There she is … my little, ceramic Scottie dog, Sassy, affectionately named after a beloved Scottie we had years ago. But she’s sitting on a ledge in the nativity and with a great view. I just noticed her today … one of my littles obviously relocated her to be with Jesus.
My guess is my 2-year old grandbaby, Lonnie girl, put her there. She’s so fascinated with the baby Jesus. I can’t tell you how many times he has been rocked to sleep. In fact, he was accidentally dropped once and I had to superglue his toes back to his feet.
I’ve been seeking God almost desperately these last couple of months for direction. I’m wrestling with a serious health issue that requires surgery. I’m meeting with the surgeon on Monday for scheduling. I know what I’m called to do but honestly – I’ve not had what it took physically or emotionally to show up here for some time.
My October was full of deadlines and back to back weekend speaking events – I was plum worn out in every way. But I realized from feeling poorly and the tiredness that I’ve been putting so much pressure on the calling, that I allowed the enemy to make me feel like I can’t do this ministry thing. I would have a good day and then two bad days that wiped me out, putting me in bed … it’s like riding a roller coaster.
I know my healing is coming in the name of Jesus. But I feel like I’ve let so many of you down as well as the Lord.
But this little Scottie placed in the nativity gave me a new perspective. It made me laugh at first but then I realized, the weight of writing, teaching, speaking, and sharing the gospel isn’t on me. It’s all on HIM … I just have to lead people to the nativity to get a view of Jesus – and let God do the rest.
That may sound simplistically silly to you, but God reminded me again for like the tenth time – I can’t but He can … in all things! The pressure is off in the name of Jesus!
So here’s to 2022 … with great expectations of God giving people a view of Jesus that resonates deep in their souls.
Don’t let the enemy use anything against you!
Happy New Year! May you see Jesus all around you in unexpected ways!
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people. Ephesians 1:18 (NIV)
As a teenage girl full of brokenness, I wrestled hard with condemning voices from the enemy. Struggling with suicidal thoughts, I opened my green Living Bible one day and made a connection that changed my life forever.
When reading scripture, the voices stopped. When I quit reading, the voices attached to feelings of being unloved, alone, and rejected returned.
That day I fell in love with God’s Word.
I found peace in every word I devoured.
It was during this time that God called me to ministry. I didn’t know what that ministry looked like or when it would arrive, but I knew He called me to tell others how to find peace.
Where would I be without Jesus?
But the enemy is where all my hardship originates. Just as God has plans for our lives, so does the enemy.
As a teenager, he tried to snuff my life out. He tempted me to quit my marriage as a young bride. As a floundering mother, he wanted me to trust my ways instead of God’s. As a restless housewife, he didn’t want me to step out in faith and return to school. In grief, he hovered over me with depression, chaos, and rejection.
He deceived me into putting walls up around my heart to keep friends at a distance. The betrayals, the hurts, they were too painful to open my heart back up to possible future hurts.
And the Devil didn’t stop there. That wicked old deceiver has tried to take me out in other areas of ministry. We wrestle not with flesh and blood, but unfortunately, the enemy will use flesh and blood to mistreat us and knock us out of fulfilling God’s call on our lives.
As Christians, we must work harder to do no harm to one another.
Go the extra mile.
Be brave enough to have the hard, honest conversations that depend on our integrity.
Love even when it’s hard.
Stand up for those oppressed even if it’s not returned.
Defend each other’s character when necessary.
Refuse to follow the lead of those who want to judge and make unfair assumptions of others.
And last but not least, forgive when it seems impossible.
I’ve wrestled hard with this … but where would I be without Jesus helping me, right?
My family and I returned from a much needed, COVID cautious vacation last week. A few days before we left, we kept our 16-month old granddaughter overnight. That precious baby girl fights sleep like a pro. I wrestled her into the wee hours until God spoke to me.
“You’ve been wrestling hard with me these last few years, Mel.”
“Yes, I have God. I’m sorry,” I whispered into the dark.
