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What do I do with this hurt?

For Christmas one year, when we were dating, my then-future husband gave me a beautiful, blue topaz cross necklace. It was the envy of just about everyone who saw it. I wore it every day. It was priceless. It was beautiful to look at and was a frequent reminder of the love of God and the affection of the man who is now my husband.

A few years ago, I lost the ability to wear that one-of-a-kind necklace. Our dog at the time was a puppy and liked shiny gold things for some reason. I walk into our bedroom one day to find her chewing on something – it was my necklace! She had taken it off of my dresser and now it was a mangled up mess in her mouth. The topaz gems were scattered around, some I never found because she’d swallowed them. I was heartbroken! This was not just any necklace. It was specially made and specially gifted by my husband before we were even engaged. I had planned on passing it down to my grandchildren. I wore it every day and now this “crazy” puppy had ruined it completely! It may seem silly to cry over a material possession, but I did. It was broken beyond repair. The gems were gone. It would never be whole again.

To this day, I still don’t have a suitable replacement for that necklace. I’ve tried several other cross necklaces I already owned, but none of them were from my sweet husband and none were made so well and beautifully like the original.

There have been times that my life has felt a little like that chewed up necklace. Beautiful friendships and blessed relationships that have created hurt or become mangled, leaving my heart broken. The hurt hasn’t always been something I’ve had control over, like death of a loved one. Some hurts I have contributed to, and knowing that I’ve hurt someone else because of my pain has made it hurt worse. Some things I’ve shared with others, in the hope that they could help me heal, but just like those replacement necklaces, nothing was suitable. Many times, no one has been aware of my hurt…except The Father. He is the only one with full knowledge about all of my pain.

 

On one recent occasion when my heart felt shattered, I looked up from where I sat, tear-soaked face, feeling on the edge of hope, searching for answers from The Father.

“What do I do with this hurt, Papa God? The pieces of my heart are scattered all over the place. How can I get past this. I can’t fix it, Papa God.”

Every part of my body felt heavy. I picked up two of the broken-heart pieces. They felt like lead weights. My tears flowed like an endless fountain emptying into a bottomless bucket. Through blurred eyesight, I looked for The Father’s face again.

 

The Father sat down next to me on the floor. Putting His arm around me, He comforted me. He didn’t tell me everything was going to be alright. He just sat there with me. He let me mourn the hurt. His presence and the embrace of His strong arms quieted my weeping and slowed my tears.

He whispered,

I know it hurts. I’m right here. You’re not alone, little one. I’m holding you and won’t let go. Sit here in my lap, my precious one. I’ve got you.

As my tears finally ended and my breathing slowed to a normal rhythm, I looked around at the mess. I looked at the broken-heart pieces I was still holding. Then I looked at The Father’s face. It was wet with tears of His own.

Opening His hands and motioning for the pieces I still held of my shredded heart, He said

Give it to me, little one. Give me your hurt. Give me the pieces. I will make it better than before. It won’t be the same, but I will make it more beautiful. I will mend it. I will heal it. I will restore it to the greatness you cannot yet see.

 

…He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
~Isaiah 61:1-3

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
~Psalm 34:18

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
~Psalm 147:3

Conversations

Lost…

If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
– Psalm 139:9-12

I’m sitting on the ground. Alone. Weeping. Exhausted. I don’t know where I am. I don’t know how to get there from here. I’m overwhelmed. I’m tormented by worry overtaking my thoughts.

I feel lost and worse, discouraged.

The map lies smudged and tattered on the ground. I thought I’d taken the right trail to get to where The Father was taking me. So why do I feel so lost and uncertain? Have I been walking in circles? Did I miss interpret the directions? I need help. I need a guide.

The Father kneels down to the ground, laying His hand on my shoulder His gentle voice speaking into my darkness “What’s wrong, dear one? Did you forget I Am here?”

He picks up the map from the ground and begins to gently fold it. He doesn’t need the map. The map is for me. I wanted to know where I was going. I wanted to figure it out on my own…or at least I thought I could follow it. After all, He’d told me where He wanted me to go. Isn’t some part of this journey my responsibility? Aren’t I supposed to know how to follow His directions and not get lost?

I don’t know how to move forward. The path isn’t clear and I can’t figure this map out. I’m so confused and lost …

“I saw you focusing on the map and what I called you to. You were so busy looking at the map and figuring out the way to go, you didn’t look to see I Am right here with you. I’ve never left your side. I know the way to go, precious one. You’ve never been alone on this journey and you’re not lost because with me you are found. I know you’re scared and worried about how to get there. Let me be your Peace. Let me be your Guide. Trust me to get you there.”

Will I ever figure this out? There are so many things I don’t know! What do I need to be doing? How will I know if I’m walking the right direction and taking the right path?

Because I Am with you. Stay with me and you will always know the path. You will see great and wonderful things on our journey together if you stay with me and keep your eyes on me. I will take care of the journey and the destination. I love you and love that you want to get there. We will get there, dear one. Have peace. Be patient. I have so much more for you on this journey than just the destination.”

