Sunday, September 08, 2013

WHY NOT? By Elaine Stock



My guest today is my very dear friend Elaine Stock who I met four years ago at the 2009 ACFW conference. She is a soon-to-be-published author of Christian Women's Fiction with strong social messages.

Elaine Stock
WHY NOT? by Elaine Stock

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)


I have an old Hagar The Horrible comic hanging up in my kitchen. Hagar stares up at the sky and shouts “Why me?” A clap of lightening barrels down from the heavens, accompanied by a booming voice saying “Why Not?” I can so relate to this perplexed Viking. Can you?

We all want a nice life. Who doesn’t want a new car, a large house, a comfortable-salaried job/career, and for those living in cold areas, even a taste of summer in the cold days of winter? In short, we want the key to Easy Street.

Life is often rough. Perhaps that’s why, in preparation of this piece, I referred to one of my favorite Bible quotes, from Jeremiah. But what happened God? Did you stop noticing the route my life took many years ago? My mother grew increasingly mentally ill until her wayward thoughts fueled her feet and she fled the home scene. Did you not notice, God? My small family fell apart through the years by the hands of estrangement and death. Did you not notice, God? My marriage hit a few icebergs in the first few handfuls of years. Did you not notice, God? Childless, will I have someone to watch over me during my elderly years, God? Have you noticed?

Oh, yes. God has noticed. I’m convinced of that, especially because of where I came from in those darker days. I embraced Christ in my early 20s and since that day when I accepted Him into my heart I see daily signs that my life is in His hands. I’m not walking on Easy Street. I still have my humanly wants and daydreams. I still flinch when hitting life’s speed bumps. But, it is easier now that I know God is holding my hand. He has already been preparing for me a life that He alone has intended for me to live because life is not an existence of time when only randomness and coincidences occur. Life is living in the spot where God wants me to live. He has me interacting and influencing others. And He has others who will influence me. Life is about blessing others and receiving a blessing from them. Life is not about Easy Street or envying others who temporarily live on this pretend street. Know what I’ve been learning lately? That many of these residents on Easy Street suffer many agonies: an ill and dying child; bankruptcy; sudden unemployment; divorce; cancer; the unexpected crippling accident.

Bad happens. Good happens. And sometimes, the wonderful happens.

I know God loves me. He knows the plans He has for me even before I was born and He will carry them through for my welfare. Why? Because my God does not plot misery. He blesses with hope. And a future.

What street are you living on these days?

Elaine Stock--Writing to encourage others through difficult times.


Rejoice in the good stuff. Ignore any discouragement.
       

28 comments:

Sara Goff said...

Elaine, thank you for sharing the rough patches in your life. Tough times are a perfect reminder to let God into our lives...and let him take care of us!

Janet Grunst said...

A very sensitive and honest post, Elaine.
It is easy look at other's lives and see only the superficial, and have no clue as to what struggles they have endured or are currently dealing with. Perhaps their trials are yet to come.
What a blessing that despite the pain you experienced, while still a young woman you found a relationship with the One who will always be there for you.

Lisa Belcastro said...

Great blog Elaine! Easy Street looks so appealing. But when I find myself thinking that way, I realize that I've taken my eyes off of God and put them on earthly values. Ouch! That smites a bit. I am learning (haven't mastered it yet - lol) to ask "why this way" instead of "why me." Rephrasing the question helps me to direct my confusion to God and to seek His answers. And some days, I'm actually successful. :-)

Kathleen Rouser said...

Thanks for sharing this, Elaine. Thanks for posting
this, Christine. Seems like our family has been through
a long string of trouble for many years and we are
going through yet another. A friend of mine texted
me the reference for Jer. 29:11 this morning. I think
the Lord wanted me to remember it. :)

Linda Glaz said...

He knows the plans He has for me. Love that scripture.

Anonymous said...

Such a touching interview and what a testimony to God's love and grace in the midst of some of our darkest times and we do all have them.

Connie Almony said...

Well said, my friend!

Diana Lesire Brandmeyer said...

My address is "Between a rock and a hard place."
Blessings,
Diana

CandaceCalvert said...

What a wonderful post, Elaine: "My God does not plot misery. He blesses with hope. And a future." Jer. 29:11 is one of my favorite Scriptures, and your encouraging words make it fresh in my heart again.
Thank you for sharing.
And thank you for hosting Elaine, Christine.

