Praying For a Bigger Heart, Not a Thicker Skin

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March 24, 2014

Praying For a Bigger Heart, Not a Thicker Skin

Being "out there" in social media and writing online brings a lot of people into my life. More than I can fit into my home and more than I can usually respond to in a timely manner...if at all. This makes life a bit more interesting and often fills my days and heart with praise to God, prayers for friends (some I've never met in person) and also some heartaches along the way.

I never set out to be a writer. I never set out to have readers or have people who would "follow" me. I wasn't raised in a Christian home, so I set out to be a diligent student of God's Word. I wanted to learn how to be an excellent Proverbs 31 wife and mother, a loving sister/friend to fellow Christians and an exemplary witness of Christ to the lost world. I set out to know what my spiritual gifts are and use them as God has ordained in His Word (Rom 1:11-12, 15:2; 1 Cor 12:7) to edify the Body and cause many to give thanks to the Father—while bringing glory and honor to His name (1 Pet 1:6-7). That's all.

But then one day, my wise Father in Heaven decided to allow a thorn in my side; a painful and often debilitating medical issue that disables me from using my spiritual gifts as I once did...within the safety of my church's walls and the homes of sisters in Christ.

For the past 10 years my health has slowly declined and in the past five years I've undergone five surgeries, countless tests, numerous procedures, several hospital admissions and too many emergency room visits to mention. With endless medical activities and being in constant pain, daily tasks were often impossible and using my spiritual gifts outside my home were far from my mind. Yet, I was compelled by the Holy Spirit to do well with all that God has given run this race and finish my course (Eph 2:10, Heb 12:1-2).

So my darling husband and I prayed about how I would continue to use the gifts He gave me for the purpose in which He gave them. It seemed impossible. How can I teach and exhort women and encourage all saints to press on toward the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:14), if I can't even get out of my house? This all happened in 2008 when blogging was still a bit of a mystery to many, including me. As a matter of fact, I'd never heard of it before my husband mentioned it to me.

After much prayer, my wise and loving husband directed me to begin blogging about all that God has taught me. To be honest, I thought this was silly and a bit arrogant. I mean, who am I? I'm a nobody. I'm just a simple Christian stay-at-home-wife and mother. Why would I write anything, put it online and why would anyone read it? Crazy. But trusting God who was kind enough to provide order and give me a wise and godly man as my head, I submitted and began doing what I didn't understand nor felt comfortable doing...blogging.

Surprisingly, people started reading my blog, commenting and even emailing me questions, concerns and requests for prayers. It wasn't too long before sisters who created online women's ministries began to contact me asking if I'd like to join their ministry.

Fast forward six years and here I am...still writing on my personal blog, at The Christian Post Blogs and working on my first women's Bible study entitled, My Second Love: A Study of Biblical Submission and The Proverbs 31 Woman.

So what does all this have to do with praying for a bigger heart rather than a thicker skin?

Being online makes me an easy target for verbal brutality that most would never engage in face-to-face. So, as you can imagine, I could have a pity party, become bitter and quit writing altogether because honestly, I never asked for this. I never set my heart on being a writer or anything that would put in me in the public's eye. I'm inherently an introvert and prefer to spend time alone with God and my family. In general, people frighten me. So I could buck up, and harden my heart (a.k.a thicken my skin) so these verbal daggers no longer hurt me. Or I could choose to learn from faithful saints who've gone before me and emulate my Savior's heart, by loving my enemies.

Because I never desired to all, and surely not in a public arena, I never had, nor now have any personal agenda or motivation to write. Therefore, I don't tend to write about things that garner much applause—which I'm grateful for lest my pride rise up within me and disable me from speaking God's truth.  I simply write as I feel led by the Lord in accordance with His Word and inline with my spiritual gifts. Which means the crux of my writings are exhortations to my brothers and sisters in Christ to remain steadfast and immovable; to contend for the faith and remain faithful to Christ, His Word and His precepts that accords with sound doctrine.

With that said, in the past six years, the Lord has kindly brought me wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ to encourage me, challenge me and help me as I follow God's will. I've been greatly encouraged by knowing there are many Christians out there who still hold steadfastly to God's Word, prefer His will over their personal emotions and experiences and who boldly declare the excellencies of Christ and rejoice in His holy magnificence!

Along with these wonderful readers (some who have become my friends), I've also, by God's providence have been allowed some not-so-kind travel companions who are more concerned about making God and His Word pleasing to the world than making their lives most pleasing to God.

Without knowing anything about me or reading the Scriptures I share in my articles that would renew their minds and transform their hearts in Christ, they choose to hurl insults, presume erroneous facts about my character and douse me with extremely painful wishes (e.g., "hope you see Judas in Hell). This makes me want to run and hide. So I my God and Savior, Jesus Christ, my Strong Tower, who reminds me that no matter how wretched people think I am, I know I am worse—or else God the Father would've never sacrificed His one and only Son to save me.

"When King David came to Bahurim, there came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera, and as he came he cursed continually. And he threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David, and all the people and all the mighty men...

"Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, 'Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and take off his head.' But the king said, 'What have I do to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the Lord has said to him, 'Curse David,' who then shall say, 'Why have you done so?... It may be that the LORD will look on the wrong done to me, and that the LORD will repay me with good for his cursing today.' So David and his men went on the road, while Shimei went along on the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went and threw stones at him and flung dust."

"For this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in His mouth. When He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but continued entrusting Himself to Him who judges justly."
~2 Samuel 16:5-6, 9-10, 12-14;
1 Peter 2:21-23 (ESV)

I am grateful for all the precious brothers and sisters whom the Lord has brought to encourage and pray for me. And I'm continually learning to pray for a bigger heart, so I can be just as grateful for those whom the Lord has allowed to curse me.

