Welcome to My Story

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The blog you’ve stumbled upon is more than a website. It’s my story–imperfect as it may be. It’s a record of my highs and lows; a beautiful entanglement of both the broken and the profound. Most of all, it’s a testimony; a written account of the God who heals my brokenness, and turns my darkness into light. It’s about the God who wanted me, sent His Son to die for me, and saved my soul; securing both my relationship with Him, and my eternity in His heaven.

 

It’s about the God who loves me, rescues me, heals me, and gives me hope. It’s about the God I yearn to share with the world; the One I wish every human heart on this planet could know. It’s evidence of brokenness and evidence of healing. It’s proof of imperfection and proof of relentless grace. It’s the beautiful wreckage of a soul that has encountered the love of Jesus Christ, and continues to delve deeper into that love with every step of the journey.

 

The holidays are coming up and I’ll be taking a break for a few weeks. I asked myself: If someone were to happen across my blog only once, what would I want them to see? What parts of my story would I share?

 

So I prayed about it, and I put together a list of ten posts–milestones in my story–to share with you, dear reader. I pray they are an encouragement to you in your journey, wherever you are. ❤

 

mountain top

#1: September 1st: And the Healing of a Broken Legacy.

“Four years ago on September 1st, after a lifelong struggle with addiction, depression, and abusive anger, my dad committed suicide. About three years ago, in the midst of the darkest depression I’d ever known, I stood at his grave and asked God with a heart too numb for tears, ‘Why should I believe I won’t end up right here, just like him?’”

https://rewritten27.wordpress.com/2017/09/06/september-1st-and-the-healing-of-a-broken-legacy/

 

broken pieces

#2: Nothing Wasted: Finding Hope in the Broken Pieces.

“A little over four years ago my life froze. A single gunshot seemed to take away all my hope for the future. My dad’s suicide changed everything.

I was scared. I was helpless. I was at that age where a person’s life was supposed to be starting, but mine had stopped.

After the initial torrent of emotion and grief, things got a little better. God provided, but I was still stuck in a circumstance I couldn’t change. And there seemed to be no way out; no way forward.”

https://rewritten27.wordpress.com/2018/01/29/nothing-wasted-finding-hope-in-the-broken-pieces/

 

Frost

#3: Through the Frost: Taking Steps of Faith When I can’t see Where I’m Going.

“On the ride home from a Jesus conference with my church family, the subzero temperatures caused stubborn frost to cling to the passenger windows of the car.

I get a little claustrophobic and panicky when I can’t see what’s going on around me. The only patch of horizon I could detect came from a tiny hole in the mass of frozen crystals. Everything else was a blur…”

https://rewritten27.wordpress.com/2018/01/03/1346/

 

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#4: I Bought the Boots: Taking a Leap of Faith (All the Way to Colorado).

“The conversations I had with friends and family during that time were almost comical:

Person: ‘So where are you going?’

Me: ‘I don’t know exactly.’

Person: ‘Where will you stay?’

Me: ‘I don’t know.’

Person: ‘How will you get there?’

Me: ‘I don’t know.’

Person: ‘How much will it cost?’

Me: ‘I don’t know.’

Person: ‘Why are you going?’

Me: ‘Because God told me to.’

Person: *Concerned look and awkward silence.*”

https://rewritten27.wordpress.com/2017/10/03/i-bought-the-boots-taking-a-leap-of-faith-all-the-way-to-colorado/

 

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#5: A Trunk full of Boxes.

“I stood in front of the trunk of my car filled with boxes the other day, and I thought to myself with grateful bewilderment: ‘This isn’t me.’

I’m not the kind of person who leaves their comfort zone to move halfway across the country. I’m not the type of person who packs up all their belongings in the trunk of their car and moves to a different state with just enough confirmation to know God’s telling me to go, but not enough to know entirely why or what will happen when I get there…”

https://rewritten27.wordpress.com/2018/05/19/a-trunk-full-of-boxes/

 

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#6: When God’s Call isn’t what You Thought it Would Be.

“Sometimes following God’s mission for your life isn’t a smile on your face or a beautiful view from a mountain top.

Sometimes it’s driving in the car as tears stream down your face, while your stomach churns with grief and longing.

Sometimes it’s frustration, discouragement, and fear, that seep into your consciousness and make your heart quiver with anxiety.

