There’s not much more I can say to this, except to say, this is so very true. A deceased pastor friend of mine, who lost his wife of many years, once said, “I don’t want to get over it, I just want to learn how to handle it.” Grief if never easy, and it never totally leaves you. Just when you think you’ve moved beyond the pain, it can come about like a cold, hard rain. Time never really heals the wounds, it just helps to allow you the ability to breathe one more time…
Did you notice the young boy who got into a fight at school, making his friends a substitute for his anger, because he can’t hit his abuser?
Did you recognize the young teen shielding her face from the crowd, looking for the one who will make her feel loved and secure?
Where is God in all of this? Where is His mercy? Where is His grace?
Do you see that man marching off to war, preparing to slay a few demons of his own in the battle?
Do you notice the woman working three jobs, living a frazzled, exhausted life, simply trying to give her child something a little better?
Do you realize the old man wandering the halls, the same who doesn’t even know his children’s names who desperately long to love him and reach through his darkness?
Where is God in all of this? Where is His mercy? Where is His grace?
Some ask and plead. Some scream in demand. Some just sit and stare. Others simply walk away, veering this way and that, never making much sense of the journey.
“He’s always there and always faithful,” says the church walls. “Just look up and you will find all you need,” states the sign as the tender ones lie dying on the front steps. My mind wonders if we really make a difference. Do we really share and care?
Some lash out in anger. Some wallow and cry. Others become cold and stone-like, never realizing hope knocking at the door.
His love never wavers. His mercy never fails. Just because you cannot see the sun through the tornadic clouds doesn’t void its reality. Hurricanes never validate the lack of peaceful showers on the ‘morrow.
Some answers I will never find until the other side. Some questions will still remain after the crisis of one life has vanished. Yet, I have found this truth to remain: He is faithful. He is love. He is true.
He will be there when you need Him even in the quietness of your soul. He will never leave you in your deepest sorrow or shame. He will remain when all else fails, when everyone else has disappeared into the dark of night. He will remain. He will be a shield. He will be a refuge.
Just call on His name and find He is the Hope which remains.
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105
I have a question for you…
Do you live in the salt marshes of Christianity or in the River of God’s glory?
You can be a Christian and not experience the fullness of His glory. You can live a good, “saved” life, following His commandments, yet, never comprehend His overflowing joy and complete peace. You can go to church every Sunday, work the nurseries on Wednesdays, pledge your loyalties to every youth and world missions project and still miss out on all He has for you.
Although, I have to ask, “Why?” … Why would we ever want to live beneath His potential for our lives? Why would we ever be “okay” with second best or just comfortable with less than His best? Why would we ever settle for something He knows we don’t need or even detests?
Yet, so many of us do just that! We choose to live in the salt marches of Christianity, and we completely bypass the river of God’s glory. Sometimes, it’s fear that holds us back, or maybe it’s those past pains that blind us from the reality of His promises.
Often, it’s schedules and agendas which consume every moment and spin us out of control, shielding us from the clarity of truth. Too many times, it is the sin of our past, our present, or the contemplation of sin in our future, which binds us to the salt marshes and refuses to let us venture beyond what we’ve always seen, heard and thought to be truth.
It is time to break free. It is time to live in His fullness rather than the anemia of our fears and failures. It is time to move out, beyond the norm, and step into the river of His glory.
You will find He is waiting there just for you.
*Note: I do not own nor possess any part of this video. This is from a simple google search to YouTube.
Today, I’d like to share with you a rather new blogger who has really inspired me. Her blog A Necessary Pain released a new post the other day, and I happened to come across it, because she found me and liked one of my posts. This post encouraged me so and reminded me, once again, that we are all on a journey in this life, and regardless of the pain we may have endured, when we share our story, others can find healing. I hope you will go by and visit, and I do hope you will be encouraged by the stories she shares. 🙂
Life can feel like a heavy blanket resting on your chest, soaking up the rain, getting heavier and heavier. You can choose to get lost under the weight, dwindling down to nothing, expelling all the air from your lungs. You can close your eyes and simply allow the pain to wash you away in the storm.
Heartache and grief is bound to come to each one. If it hasn’t visited you, just hold on, your hour will come when reality slams through the door like a hurricane, and you wonder if the sun will ever shine again. Those days, the air can become so suffocating, as if your house is on fire, and you’re caught within the fumes and the smoke, grasping for one more chance to breathe again.
In that moment, in that lapse of time, you have to choose to breathe again, even when it is a struggle. Those are the minutes you will have to fight to survive. If it takes clawing your way out of that pit, then claw you must, but never give up.
Never lie down and give up the fight so easily. Never roll out the red carpet for death to seize your mind and your soul. Never let the reaper consume you with hopelessness and despair. He will try, and he will scream horrors upon horrors to make you see him. Don’t let him win.
There is Hope. There is a better way. Hope will bring light into the darkest night. Hope will return the song to the wind. Hope will chase away the clouds in due time, and Hope will help you to breathe again.
Just take one tiny breath. Take one tiny step forward, and whisper His name, “Jesus.” He will answer. He will give you breath to breathe…
What happens to your countenance when you are in the valley? What is the appearance of your face when everything seems to be going wrong, and you don’t know what to do? How do you react when trials, sickness or persecutions come? Are you sad? Do you get mad? Is confusion and chaos the ruler of the day?
Are you down in the dumps, or are you rejoicing through the valley? My pastor always says, “What you can PRAISE through, you can MAKE IT through!” Find something in that valley to take joy in. Count your blessings. Even the smallest things can bring the greatest joys.