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Oh, how I can relate, Elaine! Yes, there are times where we feel our heavenly Father has turned His head on our plight. But lately I've been thinking of that "How Deep the Father's Love for Us" song and pondering Joseph--all those years spent in the dungeon. He was serving God, even there--using his administrative skills for the jail keeper, his dream-interpreting skills for the cupbearer/baker...yet it took YEARS for him to get out of there. I wish I could've been a fly on the wall to know how he got through. But I imagine it's much like the rest of us--looking for the good, waiting for God to move, and sometimes...complaining. And yet, through it all, God still hears. All the best to you in this writing (and life) journey, Elaine!

Christine Lindsay said...

Thank you Elaine for your poignant thoughts on life when it gets tough. You have such a gift for sharing through true-life article and through your heart-touching fiction what we need to get through life when it gets tough. You do indeed, touch many hearts, and I pray you will continue to for many years to come when your books get published.

Tammy Doherty said...

Great post, Elaine. I agree with you and with what Sara says - tough times help us learn to depend and rely on God!

Elaine Stock said...

I am humbled and touched by everyone's comments. Thanks, Christine, for hosting me. Thank you Sara, Janet, Lisa, Kathleen, Linda, "Anonymous," Connie, Diana, Candace, Heather, and you, Christine. You've blessed me today, as you do always. And, have taught me a few new ways of looking at things :)

Anonymous said...

Elaine, thanks for sharing your heart and the encouragement. It is a blessing to read how God has touched your life.

Ann Ellison
abilene_nana@yahoo.com

Jennifer Slattery said...

Elaine, what a beautiful post, and I love your positive attitude. I agree, everything is easier to deal with when we know and remember God is holding us and our future in His hands. Blessings, my friend!

Susan said...

Ok. I love that comic! LOl. And it's so true. I struggle to remember at times that God is always working, even when it's not Easy Street...He's there bringing all things together for HIS good:)

Pat Jeanne Davis said...

Elaine, thank you for your thoughts on God's care during the good and not so good experiences of life. You've blessed me with your words. Thank you, Christine, for the blog post today.

Susan Craft said...

I waited over an hour in our local Social Security office to get my Medicare Card corrected. I sat among over 100 people, most of whom were in dire straits. Many couldn't speak English. The young couple sitting beside me wondered where the money would come from to repair their car. I can't tell you how I longed to have been a lottery winner and go to each person to give them what they need. I came away with a reenforced perspective that God has blessed me and my family with so much, and it was not through the good times that we appreciated it, but in the bad times.

Elaine Stock said...

Tammy, thanks for visiting Christine's blog. While I wouldn't volunteer for tough times nor wish them upon anyone else, I'm grateful God has held my hand through them and that I haven't let go.

Elaine Stock said...

Ann & Jennifer--so happy to see you on Christine's blog. Thanks for the support and the encouraging comments.

Elaine Stock said...

Susan, I love Hagar as well. Love the song Easy Street from the show Annie! I think many shake their hands at God because they mistake Him for a magician who fails to grant a wish. It's all too human to confuse our perspectives while life thrashes out at us. I'm glad to see you're walking with Him on the street where He is your one and only Crossing Guard :)

Elaine Stock said...

Pat, and you've blessed me with your visit today ♡

Susan C., thanks for sharing that story and the insight to the inner world of so many. It's a daily walk we must all take; we must constantly thank and praise God for what we have and thank Him for being with us through the darker times and the droughts of "not having" what we think we need. Believe me, I speak from my own daily walks :)

Nancy Loyan Schuemann said...

Elaine,
I can relate! BTW, that quote from Jeremiah is my favorite and it's my daily affirmation. There is no "easy street," as everyone has some burden. We are but mere mortals and trials and tribulations are part of being human. God tests us all in unique ways.

Ian Acheson said...

Beautifully said, Elaine. Thank for you sharing your heart so openly.

Davalyn Spencer said...

Love this line: my God does not plot misery. He blesses with hope. And a future. What encouraging words!

Elaine Stock said...

Thank you, Nancy and Ian, for your visit to Christine's lovely blog.

Nancy, I'm not so sure that God "tests" us, but He certainly has created us for very individual lives and that's why I'm blessed to have you as a dear friend :)

Ian--wow--your taking the time to visit right before your journey means a lot to me!

Elaine Stock said...

Davalynn, thanks for your visit today...and your sweet words.

Elaine Stock said...

Thank you, Christine, for giving me the opportunity to share my heart and thoughts with others on your amazing blog. I've been blessed and uplifted by those who have visited with us this past week.

May everyone's days be bright and full of His love.