Immediately, I felt compelled to reread Jacob’s story of wrestling with God. So, on the long ride to the beach, I started reading and researching this divine event in Genesis 32. Each morning I awoke and opened my laptop to online concordances, devouring all I could about Jacob.
On Wednesday, four days after I started this study, I took my granddaughters to the pool. Sitting down in a low-to-the-ground, lounge chair, I felt a breath-taking, sharp pain in my lower back and left hip. I was in so much pain; I had to call my family to come help me.
Nothing gave me relief: ice, heat, Tylenol, nothing. I found myself in a chiropractor’s office early the next morning. I sought treatment for two days before we left for home on Saturday. Needless-to-say, it was an extremely uncomfortable ride home.
Later that evening, I opened my notes and carefully read over a few that I had compiled during the week:
The events at Bethel and Peniel are important milestones in Jacob’s life.
His nighttime face-to-face encounter with God remarkably transformed Jacob.
God renames Jacob … giving him the name Israel.
Israel means “God prevails.”
This wrestling event with God was a significant turning point in Jacob’s life.
In that moment while revisiting my notes, I heard God say … “This is your turning point, Mel.”
I gasped and immediately went to tell my husband. I realized my injury was no coincidence.
God used my sleep fighting granddaughter, the details of Jacob’s story, and my injury to bring about a turning point of a hard wrestling that’s gone on long enough.
So, these last few days, my Lord has sweetly ministered to me about my future. I’m listening, praying, taking notes, and digging deeper into His Word.
I’m grateful that He brought me the assignment to write for Proverb’s 31 Ministries, First 5 App, during this hard season. Honestly, I don’t think I would have ever written another word without the desire to study His Word and tell others. Being apart of this team kept me writing.
Where would I be without Jesus?
And truly … that’s the fuel that gets my heart going, friend … I just want you to know Him greater. I want you to realize that even when life is hard, you’re not alone. I want you to let Him lead you out of the hard wrestling of your darkest days.
I guess my simplistic mindset is that Jesus can make it better even when it’s hard because He did for me.
We live in a time of many unknowns. Loss abounds all around us. Broken hearts are in abundance … its understandable we wrestle with God and fallen world circumstances. Life isn’t fair, but don’t let what the Devil brings to harm you, cause you to quit.
But I pray you know that the answer to my question leads to hope. Without Jesus, there is no hope.
I challenge you to spend time with the Holy Spirit and let Him show you what you’ve been wrestling and why.
I pray you find the courage, to be honest with yourself. I pray that you find peace like I have so many times from His precious Word and presence.
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people. Ephesians 1:18 (NIV)
I pray that you have called upon the name of Jesus and made Him the Lord of your life if you’ve never done so.
The truth is, I would be as lost as a ball in high weeds without Jesus. He’s everything to me, and I desperately want you to find this hope too.
Wrestle well, my friend.
If you don’t know Jesus, this simple video from Charles Stanley will help you find true peace.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore, I will hope in him.” Lamentations 3:22-24 (ESV)
Did you wake up feeling defeated this morning?
Are there regretful actions or words on replay in your mind?
Did you blow it in a big way?
Girl, have I been there!
But I’m here to give you a word from the Lord. God started speaking to me yesterday about you when I went and shared the word with some sweet women in jail. You see … these ladies need hope because their life situations are pretty dim right now. So many are experiencing the consequences of their poor decisions, and they are mourning their sinful actions.
God reminded me that we all need some encouragement too.
The prophet, Jeremiah, spoke these scriptures in Lamentations to the children of Israel after they were taken captive by the Babylonian empire. The Israelites were in great mourning and despair because God’s judgment had brought the consequences of bondage upon them for their sin.
In truth, the Israelites deserved death for their gross idolatry and sin, but our merciful God spared their lives.
This scripture in Lamentations reminds us that no matter how we sin or mess up, God’s steadfast love for us never ceases. According to the Hebrew interpretation, the word steadfast far exceeds the basics of mercy, grace, forgiveness, and compassion.