Sometimes it’s the last straw, the crushing blow, or the sheer size of the impossible looming over your head.

Sometimes it’s long days and dark nights, and blurred ink on tear-stained pages…”

https://rewritten27.wordpress.com/2018/10/04/when-gods-call-isnt-what-you-thought-it-would-be/

 

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#7: Finding Home.

“Home. That’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. More specifically: Where is my home?

Is it Indiana? Is it Colorado? Is it somewhere else?”

https://rewritten27.wordpress.com/2018/07/05/finding-home/

 

 

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#8: I Hate Waiting: Confessions of an Imperfect Christian Who’s Trying to Maintain her Sanity.

“I hate waiting with a vengeance. Maybe there’s some good little Christian out there who makes it through the waiting process without losing their grip on reality and collapsing onto the floor in sobs, but I am not that person.

I’m a total wimp in seasons of waiting. I’m weak. I’m confused. I get frustrated. I get angry. I get scared. And if I’m totally honest, focusing on God’s truth in a grueling season of bitter waiting just grates on my nerves. I don’t want to be mature. I don’t want to be calm, cool, or collected—I JUST WANT TO KNOW WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON IN MY LIFE.”

https://rewritten27.wordpress.com/2018/08/06/i-hate-waiting-confessions-of-an-imperfect-christian-whos-trying-to-maintain-her-sanity/

 

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#9: Letting God Mess with Me: The Day I got lost in the Woods.

“The other day I went hiking. It was supposed to be a period of extended time alone with God. The past few weeks He’d been laying some heavy things on my heart; He’d been challenging me in ways that terrified me, and this hiking trip was meant to be a day set aside to wrestle through these things with Him.

I wanted a break through. I wanted renewal. I wanted peace and clarity and some sense of direction. Instead I got lost. Literally.”

https://rewritten27.wordpress.com/2018/08/20/letting-god-mess-with-me-the-day-i-got-lost-in-the-woods/

 

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#10: The Life I Never Thought I Could Live.

“Later that night I fell to my knees, overwhelmed by a longing stronger than anything I’d ever experienced before; the longing to see God in the land of the living; to live my life in such a way that I would see the power of God and reveal Him to others, just like so many saints throughout history.

From that moment God has invited me to live such a life. He has held out His hand and offered me the chance to experience Him and His power with every step of faith that comes my way.

He has worked miracles on my behalf. He has healed and provided and restored in ways my earthly mind never considered possible. He has filled my heart with a fiery passion to declare to the world that God is who He says He is, and He will do what He says He will do; and because of that, even the weary, war torn saint has a reason to hope; to live another day with vibrant faith in expectation of what God will accomplish through a surrendered heart for His kingdom.”

https://rewritten27.wordpress.com/2018/09/10/the-life-i-never-thought-i-could-live/

 

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! With God there is hope, and grace, and peace, and joy–and that’s a reason to celebrate! ❤

 

Merry Christmas

 

 

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Take Me Back

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Dear God,

Oh to go back to that place–before the world became so vague… before choices confounded and decisions loomed… before my heart felt pulled in so many directions… before my emotions hung upon what if’s and maybe so’s…

To go back to that woods, where You met me face to face… where You draped Your loving presence around my shoulders and held me close.

To stand before that cross, perhaps an afterthought to the one who made it–forgotten amidst the trees–yet such a precious place to me…

There, my heart learned how to surrender. There, my soul soared with hope. There, I embraced true joy for the very first time…

There, You were my confidant; my closest companion. There, You sent out Your Word and You healed me. You spoke and barriers broke; fears fell by the wayside.

There, I knew Your heart, and You held mine. There, I heard your voice. How You treasured mine…

There, I gave my life to You. Over and over again I surrendered, and with each relinquishment, You filled me with the power of Your Spirit…

Bring me back to that place of mind and heart. Let me be overcome by the sweetness of Your Spirit once again; captivated by Your voice; held safe in Your arms. ❤ 

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I want a Hero: When the Heart Craves Tangible Love

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There’s no such thing as heroes… no one’s coming to save you. You’re all alone…

 

Years ago I penned these words to myself through tears. My heart ached for a hero. I was starved for the love and affection of a father figure–or any man in my life period.

