I feel like I have been running nonstop. I desperately need a break but I just keep going. I’ve been busy, so busy, and I hate to admit it, but I’m finding that I’m getting addicted to this busyness. When I keep myself busy it numbs the pain. I don’t have time to think about how much my situation hurts and the wounds that are still bleeding inside of me. So staying busy has become my answer.
But last night, I felt tired, physically and spiritually worn out. I spent some time alone in my room journaling and enjoying the stillness. And I realized that I need things to change, I need stop this go, go, go mentality, I need to take a break and slow down. When I am busy, I forget to spend time with the Lord. I begin to create habits of ignoring God in the still moments of my day because of the fear that in those moments I will also awaken more hurt. To be honest, now that I write it out, I am actually quite ashamed that I have let myself get so busy that I don’t seek out God’s voice like I was doing about a month ago.
I’ll be the first one to tell you that staying busy is good. When your heart is heavy and hurting it is not good to lie around doing nothing. Staying busy has been my therapy and it keeps my mind focused on moving on and off of the past. There is even a proverbs about how idle hands breed trouble. But being busy can also be dangerous if we don’t balance it out with rest. If we don’t have the proper mix of resting in the Lord and being still and quiet then it won’t be long before we begin to feel overwhelmed.
Why is rest important? Rest is important because rest is how we recharge and refocus our lives on God. It is in the times when we are quiet and still that God speaks to us and tells us what his will is for us. Rest keeps us on track with God’s plan for our lives. Sometimes we need physical rest from the weight of the world and other times we need spiritual rest. Spiritual rest can be found when we take the time to slow down, read God’s word, talk to God, and seek his presence in the stillness.
I have decided that even though I often don’t want to, I need to make an effort each day to spend time in quiet with God. Even if it’s as simple as spending ten minutes of quiet with God in the morning before my day starts, or quietly journaling before going to bed. It may even be going on a long peaceful walk and talking to God as I walk. Having these habits of rest in my day will help me to stay focused on God and keep me from getting burned out.
I will admit to you all that I’m not looking forward to the pain that I know will come back when I slow down. But the only way to heal is by giving that hurt to Jesus and I can’t give it to him until I learn to truly rest in his presence every day. So here’s to making rest a priority in my life again. To slowing down and taking moments in my busy life to seek God’s presence in the stillness.
These past few weeks have not been the easiest for me. Not only have I been in such an emotionally hard place, but I have been in the midst of moving. I have been packing up my room in boxes. I can’t help but feel that as I pack up my things I’m packing up my old life. I’m packing up all my pain, all my mistakes, all my insecurities. All my good memories and all my bad memories too. All of me is getting packed away.
I have walked through some waters to rough too stay in. As I pack, I realize I don’t want to stay here in this place with all the memories. Packing away all of these things is almost in a way therapeutic. Packing them all away reminds me that I don’t have to let these bad experiences and my broken heart define me. I’m packing them away so I can start anew somewhere else.
Well, moving day is here. I finally can begin the process of unpacking. It is now the time to start over. But as I open up the boxes, there are boxes I’d rather leave unopened. Past pain and hurt that still threaten to consume me. The past is always gonna be a part of me and I could choose never to open those boxes again. To shut out all the hurt and memories. But there is also good things, happy memories and hope that I want to hold onto and remember. Maybe it would be better if some of these boxes waited a little longer to be opened?
I see two choices before me. Refuse to let go and hold onto the past, or let go and embrace the new opportunities before me. I want to step into this new season ready to follow God and ready for whatever he has for me in this new place. Even though I don’t know how long I will be in this new place, It may be a long time or a short time, I want to choose to make the most of this new season while I wait.
As I unpack the last box in my room, I realize that I’m actually a little bit excited. Excited about exploring a new place, excited about meeting new people, excited about learning more about myself. Excited about this chance for a new start. Yes, I finished unpacking all the boxes, even the ones with all the pain. The hurt will always be a part of me, it’s what brought me here. But I think my heart is finally ready to embrace this new season now that moving day is here.
