Can I be honest?
Sometimes, it’s hard to know how to begin posts like this. Posts written in the hopes of encouraging someone who reads it. Of offering a little light in the midst of lousy circumstances.
It’s hard because I’m still learning how to navigate discouragement and grief myself, and I don’t want to come across as having it all figured out.
Spoiler: I don’t.
Still, God’s been teaching me so much recently, and it feels wrong to keep it to myself. So, here goes.
The last several weeks have been, in a word, awful. Don’t get me wrong. Good things have still been happening in the midst of it all, but, for the most part, it’s seemed like everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong. Know the feeling?
A friend recently asked me how they could be praying for me and my family. My first thought was that if she had two hours to listen, I might be able to scratch the surface. I told her that, lately, I felt like it was just one thing after another, and I felt like I was barely keeping my head above water.
I still feel like that some days.
And then two things happened, both small, but unexpectedly powerful.
I found myself sitting in Psalm 34, clinging to verse 18, in particular.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.Psalm 34:18
This verse is so familiar. I’ve read it a million times. But this time, it hit different. All of a sudden, this was a promise I could feel the weight and shape of, and it became my life preserver out at sea.
Then, on a day when I was feeling particularly exhausted, my dad bought my mom flowers, and she kindly surprised me with a few flowers from her bouquet.
I set the flowers on my windowsill, and immediately heard God whisper, “No rain, no flowers.”
Sometimes, when I hear God, I don’t immediately understand what He’s getting at, but this time, I did.
That flood of lousy circumstances? They provided fertile ground for God to show off His faithfulness. They created the opportunity for my reliance on God to grow. If anything has been apparent the last month, it’s that I’m not in control.
But every day of these recent weeks has been an invitation to rest in the One who is.
I don’t mean that this is an easy fix or that it erases the pain of heartbreaking circumstances.
I still feel the pain and exhaustion, but at the same time, I’m now confident of this:
God has been with me and my family all the while.
He never lost track of us, and He’s never going to.
Whether we’re in the midst of wonderful or awful circumstances, He’s right here with us in the middle of it, and He’s using these hard things to create something beautiful, to increase our faith, and remind us that when we can’t see a resolution or a way forward, He’s faithful to lead us and work everything out for good.
In the last month, I’ve found that nothing is steady but God.
And that when the floods threaten to engulf me and the ones I love, He’s faithful to use that driving rain to grow the most stunning flowers we’ll ever see.
What has God been teaching you lately? I’d love for us to share and encourage each other in the comments!
A small peek at what I’ve been…
Flourish, Mike Donehey’s new album.
This is a new favorite of mine, especially Standing At the Edge of My World, Glory I Couldn’t See, Flourish, and Breathe In, Breathe Out (OK, I love them all. Go give it a listen!)
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series, by Maryrose Wood.
This series is whimsical and full of wit and mystery. I absolutely love and highly recommend it!
The History of the Hobbit by John D. Rateliff.
As the grad school saga continues, I am making my way through this Tome (yes, it is worthy of that title!), but I am finally over halfway through it, and I don’t think there will be another book that makes me feel so accomplished after reading it!
What have you been reading or listening to?
Next week, a fun giveaway begins and my review for Tammy Lash’s Letters from the Dragon’s Son publishes! I can’t wait to share it!
Until then, happy reading!