This word steadfast translates to a “great love.” That’s the kind of love we have from God, a love that hangs in there when we are at our worst in the most challenging situations of our lives.
And no matter what … God will not break His Covenant Love. He proved that over and over with His chosen people.
Every morning that we wake up, we get another chance at making things right or learning from our mistakes.
If we’ve repented … we can start over with God.
That doesn’t mean there won’t be consequences there may be. But it means that God in His unfathomable love will give us mercy to navigate those circumstances.
So, don’t wallow in defeat because the enemy has convinced you that you can’t overcome certain situations or mindsets. You can, in the name of Jesus! (Philippians 4:13)
Don’t think your transgressions are so bad that there is no forgiveness or redemption for you. (Acts 3:19)
Choose today to grab hold of God’s mercy and don’t look back.
With true repentance … God will pave a way of mercy that will take us to new places of hope, redemption, and victory. (1 John 1:9)
God’s got some fresh mercy for you today, friend, so wash your mind in His love and start over.
“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 1 Corinthians 10:23 (ESV)
I scroll away until I feel that shift in my spirit. You know, the post that stops you in your tracks and feels like a dagger thrust through your back? Or it may be the purposeful or unintended omission of acknowledgment? Or the distorted or twisted comment that’s left open for personal interpretation.
Oh, the woes of social media. I’ve come to realize that I have a love-hate relationship with all things online. I’ve even limited my activity to 15 minutes a day, but of late, I haven’t had the heart to jump on for a few minutes. I don’t mean to appear anti-social or ignore those I love, I’ve just concluded that unless I am sharing God’s hope, social media isn’t helpful for my mind or emotions.
God’s used this situation to remind me of the scripture in 1 Corinthians 10:23:
“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.
The apostle Paul is warning us about abusing our Christian liberty. This chapter has many precious truths, but verse 23 is rolling around in my heart and mind.
Paul refers to the Israelites self-indulgent and careless discipline that led to sin. Just because we can do something, doesn’t mean we should.
The Corinthians didn’t seek after the things that built them up them, they pushed the envelope, practicing what they could get away with and still be a Christian.
They didn’t see there were activities or even people that fractured their fellowship with God or distracted them from faithfulness.
We all have habits, people, or situations in our lives that we know are not spiritually helpful, yet our flesh wants what it wants. Unfortunately, the trade-off for gratifying the flesh comes later in circumstances that deplete us emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
If we know something is harmful or isn’t beneficial to our lives, shouldn’t we run from it?
Paul warns about habits that lead to sin. He even mentions being led astray by the company we keep. (1 Corinthians 10:6-22)
He basically says, “I have the right to do anything I want, but if that anything enslaves me in sin, then I don’t need to do it. (1 Corinthians 6:12)
Breaking free from those things that are oppressive, impure, discouraging, or pleasing to the flesh may be difficult, but not impossible. (Matthew 19:25)
In truth, we know what edifies our soul or what wounds or violates our consciences, don’t we?
So, I’ve started asking myself a couple of questions to get to the gut of my feelings:
Does this activity harm my emotions or distract me from God’s truths, leading to sin?
Does this activity or person splinter my peace, or do I feel encouraged?
Does this activity cause me to lead others astray?
Your gut questions may look different from mine; we each battle the flesh in different ways. But I encourage you to take a soul inventory to identify those habits or people that may be bringing you down.
Honesty with God is helping me decipher what His good and pleasing will is for me.
Yes, all things are lawful, but that doesn’t mean they are good for me.
I’ve wasted too much life on things that are not God’s best; how about you?
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
Do you ever feel like the troubles of life are similar to a leaky faucet that’s constantly dripping loss?
Is there an unwanted change or a new wound that’s caught you off guard recently?
Unfortunately, that’s what we get when we live in a fallen world.
But the enemy’s plan is to pull us down emotionally, spiritually, and physically to a point where we can’t cope.
