Hi friends. I have had this blog post swirling in my head for several days now and today I felt compelled to share it with you. I felt the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit encouraging me, "You are not alone. There are others. Others that can benefit from what you have to say. Not because you are above them, but because you are with them." Granted, this means once again opening and baring my soul to you, but if I am going to be authentic to my true self and what I really care about then this is it -- my deepest desire is to help encourage and uplift others and others may very well mean you.
I know that it can be hard to talk about the hard things in life. I would argue that many people would like to avoid getting too deep or personal (I think because the personal implies vulnerability, service, and dying to self). There are countless blogs centered around bringing you the prettiness, joys, and peaks of life (and there is nothing wrong with that). However, if that's what you are after, then this blog is not for you. This blog is meant for something different. Something more. This blog is about being real & authentic. It's for the misfits, the people Jesus himself hung around with - people like me. This blog is meant to be a place where people can come as they are with no pretense and simply be. My hope and prayer is that lives would become so impacted by a loving relationship with Jesus, that chains would begin to break and wounds would begin to heal.
Healing can be a long process. and is dependent upon the severity of the wound. It is no different with a broken bone; a broken ankle may take longer to heal than a twisted one (even though let's be honest twisted ones are no fun either). Each day presents a struggle for me. I honestly cannot remember the last day that wasn't challenging for me in some way. Granted, the strength and intensity of the battle varies, but nonetheless, the battle is present. It has been a constant for over seven years now (maybe even more). The Lord has been kind and gracious to heal me in miraculous and mysterious ways, but alas, in this flesh I have weakness. It has taken years of life and personally experiencing the Lord's might and power, but I am beginning to learn how to glorify God in these weaknesses. Just as Paul shares with us in his letter to the church at Corinth, "And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV). This is a verse that Christians like to throw around alot but, admittedly, this is a hard verse to digest. The implication of the verse is that we will experience weakness, and what's more, that we should be glad in these weaknesses. This is contrary to everything our fleshly bodies understand! Who naturally would be glad in their weaknesses? No one. Absolutely no one. No one in the natural would be happy with anything less than constant happiness and joy. However, it is the Holy Spirit within us that allows us to glorify God during our suffering, because the spirit knows that we become more like Christ in our lack, and that during these times we learn how to fully depend and rely upon God.
The details of my suffering and the battles I face and have faced are not of importance; what is important is that they have deeply impacted me; not just because I am human and more often than not, want them gone, but also because they have allowed me to find peace and strength in the midst of my circumstances. Friends, I can promise you, if it weren't for Jesus I would have given up long ago. But He knew better. He knows my story and the plans He has for my life. He sees more than the page I am on now. He has the book to my life and He knows me from beginning to end. He knows the sufferings you and I experience in the present flesh doesn't even shine the dullest of lights when held next to the glory that is waiting for us up ahead. "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." Romans 8:18 (NKJV). I have learned in the good times, and especially in the hard ones, where my source of true strength lies. Jesus helps me get through the day when I am tired, worn, weak, and weary, and miraculously, each morning I am renewed with new rest, hope, and strength to take on the day.
During a conversation with my good friend Jenna last week, I was reminded of the beauty of God in the midst of great loss. She has lost 3 family members in a span of only a few months and yet she is able to glorify God in her suffering because as she reminded me, "Christ is enough. He's enough." I forget this all too often. However, it is only when I look back on my life in its entirety that I see the faithfulness and goodness of God. He has brought me through and out of some seemingly hopeless situations. He turned a victim into a victor. He took my hand and led me out of bondage the same as He did with the children of Israel out of Egypt. When I am discouraged I am reminded that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" Hebrews 13:8 (NKJV). How encouraging it is to know that the same God who made a covenant with Abraham, led the Israelities to freedom, healed the sick, and walked on water, is the same God who is active and alive in our lives today! Even though healing has begun for me, there is more work to be done. My friend Becky often says that the best healings are the slow ones. Human nature is quick to forget God. When healing is instantaneous, it is easy to go about our merry way, forgetting God, and even taking credit for what is rightfully His. However, when our healing takes time, we stay close and reliant upon Him, and nestled underneath His wings is the safest place to be! I can think of no higher honor than being a protected child of the High King of Kings!
I asked my husband recently if each day was hard for him (as I thought maybe this is just a normal part of life) and he said "No, not each day." I told him that many days were for me and that sometimes that makes me feel bad (I guess we have these mixed up thoughts that Christians should have it all figured out - where is Jesus in that?). He encouraged me that if I feel this way then others do as well. I honestly think that many of things I have gone through (and you as well) were meant to bless and help others that may otherwise have no help or no hope. I now have a keen sensitivity to the hurting and the broken, and can intercede for others when they don't know how to pray for themselves. What an honor. Keep fighting though your battles may rage, dear friends. Victory can be had. Wounds can be healed. Let Jesus become your protector, lover, healer, and closest friend. Let me him be your strength. He is enough.
Thanks for stopping by.