Generation Cedar


Ashton was happy to find some of his art work.

Personal trials always push us to answer theological questions–to unpack the character of God and to wrestle with the hard facts.

Is suffering the judgement of God?  Is it meant for me personally, or is it a corporate judgement? Does God allow it or cause it? Is God testing my faith or is suffering purely random and coincidental?

From what we know in Scripture, it can actually be any number of things.  In the OT, we see God often “smite” people with His wrath. Intentional judgement.  We also see God “allow” trials for testing, as in the case of Job, a “perfect and upright man”.  We see him bring suffering to show forth His glory (John 9), that “the works of God may be made manifest in him”.  And often it is a simple law of nature at work in our fallen world that brings disaster and suffering on the just and the unjust alike.

But in all these things, two things are certain:  nothing happens outside the sovereign omniscience of God and He works ALL THINGS together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

I can testify to seeing this principle lived out in the lives of many others, and now am seeing it in my own life.

“Were there no tragedies, no handicaps, no opportunities for people to feel compassion and express that in tangible ways, we would become a world full of self-absorption, eaten up with greed and misery.”

All things good.  All things new. My family and I have joked about how neat it is to have so many new things.  If you haven’t read here long, you probably don’t know that I’m a “thrift store kind of gal”–perhaps to a fault.  Part of it is just my nature, part of it is an attempt to be the best steward of our income, and part of it is simply necessity. I’m the girl digging out the last bit of lipstick with a bobby pin and adding water to the last drop of dish detergent for one more use. Suffice it to say, we own (owned) a lot of used stuff, and we’re OK with that.

So while losing all you own is pretty rotten, getting new stuff for a change is pretty fun!  There is always beauty for ashes for the children of God.

“It’s like Christmas!” -Brooks, when he received some art supplies.

But the profoundest reality of suffering is what my Dad and I shared together last Sunday.

He commented on the irony of human nature and its response to suffering. Were there no tragedies, no handicaps, no opportunities for people to feel compassion and express that in tangible ways, we would become a world full of self-absorption, eaten up with greed and misery.  We would, in reality, self-destruct from our humanness if we lived in a state of safety and constant utopia.

Just as I have lived the irony of feeling gratitude increase in direct proportion to the loss of material possessions, I have seen humanity love largely, give abundantly, sacrifice greatly and care deeply in the face of tragedy where it usually bickers and holds grudges in the calm.

God knows how to run His universe and as my friend Jane, who sheltered the storm with us said, “I’d much rather be with God in the storm, than all alone in comfort.”

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36 Responses

  1. Well said, Kelly! It’s so awesome to have a Father we can trust in the midst of difficult circumstances! It’s an incredible promise that He works all things together for good! Praying for all of you!
    Love from the Smiths in Helena

  2. Thank you for sharing this Kelly. It’s wonderful to rely on the Lord even when you don’t understand why something is happening.
    I needed to read this today

  3. My husband was recently stricken with an illness. We lay in bed together as he dealt with the pain and nausea this illness causes and he talked about God punishing him for being such a terrible sinner. I reminded him of you and the Lees. I know you’d be the first to tell me that you’re a sinner saved by God’s grace and still struggle daily, but you’re also a woman (and family) who serves the Lord with everything you’ve got unashamedly. I told him just as much and told him, “the Lord will do whatever it takes to refine us.” But this post explains exactly my thoughts and beliefs even better. Thank you.

    1. Good answer: Job was not being punished for sin, nor was the blind man discussed in John 9.

      Sometimes bad things just happen to good people – and other times, for some reason, the reverse is also true.

  4. I’m right there with ya on the “thrift store kind of gal”! Kelly, even though I don’t know you in “real life” you have been & continue to be used by God in my life… Thank you for loving Him like you do & letting it shine through… salt & light, salt & light… How humbling it must be to be such a visible tool in the Maker’s hand for all of us to see… Sending love to your family & praying for you all in Shoal Creek Valley. ♥

  5. What you say is so true. I was SO glad to hear that your son found some of his art. God is so personal to care about the things that are close to our hearts. He knows just what we need before we do.

    We continue to pray for your family. We have experienced many losses
    and we understand the daily challenges of rebuilding so many things at once. The exhaustion, confusion, and the desparate need for a quiet moment. God will not give you more than you can bear, though it seems to be so overwhelming at times. When you need that next breath, it will be there. He is your source for all things.

    God continues to be lifted up as you give Him first place. May the joy of the Lord be your strength.

    I am just so blessed to be able to pray for you all. thank you so much for taking the time to share. Sorry this is so long.. Next time I’ll e-mail..

    Rest, comfort, peace, wisdom, strength and ALL that you have need of be yours in Jesus’ name.

    Love and abundant blessings from Arizona~
    Jeff, Tamara & family.

  6. Hello,
    My husband and I have been scouring the web trying to find out how our family can help the people of AL. We have an abundance of clothes and toys and want to share these. Is it advisable to drive to AL with our 2 small children to bring clothes, toys, personal neccessities? Most sites have a place to donate monetarily. We are not against giving money for this great need. In fact, we do so gladly. But we are struck with the reality that we have SOOO much and want to give it to others who literally have NOTHING. We live approximately 6 hours from the location of the storms and would be able to come, help, and return home within a 24 hour period (approx.)
    Also, just want to encourage you to keep your eyes on Jesus. I am new to your blog (found it through and I am encouraged in my walk by seeing your humble spirit pointing others to God. What a blessing you are!

