Beloved Standers, I look around and see the pain and the heartache. I see the storm raging around you. I feel your pain.  I KNOW YOUR PAIN. But I smile. Because I know something that you don’t know ……yet. I know what the pain brings. And, that excites me and makes my heart swell with joy!

I didn’t see it during my storm. Not until the very very end. I don’t expect many of you to see it, but I am sure going to try my very best to explain it so you will have hope. And who knows…..just maybe you WILL see it.

This pain has a purpose. There is nothing more painful than childbirth, BUT after Salvation, there is NOTHING greater than the birth of a child. NOTHING comes close. Pain produces beautiful, incredible things. The birth of your child will change you and your spouse forever. You will be transformed into who you are. From man to dad, from woman to mom.

Pain brings transformation.

The Lord has given me this example. I pray it blesses you and helps you understand how incredible an opportunity Standing is FOR YOU.

You have a young teen child who is unruly, rebellious, and stubborn. He is completely focused on friends, parties, girls, and maybe he is into drugs and drinking. The world and being happy is his focus. His lawlessness has changed your once loving child, into a person that is selfish and only lives to serve his flesh. You feel you have lost him to the world and he is heading down a path that may take his life and he will be FOREVER lost. Because of your ‘meddling’ trying to help and change him, YOU are now the enemy. He hates what you teach, your morals and how you are taking away his fun and happiness. He sees you as someone unjust and unfair, trying to keep him from the world and how it really is.

He gets into trouble with the law and they offer you a solution. A boot camp for rebellious youths. As you look through the program, you KNOW your child is going to hate it. Hate YOU. It’s painful. It takes away everything they love and desire and forces them to change. But it PROMISES change. EVERLASTING change that will keep him from perishing eternally. BUT, there is a catch. IF your child will submit and not fight it. IF your child will let go of stubbornness and pride and embrace it. IF your child will just TRUST and surrender to a higher authority and power and lay down his lawlessness, he will be transformed into what the program promises. Your child will be the image of the Instructor who leads the program.

There is a risk. If they choose not to believe that this is all done for their good and choose to believe that you are cruel and unjust, they may hate you and turn away from you for years.

Are you willing to take the risk?

You make the decision and agree. You allow your child to go through an experience and hope and pray they let go of the world and embrace the training. Submitting to the care and training of their Instructor.

Years later, your child comes home. Only he is no longer a child, but a MAN! He is mature, confident, kind, gentle, and considerate. SELFLESS! He is quick to forgive, slow to anger. He has learned the law of kindness and patience. Love is the guide he follows. He is submissive and obedient BUT STRONG. He walks with a confidence that demands respect without him having to say a word. He knows WHO HE IS. The transformation is so great, you don’t see the person he once was. Gone is the rebellion, the lawlessness, and the selfishness. He is a close replica of the Instructor who promised to take him under His wing and train him.

He is equipped with many weapons and is experienced in how to use them. He is a Weapon HIMSELF to the enemy and the enemy knows and fears him and what he can do.

When you ask him about his experience, he stops, and his face turns to one of pain as he remembers those first years. But then a smile comes. ‘It was the MOST painful thing I ever had to go through. I hated what you were making me go through. I may have even hated you for making me go through it. I knew you could stop it at any time. You had the power to pull me out, but you did not. I didn’t understand that at first. I blamed you for a lot of things. And I felt unloved and rejected by you at times for putting me here. All I wanted was to escape and go back to life the way I was enjoying it.”

He got quiet as he remembered something important. “My Instructor kept saying something. “TRUST ME.” But I did not want to listen to that. I knew that He was trustworthy, that was not the issue. I didn’t WANT to trust Him. I didn’t want to yield because that meant that I had to accept the program that YOU put me in. And I didn’t want to accept it. I wanted you to figure out another way to get what you wanted from me. I had pride. But one day, I woke up and I was tired of fighting the Instructor, the program, fighting you, fighting myself. I realized it was MY rebellion and refusing to trust Him that was causing me my misery.”

Then he said the most amazing words. “I made a decision that day. To submit and stop fighting Him. To fully embrace this Guy who knew what He was doing and trust Him when He said He would not only get me through this but make me just like HIM. I couldn’t see the better at first. All I could see was my own pain and anger. And my anger at YOU for putting me through this blinded me to the incredible opportunity that I was being given. But then I decided to take a really good look at this Guy that promised I could look and act just like Him. The more I looked at Him, the more attractive to me He became. I got excited when I started to believe and realize that not only would I look like Him, I would ACT like Him and do what He could do. There was something about Him that I had been to blind in my misery to see before. The more I stared at Him and really studied HIM, the more I got excited and wanted to be like Him. But I knew I was going to have to let go of the grudge I was holding. Let go of the anger and pain. It was keeping me from really following this Guy and becoming His disciple.”

“I made a decision. I was not going to fight, I was going to embrace! I was going to go ALL IN” His face showed the intense excitement of the decision he had made.


“I started to really focus and concentrate on the OUTCOME of the lessons. I no longer looked at the obstacle course as a thing of pain and torment. I looked at what it would PRODUCE IN ME! I saw that it was meant to bring out the best in me, but first, it had to bring out the WORST IN ME. I looked at those textbooks and stopped complaining about how hard they were to read and understand and saw for the first time it was filled with wisdom and treasure and all the answers to life were inside. Who I was was INSIDE those pages!”

“When I finally stopped HATING my training and got my eyes off what you made me do, and started to see the changes in me, I started to LOVE it. Yes, it was still painful. The lessons were designed to strip me of every negative thing I had. I had stuff that I didn’t even know I had, and the training pulled it out. It was INTENSE at times. I had to learn how to rest too. How to just take a break and rest. To learn how to be patient and trust Him because lots of times these obstacles were really long and seemed to serve NO PURPOSE except to bring pain. They were SO frustrating and confounding. I had to let go of trying to figure them out.

The tests were hard, especially those where my Instructor seemed to disappear or go completely quiet. He was expecting me to rely on all that He had taught me and pull OUT of me growth. Other tests were meant to strengthen my dependency on my Instructor. To test my faithfulness to Him and see if I would keep going even when NOTHING VISIBLE was being produced. I was looking for outward transformations, and here I was getting inward ones I could not see. I look back now at how much I hated those lessons, but they really were the best ones because they produced the best transformations in me.”

He got real, real quiet. He looked me dead in the eye and said, “Father, I love You. I learned that too. I never understood love. But I do now. Each lesson I went through, changed me for the better. I know You did it for my good and not to hurt or destroy ME personally. But to destroy the things within that were destroying me. I didn’t see it before. But I see it now. The tests and trials and pains were all because YOU LOVED ME enough to endure what I had to go through. You allowed the pain so it would SAVE ME. That is love. And as I learned about this, I learned how much You truly love me. No one has ever loved me this much. And it made me love You more! Thank You. Thank You for what You did.”

Do you see beloved? ALL that is going on will be meant for good because the Father loves us so. He knows we were NOT living to make it through that narrow gate. He knew that many of us were going to hear the words “Depart from me I never knew you.” Because we were SELF and FLESH driven immature children. Rebellious and lawless. Those trials and suffering are meant to transform us into our Instructor’s image, grow and develop us to look and mirror JESUS! You can look at this storm as a destroyer with bitterness. OR you could look at the storm as something that destroys all the stuff inside that is destroying YOU.

3 Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. 4 And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation. Romans 5 AMPC


2 Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations.3 Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.4 But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing. James 1:2 AMPC


God is after maturity, so He can have an adult conversation and relationship instead of an parent-infant relationship!

Standing with you,
Sheila Hollinger

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