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II Timothy 3:16-17 reminds us that, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

In the midst of life's various trials, seasons, and conflicts, we often find ourselves asking God to change our circumstances, rather than seeking His equipping for what lies ahead.

Since June of last year, my family and I have been walking through what King David described in the 23rd psalm “the valley” of death. Two weeks ago we entered the shadow of death.

Our 91-year-old mother's health has deteriorated significantly since June, and her journey has been marked by 5 strokes, a heart attack, a broken hip, and two major surgeries. Just a year before, she was a vibrant, independent person, driving, living alone, tending to her home and beautiful garden.

Since June, my siblings and I have been by her side in her assisted living apartment 24/7. We each take an 8-hour shift daily because that's what family does, or at least that's what our family does.

This season has proven to be the most challenging of my life, surpassing even the trials of our son's military service and my father's passing. Many times, I've prayed that Jesus would take her home, changing the circumstances. It wasn't a selfish request; I knew our mother wouldn't want to be in her current state. Her independence has faded, and maintaining her dignity is a constant struggle.

I recall a particularly exhausting night when our lives (including mom’s) seemed to be on hold, and I stretched out my arms over her, tearfully asking God why He wouldn't change the circumstances. Why won’t he take her home to be with Him.  Sounds like Martha’s plea doesn’t it…God if only.

However, through the words of Timothy, God reminds us that His Word is His method, and we are called to lean into it, taking it to heart and standing on it. When He says that we may be thoroughly equipped for every good work, He means it. Even in the shadow of death.

This is why David declared, "I will fear no evil,." In these challenging times, let us draw strength from His Word and trust that He equips us for His good work, even in the shadow of life's most difficult moments - Thou IS WITH ME.

Whatever you are facing I hope this small testimony gives you hope.

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