I was having my quiet time with God in the morning with my coffee. I’ve been reading from a devotional called “Embraced” by Lysa Terkeurst. The devotion for the day I read talked about the life of David. I love the story of David. His story in the Bible is so encouraging, definitely one of my favorites. As I was reading the devotion though, something happened. I saw myself in the life of David! I had a rough weekend, it being Valentines week and not being able to be with my guy. So my heart was hurting and feeling a lot of pain. The correlation I was able to make with David’s life and mine was the perfect little pick-me-up for my soul. I know God loves me so much because he always shows me just the right Bible story/verse when I need them.
Anyway, like I said, I saw myself in the life of David. David was God’s chosen king for Israel. He was a man after God’s own heart. But even though David was called to such a important role in God’s kingdom, David didn’t get to be king right away. David had to wait for God’s perfect timing. And David’s life wasn’t easy while he waited. Saul threatened David many times and tried to kill David. Much of David’s life was spent in hiding from Saul. I don’t know if you ever get this vibe from reading the Bible, but it seems like God is always asking his people to wait. He takes his people through seasons of waiting before he lets them step into their calling.
Why is God constantly making his people wait? What good does waiting do for us? There are so many times in our lives that God takes us through seasons of waiting. Waiting for the right guy to come along when it feels like you’ve been single forever, waiting to have children when you have struggled long with infertility, waiting for guidance when you find your life at a crossroads. I could go on and on. I have had many season of waiting in my life and here I am in another one.
One thing I’ve learned is that waiting draws us closer to God in new ways. During the times when our hearts are breaking, God becomes our comfort. When our future’s a big looming mystery, we learn to fully trust in God as we move forward. Waiting is a time when God comes near to us and strengthens our faith. Waiting is how God prepares us for what is to come!
Let’s go back to the life of David. The rough season that David spent waiting to be king, was a what made David into the amazing king we see in the Bible. The time David spent as a shepherd taught him to lead people humbly and with devoted care. His time running from Saul made David into a warrior who relied heavily on the Lord for every move. Without the seasons of waiting, David would not have been the man after God’s own heart that we know him to be.
One more little aspect about David’s life I found encouraging, was there were two times that David had the chance to kill Saul and end his waiting. But David would not kill the Lord’s anointed. He trusted God so much that he knew in God’s timing and God’s way he would become king.
Oh wow, I just got to say, this is just so encouraging to my heart! David’s faith inspires me so much! I know that there have been times in my relationship I’ve wanted to ignore God’s voice telling me to wait and make things happen on my own. How easy it can be for us to ignore God’s call and try to make things happen in our own way. But the story of David in the Bible has showed me that a heart that is devoted to God is a heart that is fully surrendered to God and it is a heart that is willing to wait for God’s perfect timing. And it’s so encouraging to know the seasons of waiting we go through are never in vain. God is using the times of waiting in our life to prepare us for the calling he has for us in the future.
Just think for a moment of all the people you can help and encourage once you get to the other side of your waiting season. Think of how much closer and sweeter your walk with God will be because you learned to trust Him fully during this time of surrendering. No matter how hopeless you’re situation is, we have such an amazing God who is using all things for His glory and His good. Just like with David, God has a purpose for our waiting. God is going to use our time of waiting to prepare us for what comes next. In God’s perfect timing our waiting will come to an end. But until then, we need to keep trusting, keep choosing, and keep chasing after God.
I don’t want to give in. I don’t want to make these changes. I don’t want to go down this long path of waiting. I want to fight. I want to fight to have my way.
Why is it that even though I am doing what I know is right, I feel far from being at rest. Surrendering is not easy. One day I’m at peace and happy and the next day I’m struggling. There’s a part of me that wants to fight hard as I go into this unexpected season of my life. I want to kick my legs and scream at myself. I want to feel bad for myself for how things turned out as if I somehow could have changed it. I feel like a little toddler having a temper tantrum at God because I am not happy with how things turned out.
