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Daring to Speak

There’s much wisdom in James’ warning to be “slow to speak.” I’m guilty of opening my mouth too quickly, too fully, too transparently. There’s much I want to say, but, as Amy Carmichael cautions: Is it necessary? I challenge my own heart with the question—is what I want to say going to fulfill Paul’s directive in Ephesians 4:29?

Paul encourages us to guard our communication—let nothing unwholesome pour out, but only words that are good and needed, words that will edify and give grace to the listener (or the reader). Are my words driven by sinful emotions or is my mouth filled with the Spirit’s timely message for the moment?

Will my communication draw others closer to Christ or push them away from pursuing Him?

It has been four long months since I’ve opened my mouth on the blog. I’ve stayed away from social media, and limited my online interaction, and it’s been good—and necessary. My hands have been busy and my voice has been silent. For those of you who’ve reached out for updates on LeRoy’s condition, or expressed your concern, or wanted to know how to be praying for us, I’m grateful. I’m thankful you still want to intercede for him, and for us.

As we’ve entered a new season, my favorite season, I knew I couldn’t let this month pass without sending you a reminder. Every fall, I give you the same challenge: “Begin seeking God for what your spiritual focus should be next year!” I send out that reminder in the fall months, so you have time to pray and seek God to confirm what direction He has for you in the coming year. I encourage you to have a spiritual focus for the year, because an intentional pursuit of God brings the joy of knowing Him more intimately. And there is nothing better than that.

Do you know what passage I focused on this year? 2020 has been a year like no other—I think most everyone will agree with that obvious observation. Last fall, as I began praying for 2020’s spiritual focus, and seeking the Lord about what He had for us, He led me to the verse that I’ve written on every journal page this year. At the start of each day, I record this encouraging truth:

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:10)

This year has been one of deep sorrow and suffering like no other. Not just for us, but for all peoples across the globe. This has been a year marked by suffering. That is the word that will always typify 2020 for me personally: suffering. Little did I know, last November, when God put this passage on my heart, all He had ahead of us. But, even while enduring the heart-wrenching blows of this year, God has proven true to His character. He truly is the “God of all grace.”

I’ve never seen my husband experience such horrific pain. As we’ve walked through personal tragedy this year, his body has reacted violently. It is sheer misery to helplessly watch him endure the punishment his body unleashes. But through all the wilderness of loss and affliction—LeRoy never wavers, never complains, never gives way to anger or resentment. He remains the same steadfast and devoted man of God he’s always been. His example of faithfulness is my daily inspiration.

We begin each morning with him “washing me” in the Word. We have our time in prayer and the Word together and that is my very favorite hours of the day. We talk about God’s goodness, His wisdom, His incredible mercy and grace—and we worship. We pray. We have so many dear ones that we carry on our hearts: family, and dear friends, who are also walking through loss and affliction. And we have time to intercede for them and stand in spiritual battle for them through prayer.

Peter doesn’t offer a sugar-coated version of following Christ. He admits that walking with Him will include suffering. Why wouldn’t it? He is our example, and He suffered as no other. Peter was writing to believers who were literally losing their lives because of their commitment to Christ.

But, following the season of suffering comes the promise of restoration, confirmation, strengthening, and solid establishing. This is the fruit of suffering.

Precious friend, if you’ve been enduring a season of affliction—take heart. Our dear Savior desires to use those painful blows in your life to shape you, mold you, to conform you to His beautiful image. He delights in stripping away all that boasts of fleshly me, and clothe us in His beautiful character: compassion, mercy, kindness, wisdom, and love. He desires to restore the broken, to confirm the wavering, to strengthen the weak and weary, to establish the faltering.

We so often want the “quick fix” to grow up into the likeness of Christ—but without pain, without sorrow, or selfless devotion. Today’s mantra is: live for your own happiness. Jesus’ call however, is much different. His call is to live for Him—not ourselves. And in living for Him, He prunes us for growth.

God places us in the fires of affliction for purification. He leads us through dark valleys and on lonely roads. He takes us on a journey of suffering—not to destroy us, but to conform us. He is always at work on our hearts, working to produce in us “an eternal weight of glory, beyond all comparison” as we look to the eternal rather than grabbing for my “best life now.” As we look to Him, behold Him, He is at work transforming us into His image—from one degree of glory to another (2 Corinthians 4:16—18, 3:18). And there is no greater privilege than being shaped by the Potter’s hand into the image He has planned (Isaiah 64:8).

Today, I’m opening my mouth to simply say: God is good. He is working on our hearts. He is worthy of all worship. He is the Potter, and we are the clay. And we can trust Him in this season of suffering. As always, we are deeply grateful for your prayers.

19 Comments

  • Debi

    Kimberly this is beautiful! Thank you for sharing these precious words of wisdom. It was just the water I needed to quench parts that have become so dry during these past days. Thank you for allowing God to use you even in difficult times!!! Love you sweet friend!

  • Gail

    I praise God for both of you and for your example and helpful suggestions for us to live also! You may never know how much you help others, and though we are so sorry for the pain you go through, we will continue to pray for God‘s will to be done, and for his strength to be yours! Thank you and God bless you for all you do for others.