 

Bleeding wounds caused me to scavenge this attention from any man my emotions became attached to. But it was never enough. It never stopped the ache. It never erased the hurt. It never filled what seemed to be an endless cavern in my soul. 

 

Discouragement, hurt, and self-pity made me feel as if I was cursed. Like other people have these things–but I never will.

 

Then I came face to face with the living God. Then He showed Himself to me in a way that sunk to my very core; an image that could never be erased.

 

It was a long process–years in the making. Dark days and long nights. Times I sobbed so hard my whole body ached for days.

 

But slowly, like the calm after a storm, the light came, and with it healing. One by one, the wounds were healed. Day by day, bloody gashes turned to scars. Bumpy lines, forever etched in my skin, but no longer bleeding. Permanent marks, ghastly at first glance, yet beholding their own form of beauty. They were no longer banners of brokenness, but testimonies of victory.

 

Throughout this whole process God revealed to me that He is more than some abstract idea or faraway being in the sky. He’s real. He’s living and breathing and He’s intimately invested in my life. He is the Father to the fatherless, and Defender of widows. He is more than a Hero; He is life and joy itself.

 

Toward the end of this rigorous season of healing, difficult circumstances struck once again. I found myself in that familiar place; needy, desperate, with a heart that ached for certain people in my life to be what I wanted them to be… I found myself wishing, If only I was one of them–if only I had what they had, then I wouldn’t have problems like this. I wouldn’t be so helpless…

 

And in that moment God asked me, “Do you want to see them move? Or do you want to see Me move?”

 

Despite my fractured daydreams, I knew I wanted to see HIM. I knew nothing could fill me up and satisfy my heart like an encounter with the Living God. I’d become addicted to this God of mine. I was captivated and entranced; in awe of this God whose love transformed my brokenness into beauty.

 

So I told Him I wanted Him most of all, and instead of trying to manipulate the people in my life to do what I yearned for them to do, I chose to trust Him. And He rescued me. Yet again. And He revealed His power and love in the process.

 

I still find myself longing for an earthly hero sometimes. When troubles come and circumstances overwhelm, I yearn for someone tangible to hold me; to rescue me; to tell me everything’s gonna be okay.

 

But in the silence, when the tears have been cried, and my heart has poured out all its hurts, I hear the still, calm voice of my Savior… He asks me to trust Him. He tells me if I hold on through the night, there will be joy in the morning. He reminds me of His love and His power and He strengthens my faith in His promises. And as the hurt fades, excitement comes. What was a devastating circumstance becomes an opportunity to see the Living God at work in my life, and I’m no longer afraid.

 

Jeremiah 20:11

“But the LORD is with me like a dread champion; therefore [the enemy] will stumble and not prevail” (NASB).

Psalm 68:4-6

“His name is the Lord–rejoice in His presence! Father to the fatherless, defender of widows–this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families; He sets the prisoners free and gives them joy” (NLT).

❤ ❤ ❤

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When God’s Call isn’t what You Thought it Would Be

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Sometimes following God’s mission for your life isn’t a smile on your face or a beautiful view from a mountain top.

 

Sometimes it’s driving in the car as tears stream down your face, while your stomach churns with grief and longing.

 

Sometimes it’s frustration, discouragement, and fear, that seep into your consciousness and make your heart quiver with anxiety.

 

Sometimes it’s the last straw, the crushing blow, or the sheer size of the impossible looming over your head.

 

Sometimes it’s long days and dark nights, and blurred ink on tear-stained pages.

 

Sometimes it’s a heartsick cry; a weary collapse; a prayer that echoes in the darkness–seemingly unanswered.

 

Sometimes it’s a breaking point, a relinquishment, a heavy surrender.

 

Sometimes it’s a deep breath, a determined heart, a painful step.

 

Sometimes it’s the willful decision to not give up; to not lose heart; to not take the easy way out of the calling God’s written on your soul.

 

Sometimes it’s blind trust. Sometimes it’s old truths. Sometimes it’s the words of God you cling to even though you can’t hear His voice.

 

Sometimes it’s a costly offering, a painful suffering, a handing over of your hopes and dreams, your strategies and your reasoning.

 

In the journey of life–when the call of God resembles all these things and more, there is but One Constant. One Fortress. One Anchor. One Source of hope, and that is God Himself.