But where does this get me? Where does fighting ever get us when we know what God wants us to do? Fighting with God is a waste of our energy because God is sovereign over all things. We can fight all we want to, but God’s will is still gonna be done. If anything, our fighting and unwillingness to surrender peacably is only going to wear us out and prolong our waiting.
So why do I feel this way? It’s gotta be my sinful flesh telling me to fight. I think of the chapter in Romans where paul shared how he does what he doesn’t want to do, and doesn’t do what he wants to do. I can relate to this internal struggle Paul is having. I know what I should do but my flesh says “no, no, no… “.
But the truth is, I’m only able to find peace and rest when I decide that I’m done fighting to have my way. I can’t change the things God is doing in my life. God has me on this path for a reason so the best I can do is accept it. I can’t go back in time and change things so the best thing I can do is move on. All I can do is do the next right thing and see where God takes me as I’m waiting. It’s only when I choose to stop fighting that God can work in my life.
The other day I was sitting by the river thinking about all these things. I decided I was done fighting. I reached the end of my rope. It was pointless to keep wanting things to be different. So I decided that I the only thing I can do right now is move on. I need to keep on going with my life while I leave the work to God.
I’ll probably still struggle a bit with my urge to fight, because of my flesh. But I’m realizing surrendering our life to God is a process of continually giving Him control and trusting Him even when we don’t like the place we’re in. It’s a hard walk, but what would this life be without these struggles that bring us closer to our dear Savior.
Roses are red, violets are blue, God loves me and that’s all I need.
Hey, it’s Valentines day. I honestly don’t have much to say about today. I don’t want to think about this holiday much because of the sad memories and realities it brings to my hurting heart. My heart is anxious for the days when Valentines day will be a day that I can feel loved and cherished by my guy. I had no idea that when the month of love came around this year I’d be dealing with another round of hurt and heartbreak.
But enough of my melancholy chatter. Yes, I’m sad and don’t really want to do much at all to celebrate this holiday, there is one thing I can celebrate. I can celebrate God’s love for me. I know that it doesn’t matter what circumstance I find myself in, God’s love for me is always with me.
So whatever state you find yourself in today, whether in a relationship, or single, or in a complicated situation, God loves you so much and has given you the best gift ever! He gave us his Son Jesus Christ and his Word. What a loving God we have and that is something to celebrate! One thing that I have done over the years whenever I have felt down is write letters to myself from God. A couple of years ago and wrote myself a valentines letter from God to cheer up my heart. I thought I’d share it with you all today. I hope it encourages you heart today.
I love you more than you’ll ever know. Don’t let yourself feel down because you don’t have what others have. Celebrate my love for you today. I have loved you before the world even began. My love for you is forever. I will bring you all the good things your heart desires in my perfect timing. But right now, my dear one, let my love be enough for you.
I was driving in the car with my mom the other day. Just talking about some things and I was sharing about some of the hopefull news I was hearing. As we were talking my mom curiously asked if it’s possible to hope if you’ve surrendered the outcome to God. She was wondering if hoping too much could be dangerous.
Well, that question made me think, and think, and think some more. I got real quiet for the rest of the drive as I went over all the thoughts that were playing out in my mind. I finally came to a conclusion. Hoping is a good thing. The Bible never says we shouldn’t hope, rather the Bible encourages us to hope and put our hope in God. But I think that we need to be careful though about where we are placing our hope. Are we placing our hope in unrealistic fantasies and desires of our heart? Or is our hope rooted in truth and centered on a true desire to see God’s glory displayed in the outcome?
God created us to be beings who hope. When we experience rough times, what is it that gets us through it; the hope we have for better times. We are always hoping for something, and that’s the way God made us to be. But if we don’t know God then we’ll only be able to put our hope in things that don’t last. Without God this life is an endless journey from one hope to the next. When we put our hope in God, we have something solid that won’t disappoint. God is what we were created to put our hope in.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
So how can it be wrong to hope? Again, it think depends a lot on the where we our putting that hope. I don’t believe it is wrong for me to hope that my relationship will be restored when that hope is rooted in desiring to see God’s glory displayed through the restoration process. But if my hope is simply rooted in my own desire to have what I want back then I should be careful. When our hope is in God’s glory being displayed in the situation, then whatever the outcome, we will be able to praise him and look forward to it. If we hope specifically for something because we want it and it ends up not being part of God’s plan, we will probably end up feeling even more hurt or upset. Hope is a good thing. But hope needs to be rooted in the only one who is good; our good God.