  • Peggy J

    Kimberly, I have been blessed by your encouraging words this morning. Your words and God’s word spoke right to my daily struggle. I am at this exact place in my walk with the Lord. Thank you and I hope you continue to allow God to speak wisdom to our hearts 💕

  • Sandra Diehl

    It is so good to hear from you . Your message is a blessing. It is good to have reminders for looking up. I keep praying and hoping for your precious husband to be restored to good health. I am so sorry he still is hurting so much. I see Ps 32:10 is so true for him. I have a friend with MS that suffers so much and she reminds me of your husband. She always gives thanks to God and says she is blessed ♥️
    God Bless you both ♥️🙏

  • Lisette Paez

    I sit here reading your devotional in awe. We as human can find ourselves in this miserable state and overwhelmed by what we see and experience and the suffering we’ve endured. But God puts it into perspective. As you said this scripture:

    And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:10)

    Lord help us keep our eye on you and not on me. I can’t imagine the pain your husband has endured and you’ve had to witness. May we all keep our eye on our eternal father in Heaven through it all.

    I pray for a blessing over your life. May God cover you and protect you and your husband. May his grace and mercy abound in you both. And may He give you a supernatural strength to push forward. May the pain that your husband indures be uprooted and judged by the blood of Jesus!
    In Jesus name Amen!

    God bless you!
    Lisette

  • Joyce

    It was so good to hear from you again! Your continued Worship and Love for the Father and his word are so inspiring. My storm looks so small when I think of your journey but… Like you I too will praise Him in the storm!

  • Bonnie Lang

    It was such a blessing to hear from you as you have been on my heart these many months praying and wondering how you are dong. Of course, I should have know that the Lord is continuing to purify you through suffering. My prayers continue for you both as you pass through these deep times of hardship and yet…GRACE. Much Love to you both.

  • Mandy Hunter

    So thankful for you, Mr. LeRoy! The example of unwavering faith you both set is utterly amazing. I am so grateful God crossed our paths. Praying for you both always. Love you dear friend.

  • Stephanie Trotter

    I have missed hearing from you. Thank you for your obedience and wisdom. I have continued in prayer for you and your family through this time. ❤️

  • Heide

    Thanks so much for your words, dear Kim. I had been looking for information on how you both were doing. The Lord brings to mind to pray for you and I will continue to do so. May He continue to strengthen you and LeRoy. Your German sister Heide

  • Vicki Bedford

    Kimberly, thank you for the update on LeRoy and you and for the encouraging words from the midst of suffering. Thank you also for reminding us to fix our eyes on Jesus as we anticipate the future. Praying for you two and your family.

  • Donna Doverspike

    Kim,
    Thank you for the update. Thank you for sharing that your favorite part of the day is the beginning when you and LeRoy are in Gods word and discussing it. Thinking and praying for you both.

    Donna

  • Kathryn

    Kimberly, thank you for the update on LeRoy and for the encouragement of God’s faithfulness and grace. So many prayers lifted up for you and LeRoy. Thank you for the encouragement to seek Him. May God bring healing, comfort, hope, and provision in all things.

  • Ashley

    I found your book, Fierce Woman, in the middle of my fight for my marriage. It opened my eyes to the words I say, looks I give and attitudes I hold that are destructive. I was drawn into your blog and prayed for you and I pressed in praying for my husband to be released from his depression and addiction to attentions of other women. I claimed Gods victory, relishing in the fact that He was in control and I didn’t have to try to fix anything. We celebrated our 20th anniversary with red roses and he put his wedding ring back on and 8 days later died of a sudden heart attack. I am still grateful to know the God us in control but it doesn’t look like the victory I would have envisioned. Still waiting for the shouts of joy in the tents if the righteous. Thank you for your transparency in your struggles

  • kimberlywagner

    Dearest Friends ~

    It brought such joy to read your kind and encouraging comments. Thank you for your response! I know that each of you come from your own places of loss and pain, and yet, you are carrying us in our season of suffering. And for that, we are deeply moved and most grateful.

    I’m sorry that I’m unable to respond to each of you personally. What a joy it would be to sit down with you over a cup of chai tea (and heavy cream, of course 😉), and have a long heart-to-heart. But instead, I’m sending the warmest of thoughts with gratitude for each of you who took time to read the update and comment–but especially for your commitment to continue interceding for us.

    For dear Ashley, I must reply and say how deeply sorry I am for your sudden loss. What a shock. Thank you for sharing some of your painful journey with us. I’m so grateful for your prayers and now I’m praying for you to find comfort in the loving kindness extended by the God of all grace and comfort. May His Word be the wisdom and truth that guides you. May His presence be ever tangibly near. May you find His presence to be your strength and joy.

    With much love to each of you dear readers and friends 💕

    Kim

  • Nicole Vidal

    Kimberly, This is to encourage you in how the Holy Spirit works….I was up late this evening to write out some things regarding an issue in my marriage and look up some Scriptures…towards the end I finally wrote in all caps “I NEED to PRAY MORE, READ SCRIPTURES MORE, READ articles more (biblically based of course) receive encouragement more from close friends and a counselor”. Now of course my flesh is resistant to the work of prayer and scripture reading, but nevertheless that is where the Spirit of Truth ultimately lead me to. In looking up passages I came across 1 Peter chapters 4-5 that caught my attention…backing up 3:13 lept off the page. All of this spoke to me to do what is good and right in my marriage even though my flesh does not want to. You reference 1 Peter in your post! Then I back up to 1 Peter 3:1-7…which is what I was originally in search of. Oh! How God is working in this heart of stone! Reading this passage made caused me also to think of your book sitting on my shelf that I was given and procrastinately still have not read: Fierce Women: The Power of a Soft Warrior. This in turn made me think of you and and Leroy and in God’s providence look up your website for an update and find a recent post from you….in which you focus on pointing us to God our Savior, hope and His Word! Thank you! I would guess you two have heard the song Blessings by Laura Story listen to it afresh!