Whether you’re mourning the death of loved ones or the loss of health, a job, a marriage, friendship or even unforeseen drama, the enemy’s goal is to put you in a state of depression so that you’ll give up and react sinfully.
I experienced a serious tango with depression after the tragic loss of family two years ago. The grief of losing two family members at one time alone is enough to rupture one’s emotions, but the enemy complicated our grief with a full out assault that involved even more loss.
Depression can certainly stop the flow of life and that’s where I found myself for the entire year of 2017.
Through God’s Grace … I found my way out. The word of God is so precious to me because it was my lifeline.
The truth is … there is nowhere to take our broken hearts except to God. He is the only one who will handle them with tender care and divine guidance.
God loves you my friend. He sees your brokenness. He won’t leave your hurts undone. Take your broken heart to the Father … He’s waiting to comfort you.
Father, you tell us that you are close to us when we have a broken heart. We ask today that you remind us that you love us and want to help us navigate the hard places in life. Thank you for your promise to never leave us alone. God, show us the path to healing. Shine the light in our souls to block out the depression. Help us to pray honest prayers and to keep turning to you in every moment that we feel overwhelmed. Heal our broken hearts Lord, please. In Jesus name, amen.
Scriptures to encourage you:
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. What do workers gain from their toil?I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race.He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:1-11
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
Food for Thought:
Do you have the peace that passes all understanding? Have you given your heart to Jesus to be the Lord of your life? And if you did … did it change you from the inside out? If there wasn’t a real-life transformation … there is a good chance you didn’t give your heart completely to Jesus.
As a child, I thought I made a decision at the age of 6. But years later, I realized as a young adult that I had no victory in my life because I had never made Christ the Lord of my life. At the age of 26, I asked Jesus to come into my heart and save me. Praise God! I don’t know where I would be today without Him?
If you would like to ask Jesus to be your Savior, below is the Salvation prayer that Dr. Charles Stanley provides on his website. I encourage you to take inventory of your heart and honestly seek the truth. Peace, victory for living, and eternal life are only a prayer away.
Dear God in heaven, I come to you in the name of Jesus. I acknowledge to You that I am a sinner, and I am sorry for my sins and the life that I have lived; I need your forgiveness.
I believe that your only begotten Son Jesus Christ shed His precious blood on the cross at Calvary and died for my sins, and I am now willing to turn from my sin.
You said in Your Holy Word, Romans 10:9 that if we confess the Lord our God and believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, we shall be saved.
Right now I confess Jesus as the Lord of my soul. With my heart, I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. This very moment I accept Jesus Christ as my own personal Savior and according to His Word, right now I am saved.
Thank you Jesus for your unlimited grace which has saved me from my sins. I thank you Jesus that your grace never leads to license, but rather it always leads to repentance.
Therefore Lord Jesus transform my life so that I may bring glory and honor to you alone and not to myself.
Thank you Jesus for dying for me and giving me eternal life. AMEN.
If you prayed this prayer, I encourage you to reach out to someone and let them know. In fact, you can send me a message – I would so love to encourage and send you some materials. Your next step is to find a Bible believing church that will help you grow in the Lord. To be around other believers will accelerate your growth in the Lord.
Thank you for stopping by friend – I pray you find God in the deepest valley’s and seek Him in every way! HE LOVES YOU BIG!
Knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 1 Peter 1:18-19 (ESV)
The conversation was light and friendly enough to pass the social meter test, but the pointed tone of her dialogue was lacking. It was clear that I didn’t measure up to her standards. The heart knows when it’s been embraced and this person’s distance is close enough to discern. In fact, this relationship has been a source of constant prayer for many years. I can’t put my finger on the problem, yet I know its there.
We will never know this side of heaven why people choose to see what they see in us, or rather why they don’t see what they should? Or rather what God sees.