 

He is our Father, our Provider, our Sustaining Love. No matter what expanse of time the uncertainty lingers, His promises always prove true in the end. And His peace, and joy, and comfort, and love are ours for the in-between. 

 

~Isaiah 58:11~

“And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail” (ESV).

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The Life I Never Thought I Could Live

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I remember sitting in a coffee shop years ago; my heart bursting with newfound hope. Ghastly wounds had been healed. My lungs breathed in air for what seemed like the very first time.

 

Joy. It was new to me. I’d grasped snippets of it here and there in years past—but never like this. Sitting there in that coffee shop, it was the first time I realized I wanted to live a long life—the thought of which had always terrified me before.

 

I’d found a treasure that kept my soul in a perpetual state of joy. I’d found healing. I’d found grace. I’d found the unconditional, unrelenting love of a Heavenly Father in ways I’d never experienced before.

 

God had crushed my dreams out of the goodness of His love. With a compassionate hand He saved me from the pursuit of lesser things and opened my eyes to the satisfaction that could only be found in Him.

 

I had tasted and seen that God is truly good, and having tasted eternity, mortal pursuits could never draw my heart in the same way again.

 

My life belonged to God. Filled with the joy of His presence I gladly threw my future down at His feet.

 

I read stories of saints—fellow brothers and sisters in Christ separated by centuries—and I grew more and more in awe of God.

 

They saw the Living God at work in their lives. They witnessed what all of society has deemed miraculous and unexplainable—evidence of a Sovereign Being at work in their lives and the lives of all they touched.

 

We as Christians often look back at people like George Muller and Amy Carmichael and countless others and we think “How cool would it have been to live back then? To have seen those kinds of miracles?”

 

We do the same thing when we look at the Bible. We read stories of miracles and victories and we think “How amazing would it have been to have seen that? To have been able to experience the miracles of God firsthand?”

 

And as I sat in that coffee shop, gripping the stories of those saints in my hands, a thought occurred to me: “Why can’t I live that kind of life today? We have the same God now as they did back then. What’s stopping me?”

 

True, maybe there’s no longer a need for God to part the waters of the sea, but there are portions all throughout the Bible where God promises to do the impossible on our behalf; to provide and restore in miraculous ways that are exceedingly abundantly beyond what we could ever ask or think. What would my life look like if I actually lived as if I believed God’s promises?

 

Later that night I fell to my knees, overwhelmed by a longing stronger than anything I’d ever experienced before; the longing to see God in the land of the living; to live my life in such a way that I would see the power of God and reveal Him to others, just like so many saints throughout history.

 

From that moment God has invited me to live such a life. He has held out His hand and offered me the chance to experience Him and His power with every step of faith that comes my way.

 

He has worked miracles on my behalf. He has healed and provided and restored in ways my earthly mind never considered possible. He has filled my heart with a fiery passion to declare to the world that God is who He says He is, and He will do what He says He will do; and because of that, even the weary, war torn saint has a reason to hope; to live another day with vibrant faith in expectation of what God will accomplish through a surrendered heart for His kingdom.

 

George Muller saw it as his personal mission to live such a life. In his book The Life of Trust, he said, “So many believers with whom I became acquainted were harassed and distressed in mind, or brought guilt on their consciences on account of not trusting in the Lord, were used by God to awaken in my heart the desire of setting before the church at large, and before the world, a proof that [God] has not in the least changed… [to be] a testimony to the consciences of the unconverted of the realities of the things of God.”

 

He says, “Do not men believe that God means what he appears plainly to have asserted? Or, if we believe that he means it, do we fear the charge of fanaticism if we openly avow that we take him at his word? … Why should not the believer always draw near to God in full confidence that he will do as he has said? …Our difficulty seems to be this: the promise is so ‘exceedingly great’ that we cannot conceive God really to mean what he clearly appears to have revealed. The blessing seems too vast for our comprehension; we ‘stagger at the promises, through unbelief,’ and thus fail to secure the treasure which was purchased for us by Christ Jesus… we must understand [Jesus] to have asserted that things impossible by the ordinary laws of material causation are possible by faith in God.”

 

George emphasized this argument for faith by reiterating the lives of those mentioned in the Scriptures: “’And what shall I say more? For the time would fail me to tell of those who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of [the enemy], women received their dead raised to life again; and others were tortured, [despite the cost] not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection…’

 

“We are, I think, taught by this passage that the apostle believed faith to be a power capable of transcending and modifying every other agency, by which changes became possible which to every other known power were impossible.”

