Psalm 118: 24. This is the day that the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 118: 24. This is the day that the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Publicly praising God seals His blessings in our hearts.

“One of the best ways to seal God’s blessing to our hearts and make sure He gets the glory is to publicly praise Him – and keep on praising Him.”

Psalm 118:1, 5, 17 (NKJ) says, Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; for His mercy endures forever… I called on the Lord in my distress;… I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.”

Our family went through the most difficult season of our lives a few years back when our then 14 year old daughter was kicked in the head in a water tubing accident, causing traumatic brain injury (TBI) symptoms for nearly two years. Praise the Lord that she is now healed. But, what we want you to know is this… We Praise the Lord for the suffering we endured during that time as well. We are forever changed and more in love with our Lord then ever before. In our suffering, He met us with His sweetness!

Kelsey, now 18, and I shared this journey through suffering with a group of women and their daughters at my monthly “Cultivate.” You can watch the video here or you can view it directly on my VIDEO page. We pray that our public proclamation of Christ’s goodness through suffering will encourage you and meet you right where you are. Your stories and situations will vary, but our God is the same.  He is worthy of praise.

Turnaround of the Heart found over and over in the Psalms.

During this dark season of my life – where I was struggling to breathe, I dug in deep to Psalm. I wanted to know Him more intimately and trust Him. I didn’t want to waste a crisis. My prayer throughout this was, “Lord, use this situation in each of our lives. Let us proclaim of your goodness and faithfulness through this.  I read from Psalms (and the book of Job) continuously. I recorded in my journal the continual “turnarounds of the heart” that took place within the context of numerous Psalms. This is exactly what I had to do time and time again- pour out the depth of my emotions to God directly and lay the weight of it all at His feet, releasing control and trusting Him.

This morning I flipped open my journal to the notes I’d taken over a year ago from my study in Psalm 118 – and isn’t it interesting. See all of the margin notes like “TBI,”  and “K/R” (Kelsey/Rhonda)?  I had recorded my journey of pain while looking to verses to meet me, seeking God with my whole heart. Look how scripture applied so much to that very season… it always does.



I like to write ALL over the margins of my Bible too. I record the date, prayers. and initials that remind me of people and events. I record as I go through life, knowing that I will look back and remember His faithfulness.

My journal notes from Psalm 118.

I want to encourage you today from what I recorded in my journal from Psalm 118.

  • GIVE THANKS to the Lord at ALL times (v.1-4). The human situation may change many times, but God’s merciful, loving-kindness endures forever.
  • TRUST the Lord in EVERY crisis (v 5-14). The Lord is mentioned in every verse in this paragraph because He was the one who PROTECTED (Israel from enemies) and ENABLED (the people to COMPLETE the work in difficult times). The people learned to trust in God. (8-9). Though enemies may attack (10-12) the Lord would give them victory.  Knowing nation of Israel was God’s chosen instrument for bringing blessing to the world .. and the personal analogy straight from my notes in my journal…” Knowing K/R journey is also God’s chosen instrument for helping/serving..take notes during it, knowing He is at work and doing a good work.”   and now.. over a year since writing that.. we see that. I am so glad I took notes!! We see how he allowed TBI and our journey and through darkness – we know him better and he did a good work in us!!
  • GLORIFY the Lord AFTER EVERY victory (v 15-21).  One of the best ways to “seal” God’s blessing to our HEARTS and make sure He gets the glory is to publicly praise Him – and keep on praising Him.  (WOW!! Can you believe this? Kelsey and I actually got to publicly praise him – and it’s recorded! May you see our hearts rejoice and see, too, that this will be the same in your trials – as your stance is firmly grounded in wanting to know Him better through this, and praising Him during it. Seek and you will find.)  This was my FOCUS and GOAL and I knew this was for Kelsey, too- right perspective of His sovereignty… not hiding it or ashamed, but – in time God would bring it together/throughout the journey – God is sovereign. HE IS ALLOWING us to understand pain, and grace, and increasing our awareness and “sphere of influence.”  He is NOT wasting a crisis.
  • SEE the Lord in EVERY experience (v 22-29). They found a large stone they rejected, only to discover it was the most important of them all. (Neh 2:18, 20; 4:1). “Stone” in scripture . Analogy for TBI – most hurtful or painful pieces of journey we wanted to reject – were the most impactful (is that a word?). I kept a list (KNOWING He is good) of situations, hurts, results, recording issues with her spiritual, medical, chemical imbalance, blank stares.. etc.  Knowing none of this was a surprise to Him…and knowing He was at work in ways I couldn’t see.  Knowing I would look back and see how He met me and taught me and loved me during each scary situation.

Suffering is a guaranteed part of our life as a Believer.

  • James 1: 2-5 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. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

We walked through the journey of the unknown, darkness, … and as I sought to know Him with my whole heart, “like a dear pants for cool water, so MY heart LONGS for thee, Oh Lord.”

He met me and it’s where I discovered what John Piper beautifully described as “His sweetness met my suffering.” It is important that we see Jesus in every experience of life, for then these experiences help us grow in grace and become more like Him.

Today I am reflecting back on how amazing God is.. and how He gave me my heart’s desire throughout this – for Kelsey to come to the point one day (and for me as well) to see God’s sovereignty in this whole two-year journey of darkness and to not to be embarrassed or ashamed, because she knew He was at work in her (and me) and feel comfortable publicly praise Him, using this journey to help others and bring glory to God… SEALING God’s blessing to her heart…. and He did.. He met my heart’s desire.

Journals seal God’s blessings in our lives even through times of suffering. He is worthy to be praised.

Journals seal God’s blessings in our lives even through times of suffering. He is worthy to be praised.

Kelsey led worship, praising God for His faithfulness. That’s big bro Daniel on the drum.

Kelsey led worship, praising God for His faithfulness. That’s big bro Daniel on the drum.


Rhonda prayingyoullseeGodinyourownsuffering ellis

  1. Adonna

    Happiest of birthdays to you, Rhonda! You are fabulous at fifty!!!

    • Rhonda

      Adonna, Thanks for welcoming me into the fabulous fifty club. I think I’m gonna like it here. THanks for your encouragement. 🙂

  2. Donna Hostetter

    Thank you for blessing me on your birthday. Kelsey is a beautiful and amazing young woman who God truly had his hand on. Of course,I thought this before I knew anything about her TBI. Have a wonderful day!

    • Rhonda

      Donna, thanks for your kind words about Kelsey. We do pray that God will use this particular story that was confusing and a journey through the unknown to help others. THrough it, God transformed our hearts and held us in the cleft of the rock, in such sweet safety in his care.

  3. Neissa

    First time reader.
    Thank you for sharing your heart and life experiences.
    I look forward to following your blog.

    • Rhonda

      Neissa, glad to have you following the blog. This will help to make me accountable to post. 🙂 May God use the transparency in each of us to help others and bring glory to Him.

  4. bob

    Just ‘ ran ‘ across your blog. Going through a hard test right now. Every time I read through my old worn book and come across the many underlined ‘ moments ‘ from the past, I have so much peace and joy, then I’m excited to see what He will do next. not me. I think thats the biggest challenge in our lives, to wait for the One who loves us so much, to see what He will do and not holding on to this ugly self-pride in our hearts, that makes us jump into activities. He tells me ” be still, so that you can know that I am G.” Thanks for your ‘ loving Him blog ‘ and thank You L. for building a beautiful heart in Rhonda.

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