    1. We’re 6 hrs from the Alabama tornadoes too – in the FL Panhandle and our church is taking a group of men up the weekend of May 20th to do work. Are you in the FL panhandle? Maybe you could send your stuff with us?

  7. “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” Proverbs 25:11 Thank you so much for your words of wisdom!

  8. The Lord has laid it on my heart as a fellow homeschool mom to donate books/curriculum/supplies. I know that our local homeschool community in MN would like to help in some way. WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT for you, would you post some items that are needed. Where would I go to find out the needs for the Lee family? Your families are continually in our prayers!

  9. Amen and Amen! So very well put. I thank you for taking time out of your craziness and writing these things down. We (I) are learning so much from you, I am sure without you even realizing. Keep speaking, keep teaching the younger generation as you are with me through your thoughts on Our Father. Thank you.

  10. Thanks. Its true, I am going through some major stuff right now in my marriage. I just have to believe God has a plan….

  11. Dearest Kelly…

    This post has me choked up… The testimony of your life, seeking the will of God in all things.

    Reflecting on these words from Oswald Chambers today, for May 14th,

    . . . that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body —2 Corinthians 4:10

    “.. it is adversity that makes us exhibit His life in our mortal flesh… The only thing that will enable me to enjoy adversity is the acute sense of eagerness of allowing the life of the Son of God to evidence itself in me. No matter how difficult something may be, I must say, “Lord, I am delighted to obey You in this.” Instantly, the Son of God will move to the forefront of my life, and will manifest in my body that which glorifies Him.

    … Our circumstances are the means God uses to exhibit just how wonderfully perfect and extraordinarily pure His Son is. Discovering a new way of manifesting the Son of God should make our heart beat with renewed excitement. It is one thing to choose adversity, and quite another to enter into adversity through the orchestrating of our circumstances by God’s sovereignty. And if God puts you into adversity, He is adequately sufficient to “supply all your need” (Philippians 4:19).

    Keep your soul properly conditioned to manifest the life of the Son of God…”

    … And you and yours, Kelly — you put skin on these words, God truths.

    My humble thanks and my continued, fervent prayers, Kelly….

  12. OMGoodness!! You and this blog are a BLESSING!!! I just stumbled upon it but it speaks to me like crazy! Thank you for this public display of your Love of Christ!

  13. Aren’t there many, many other families that also need help from this tragedy? I think it is great that people want to help the Crawfords and Lees, but what about the people who don’t even have food or drinking water? What about , all they get is what they can give to the Crawfords. They were not the only people affected. You would think as Christians, even the Crawfords would be wanting to give some of the abudance they have received to others who have so much less.

    1. Jenna,

      “You would think as Christians, even the Crawfords would be wanting to give some of the abudance they have received to others who have so much less.”

      How do you know we aren’t?

      What is “abundance” when you’re just trying to build a house and replace your vehicles? How do you know what is going on here and who is being helped? There is so much drinking water at every supply center in the state that they are refusing to take anymore donations. Where did you hear of people without drinking water? I can assure you that we aren’t the only people being helped. But I will also remind you that there is a HUGE advantage to belonging to the body of Christ where we are instructed to help “those of the household of faith” first.

      1. So you are more deserving than others is what you are saying? As in, you should get expensive sewing machines and decorations for your house before others get basic needs taken care of? I realize you have to rebuild your entire house, but trust me, you are not alone. I would not, in good conscience, be able to accept items and donations that were not ABSOLUTELY essential, knowing that others are going without very basic needs being filled. But that’s just me.

        1. No, I’m not more deserving, nor did I insinuate that. I’m still curious about the people “whose very basic needs aren’t being met”. The “basic needs” are in abundance at every supply center in the state. If someone is going without basic needs it’s not anyone’s fault because there are basic supplies and more for anyone who wants them. That card will not work as a guilt tactic.

          And for the record, we have not received a sewing machine (or a television, as someone else said). Frankly, if someone wants to organize a sewing drive, “refusing” it wouldn’t help anyone else.

          And I ask you my original question: How do you know what we are/aren’t doing or giving to help others in need? That’s not something I’m going to advertise so to assume that we are just greedy? Bad call. And since you mentioned what is becoming of a Christian, I’d say these comments are rather hurtful to someone who is going through a trial of this magnitude.

  14. Oops… I mean instead of “what about” , When people ask how they can help, all they get told is what they can do for the Crawfords. None of the hundreds and hundreds of people affected are even mentioned.

  15. Jenna,

    If you’re tired of hearing me talk about the blessing of seeing God’s people come to our rescue–including my dear friends and neighbor’s who lost loved ones, don’t read about it.

    And if you are so upset about people helping us when some have less, why don’t you stop commenting and go help them yourself instead of interrogating those of us who are simply trying to put our lives back together.

  16. What an incredible way of looking at things! I have been Catholic since this past Easter Vigil and have learned so much, even tho grew up Protestant, but so much more to learn. I found your site thru Conversion Diary but will definitely be back.

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