 

This passionate belief of a God who acts on the behalf of those who love Him and step out in faith for Him caused Muller to be overwhelmed by “a desire to convince men that God was a LIVING GOD, as ready now as ever to answer prayer; and that, in the discharge of any duty to which he calls us, we may implicitly rely upon his all-sufficient aid in every emergency.”

 

It’s this perspective that has radically changed my life. This idea that God is alive and active TODAY in our present age; that God longs to reveal HIS power through our weaknesses; that He honors His promises and He will provide for the ones who are depending on Him in faith; that nothing is impossible for this great and loving God; that He has a plan for our lives to impact the world for Christ and for His Kingdom, and that He will surely rewrite the odds and obliterate all the obstacles in order to accomplish the mission and bring victory to those who have surrendered their lives to Him.

 

How do you get there? How do you begin to live a life based on faith in an all-powerful, all-loving God? For me, the journey consists of three parts: First and foremost, the Holy Spirit at work in our lives, because of our decision to trust in Christ as our Savior. He is the one who shapes, and transforms, and leads us into all truth. Second, the habit of consistently drawing near to God and abiding in His soul-sustaining presence. And third, acting out in faith with every opportunity that arises.

 

I am far from the end of this journey. In fact I’ve only begun to scratch the surface of who God is and all He wants to accomplish in my life. But even as I stumble and fall, my heart is filled with joy through grace at the thought that this Great and Mighty God not only allows me to call Him my own Father, but invites me on a heart-pumping, death-defying, adrenaline-racing, barrier-breaking, bondage-shattering, life-transforming, soul-sustaining relationship with Him in which life, though painful and clouded by wretched darkness at times, becomes an incredible adventure full of joy and purpose. ❤

 

Resources: Muller, George. The Life of Trust, (edited and condensed version by Rev. H. Lincoln Wayland, Pastor of the Third Baptist Church, Worcester, Mass. Benediction Classics, Oxford).

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Letting God Mess with Me: The Day I got Lost in the Woods

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The other day I went hiking. It was supposed to be a period of extended time alone with God. The past few weeks He’d been laying some heavy things on my heart; He’d been challenging me in ways that terrified me, and this hiking trip was meant to be a day set aside to wrestle through these things with Him.

 

I wanted a break through. I wanted renewal. I wanted peace and clarity and some sense of direction. Instead I got lost. Literally.

 

I tried my best to follow the state park map, A.K.A. the paper of lies, (or “Satan’s pamphlet of deceit” which I personally feel is a more accurate term); but those of you who know me personally know I have no sense of direction whatsoever. You also know  my artist brain can’t seem to decipher the collection of mysterious lines and dots printed on a piece of paper.

 

I ended up going on a trail that—turns out—wasn’t actually a trail. I found myself stumbling through the underbrush until finally I happened across a main road and was able to hike my way up steep hills back to civilization.

 

Needless to say, it wasn’t the warm and fuzzy spiritual experience I was expecting (although my prayer life did improve as I found myself pleading “Please don’t let me die out here… please don’t let that rustling sound in the bushes be a bear… please don’t let me get mauled today”).

 

Even though the day didn’t go as planned, God did indeed speak. Throughout my wanderings I stumbled across the remains of a dilapidated stone structure. Huge stones, once imposing, now shattered. A man-made fortress, once an image of confidence and strength, now in ruins.

 

As I stared up at the imposing rubble I heard God say, “This is what I need your heart to look like. I need your permission to break down your walls; to crush the fortresses you’ve built; to shatter the armor you’ve placed around your heart. I need you to let Me do this so I can do away with the old things, and bring about something new.”

 

You see, once upon a time I said my life’s purpose was to go wherever, whenever, however God wants me to go. I wrote those bold words as I packed up all my belongings in the trunk of my car and set out on a move that would take me halfway across the country to a place where I knew no one and had no idea what God had in store.

 

Though I was scared, I felt strong as I made that declaration. Confident even. And though I believe this confidence initially came from the Holy Spirit, eventually I let it go to my head. I started to feel like I was pretty on top of things. I thought I’d finally “made it” with this whole surrendered Christian life thing. But these past few months God has shown me there’s still so much more I need to surrender.