The pain of subtle rejection is the enemy’s playground. He loves to slowly chip away at our hearts with a steady repetition of slight snubs, outright oppression, and unfair eliminations. Reminds me of the beautiful Woodpecker that faithfully drills his holes into our Bradford Pear trees outside our windows on a daily basis. He’s always at it, come rain or shine.
But knowing my worth in Christ has been a theme in a long season of healing. God has made Himself real to me by ushering in His presence when my heart is downcast. The first chapter of Ephesians is helping me see the truth of who I am in Christ and all the benefits I have as His child. I challenge you to study this chapter in depth, marking the truth statements that you can recall consistently.
Knowing the truth will help us refocus on the lavish blessings we have “in Christ.” In the past, rebuffs would cause me to focus on my flaws and shortcomings. God has made it ever so real to me that the rejection I feel is not about me, it’s all about what’s going on inside of those who come against me.
So, here are some truths that God reminded me of recently:
The measure of your worth is not found in man’s opinion. Your worth is measured by God’s unending love.
Goodness … if only we could grasp the Father’s love for us, then we would never care about man’s opinion ever again. You are beyond valuable to your Creator. He gave His son to die on a cross so that you could live and breath every day. (John 3:16) Your worth is equal to His only child’s precious blood. That’s a BIG LOVE. (Romans 8:37-39) Recall all His benefits that are evidence of His great love.
Faithfulness always outlives the enemy’s lies.
Keep showing up and being who God created you to be. It doesn’t matter what you’ve been redeemed from or the mistakes you’ve made. (Romans 8:1) God sees your faithfulness and when His purposes are exalted in your life, no man will be able to hold you back.
Show up, be faithful, love people (even those who look at you with that brow of disdain) and share the Gospel. God is for you and He is always fighting for you. (Exodus 14:14, Romans 8:31) You were given specific gifts to be used for the Kingdom, don’t let man determine your faithfulness to the Great Commission.
Regardless of our messiness, Grace is our anchor.
Fight for grace in your heart toward others and let God handle the rest. We can’t change hearts, only God can do that, but we can control how our hearts respond. Nevertheless, be encouraged! God can do a work in your critic’s heart and they could one day become your biggest fan. Where Grace abounds, trust is found. Trust God and His redemption process.
Big Love covers it all. Your insufficiency and their insufficiency. Love regardless. Love even if you are disrespected, ignored, or discouraged. Just love BIG.
From one messy girl to another, God has shown me how important love is … even if it’s from a distance or practiced in my prayers.
Not everyone will believe in you, like you, or even love you. But I share these words to encourage you to continue on in your calling. The enemy knows how to discourage you and just who to use in that process. Don’t let him mess with your future, your purpose in Christ is of Kingdom importance. Believe who you are in Christ. Think about His love for you and recall all He’s done for you in the past.
Remember, you have a Father in Heaven who is always in your corner … and that’s why YOU ARE ENOUGH!
And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:10
The service was just starting as I found my place in the choir loft last Sunday. The music started and immediately my eyes found Jon, keeping beat with the rhythm, slightly bouncing his knee up and down. It made me smile to see this sweet boy acknowledging worship in the Lord’s house.
I first told you about Jon in 2015 and I thought it would be neat to give you an update of how God continues to bless this boy and his family.
Jon is now 20 years old and he’s still defying the odds. He’s currently a sophomore at the University of Tennessee, majoring in mathematics. He’ll be going into the engineering program in the fall semester and it’s no surprise to regularly find Jon’s name on the Dean’s list.
Employed with a major government firm, Jon does CADnet drafting and actually started this job when in high school. Every morning he drives himself across town and navigates the madness of campus parking to make his classes on time. This still makes his momma a little nervous, but trusting God with Jon is old hat for my friend these days.
If ever God’s hand has been on a child, it’s Jon.
Four years ago, right around Easter, Jon felt the Lord pursuing his heart on a Sunday morning. His older brother, David, sweetly led Jon in the sinner’s prayer as he asked Jesus into his heart. It was an unforgettable day of rejoicing for all, especially mom and dad.