Honestly, there are some valleys where it seems there is NOTHING about which to celebrate. Some desert places are NOTHING but hot, dry sand and a burning sun that makes you feel you will DIE of thirst and loneliness. Some low places in life simply feel like the abyss with no light, no sound and no direction or hope. Yet, those are the times when we must stand with Job and say, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21, and “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him…” Job 13:15.
We must praise Him regardless of what we feel or what we see. Praising is a submission of our flesh. It is not something that comes when we “feel it.” It is something that comes as we force our stubborn will into submission. Praise helps us see hope again, because it opens our eyes to His truth beyond our current circumstance.
God is holy. God is righteous. God is gracious, merciful, loving and majestic. He is worthy of all our praise. He is honorable of all our affection, adoration and appreciation. Let us praise Him through the valley. For, it is in our loneliest hours, and through our darkest nights when His glory and grace is revealed in our lives. ❤
When wood is raw and freshly cut, it is still rough and splinter-prone. If you rub your hand across it, you may pull away filled with a little pain from a piece of wood merging with your tender fingers. It is hard to grasp and difficult to display, but it can be used for very practical things, such as saw horses, firewood and boarding up holes or drafty windows.
To be a bit more useful, a woodsman will begin to sand that raw wood. (Sanding, Planing and Scraping are all methods of smoothing wood. Each depends on the type of wood and the desired results from the smoothing. For simplicity, I will only refer to sanding.) The first sandpaper applied is very coarse, and it will shave away much of the roughness and splinted wood. As the plank become smoother, more refined pieces of sandpaper are used to cause more and more fine-tuned sanding. Once, the piece is smoothed to the creator’s liking, he or she will run his hands over the fine, smooth piece of wood.
In the final stages of refining, the carpenter might even smooth the wood with cloths or apply a varnish, fiberglass or stain to finish the handiwork. He may create shelves, cabinets, tables, chairs, or even doors and window frames. In the end, a beautiful work of art is presented for daily use or display.
This is how our Heavenly Father prepares us as well. When we are first saved, our approach to Christianity, life and even each other can be so rough that, if we aren’t careful, we might leave “splinters” in the lives of those around us. God has to smooth out those rough places. He has to apply pressure, allow challenges and even trials to come to “sand away” those splintery spots. In the end, He creates a beautiful work of art within our lives that might be used by His might hand to bring impact into the lives of someone else.Sometimes, the method might seem strenuous, tedious and even unrelenting, but just trust, He will finish what He has started. Never give up through the process, and when He is finished, know you will never be the same. It will be worth it!
I walk down this broken road of memories
The dreams that once were, crashed along the side
The joys filled the hours and the laughter rang out for days
I could glory in those moments that once were
Yet I would be mistaken, for those were days filled with smiles and with pain
As time moves on, we seem to embrace the sunshine and push away the clouds
We forget the misery of which we survived
We put away the those heartaches, praying they will never come again
If I only grasp the good and never the bad, I cheat myself and I cheat you
For in the sorrow, wisdom can be found
In the brokenness and the tragedy, grace is remembered
Throughout my agony and distress, that is where His strength and love is deepest know
Penned – MG – 1/2/17
Have you ever gotten a splinter in your foot? I’m not talking about the calloused part, where it doesn’t hurt too much to remove. I’m referring to that tender place on the bottom of your foot, just below the ball of the foot. I had to remove a deep splinter the other day from just that spot, and let me tell you, it did not feel good, and my foot was sore for the rest of the day! 😖
However, by the next morning, it felt great, and I had all but forgotten the pain of the day before. Can I tell you, life can be that way, too. You’re walking along, minding your own business, and “Bam!,” something sticks you hard. It may not seem that big of a deal to those around you, most won’t even notice, but you do. You feel it deep within your soul.
What you do next will determine your healing and recovery time. If you allow that “thorn” to settle deep within your soul, it will fester and go deeper. Over time, it will become infected and eventually turn into a disease called bitterness.
You must remove it. You must get the offense out before it brings you more pain. You must allow that wound to be cleansed and bandaged to bring complete healing. The pain of removal may feel worse, sometimes, than the temptation to leave it alone; however, I can assure you, the removal and recovery is worth the temporary pain endured.
Let go of hurts today. Let go of offenses. Allow the Holy Spirit to pull those things out of our hearts and minds that don’t belong. Allow Him to apply His healing balm to bind up the would and let the healing begins.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
Storms in our lives will bring lots of debris, too. Anger, bitterness, rage, fear, pain, brokenness. Just as the disaster crews have to clean up the debris from physical storms, we must clean up the debris in our own hearts and minds from crisis that happen in our lives.Maybe it’s a new mindset we need. Maybe it’s forgiveness we have to give. Maybe it’s self control we have to learn. Maybe it’s even time we have to wait for a wound to heal. If the debris isn’t cleared, it can often cause even more damage, not only to ourselves but, eventually, to all those around us. Whatever the debris is, if we want to be whole, and we want to live again, we must clean it out.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.” Psalm 52:10-12
The great advantage we have is we don’t have to do this alone! Jesus is always waiting for us to call on His name. He is right there longing to soothe our weary soul and mend our broken heart. All we have to do is call on His name. All we have to do is lean on Him, and He will pick us up and carry us through! He will help us clear the debris and learn to live whole again.The neat thing that also happens when this is done, we can share our story with others, and their lives will be impacted and changed as well! “Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You.” Psalm 52:13 When this happens, not only are our lives cleaned up and changed, but those with whom we’ve shared our story are changed. Then, they begin to share, it starts a domino effect on the world around us! How exciting would it be to see many come to know Him because of our simple clean up?!
“This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:3-4