You know, the Bible says we are to confess our sins, one to another. But this is a bit of a different confession. I started this blog as a place where all my nerdy observations of life, things God placed on my heart, could be collected for others to enjoy (should they so enjoy that!). It then morphed into this journey that I’ve referred to as the Heartfelt Mind-Meld, wherein two minds become linked and experiences/emotions are shared.
Often, this forum has been a place to share what God has shown me, and sometimes, it has been a place to share other emotions or feelings along the path. Today, it is an open door in which I place a piece of my heart for you to hold, if you desire. Ha! That kinda sounds flowery and totally inappropriate; what I mean is, here is where I am today.
I am struggling. Grief, depression, weighty decisions, and all manner of impulses are pulling and pushing at me, threatening to drive me mad! There are car troubles and school troubles. There are kid issues, and spiritual issues. There are deep pains for loved ones who are going through trials I wish not on any enemy, and there are enemies I wish would be dispatched from my life! And it is honest, but it is also depressing because I want to be better than this! I want to be beyond the frustrations of life, beyond the sinful thoughts that creep in when someone or something is hurting you or loved ones.
My children are growing, and as they are growing, I’m allowing them to be exposed to more serious content. Today, that took the form of Soul Surfer, a movie about Bethany Hamilton and the events and struggles of losing her arm in a shark attack. It sparked a good conversation of why terrible things happen. And I shared with my growing kiddos that there are three things I know about terrible things:
- They are a result of sin. If a man is shot in a war, it may not have anything to do with his sin, but the person above him, who refused to do the right thing such that war had to be declared…his sin resulted in that man’s injury or death. If a boy falls from a tree and breaks his arm, that slip and that breakage are because our bodies are so fragile now because of sin. It may be a bit extreme to some, but the ultimate source of all pain and suffering in our world rolls back to original sin, which introduced pain, suffering, and death into our world.
- God is always at work in that suffering. Whether God is drawing someone to Himself for their salvation, or if He is growing them in some way, or if He is showing them as an example to someone else, He is always at work in that suffering.
- God always has reasons for our sufferings. It may be that He has a single, solitary reason for it, but I find there’s usually a myriad of reasons God is working something in my life; this journey is not only about me!
As I sit here tonight, I find a longing in me, a pain. My heart is gripped and wrenched by so much pain in my world and those around me. I desire the freedom and solitude that many enjoy when they don’t have kids. And yet, I don’t want my kids gone from me, as they are my greatest blessings, ever pushing me to press into Jesus for my daily strength! I desire the companionship so many have, with friends who are either able to get together or who are inviting others to get together. Yet, I know God has me in this place I am for a reason, stretching me and teaching me patience and compassion. I desire a wife, quite simply. Still, I trust God to work that into my life when He’s ready, knowing that my singleness grants me a degree of focus on Him I would not necessarily have in marriage, nor would marriage really solve many of my problems or difficulties.
Still, with all the logic I can argue against it, and with all the prayers I pray for it, I find these desires lurking in me. I have often raged against them in prayer, begging (and even demanding) God to take them away and give me peace to just enjoy what He has given. And yet, they persist and remain. I feel worn, tired, beaten, and very, very thin. I have often wondered what God could possibly want with me that He’d pull me so thin?
Recently, a dear friend dropped something into my life which I believe was a word of God. He was speaking to a group on something totally unrelated to my personal pains. He said, “God is long-suffering. Long-suffering means stretched over all time until it is very thin.” And with that, God hit me. He’s teaching me to be long-suffering. And what is the fruit of the Spirit? Love, joy, peace, long-suffering (often translated patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Encapsulated in long-suffering, though, is often faithfulness, which is His second lesson for me.
My dear reader, God doesn’t need you to be a perfect Dad or a perfect Mom. He doesn’t need you to be a perfect Christian or a perfect worker, etc. He wants you to reflect His Son, Jesus. And Jesus reflects (as He said) the Father. And the Spirit reflects the Son as well. And it is in the fruit of this Spirit that God often works out things in our lives, often through discomfort, which is one of the greatest tools God uses to get our attention.
I leave you, my dear reader, with one final thought that God also graced me with through another dear soul:
“How does God greet us in Heaven? Well done, good and faithful servant.”
In your pain, reach out to the others that are in pain, as often and in whatever capacity He so allows, as a servant to them. And you just might notice your weight doesn’t feel as heavy in those moments.
But whatever your state, you are not alone! There are many of us fighting with you, even if not in person. And I am praying for you, wherever and whomever you are. Be found a faithful servant, long-suffering, for His sake.
A final verse that encourages me is found in Hebrews 12. Jesus suffered before He faced the cross. He prayed in the Garden, like so many of us have prayed, “If there is any way, please take this cup from me! … Nevertheless, not my will but Yours be done.” The writer of Hebrews gives us a glorious insight that may help you make it through each day:
“…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:2, emphasis mine.
Vires et Honorem – 1 Corinthians 15:10