Jon faithfully attends the college ministry meetings at the local Pike House Coffee shop with a determined attentiveness. There have been a few times Jon’s dutifully given the college pastor an update on the time, after all, punctuality is important for success, right?
To run into Jon in the hallways at church makes my day. He always gives me a hug and says; “Hi! How are you, Melanie?” I always reply, “I’m good, Jon, how about you?” “I’m good,” he says, always. That’s our routine, and it’s sweet.
He’s still got that wit and can land the one-liners with perfect timing.
He gets more handsome every day and he’s always a true gentleman.
And he’s now an uncle which brings a new dimension of fun for the whole family.
The obstacles that Jon has overcome in his 20 short years are a true testimony to God’s faithfulness.
Months after Jon’s birth, the unknowns for Mike and Kelli were paralyzing some days.
There were times that fear shrouded any visions of what they could imagine for their boy today.
But my goodness … God has outdone Himself with Jon.
I’ve watched my friends trust, day by day, consistently giving God glory for the victories … and it’s truly been victory after victory with Jon.
Trusting God in the darkness is hard … but what a testimony of trust we see in this family.
And so on this Light It Up Blue Day … Jon’s story is a good reminder that when we can’t see what’s up ahead … we need to remember who can.
It’s so easy to sit and think about our hurts, isn’t it? To relive the moments that cause such a ripple in our souls, right?
But are these thoughts causing you to collect wounds?
In days past, I found myself stuck in a quagmire of grief, loss, disappointment, rejection, and more since the tragic death of my step-daughter and son-in-law, two years ago.
There were days that I thought I was losing my mind, days that I begged Jesus to return, and days I just didn’t want to go on. I cut myself off from everyone and everything. I was easily hurt by everything that came my way. Unfortunately, the enemy was watching me every day, and he knew just how to complicate my grief greater.
Finally, I got tired of waking up hurting. There was a shift in my soul that reminded me that how I was living is not what Jesus died for.
It’s been quite a spiritual journey finding emotional freedom. Honestly, I didn’t think I would ever come back from the hurts – and I didn’t think I would ever write again … BUT GOD!
I’m sharing a bit of that journey today on Proverbs 31 Ministries website. I’m grateful for the opportunity to tell you about the healing that God’s been leading me through these last two years.
Jesus came to free us from emotional bondage that holds us back in this fallen world! He came to give us abundant life! That means He wants us whole and walking in freedom.
I invite you to read a little about my journey and I encourage you with this thought: the best thing to do with a broken heart is to embrace God’s truth!
Thank you for stopping by today and thank you to Proverbs 31 Ministries and the Compel training program. My how the Lord has used this ministry to encourage me on many dark days – and for that, I am so grateful.
So, I’ve been quiet on this forum for some time now. I’ve never addressed it here formally – and thank you to those who have continued to reach out in messages. I’m grateful that many of you continue to read old blogs and send messages of encouragement to keep writing.
For those in faraway places who don’t know … My husband’s daughter – my stepdaughter, and our son-in-law were killed in a tragic car wreck on January 30, 2017. Our three, precious grandchildren lost their whole world that night. And I want to be clear … any pain my husband and I have felt can’t compare to theirs.
In the days and months that’s followed, the enemy orchestrated chaos and our grief’s been complicated in ways that our family should have never experienced. A lot of loss has peppered our lives and it’s still hard to comprehend. So … I’ve been quiet – not because I didn’t have anything to say … but because I didn’t like how I sounded when sour words found their way onto pages and pages of countless journals.
A lot of tears … a lot of honest prayers … and a lot of sleepless nights have come and gone over the last 16 months. We will never find a new normal because what our family experienced is flat out abnormal. It isn’t the natural order of living.
The losses and pain hurled my way over the years have left me at times asking if this life is worth living?
There have been moments that courage floundered and my faith shilly-shallied like a triple crown filly that’s thrown a shoe.
The last year’s events have brought the realization that there are defining moments in our faith that will make us ask hard questions.