And then the question comes, can you surrender and still hope? I believe the answer is yes. If you truly have surrendered and have given the situation over to God, it is not wrong to desire God to use the situation to bring Him glory. If you hope for something because it will bring God glory, you can do that and still be surrendered. Because God will be faithful to take you down whichever path is going to bring Him the most glory.
So yes, it’s okay to hope. It’s okay to still be hoping for God to bring restoration and healing to our situations. It’s okay to hope for good things that will bring glory to God. But we must keep our hope fixed on God even if things don’t turn out how we want, or if the waiting takes longer, or if God doesn’t seem to answer us at all. Because we must remember that God will do what brings Him the most glory, which may not look the way we think it should look. But since our hope wasn’t in our situation, it was in God and His glory being done, we will be able to praise Him whatever happens.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame
It’s okay to hurt, it’s okay to feel the way I feel right now. It’s okay to miss him. I don’t know why I keep telling myself I have to be strong, I have to put on a smile and act like everything is ok. Because everything isn’t ok. I cried again today, the first time in a couple of days and it felt good. It felt good to let the pain back in and let the memories return. It felt real.
Things have to get worse before they get better, right? I know the pain I’m in now won’t last forever, but some days it feels like it will never leave. When I watch everyone around me living their life and getting blessing after blessing, I can’t help but be sad. Maybe even a little upset. Oh my heart cries; What about me God? Did you forget about me? Do you still care about me and my life? Why did you take all these things away from me? It hurts, oh it hurts so much to see others receiving the good things from God that I desperately desire.
I’m scared to hope, scared to think about the future. I don’t know what God is doing and even though I know he is doing something great and good in my life, it’s hard. But I hold onto the fact that God is faithful. No matter how hard this path may be, it’s the path I’m supposed to be on and it’ll get better. This pain won’t last forever.
I heard this song today for the first time on the playlist I had on. It was so encouraging to my hurting heart. I guess I just like the idea right now that things are gonna get better. There is hope, change does happen, and God is always going to be with me.
It’s ok if you’re not ok It’s not gonna end this way Today is the day to change It’s the time, it’s the place
All that you’ve locked inside Is ready to come alive Embrace your great design Now’s the time, lift your eyes
I don’t have to fear ’cause I trust his love I know where my help, where my help comes from
It’s gonna get better It’s gonna get better
There is no mistake I could ever make That you’d let erase all you’ve done for me
The longer I live I see Not a past that you can’t redeem I know my identity Failures won’t define me
I don’t have to fear ’cause I trust his love I know where my help, where my help comes from
I’ve walked through the valley, the shadow I’m ready for all you have for me All you have for me No matter where you lead as long as you’re with me I’m where I need to be
I’ve heard it so many times and I wish I could say I have followed it well. But here’s my confession. I’ve gotten really good at the let go part. Many times I have come to the point in my life where I know I can’t do anything, so I let go. I let go because I don’t have any other choice. But even after letting go, I don’t change anything. I stay where I’m at because I have to make sure I’m still able to help. Because God is still gonna need me, right? Surely part of the letting go and letting God work is gonna include me.
Wrong. To truly let go and let God, means we need to surrender and step away. When God works, He may or may not need us. God will make it clear if and when he may have something for us to do. But if we truly are to trust God to work, we need to be willing to let God do it on his own and in the way that is the most glorifying to Him. And sometimes, or maybe I should say often times, it means us not being there.
