Tag Archives: bitterness

The Place of In Between

Saturday.  Friday had happened and they saw the One whom they had based everything on, left their lives for believing He was Messiah…tortured, nails drive through His hands and feet, hung on a cross and take His last breath.  So many thoughts and doubts must have raced through their confused minds.  How could the Son of God – the Promise – die?  I feel sure they watched from afar as His lifeless body was taken down.

Do you know what hopeless feels like?  To have everything you believed in…believed for die right in front of you? I imagine what the disciples, Jesus’ mother and the other followers were feeling was the epitome of that word.  I wonder if they even remembered the many conversations He had with them, telling them that exactly what had happened would and that it wasn’t what it appeared to be or felt like it was. I imagine they were so grieved and perhaps scared that they had forgotten.

Can you relate?  You just experienced a devastating blow and after what you’ve been through you may feel it’s over, that there is no point in even hoping, let alone trying to go from here.  This is where everything changes and you’re not sure if you have the courage to believe, one more time, enough to go on.  That’s the place of in between where feelings and faith collide.  On one hand, you want to trust and believe enough to take the next step, but you feel like your world as you knew it has just ended and there is really no point.

That’s the place where dreams die and bitterness and depression creep in…if we let them.  If we’re not careful, we can find the courage to walk on from that place and allow our faith to die.  Don’t let that happen.

Hang on, just a bit longer.  Remember and recite every single promise God has made to YOU.  If He is allowing you to endure devastation, it’s part of a greater destiny.  Sure, it hurts, and absolutely, you’ll be changed forever because of it – perhaps that’s grief’s intent.  We can choose to go from here and be changed for the better or be infected by bitter.

In that place of in between, God is the same as He was yesterday.  Still in control, still loving and still all-knowing.  Just like the disciples on that dark Saturday, although they were devastated they made it through it.  You will too.  “Be not afraid, only believe”.  Mark 5:36

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The Place of In-Between

 

Saturday.  Friday had happened and they saw the One whom they had based everything on, left their lives for believing He was Messiah…tortured, nails drive through His hands and feet, hung on a cross and take His last breath.  So many thoughts and doubts must have raced through their confused minds.  How could the Son of God – the Promise – die?  I feel sure they watched from afar as His lifeless body was taken down.

Do you know what hopeless feels like?  To have everything you believed in…believed for die right in front of you? I imagine what the disciples, Jesus’ mother and the other followers were feeling was the epitome of that word.  I wonder if they even remembered the many conversations He had with them, telling them that exactly what had happened would and that it wasn’t what it appeared to be or felt like it was. I imagine they were so grieved and perhaps scared that they had forgotten.

Can you relate?  You just experienced a devastating blow and after what you’ve been through you may feel it’s over, that there is no point in even hoping, let alone trying to go from here.  This is where everything changes and you’re not sure if you have the courage to believe, one more time, enough to go on.  That’s the place of in between where feelings and faith collide.  On one hand, you want to trust and believe enough to take the next step, but you feel like your world as you knew it has just ended and there is really no point.

That’s the place where dreams die and bitterness and depression creep in…if we let them.  If we’re not careful, we can find the courage to walk on from that place and allow our faith to die.  Don’t let that happen.

Hang on, just a bit longer.  Remember and recite every single promise God has made to YOU.  If He is allowing you to endure devastation, it’s part of a greater destiny.  Sure, it hurts, and absolutely, you’ll be changed forever because of it – perhaps that’s grief’s intent.  We can choose to go from here and be changed for the better or be infected by bitter.

In that place of in between, God is the same as He was yesterday.  Still in control, still loving and still all-knowing.  Just like the disciples on that dark Saturday, although they were devastated they made it through it.  You will too.  “Be not afraid, only believe”.  Mark 5:36

Reflections of Grace

No meeting is by chance.  If I never believed that before, I certainly believe that today.

I was in the store buying cold medicine for my son when a young lady and I began a conversation.  I’m apparently one of those people who others find easy to talk to.  She started crying telling me about her life and when she did, something inside of me quivered.  Everything she said that had happened sounded a lot like my life.  She started with her childhood in painful, familiar detail, how she had been treated differently than her other siblings ultimately being robbed of her birthright as the oldest child, having a sick child with very little family support, divorced, financial issues, church hurts…I mean everything she said paralleled me.  Anger and resentment oozed from every word.  I could feel her pain.  Listening to her started a rewind of everything I have been through and the pain associated with it.

This woman had anger and bitterness all over her.  It was palpable. Her countenance shouted it and her tone of voice certainly did.  She smelled of alcohol, pupils dilated.  I asked her if she used to which she quickly, almost proudly confessed that was the only way she could live with her “stuff” adding she would have killed herself long ago had it not been for her children.  With those words, I got it.

I’ve learned when unusual things happen like this to look for what I call “the God-side”.  I believe everything happens – including those we meet – is for a reason.  I prayed a quick silent prayer for Him to show me and don’t let me miss it.  This woman was me; I would have been her had God not saved me. For a brief moment, God let me see who I would have been had it not been for the intervention of His grace.

