Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "I Know Whom I Have Believed"1 (Lyrics)
2 Timothy 2:14b,22b,23-24 – Stop fighting over words. Such arguments are useless, and they can ruin those who hear them. Pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Don't get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. (NLT)
I grew up in a dysfunctional family. My mother turned to arson when life dissatisfied her. If we could keep track of her discontent, sometimes it was possible to head her off, but it wasn't easy. We lived mostly in isolation in the bush or outside city limits, on the edges of one town or another.
One time, standing in a crowd that had collected to watch our last house burn down, a stranger turned to me, seemingly delighted with the increasing flames. "I come to ALL your fires!" he said.
My aunt, who lived with us periodically, disagreed with her car radio and yelled at it, and us, ignoring traffic as she drove haphazardly around.
My grandmother would make her way to our rural mailbox when she saw the postman coming, reporting on the family and trying to involve him in whatever was going on.
Unable to stop any of it, my father kept to himself, scrounging at the city dump in his spare time and resorting to tranquilizers. I grew up knowing that my family would continue to be Bad Advice Central. I was married and many years away from home when I heard a woman talking about having her house burn. "Is this your first fire?" I asked innocently.
"What do you mean, 'my first fire?'" she asked, her voice rising. It was only then that I realized how different my life experience had been from everyone else's.
Oh, the difficult people in our lives! Probably not such extremes of behaviour, yet self-obsessed, cantankerous, and stubborn individuals are some of God's best tools to carve us into becoming accepting, patient, loving, faithful, and humble — like Him. They are unwitting blessings chosen by our loving God to help us grow.
"The only person I can change is myself," someone said. "Acceptance of others is the answer to all my problems today." God uses the difficult ones in our lives to bring us to Himself, through Christ, to change us into His likeness as we wade through the deep waters and fiery trials that they bring.
2 Corinthians 4:17 – These troubles and sufferings of ours are, after all, quite small and won't last very long. Yet this short time of distress will result in God's richest blessing upon us forever and ever! (TLB)
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, we know that You only design "our dross to consume and our gold to refine", when You use difficult people to grow us up in faith. Thank You for every instance of daily contact with the difficult ones, reminding us of the internal prayer, Bless them, Lord, and change me. Open our eyes to Your purposes for our troubles, that we may become the light that You trust us to be in Your world. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
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Thanks for your wisdom and insightfulness.
Look what God has done in you in spite of your circumstances.
Oh, my, Rose, only God could have made you into who you are today.
Wow! That’s quite a background to come to terms with! Makes mine look like a picnic!! Thanks Rose.
Wonderful! Your unique background has produced fruit in a way that is unimaginable! Bless you for this,
Rose: you continue to prove that your memoirs would be a gift to our troubled world. Today you forcibly reminded me of the role difficult folk play in my faith journey.
Thank you for this heart-breaking life experience. I prayed to the Lord last evening for help in a project I am undertaking. You have answered prayer. God Bless You.
Thank you, Rose. Your words in today’s devotional were just what I needed. You are a blessing to me, and others.
May God Bless you.
I am so happy that God is with you! Wow! Thank you for sharing your story. May God continue to bless you and keep you safe.
I was just praying about the Lord helping me to be more patient and loving and then I read your devotion, which truly hit home.
Rose, may our Saviour’s love continue to heal your heart and deliver your family from Satan’s grasp. May your life be blessed and peaceful. Thanks for sharing your heart with us. Blessings.
I can’t imagine what all you went through. So good to see how you are and the faith you have.
Thank you for the devotional today. Isn’t it amazing how what need is what we receive?
Thank you Rose for your devotional today. I am struggling with difficult people at work and your words reminded me of the higher purpose and of God’s eternal faithfulness and love. Thank you. Blessing on your journey.
Greetings in the name of Jesus,
Thank you very much for the message. I thank God that, despite what you went through growing up, God was there to console, protect and guide you in life to what you are today.
Glory be to Almighty God.
Thank you for your many devotionals from the heart and from your learning. I am glad that God was there for you and you didn’t become bitter because of your circumstances. It is always good to hear other people’s stories and to learn from them. Thank you for sharing. May many blessings continue to come your way.
Thank you for contributing this devotional. My sympathy to you after reading about the family difficulties you endured while growing up. Yes, it is a mystery at times trying to figure out God’s long-term plan when we face certain difficulties, but we must remain faithful and trusting that His plan works best in the end.
Blessings to you as you go forward with such a kind and understanding heart after problems you have dealt with in life.
Thank you for sharing these intensely personal and painful accounts of your family experience. You have opened the door of understanding those people who enter our lives that are difficult to deal with because the behavior is not part of our own experience. God has drawn you closer to Him through the relationships, as he does each one of us. As you so deftly pointed out, relationships are best lived by application of God’s guidelines. Praise His name.
Rose I cannot even imagine the terror and sadness that you must have experienced as a child in such unstable conditions. We have all had bad experiences in our lives that have scarred us, and it is a testament of God’s love that we can and do use these shaky stepping-stones to help others as you have and do. Some families appear to go through life without any problems but that is only because we are not aware of their specific traumas. If only people hurting would turn to God rather than drugs or alcohol!
Thank you for an excellent devotional.
Good morning Rose. I can almost always recognize your devotionals without even looking at your name below. You have a distinct style of writing that peaks my attention.
Over the past several months I have had several disagreeable people ignite my fuse and each time I was getting a stronger need to win. Recently I had harsh words with my daughter and regret it terribly. My daughter said to me ‘some Christian you are”. That cut deep, but she was right. I handled that so badly.
I believe God allowed that to happen so I could see how my words can hurt. It took doing it to my daughter for me to realize, I should not be speaking to anyone this way. My daughter has forgiven me, and things are good. It took a rip-roaring fight with my daughter for me to realize, I cannot do this to anyone.
Your devotional today certainly was a great reminder. I am printing this one and keeping it on my desk.
God’s blessings upon you Rose for sharing.
That you have emerged as capable, stable, caring person is indeed a sign of God’s grace active in your life.
Hi Rose, God bless you! I admire people who do well in life and in their relationship with God; but particularly admire people who rises about their circumstances to do so.
I found this devotional exceptionally helpful and encouraging.
I grew up in an alcoholic, dysfunctional household. My mother was a mentally ill alcoholic, due to abuse. She would never admit that anything was wrong. My father was an alcoholic, who thought that money for booze was more important than anything, including food for his family or medicine for a sick child.
Why do I find you sharing so wonderful? If you can survive that and be the wonderful Christian you are… then I truly have HOPE.
Every blessing in the Lord!
Oh Rose, what a precious, fearless woman of Christ you are! You’re not alone in the dysfunctional family stakes. Thank you for this honest insight.
Dear Rose De Shaw.
Thank you for your whole devotional, and especially for your prayer.
Thank you for your extraordinary story, Rose. Some of my e-mails went to spam. I am glad I found yours as it has several great lessons! Thank you and God bless!