Let me be vulnerably honest; life has been a struggle for me over this past year after a group of challenges affected our family. These stresses, added to very little sleep as a mother to a young baby, left me physically feeling very tired while also practically and emotionally having to adjust to mothering four children exhausting. The frustration of being less than me and the accompanied guilt and emotional pain, has been hard to cope with. I had days where I felt that I was coming to the end of myself, feeling completely overwhelmed and with no other reserve or resolve but to grab hold and hang on tightly to the faith I have in Jesus and His Love for me to make it through each day. I have found a certain and secure safe place in Him.
As it is, in the storms of life, you reach the point where you think that the waves might consume you. And appropriately, it's in that space where we come to our end, that we call out to God for help. When the overwhelm started to envelope me and I wanted to pull up a blanket over my head as the morning broke, I placed my hope back where it belonged. In Jesus. I again prioritised my time to daily spend seeking God's presence by pouring my heart out to Him and reading and studying His Word. I intentionally read scriptures and books that previously uplifted me and created space in my days for listening to sermons on television and podcasts. Doing this helped me to get my focus off my feelings, emotions and troubles and onto God's love and promises for His children. I am His child, but somehow I got sidetracked and took my eyes off Him and had them on myself. I looked at myself and found failure, brokenness and many shortcomings. I was not enough. I couldn't rely on myself, I was in desperate need of help. I knew there was only One Who could be enough. So one morning while listening to a song by Nicole Nordeman, The Unmaking, I lay down on the kitchen floor and wept as I asked my Father God to build me up in Him again. After that experience and the days that followed I found myself close to Him again, I am His child and He cares for me and He loves me despite my faults and failures. He is strong when I am weak and therefore I will praise Him even when I am hurting. There is power and healing in praising our Father God in the midst of and despite our pain. The song, Even when it hurts (Praise Song) by Hillsong United moves me. Have a listen at: https://youtu.be/hrSJwO5dJXg
I find these words from Habakkuk 3:17-19 comforting and full of hope:
Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls--
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer's feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills.
My greatest challenge in difficult circumstances, is my mind; struggling with negative thoughts that discourage me and the disappointing situations which bring me down or those that make me feel anxious. When I add my own shortcomings or failures to these, I become filled with fear and isolate myself wrapped in hopelessness. I don't think I am alone and guess that you have maybe also found yourself in a place like this before.
Have you? Are you?
During my time of confusion and fear, I held onto my faith and decided to vulnerably share honestly with close friends who then supported me with their love, encouragement and prayers. Healing began.
I know most believers can relate to me for having a desire to connect and share in relationship with other believers for support in our faith journeys. Whether finding ourselves in an easy or more difficult season of life, having someone walk along with us makes all the difference. We support one another by comforting words of love and encouragement, prayer and often just by relational connection and being there in those moments. Often when we find ourselves in trying times or difficult circumstances, it seems easier to keep ourselves distant. It might be that we are proud or embarrassed, but I believe the answer lies in the space of being vulnerable and honest with our Father God, ourselves and our friends.
There is grace enough for every situation. And God's grace empowers us in our inabilities. We find our strength and confidence in the all consuming love and powerful grace that God showed us in sending Jesus to die for our sins. Jesus gave us freedom and a reason to live and enjoy life in abundance, no matter our reality. God is the only true source for joy, we need Him. He is a good God and we matter to Him. What a great reason to share the goodness of God and the message of salvation with others!
This life is fleeting and how evident to notice how quickly time flies when we have little children growing up before our eyes. I see and know how important each precious moment of life is and realise the urgency we have as believers to press on in our faith life; loving, serving and diligently seeking our Father God in these moments and in all the decisions we make. Yes, we are only human and we will certainly fall short and make wrong choices, yet thankfully there is amazing love and grace for us and we should ask the Holy Spirit every day to lead and help us. We are God's instruments in this world and He needs us to spread the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ and show His goodness towards all men. I believe our Father God will use us despite our shortcomings, we only have to be willing and then He makes us able. I want to be living every day embracing my moments and shining my light brightly in word and deed into the darkness.
When I feel dark, I cannot shine, but when I put my hope in Jesus, I find light.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV)
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.