I don’t know about you, but this part about letting go and letting God is hard to swallow. It’s not easy to walk completely away and leave it completely in God’s hands. But I can tell you, it’s also so freeing. It’s freeing because I realize that God is the one working and God can and will be faithful to me. God is working, and he doesn’t need my help. Because God is working the outcome of the situation will not be based at all on any of my efforts. When I let go and let God, I am acknowledging that I can’t make things happen. It’s not saying that God won’t use me, it’s accepting the fact that God will work things out in his way, whether that involves me or not.
In a sense, it’s letting go of the control we want to have over our life and the way things are going. There’s song by Tenth Avenue North called Control. Everytime I hear this song these lyrics in the chorus get to me;
"Oh, how You love me
Somehow that frees me
To open my hands up
And give You control
I give You control"
If God loves us so much, then we can be assured that He will work things out in our favor and for our good. If God loves us and is always for us then we can open up our hands and give Him control. If God loves us so much then it is our duty and an act of worship on our part to let go of the things we hold onto so dearly, and let God work.
Where do you need to let go and let God be the one to work in you life?
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.
I have been thinking a lot about the story of Job.
The story of Job is right in the middle of the Bible. It’s one of the most interesting stories in the Bible because in it we get to see behind the scenes where Satan is talking to God and this helps us understand why we go through trials. If you haven’t read the story of Job, I recommend reading it, just for curiosity sake. It’ll intrigue you.
The book of Job begins with telling us all about Job and how he was blessed beyond imagination. And he also was a man who loved and obeyed God. But then the story gets interesting as we get to see how Satan comes to God and has a request to make about Job;
6 One day the angels[a] came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan[b] also came with them. 7 The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”
Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”
8 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
12 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” (Job 1:6-12)
Wow, Satan has noticed Jobs faith and obedience to God and Satan is so bold to say that Job only worships God so devotedly because of all the ways God has blessed him. It is a honest assumption. I could look at Jobs life and make a similar conclusion. What’s amazing is that God actually lets Satan take everything away from Job. If you keep reading you will see how one by one, Job loses everything. All his possessions and all his children, gone. And then we get to see Jobs amazing and humble response. His response to all of these hardships is;
20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart.[c]
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.”
22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. (Job 1:20-22)
To lose everything and still be praising God, now that is a faith to aspire too. It didn’t make Satan happy. Satan went right back to God with another request. This time he asked to take away Job’s health and inflict him with diseases. And God allowed it again! Job lost his health and he became very sick with sores and boils all over his skin. Job’s own wife and his friends were even telling him to curse God. But this was his response;
9 His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”
10 He replied, “You are talking like a foolish[b] woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
In all this, Job did not sin in what he said. (Job 2:9-10)
Again, I am just overwhelmed at how Job is able to still praise God and glorify God when he lost everything. Job was a righteous man. He didn’t sin or do anything that caused him to lose all these things. He wasn’t suffering because of the consequences of sin or his choices. Job was never told the reason why God allowed him to be afflicted with so much suffering. I can’t imagine what thoughts and feelings must have been going through Jobs head. He trusted and followed God all his life and this is what God dealt him. This must have been very discouraging. Yet Job didn’t complain, he still praised God and refused to despair at his unfortunate circumstances.
What is my sufferings compared to the suffering of Job. My heartache is small and insignificant to losing everything. Yet I can’t say that my natural response has been to praise God. Like Job, I feel as if I have done all that I could to follow God and obey God. It’s always been my hearts desire to please God. I didn’t sin or do anything to deserve the pain in my life right now. I have cried out to God and asked him why. Why did he do this to me when I all I wanted to do was follow him? The biggest question that has been on my mind with my life right now is why God would let me get so close to my hearts desire and give me all these good things, like a new family whom I love dearly and a new home that I was beginning to make my own, just to take them all away. I don’t know the answer.
