You know that Sunday feeling, right?

We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement on Sundays … and somewhere along the course of the week, pieces of the message tend to fade and we often lose that Sunday feeling.

The Monday After {the Sunday Sermon} carries the Sunday message into Monday mornings by sharing how what we’ve heard on Sunday morning is making a difference in our Mondays, our weeks, our lives. Because of your generosity to Accelerate, we are able to share these stories! Thank you!

The Monday After Sunday, November 18, 2013 : Giving Thanks for ALL that is Given {click HERE to listen!}

By Sheryll Belonga

“And Peter answered him, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’ He said, ‘Come.’ So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord, save me.’ Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?'” Matthew 14:28-31

I heard Him speak to me before the message even began.

I’ve heard the song “Oceans” many times, but never have I been effected by it like I was yesterday. While singing, I kept feeling the Spirit telling me to listen to the words. As I listened, I wondered whether I could continue to keep my eyes of Him in the midst of pain and suffering.

In all of my 37 years, I don’t feel as though I have encountered any pain and suffering that felt like it was more than I could bear, so I feel like I’ve been sheltered from life’s major storms. As I lookat the lives of those around me, ones who have suffered greatly, I feel like I can’t complain. While I feel blessed to have been shielded from the storms, I also feel like it leaves me less than qualified to come alongside other people in their trials.

During the sermon, I felt the Spirit whispering to me that I can’t compare my life experiences to others, that I needed to let go of my tendency to compare. In fact, my tendency to compare tempted me to give up writing this today.

Still after listening to Pastor Bryan’s story and recalling the stories of others who have suffered, I wondered to myself — who am I to encourage anyone else during their hardship when I feel like I’ve
suffered so little. This thought led me to seek out those who normally come to me for encouragement.

I have a friend who lives back home in New Orleans; last week I offered to meet with her each week for prayer. She is struggling right now, and she shared that she seems to be hanging on by a thread.

I called her yesterday and asked why she sought me during her hardship. Why would she call someone to guide her who couldn’t relate to what she was going through?

She explained that she called me because she saw me in a place where she wanted to be. God is using me to care for her when she can’t emotionally care for herself.

She said that she watched how I responded during my first year of marriage, which can often be the hardest and recognized how we made it through.

Not only did we make it through the first year of marriage, but we’ve now been married for 11 years, while she is on her second marriage. Her hope was that by talking to me, I can encourage her to succeed in this one by sharing with her what God has taught me along the way.

As I think back on the sermon, the song and the scripture from Matthew, I feel blessed for the tests and trials I’ve faced, no matter how seemingly small I consider them, because I know God uses them to
help others.

During these times of trial, when I’ve stepped out to walk in faith and faced fears, God has been there to reach out His hand — be it weathering the storms of marriage and motherhood or finding the courage to walk with a friend despite my own feelings of inadequacy.

The second verse of “Oceans” says:

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed, and You won’t start now.

It is in the words of this song that I find comfort in knowing that God doesn’t expect me to never encounter fear, but He does want me to remember. 

Sheryll Belonga is wife to Jurrell and homeschooling mom to their three great boys. Her hearts desire is to glorify God in all she says and does in spite of life’s daily happenings.

One thought on “The Monday After: Giving Thanks for ALL that is Given {Sheryll}

  1. Sheryll, I love your post because it hits on a common fear I think we all have when it comes to walking with others through pain and suffering. “Who am I to be able to help when I can’t identify or my life isn’t where I’d want it to be?” Fortunately, God gave us some very less than perfect examples in the disciples of the types of everyday people he uses to be His hands and feet. I’m glad to hear that you are stepping out in faith to care for your friend. Thanks for the reminder today!

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