I have a very kind and amazing sister-in-law named Kimberly. She has been married to my brother, Clarence, for 37 plus years. Recently I heard a story about their early marriage. They had had a terrible argument (neither can remember what it was about now), but my brother decided to get Kimberly roses as a way of apology. He poured his heart out on the little florist card. When he returned home, he expected a loving embrace, but instead found a very cold and angry wife. He asked her if she had received the flowers he had sent her. She told him she had, very coldly. Then he asked her if she had read the note he wrote her. She angrily brandished the card in his face saying, “Yes, I read it, ‘I love you Kim – barely!’”

You see, my brother had run out of room and had to hyphenate her name to fit it on the little florist card. His handwriting was so messy; however, that she read, “I love you Kim – barely” instead of “I love you Kim-berly.

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

James 1:2-4


I must confess, this scripture has been a difficult one for me for a very long time. When I face a trial, counting it a joy is not my go-to response. Often it is “Why God? I finally just figured out how to deal with the last hurdle. Things were finally getting comfortable again and now – you’re doing it to me once more!” If I am really honest, my response to a new trial is more often anger and annoyance than joy. So why does God tell us to do this?  

Because, during those times of intense trial, we have the greatest potential for advancement and growth.

As some of you know, I have four lovely children. I had an epidural with the birth of the first one, an intrathecal narcotic for the second and then chose to use the Bradly Method – completely drug free- for the last two. Because of my family’s red-head gene mutation, I have more nerve endings than usual and what the doctors offered me just did not numb me. I had to find another way to get through labor. The Bradley Method changed my perspective. What I learned from it was to not get angry and fight the contractions.  That just prolonged the labor.  Instead, when I felt the contraction coming on, if I just focused on relaxing every part of my body while giving a low, quiet moan, I could actually feel my round ligaments pulling my cervix apart so my baby could be born.  It was not a comfortable feeling, but I learned to “count it all joy” when those long pulls took place because, if I could relax into them, they really dilated my cervix and shortened the length of my labor.

We humans love to be comfortable, but growth is uncomfortable and the only alternative to growth is stagnation and death.  It’s fine for a baby to need a bottle to eat, but what would you think if I invited you to my house for dinner and you saw me hand my seventeen year old a baby bottle while I served everyone else steak? It’s fine for a nine month old to be crawling around on the floor, but what would you think if my twenty year old daughter did that because I never let her try to walk for fear of her falling?

It is all about perspective. God does not just love us barely. He wants us to grow into perfect and complete individuals, lacking nothing.  So do count it all joy when you fall into various trials, because it means God is about to speed up the growth in your character so you can birth something truly amazing into this world.

Honey Banzhoff
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