Defined and Refined

A few years ago, while grappling with life’s difficult and unanswerable questions, I decided to do a personal Bible Study that dealt with the hard stuff of life. 

The really hard stuff of life.

You know what I am talking about … death and betrayal. 

Sickness and emotional pain. 

Infertility and destruction.

The unimaginably hard stuff of life.

I needed to know what God thought about the devastating events that thundered around me.

I needed to know.

My theological study focused on men and women in the Bible who continued to serve God in spite of personal tragedy, excruciating circumstances and the fiery darts of the enemy.

I had no idea that there were so many of them!

I discovered that in every generation of Biblical history there were ordinary people who were defined and refined by the fires of life.

After pouring over the Word of God for months with the sole intent of finding God in the inferno of disappointment and adversity, I knew that an extraordinary message had been birthed in my heart.

Rather than keep the glorious findings to myself, I decided to share these miraculous truths with some friends.

And so, I taught this newly birthed Bible Study to a group of thirsty, crazy-for-Jesus women, and the message so resonated within their hearts that they said, “Carol!  This is your next book!”

Who knew?  God knew. 

God knew while I was grappling and frustrated … that He was speaking to me and setting into my heart a resounding truth that was never meant for only one.

It was meant for the world.

It was meant for a world in pain.

It was meant for fellow-sufferers along life’s pathway.

This message was intended to comfort mothers with empty arms and fathers with a lifetime of regrets.

The message of this Bible Study was meant to bring hope to underpaid men and to splash joy upon depressed women.

The message was carefully crafted to encourage the discouraged … to strengthen the weary … and to cause the disenchanted to be able to dream again.

The heart of this book is addressed to anyone who is in pain.

The issue of pain is a prickly one, isn’t it?

Oh … we all have endured pain … experienced pain … hated pain … and been scarred by pain.  However, the manner in which we process the pain is a personal one.

Sharing the process of pain can be devastating.  We want pain to be a private battle shared with no one other than God Himself.

How you process your individual pain just may be the most important decision that you make.

I had to write this book.  I knew that there were others who shared the same frustrations and questions that brewed on the back burner of my heart.

How does a Christian process pain?

What does a believer do when trapped in the inferno of circumstances?

I was compelled to write … to speak … to share all that God had revealed to me concerning His presence in the middle of searing and charring pain.

Frankly, I didn’t even know if a publisher would want to publish this book.  This book is certainly hopeful … and helpful.  But it is not a “happy” book.

It is not a “happy” book in terms of sunshine, lollipops and rainbows.

However, I will take “hopeful” over “happy” any day, wouldn’t you?

It takes a tenacious soul to hope in the face of horrific struggle.

It takes a resilient person to embrace joy in spite of hardship and affliction.

It takes Jesus.

I found a very brave publishing company who agreed that the world was in agony over what to do with the unanswered questions of life. 

This courageous, honorable publishing company offered a publishing contract to me.  It was a miracle … a bona fide miracle … a water-into-wine miracle.

I threw myself into the writing of this book as I never had before.  With the other books that I have written, I would giggle at the computer so rich was my joy.

With this book, I wept at the computer so rich was my joy.  My tears splashed down on the keyboard as I prayed for all who would read this book. 

I prayed for people in serious emotional and physical pain.

I prayed for women who had been burned beyond recognition by the wildfires of life.

I prayed for men who were unrecognizable due to the blistering that had been caused by heat exposure.

I prayed … I wrote … I cried.

My book was due at the publishers on December 1, 2014. 

Now remember … this was a book that dealt with pain … and hard stuff … and the fires of life from the perspective of the Bible.

And then … just a little over 3 weeks before this difficult book was due at the publishers … I was diagnosed with cancer on November 3, 2014.

Who knew?!  God knew.

God knew that I would need this message at this particular time in my life.

God knew that I would only be able to travel the ugly and rocky road of cancer with the loving and wise preparation of His heart … His thoughts … His purposes.

It was His prevenient grace that prepared me for a wicked-hot fire.

I still weep when I think about it … He loved me enough to whisper eternal truth in my ear in preparation for the pain that cancer brings.

So … although the message was not only for me … it was especially for me!

When “Refined … Finding Joy In the Fires of Life” is released on September 15, 2015, I will be healing from my second mastectomy.

And on that day, I will be praying for all of you who are reading it in the middle of your fire.

I will pray that you, like Moses, will hear God’s voice of destiny and direction from the middle of your fire.

I will pray that you, like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, will be dancing with the Fourth Man in the middle of blazing and blistering circumstances.

I will pray that the joy of His presence will overwhelm, cool and refresh every fire that dares to char your life.

I will pray while in the fire, that this hot moment will be your finest hour!

Click the link below to pre-order Carol's newest book, "Refined - finding JOY in the midst of the FIRE"