I hope this has encouraged some of you today who may be enduring similar trials because of your abandoned love for Christ.

Remember, our lives here are but a mist, and it'll all be better when we get Home (2 Cor 4:16-18, Col 3:1-4).


  1. Sunny...we don't know each other. I was introduced to you through Naomi's Table on Google+. Your short time there made a significant impact on my Christian Life and to my way of thinking...I began to follow you and Abandoned to Christ on Facebook. This is my third time I think to comment on either one of your blogs or posts on Facebook. I very much appreciate what you have written here and the reminder to love our enemies...I, too, am confined to my home with debilitating illness and am trying to know and understand how best to be obedient to my Lord. I so appreciate that He is bringing women such as yourself into my life...when you share about wanting to "run and hide" I can certainly relate...what I'm so moved by in this blog and find deeply wonderful and amazing is the last part of the line in the statement about wanting to run and hide...."who reminds me that no matter how wretched people think I am, I know I am worse...." Knowing that I am a wretch and remembering that daily has made me see and appreciate the Gospel in a much deeper way. I am coming out of a charismatic type background and when I talk that way (about my wretched condition) people are either offended or I find myself being scolded for thinking/talking that way. It's not easy being the one that must deliver the hard words. I appreciate that you are willing to do so and even when it is painful you continue to stand and to state God's Truth. Thank you.

  2. I enjoyed the discussion as well brother, thank you for taking the time. I haven't decided if I will see God is Not Dead in the theater or wait for the DVD release, but I do plan to see it and glad to hear you liked it. May God bless you and yours my friend.

  3. I'm 8 minutes in and was already disturbed by how many inaccuracies and
    misrepresentations I've seen so far. That's how I found this article. I
    wanted to see if anyone else picked up on it or if I was just being

    I don't see how you can revere the Word and then release a movie like this.

    The angel didn't say he'll be called Son of God, he said, "he'll be
    called Emmanuel, which being interpreted means, God with us."

    Ouch, making Mary out to look desperate for Joseph to marry her so she's
    not stoned? Did an atheist skeptic write this script?

    3. The
    angel doesn't say that the baby is from God. All babies are from God.
    That's downplaying the declaration that was made. He says, "fear
    not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which
    is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost."

    I could fill pages, maybe even an entire book.

    If one wants to do some serious damage to a cause, they simply pretend to be part of it, and then grossly misrepresent it.

  4. Hi there precious sister Susan, thank you for sharing your story. I'm sorry to hear that you also suffer from a debilitating disease and will be praying for you. :)

    Wow, thanks be to God for bringing you out of the charismatic movement. I somewhat understand what it's like for people to oppose you for saying you are what you are without Christ...a wretch, but thanks be to God, a wretch now saved by grace! :o) Many other Christians, besides those in the charismatic movement don't like to admit that or hear that either. We all have pride, and in our pride, we want to feel like we're more than we are, though what we are is greater than anything we could've ever made ourselves to be--children of the Most High God.

    Thank you for your encouragement sister. I'm blessed by your words and am looking forward to getting to know you better through our online exchanges. <3

  5. Beautifully said, Sunny. Not sure how many times others have told me I need thicker skin. Amen to seeing things through Christ's eyes and praying for a bigger heart. Part of my reason for blogging is similar to yours and I appreciate the Word of encouragement. Press on in obedience, sister! Asking God to bring you to mind often to remind me to pray for you.

  6. Thank you so much precious sister Shelley. How funny that you and I have similar reasons for blogging. :o) I always think it's so neat how God brings people in my life with whom I can pray for and encourage and vice versa...that's true fellowship. Thank you for your prayers too sister. That really means a lot to me. I look foward to getting to know you better. Seems like we have much in common. <3

  7. I am so happy and blessed to have come across Sunny's blog. I notice that you, too, blog. I have recently started to blog more regularly as I sense it is something I am supposed to do. I really want to connect with others who are of like mind and those I sense a strong bond of fellowship in the Lord. I am deeply concerned about the direction of Evangelicalism and want to expose false teaching. So...can you give the name of your blog, Shelley, as I am wanting to connect with others in the blogosphere? My blog is in it's baby stage, and only by God's grace will I continue it without any expectation of it "taking off". Only for His glory.

  8. Sunny, I knew I recognized your name (great name, BTW) from way back on your review that was posted on a site about 'The Son of God' series on cable. I thought to myself, now there's someone I can agree with and I thought you had expressed so well the very overt errors committed by the producers of that show. And now the movie...ugh. But, thank you for your precise is Biblical and godly. And I like Biblical and godly! And the truth matters so much to me that I have a hard time keeping quiet about what I think!
    Thanks, sister in the Lord, I feel a kinship with you and a few other bloggers out there who don't mince the truth of God's Word. May He be praised!! God bless you!

  9. Hi Tani! I share your heart! Thank you for writing and linking up with like-minded sisters is a great way for us to encourage one another and keep each other accountable! I will check out your blog today! Mine is in the baby stages as well...trusting God to do with it what He wills all for His glory! Coram Deo!

  10. Amen precious sister Tani! :o) God's truth matters and it is difficult to stay quiet about it isn't it? Our love for Christ, who IS the Word of God compels us by His Spirit that indwells us. Hallelujah! It's nice to "meet" you too sister. The Lord bless you. ♥

  11. Want to see someone saved? Preach the Gospel to him or her, the Biblical Gospel. End of story. Movies don't save, music doesn't save . . . the Word of God, through the working of the Holy Spirit, saves. i hope this "movie" hits a brick wall.

  12. The Bible Miniseries has made it all around the world. Pretty sure they plan the same for this rip off of a movie.

  13. Sounds like you're talking to one willfully blind there Jim.


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