Admittedly, there are days when the hurt over what has happened in my life captures me.  Who doesn’t have those days? I shed a few tears and remember…but I don’t stay there long.  I choose not to.  Is it easy?  No. It would be easier to wallow and stay mad, hurt and disappointed.  It’s work to get up when you fall isn’t it?  You have to defy gravity and make a physical effort to get back on your feet.  The choice is yours.  You can stay down, because you know it won’t feel good getting up, or you can prepare yourself and make the effort to stand.

After she finished speaking I offered to talk with her more if she wanted to, and I took her down the road for coffee and a bite to eat.  When we got settled it was my turn to share.  I told her how literally everything she said was pretty much what I had been through, too.  Her eyes widened and she asked what I had waited to hear.  “How then, if all that has happened to you, are you so happy and positive?”  There it was…the reason for the encounter.  She needed someone who identified with her, her life, her pain one on one to tell her about The Difference Maker and I needed to remember why I wasn’t consumed with anger and regret.

This being a Christian…this faith we so freely shout about is hard work sometimes.  Life is painful and extremely unfair.  Those we are supposed to be the safest with often turn out to be our greatest betrayers.  Our circumstances can suck the very will to live right out of us if we let it.  I’m learning daily that perspective is everything.  How we look at things…and looking for God and HIS will and perspective while going through something can discourage us OR it can make us want to believe there is actually something bigger, something good that can be found in our pain.  I believe that’s part of the “work” of our salvation.

After our talk she had lightened up a little, and actually smiling and laughing.  I prayed with her and told her God was on her side and with her not against her.  I told her everything that had happened in my life and hers, I believe, is to bring us to saving faith in Jesus and getting closer to Him.  Once we understand that everything here is temporary and He is eternal and all of it is used to draw us closer to Him, it makes what we go through less devastating and gives it purpose.  The human-ness in us begs for a reason. He is the difference in our lives, only He brings good out of the bad and I wouldn’t want to live without Him – it just wouldn’t be worth it.  She said I had given her something to think about, that if that were true it would all be worth it.

Exactly.

The more I think about that woman, the more profound that encounter becomes.  I got to see who I would be, what I would be had I not been saved.  God allowed me to see reflections of grace in my life…how He had really changed my heart, my attitude, my countenance.  I could have been her in every way because that’s where I was headed.

I would say there are many people around all of us that are living riddled with anger, bitterness and brokenness.  They need our compassion but they also need to know the difference God has made in us.  Tell them and be sure you pay attention to the reflection you see.  That could have been you.

 “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16  (NASB).

FINDING GRATEFUL

After many years and many prayers, the Lord let me live to see a long time dream fulfilled. Once again I find myself in his “classroom” relearning a lesson I thought I had down pat: all things are possible with God but the all possible is not always easy. Just because you get a yes doesn’t guarantee smooth sailing. For some reason when I struggle after struggling for what seems a lifetime my feelings get hurt! That proves what a child (a pouty and willful child I might add) I still am.
Even when you get a green light on your dreams to become reality, the issues of life still are factors. Things like illness, financial struggles, cars break down, family issues are still there; the kids have their issues, you get what I’m saying. I totally understand why people seldom smile or look up and why some resort to drastic measures just to survive. Life is heavy. No one knows what another carries so be kind and be careful about passing judgment.
I recently moved from Alabama and shortly after I did, tornadoes ravaged the neighborhood I used to call home. A friend alerted me the night they hit that a tornado was headed straight for my old neighborhood. Most of my belongings had been moved from where I lived to my friend’s carport. I wasn’t only frantic for my friends and former neighbors, I realized losing pretty much everything I owned was a real possibility. I paced and prayed and begged God to spare those I loved and let go of my stuff. Gut wrenching and surprising at the same time. I had witnessed people rummage through the storm torn remains of their homes to salvage something of their own not understanding their pain at all. I got a glimpse that night. That’s just one of the many, many hard, sad, painful things that have happened the past seven months.
Here’s what I learned from taking a look back. More than ever, I see how hard it is to find grateful when your world is tossed into unrecognizable chaos. You may think at first glance there’s nothing to be thankful for. You may think there’s no point in trying to do better, be positive or even get out of bed the next day because no matter what you do, nothing changes. Why not do what would be so easy…pull the covers up over your head, be mad at everything and everybody, get a drink, take some pills, blow up at someone or worse, get a gun…
No. I refuse. I have moments when I can’t see the point. I think we all do. That’s the moment of deciding what I do with what’s happening. See, it’s not so much about what happens; it’s about what we do with what happens. Will I give up? Will I act on my feelings or will I resort to my faith? I can be thankful God’s with me through this current crisis, or I can be mad He’s allowed it. I can raise my hands in praise believing ultimate good will come or clinch my fists in anger I’m suffering yet again. I search for gratefulness. My method of coping is ushering up a prayer and deciding to be thankful. I know this is a recurrent theme in my blogging but it’s so important. I believe I’m supposed to share it because you have been sold a lie! Someone’s told you your happiness, thankfulness and contentment are based on your circumstances. Nothing is further from truth. Contentment comes from an inside work of God and the decision you make every day. What will you decide? No matter what you face or what you’re going through, look for grateful and I promise you’ll find it!