Where Were You?

Job. Not one of the most encouraging books in the Bible. In fact, at times, it’s just plain ole depressing. But now, this book found in the Old Testament is one of my absolute favorites. Not because of its relate-able suffering, but because of the sovereignty of God revealed within its pages.

My sweet family is finally coming out of one of the hardest seasons of our lives and I can say that Job and I had a lot in common through it all. Although we did not suffer in the exact same ways, the pain, confusion, frustration and desperation we felt mirrored each other almost perfectly. For the first time in my life I felt abandoned by God. Hopeless.

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In two years time, I left a job I loved, lost my beloved grandparents, had surgery, had a physical condition that was bizarre and took several doctors and months to diagnose, fell into a deep depression and suffered with debilitating anxiety and panic attacks that left me completely at the mercy of my family and friends. Just like Job, I found myself asking God “Where are you?!” Begging Him to heal me, give me peace and change my circumstances. I felt abandoned by the One who I thought I could always count on.

I wish I could say He gave me some great miraculous encounter that changed everything in an instant, but that’s not my story. He didn’t do what I wanted Him to do. He didn’t heal like I wanted Him to heal. He didn’t provide like I wanted Him to provide. He did not relieve my symptoms like I wanted Him to relieve them. He didn’t even speak to me the way I was used to hearing His voice. I was ready to throw in the towel, quit Him and this whole Christian thing for good. However, even in this difficult adversity I learned a lesson that will not soon be forgotten about the goodness of God.

Back to my friend Job. The only thing that brought any semblance of peace was remembering what little control I had over my circumstances. I know not being in control actually has the opposite effect on most people, but for me, this truth brought peace. Peace because of the words in Job 38-41. (Click the link for the complete text.) In this passage I was reminded of the power of God. His sovereignty. That no matter what I was going through, the one who laid the Earth’s foundation is the one who DOES have control. The one who tells the lightening where to strike, who set the stars in the sky and calls them each by name (Psalm 147:4). In reading this I was blown away by the power of God, the sheer weight of His glory and strength. The creator of the universe and all within it, is in control. He hasn’t left me, or abandoned me. Just because that’s the way I felt, didn’t mean it was the truth. In fact, He used that passage in Job to speak to me in a new way. I think Job and I got the same message. We didn’t understand the things that we were going through, or the reasons for it all, but God did…and does. And not only does He understand, He’s also patient and compassionate.

My husband and I have never been closer and I have never been more sure of my family’s love for me. In all of the junk that we experienced, we’ve come out stronger, closer to each other and closer to God. Life has seasons. Some good, some great, some bad, and some miserable. That’s part of being in this world. But one thing I know now for sure is that God is sovereign, never forgets and never leaves us alone. God doesn’t work on our time table, or do the things we think are the most important, but He’s still good.

I’m thankful that this season is finally coming to a close, but I’m even more thankful for my new revelation of God. If you are going through a rough season, please be comforted by the fact that you control nothing, but He controls everything. May you have peace knowing that He hears you, sees you and isn’t through with you or your circumstances yet. Remember this, the One who told the sun to split the night open is the same One who hears your cries, and know how many hairs are on your head.

This song brought me so much comfort. I hope you’ll take time to listen and maybe be comforted too. Where Were You? by Ghost Ship

Seasons of Suffering

A new season of Fall is well underway. The first “cold” front has hit and it seems relief from the 100 degree Texas heat is finally in sight. Some are saddened by another summer coming to a close. School is back in session, and the long lazy summer nights and mornings of sleeping in are over. As for me, I’m in more in a celebratory mood. The summer of 2016 has proven to be an especially hard one and I’m ready to close the door and kiss it goodbye! fall

As I mentioned in my previous blog, I’ve been pretty sick for the past four months. I also lost my precious grandmother in July. Relief from my health issue still hasn’t come, and getting over the death of my Grossemama still hurts, but I wanted to share some things I’ve learned form God along the way.

I’ve been lost, hurt and confused more in this last season of my life than any other time. And I thought I’d been through some hard things. The death of a loved one will rattle you like never before. It forces you to think about God, and Heaven in different ways. And if you’re anything like me, I was left with so many questions about God’s goodness and faithfulness, even in death. It’s kind of hard not to when you yourself are dealing with a physical ailment and the answers you’ve received aren’t enough and aren’t bringing relief.

But God promises peace in all occasions. John 16:33 says “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” God’s promise here seemed like a big joke to me when I realized I was dealing with something an antibiotic wasn’t going to take away. Peace was far from me and I was drowning in depression, fear, anxiety and hopelessness. It wasn’t until recently I realized that I was pushing away the peace God was offering me by choosing to not believe the things He said when this first started to happen to me. God promised me that He was going to take care of me, that a full healing was going to come my way, that this was His plan for me to bring back life to my heart and to redeem things that have been lost. He said I had nothing to fear because He is trustworthy.

There’s that word. Something I’m not comfortable with and haven’t been in a while. Trust. Even though He’s proven Himself trustworthy before for so many other things in my life, this one I’ve wrestled with. It just seemed too good to be true…there has to be a catch somewhere right?

(Before I go any further, I want to clarify that this was God’s promise to me in my unique situation. God has something He wants to say to you in your unique situations too, and His promises for you may look different. The only way to know what His promises are for you, is to ask Him for yourself.) 

Trust is a tricky thing with me. And for anyone else out there who has been hurt and had their trust broken, I’m sure it’s a touchy topic for you too. It wasn’t until a great conversation with my sweet husband that I gained the revelation I’ve been looking for. God gave me everything I needed when He first spoke into my situation. “Trust me”. There  is peace in trusting Him! It’s been there the whole time. I realized that I’m not in alignment with Him when I’m not believing what He told me in the first place.

So I decided to repent and ask God, change the way I think. I want to believe He is who He says He is and He’ll do what He says He’ll do. Another thing my husband said to me, “Everyone in this life will have seasons of suffering. But what sets Christians apart is the ability to have joy and peace in the middle of them. God hides joy and peace in every situation and it’s through a relationship with Him that we find them and gain His strength to keep going.”

A prayer for any of you who might find yourself in a season of suffering like I’m in. I pray that God reveals His joy, hope, peace and love to you in it. I pray that you hold on tightly to the promise He has
for you in your situation and that you believe He is who He says He is, and He will do what He said He’ll do. I pray you’ll grow closer to Him and get to know Him in new ways as you walk this out with Him. I pray that you will know and believe in your heart that He never leads you into places where He doesn’t have great things planned for you and new freedoms to claim.  And most of all, I pray you know He is good and you can have peace because He has overcome the world.