I’m not going to sugarcoat last week. I want too…because it wasn’t my best. But I won’t.
Here’s the ugly truth:
I struggled spiritually, even though I was doing a fast and God did some amazing things.
I couldn’t make myself write for days.
I cleaned. I baked. I painted. I watched movies. I ate so.much.cookie dough.
But I couldn’t write.
I didn’t want to share what was really on my heart.
I felt empty. Tired. Discouraged. Weary. Crabby.
I trusted God and his plan, but I was grieving.
Grief, they say, is a fickle friend. It doesn’t always make sense or help us to respond rationally.
This was one of those times.
With our recent crisis fading slowly behind us, all the energy and adrenaline that was carrying me and encouraging Ben ran out.
I was left face to face with my pain and disappointment for how things ended.
And I realized this morning that I was hiding.
Hiding from God because I felt ashamed that I am hurting. I wanted to trust him enough to rejoice through this season. I wanted strong faith that chose joy despite our hardship. I’ve proclaimed his faithfulness for weeks at the top of my lungs and I wanted to keep shouting.
But instead I was crying and hiding.
Hiding from writing because it was too embarrassing to be transparent about where I was at. I felt like a failure for not being able to shout from the mountaintops last week. I couldn’t even whisper. I was just sad.
So instead of writing, I backed away quietly and busily, hoping God wouldn’t notice my retreat.
But in my heart, I knew he saw me. And I began to feel shame about my avoidance…which made me crabby.
Even crabbier than the lack of food made me from the fast.
Friends, I was a hot mess.
Maybe I still am.
I felt so much shame for my sadness.
God deserves better from me…he must be so disappointed in my lack of joy and avoidance of writing was my pervasive thinking.
And my perceived failure rendered me useless.
I struggled to even meet him in the mornings…and I haven’t struggled with that in years.
Not because I didn’t want to meet with God, but because I didn’t want to face my failure.
However, I got up this morning and met him anyway. I have learned that I must pursue his presence no matter what. No matter how I feel or what has happened…because that’s a mark of genuine faith. Obedient trust. I didn’t do that in the past and it led nowhere good.
I honestly expected to get reprimanded, but that’s not how he received me.
In fact, I found the complete opposite waiting for me.
I opened the Word and found open arms.
I read something this morning that made tears pour down my face: a gentle and loving reminder from God about how he feels about me and my grief. Matthew 12:20 says this: “He will not crush the weakest reed or or put out a flickering candle.”
He doesn’t break those who are struggling and bending.
He doesn’t condemn those who are grieving and weak.
God is a God of mercy. He has mercy for those who are feeling bent beneath the load of his plan. He understands. He is not angry at me for hurting and struggling this week. He is full of compassion, and he is waiting to hold me if only I trust him enough to fall into his embrace.
Psalm 34:18 promises: “The Lord is near the broken-hearted and saves those crushed in spirit.”
This morning, I was reminded by his Word that it’s ok if I need to rest in his arms and cry. It’s ok if I need to grieve this loss for my husband and our family. It’s ok if I can’t shout from the rooftops. I can bring whatever is left of me, broken pieces and all, and lay them at Jesus’ feet and it’s enough for him.
I’m so grateful for the never-ending stream of mercy that flows from his throne.
I’m so thankful that he loves me even when I fall short.
I’m so glad that even in my brokenness, he never fails.
God’s not finished with me.
The story isn’t over.
I know that this shall pass. I know it will all work out. I know that God is good and he is using this for his glory.
I know that one day soon, I will be back to shouting it from the mountains.
But until then, I will rest in his shadow of his wings, crying and unashamed.
Because his mercy endures and his love remains unchanged.
There is no other love like his.
No matter where you are on the journey of faith…God is waiting with open arms. He didn’t send his Son to condemn the world, but to save the world because he desires mercy over judgement.
If you humble yourself before him, love is all you will find. There is no need to hide. No need to be ashamed. No need to avoid. A love such as his has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear (1 John 4:18).
I’ve never been more humbled by his love for me.
As always, I love hearing from you. Email me or comment on the blog and I will get on my knees for you. Let’s do this faith journey together.
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I love your writing and your heart. So refreshing and encouraging to me when you faith is weak and spirit seems dead. Those verses spoke to me even when I’m not in a valley. Thank you for your courage to keep writing!
Minta, thanks for this. I understand some of what you are describing, but only from my perspective. Well, obviously, right? But it’s helped me to try to understand what you are thinking and feeling. You know what, I feel sad too. I probably shouldn’t be so discouraged, at least some of these people that are polite enough to lie to my face. They could care less than they do already, so that’s something. 🙂
Anyways, I wish i could have done more to help produce a different outcome. Also I’m frustrated at God because I don’t understand what He is trying to do – then I feel ashamed of myself for that, who am I to be frustrated with Him? I’m disappointed in people I trusted because they didn’t do more, and it’s embarrassing to me that a community I cared about and bragged about produced all of this. I’m starting to realize now that my school was something I was proud of. Not what I do, but the school itself. And I think I had lifted it up as something to be proud of outside of God. Certainly a lot of godly people work there and I am very thankful for them. But it was easy to forget in many ways that my work environment itself is not of God. That hasn’t really been a secret. In a lot of very obvious ways it has set itself up in opposition to Him. It’s not that I didn’t know, I just chose to overlook it. This whole experience has reminded me why trusting things that are not of God is a bad idea, it never, ever ends well. Never.
With all of that said, if this isn’t evidence that our school needs Ben, and more people like Ben, then I don’t kn ow what is. This situation has a lot of significance. Ben’s arrival produced a massive backlash. Over what? Ben? No, he’s just a man. This was not a rejection of Ben, it was a rejection of what Ben stands for. And that is really why we’re all so sad. We just can’t comprehend a world that wouldn’t want that. But just read Daniel 10 and be reminded that spiritual warfare is real. If Daniel, beloved of God, had to wait for an intervention from Gabriel before his prayers could be answered then I have to accept that we will also have to wait sometimes.
At least I hope Ben can take encouragement that he produced enough that was pleasing to God that he got noticed. That should be a little bit flattering in a way, getting attacked and all. I hope God will renew in Ben a pure heart and a steadfast spirit.
John, thanks for sharing all of this.
It is wise and thoughtful. We appreciate you and your support. SO much. I have read this several times and each time say… Amen at the end.