bow. They boldly and confidently told King Nebuchadnezzar that they did not need to defend themselves before him. They told him that their God was able to save them. BUT, even if the Lord didn’t rescue them, they would never serve his gods or bow to the golden image. Of course, this really ticked the King off, that they would be so defiant.  And in his rage he had the furnace heated seven times hotter than normal. The three men were bound with ropes and thrown into the roaring flames while fully clothed. The Bible tells us that the flames were so hot that the men who threw them in died from the heat. It was that hot.
At some point after that, the King was able to look into the furnace and when he did he was astonished to see not three, but four men walking around in the flames, unbound and unharmed. The fourth man looked like the son of god.38383-fiery-furnace-640x360.800w.tn

So, what does the King do, but call Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego out of the fire. Everyone around them saw that the fire did not touch them. “Not a hair on their head was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke.” That is what gets me, is that even though they were in the fire, walking around in the flames…that there was not even a hint of smoke on them when they came out of that blazing furnace. They stayed true to God and he was with them. He watched over them and brought them through. Not only that but the three men were shown honour by being promoted to even higher positions in Babylon. And the King realized their God was the one true God.
Job 23:10
But, he knows where I am going and when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold.

I think how easy would it have been for them to cave to the pressure just to save their lives. They were willing to die for what they believed in. They still had to go into the fire though, there was no escaping that…yet it didn’t harm them. I wonder what were their thoughts when they were being bound? And what was going through their mind as they were about to be tossed into the fire to their death? Were they afraid and filled with terror?

How many times in our lives, are we asked to or tempted to compromise? Maybe we don’t want to be labeled or we don’t want to be the odd one out. We want to fit in, so we give in and compromise our standards or beliefs.

On Sunday our pastor said that maybe God doesn’t want us to go around a hard situation but through it. And I will be honest and I am sure many of you are with me when I say I would much rather avoid the difficulties and go through life without any hard times. Wouldn’t we all?

Isaiah 43:2 -3
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy one Israel, your Saviour.
Note the wording here…it doesn’t say IF…it says WHEN. So we know that times of trouble will come. It’s a given thing in this life.

James 1:1-2

When all kinds of trials crown into your lives, don’t resent them as intruders but welcome them as friends. Realize that they come to test your faith and produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed in you and you have become people of mature character, people of integrity, with no weak spots.
I don’t know about you, but when those times of trial and testing come, when I am asked to walk through the fire, I want to faithful. True.  I want to pass the test. I don’t want to come out smelling like smoke.