Like when the unbearable happens and you almost feel like God let you down?
Is there a line that God can cross in your relationship?
Have you ever thought about that?
What it would take?
That’s rattled around hard in my brain … cause all I’ve ever known is trying to seek Him out in an imperfect life. I naively existed as though faithfulness will keep me safe from the reality of life and death trials.
I’ve wondered how in the world can the last year and a half of losses ever work for God’s glory like the verse in Romans 8:28 proclaims.
I’ll be honest … I’ve asked the Lord if all this pain is worth the glory because from where I’m sitting … I just can’t see what good can come from it.
And then after I repent of thinking thoughts that I recognize came from the enemy, I ask Him … am I living in a way that will make the loss worth God’s glory? I don’t want to mess that up.
So many questions and not enough answers for a hard thinking girl that probably thinks too much.
At the end of the day … the pain is only lessened by time, a lot of honest prayers and the word of God. That’s it. That’s all I got.
Grief is a place where you put up or shut up so to speak.
It’s where you find out if what you’ve practiced as a way of life is going to carry you through the darkness.
Grief wrestling sure ain’t for the weak -pardon my Tennessee twang.
In my grappling, I went back to the Ecclesiastes 3 scripture – you know the one about … “to everything there is a season.”
As I studied word meanings and cultural explanations, verse 7 jumped out at me.
“A time to tear … and a time to sew.”
The bible is full of people who would rend (tear) their clothes when great grief, pain, regret or even sin were a factor. We see this term a lot with those who mourn death.
As I studied further … I learned that after a period of time, they sewed their robes back together. Not only did this signify that we are to move on from mourning in time … but it’s a beautiful picture of a tapestry of faithfulness … that God puts our hearts back together … just like the garment.
The stitched-up tear reminds us of the pain … but also of the faithfulness of a Holy God to bring healing and hope again. I’ve found this truth very comforting of late.
And if this scripture in Ecclesiastes signifies anything its that God made life to be a cycle of activities. Some of those activities are darn hard, while others are joyful.
We may think sometimes that what He allows will kill us.
But in each hard place that we experience … we find balance. God balances everything with time … joy … sadness … death and new life. He leaves nothing undone … ever.
Grief has the makings of a great come back and restoration if we are willing to let God do with time and purpose what He wants to do in our lives.
It’s a fierce buckling under a Holy God that allows the incredible pressure of heartache to melt and refine stubborn hearts.
It’s hard. Just darn hard to learn from grief … but God deems it necessary to make us more like Him.
That almost seems harsh … doesn’t it?
But in truth … He knows what will make us better … kinder … more loving … more patient … more forgiving … more generous … more faithful … just more like him – period.
God allows grief with a period of mourning to measure the good things in life and to learn from the bad. And we have to fight the enemy’s schemes for grief to take us to places that we can never recover from.
Some days it feels like this time of grief will never be over … and then out of nowhere a day of pure joy will surprise us.
We still have days of overwhelming sadness and it sure makes this old girl tired.
But the one thing I have come to believe with all my heart is … grief and all of its questions have to lead us to faith … because faith is where the hope is.
If there’s no faith … you got no hope to heal, restore, or find a purpose out of the pain.
So, I’m going to keep digging a hole in my bible … and refuse feelings that want to bury me in acrimony.
I don’t want to be bitter at the losses or those who have inflicted our family with their bitterness.
I don’t want to let the losses and pain of life entomb me … because then I will be useless for the kingdom.
I’m not going to lie … it’s a daily struggle … but I know this … I have to press on in doing the right thing even if I don’t feel like it because God is in the process.
And as long as He’s here with me in this process and I’m honest with Him … the weeds of sorrow will eventually be pulled out and I’ll relish in the beauty of new growth.
Lord, Help us run to you in our deepest griefs for a shelter of protection from the enemy’s attempts to break us. Help us believe you are in the process and in the mourning. Give us faith … give us hope … and help us endure until you turn our mourning into dancing. Amen.