 

Wherever. Whenever. However. But do I really mean it? In part. I’m okay going wherever, whenever, however, as long as it lines up in some respect with the way I want my life to turn out.

 

I’m okay going wherever, as long as it’s a place I want to be. I’m okay going whenever, as long as the timing is convenient for my dreams. I’m okay going however as long as it’s a process in which I feel some sense of control.

 

A few weeks ago I attended a church conference. One of the speakers mentioned that, if we truly want to grow closer to God, we have to give Him permission to mess with us. She asked something along the lines of, “Is there a section of your heart you don’t want Him to mess with? Is there a portion you don’t want to give Him access to?”

 

Immediately my mind went to several things—maybe yours does as well: areas of my heart I’ve kept off limits; rooms cloaked in darkness, sealed shut by fear.

 

If you’ve followed my blog lately, your know God has me in a season of waiting. Confusing, aggravating, terrifying waiting. I’ve found myself frustrated, exasperated, and downright angry at God for not showing me what the next step of my life will be.

 

Yesterday, as I stared up at that crumbling stone structure, God said to me, “I need you to let Me break you so I can rebuild you; so I can make you stronger than before and equip you for the work I have for you to do. I need you to give Me your heart, your dreams, your ambitions, so I can bring you into the fullness of joy and peace and purpose that’s found only in My will for your life.”

 

I knew the point of that day was not revealing the next step for my life. I knew I wasn’t there to receive any sort of answers. The one thing God wanted to accomplish in my heart that day was surrender. As I stood there, a verse came to mind: Hebrews 3:15 “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts…” (NIV). Would I harden my heart and pretend I didn’t hear what He was asking me to do? Or would I surrender my heart to His will? That day I chose surrender.

 

You know what happened when I finally surrendered? Peace. For the first time in a long time my restless soul felt calm. And joy. Without the weight of wondering what would happen next, my heart was free to soak up the joy of God’s presence and rejoice with worship in what He’s done, and how He’s provided in this season I’m in.

 

At times I’m still afraid. There are still portions of my heart that are sealed shut—ones I simply cannot open on my own without the help of the Holy Spirit. But I am making the choice to let my faith be bigger than my fear. Because “I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to him” (2 Tim. 1:12, NLT).

 

It’s not my job to figure out the future. It’s not my job to strategize all the ways things could work out. It’s my job to simply walk with Him one step at a time; to surrender my heart to Him; to walk in trust and obedience and follow Him wholeheartedly in the here and now. ❤

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I Hate Waiting: Confessions of an Imperfect Christian who’s trying to Maintain Her Sanity

sam-manns-358058

 

I hate waiting with a vengeance. Maybe there’s some good little Christian out there who makes it through the waiting process without losing their grip on reality and collapsing onto the floor in sobs, but I am not that person.

 

I’m a total wimp in seasons of waiting. I’m weak. I’m confused. I get frustrated. I get angry. I get scared. And if I’m totally honest, focusing on God’s truth in a grueling season of bitter waiting just grates on my nerves. I don’t want to be mature. I don’t want to be calm, cool, or collected—I JUST WANT TO KNOW WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON IN MY LIFE.

 

Ever been there? Ever had a goal or a dream—something you believe God’s placed in your heart—only only to find yourself in the mind-numbing, soul-crippling, gut-wrenching dead space of waiting?

 

Maybe it’s a project or a ministry that burns in your chest, but there’s no visible hope of it ever becoming a reality.

 

Maybe it’s a career—a passion for a job you believe God Himself created you to do, but there aren’t any opportunities anywhere on your horizon.

 

Maybe it’s a relationship. Maybe his or her name comes to mind as you read these words. Maybe you can’t get them out of your head, and you think God might be in it, but circumstances have plunged you both into the agonizing crucible of confusion, and heartache, and waiting.

 

Maybe there isn’t anyone. Maybe you’re waiting for the possibility of a relationship period. Maybe you’ve got your brave face on, and you post a bunch of “I’m an independent single adult and I’m rocking it” stuff, but once you turn off the computer or put away the phone, your eyes burn with tears and your heart aches so much it feels as if it may shatter to pieces inside your chest because you don’t want to be alone and you can’t seem to shake what seems to be the God-given desire to be married and have a family.