But like Job, I know that God truly is the one who gives and takes away. God is the one calling all the shots and He doesn’t always tell us why he does things or allows us to walk through the fire. And like Job’s story, suffering and pain is not always a result of us sinning, it happens to the most blameless of people. I think that suffering often happens to those whose faith in God is great because God wants to test their faith and show to the world how great their love and devotion is. This is what he did with Job. God knew Job was strong enough to lose everything and still praise Him. God knew that Job would be faithful to him even when his friends urged him to curse God and die. God wanted to make a spectacle of Jobs great faith for everyone to see and also to kick Satan in the back. God looked down and he counted Job worthy enough to walk through the fire. Worthy enough to suffer for the cause of God’s plan.
I can’t help but wonder, is this what God is doing with my life? When I suffer things and lose things simply because I am choosing to follow God, is it because God is counting me worthy? Have I been counted worthy enough by God to walk through the all trials he has put before me? Maybe God has given me greater pain and heartache because he knows I can take it and I can still praise him through it, like Job did. Is there a similar scene going on in heaven, with Satan and God when it comes to my life? I can’t help but get this feeling like God is using this in my life to be a spectacle to those around me, to those watching. As I walk through the fire, God is my strength, and as others are watching they will see my faith. Oh what an amazing perspective this is to have! I suffer because God has counted me worthy! I can lift up praises to my God even though my heart aches because oh what joy it gives my heart to know that God looked down and saw that I was worthy enough to walk through this hard season of waiting. This is the reason why I can praise my God during this confusing and painful time in my life!
But there also one more aspect to Jobs story that should be added before I finish. If you jump to the end of the book of Job you will get to see how God restores all of the things Job lost, and God restored it back twice as before;
the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. 11All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the Lord had brought on him, and each one gave him a piece of silver a and a gold ring.
12The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. (Job 42:10-12)
God never does tell Job why he went through all those trials. But after Job remained faithful to God during the hard times, God gave everything back. Just like with Job, God doesn’t tell us the why behind every trial we go through. But God promises to be with us and promises to never take us through something we can’t bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). And I also believe that just like Job, when we are faithful to God during these hard times, God will bless us beyond our imagination at the end. Even if those blessings don’t come until we are in heaven one day, it’ll be worth it. Because to be counted worthy to endure suffering and pain for following God is a reward enough in itself.
If you are enduring any form of suffering or trial, I pray that this story in the Bible can encourage your heart as much as it does mine. It is a reminder to keep on praising God, to keep on choosing God, because God is using this pain in your life for his own purposes. Even if God never tells us ‘the why’ behind the things that take place in our life, we can trust that His ways are always best. Keep on following and walking with God through your hard seasons and know that you will be blessed beyond imagining when you get to the end. Rejoice that God has counted you worthy to walk through the fire and suffer so that He might be glorified through your example.
Lastly, I again want encourage you to read the story of Job and let the story of Job’s faith encourage you. And I wanted to share my favorite verse from Job. This verse is such an encouragement to my heart that God’s ways are always best and we can trust God even when we don’t understand what He’s doing.
I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
Have the lyrics to songs ever really hit you hard.
Sometimes when I’m listening to songs that I love and am familiar they take on a whole new meaning and feeling when I hear them in the midst of a trial. The other day the song “Goodness of God” came on while I was reading my bible. I couldn’t help but stop and let the words seep into my soul. I had to stop everything and worship, because this song reminded me that God is good, and he has always been good to me, and will continue to be good to me.
I had this song on repeat for most of the afternoon. I put the lyrics below because they brought so comfort to my heart. I pray they can bring joy and peace to your heart too.
I love You, Lord For Your mercy never fails me All my days, I’ve been held in Your hands From the moment that I wake up Until I lay my head Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God
And all my life You have been faithful And all my life You have been so, so good With every breath that I am able Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God
I love Your voice You have led me through the fire In the darkest night You are close like no other I’ve known You as a Father I’ve known You as a Friend And I have lived in the goodness of God
And all my life You have been faithful And all my life You have been so, so good With every breath that I am able Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God
Cause Your goodness is running after It’s running after me Your goodness is running after It’s running after me With my life laid down I’m surrendered now I give You everything ‘Cause Your goodness is running after It’s running after me
And all my life You have been faithful And all my life You have been so, so good With every breath that I am able Oh, I’m gonna sing of the goodness of God