 

Maybe you’re waiting for some sort of sense to be made from the chaos of your circumstances. Maybe something went horribly wrong, and now you’re reeling with shock and confusion and grief, and you want to be strong but the loss is a weight that’s crushing your chest and the pain seems more than you can bear.

 

If you’ve found yourself somewhere in these words, maybe the thing that hurts your heart the most is not knowing the reason for everything that’s happening—or not happening.

 

I can’t speak for the rest of the world, but nothing sinks me into the pit of discouragement and despair faster than a lack of purpose.

 

I’m okay waiting, as long as I know exactly what I’m waiting for. I’m okay running through a barren desert with pain in every step, as long as I know what prize is waiting for me at the finish line.

 

But sometimes God doesn’t give us an answer. Sometimes He doesn’t tell us why He has us in the waiting process. Sometimes He doesn’t reveal to us what the earthly prize is, or even assure us that there is one.

 

Sometimes He plunks us into the cold, dark, frustrating, confusing valley of waiting without giving us any clues as to the why. Sometimes all we have to hang onto—the only barrier that stands between us and insanity—is God Himself. In fact I’d say that, for my own life, whenever God puts me in a season of waiting I almost always find myself in that place.

 

Waiting, in my experience, usually consists of multiple stages:

 

Stage #1: Whatever I’m waiting for seems pretty unlikely, but I’ve got enough verses highlighted in my Bible to make me optimistic. I’m feeling pretty strong.

 

Stage #2: Things are starting to look a little bleak, but I’m clinging to truth and journalling out my prayers to God. I know I’m doing what a good Christian is supposed to do, so I’m kinda proud of the way I’m handling it. I’m staying afloat. I’m enduring despite the obstacles. I’ve got some battle wounds, but I still feel pretty strong.

 

Stage #3: Things are getting worse. I’m teetering on the edge of panic. I’m staring at God’s Word, but the storm is still raging. I feel like I’m following all the directions in the instruction manual but nothing is changing, and as the pressure becomes more intense I start to wonder whether the directions God’s given me actually work. What if I’m wrong? What if God’s not coming to my rescue? What if this whole “God’s got a plan for my life” thing is just in my head?

 

Stage #4: Nothing makes sense. I’m in genuine panic mode. I’m doing everything I can, but it all just gets worse. Dreams crumble into piles of ash. Plans fall through. Doors get slammed. Hopes get dashed. My heart feels beaten, bruised, and betrayed, but I’m still hanging onto my last shred of self-reliance. Surely there’s something I can do to make it better.

 

Stage #5: I have come to the end of myself. My eyes have been opened to the fact that I am completely helpless. I don’t have all the answers—I don’t have any answers. I give up all my strategies and my reasons and my efforts, and I fall on my face in sobs, pouring out—with unfiltered honesty—my helplessness to God.

 

I take the mask off. I let go of any attempt to impress God with my deeds or barter for deliverance with a saintly vow. I let go of all claims to courage and endurance and I simply fall apart, weary and exposed, in the arms of my Creator.

 

Maybe you were feeling okay when you began reading this post but now you’re depressed. Like, What the heck? Where’s the encouragement in that? Come on, inspirational Christian blogger, where’s the advice? Where’s the quick fix? Where’s the practical three step process to get me out of this mess? Shouldn’t you at least offer me some “good Christian” tips on how to keep my head up and a smile on my face in the midst of it all?

 

Not today. God didn’t give me any helpful tips to share this time. I’m still in my own personal season of waiting—which I’m sure many of you are as well, and He hasn’t given me an answer, or a reason, or a date I can put on my calendar so I can count down to the moment it will all make sense.

 

All He’s said to me—and all I believe He wants me to share with you—is that when your journey of waiting lands you in that bitter, painful place, the arms of God will hold you; and if you allow Him full access to your helplessness, your fragile human heart will touch the heart of God. When that happens your soul will be drawn into deeper intimacy with His Spirit.

 

He tells me not to be afraid of that broken place; not to be afraid of collapsing into a heap and coming to the end of myself, because it’s in that place that He binds my heart to His and gives me hope. The place that looks like defeat and despair to me, is actually the place where my frail human soul gains access to the riches of the presence of God, and in His presence there is comfort, and peace, and—yes—even joy in the midst of it all. ❤

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