The Father hands the folded map to me to hold and gently gathers me in His arms, lifts me to His back, and starts walking.

Rest on me, little one. I’ll carry you a little while and when you’ve rested and you’re ready again to walk, I’ll lead you. But for now, just rest. We’ll get there right on time.”

I know I can trust The Father. He is the one who knows the way. He’s never lost. It seems like He’s come this way lots of times before…or maybe that He’s made this way. He made the destination, He knows how to get there and He’s taking me there with Him.

Father, thank you for lifting me out of discouragement and setting me back on the path with you. Thank you for calling me and taking me with you. May I know how to trust you with the next step. May I seek your lead with every step along this journey so that I don’t miss your wonder. May I learn to look for you, see what you see, and take from your strength what I need for this journey.

Conversations

Who Am I?

Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child.
And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.
Galatians 4:7

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Who am I, really?

What am I doing?

Why am I here?

I can’t seem to do anything right. I’m just failing all over the place. What good am I?

These are thoughts I struggle with far too frequently. I am my own worst critic, especially when things aren’t going according to plan (specifically my plan). This morning, after what feels like a very long week couple of weeks, I was definitely down on myself again. I was thinking about all the things I’m not doing well – I’m not being a great mom, or a great wife, or excelling at work, or keeping my house clean… the list just seemed to go on forever.

I pulled out my Bible to find help and encouragement and read just a few short verses in Galatians chapter four, and paused on verse 7. “What does a good, well-rounded (not stuck up) heir to a wealthy fortune look like? How does someone like that behave every day?”, I asked myself. I came up with a few things: confident, secure, they know who they are, they know how their father is respected.

But right now, I don’t feel like I look or act that way at all. I feel like I’m “failing all over the place”, not measuring up. So I asked The Father, “What does this mean – that I am Your heir? How should I be acting?” I started to write down what came to mind: strong, loved, confident, teacher, encourager, learner, studier, held, wise, helped, capable…img_5407

This mindset shift reminded me of who my Father is which then helped me begin to remember who I really am. All that muck and self-guilt that I started my morning with – that is not what my Daddy-God says about me. That’s not who I am. “Failure” is not one of my labels. I am not a failure, because my Daddy-God is not a failure. I still have things to work on. I’m an heir, not a perfect heir. But I’m not useless, purposeless, or a “failure all over the place”.

Sitting on my couch with my coffee in hand, I thought “Yup. I do know this. Got it.”

I was thankful for the reminders and did have more peace, but I had an almost casual response. I still wrestled a little with my thoughts.

And then came the tap on my shoulder.

I was listening to the radio in my car (I rarely do that these days) and a brand new song by Lauren Daigle was playing. It was about what God says about us. It was exactly the things my Daddy-God had been speaking to me earlier this morning!

Tap. Tap.

“Are you listening to what I’m telling you, little one?”, says The Father. “You are MY child. My child is not defined by averages, successes, or feelings. You are my very own Daughter. There is nothing we can’t do together and I’m always right here to help you, to hold you, to give you exactly what you need to do all the things you need to do. Who are you? -You are loved, you are strong, you are held, you are able. You are Mine.”

To the Precious Ones reading this, if you are struggling with your thoughts today, know that you are His. You are held closely by The Father, who loves you so dearly, without condition. You are helped by Him. He is able to do anything you need Him to because you are His child. Who you are is not defined by the measurements of the world around you. Who you are is declared by your Daddy-God. You are priceless to Him. You are His very own precious, beloved child and all He has is yours.

What do you hear The Father say about you?

Conversations

I Don’t Know What to Do

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons;
He removes kings and sets up kings;
He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the understanding;
He reveals deep and hidden things;
He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him.
– Daniel 2:20-22

 

Knock. Knock.

“Daddy? It’s me, Sarah. You know, the prideful one? I know you saw me trying to figure these things out by myself. I know I told you I thought I already knew your answer. But, Daddy… I need help.  It turns out, I don’t really know the answers, well not most of them anyway, and I’m still stuck. Can you help me? Again. Please?”

I hear my Father whisper from behind me (Is. 30:21) “I am so glad you asked. Of course I will help you. Lets start with remembering what I’ve told you.”

asphalt-foggy-misty-97065

There have been a couple of tough situations for me this past few weeks – one involving how in the world I’m going to help my kids grow in grace and in faith through difficult and challenging times as they age, and the other involving how I’m supposed to grow and get into new opportunities in my career and/or my calling. I don’t feel like I have the answers to either one of these challenges at this point, but I had thought many times that I knew the “right” answers.

There was an opportunity at work that came up that sounded like a perfect fit for me, and it basically just fell into my lap! I didn’t even know the opportunity existed, but someone had asked for me to participate by name. I don’t even know this person and at first I was so taken aback and really humbled as I thought “The only way this could be happening is God!” For me, this was an honorable thing to have happen to me and the fact I wasn’t seeking self-promotion seemed to me like it came about the “right” way – as “God ordained”. Unfortunately, the next day I heard the opposite and that I wasn’t top of mind for the person or people who were actually making the call. Talk about a crusher! And talk about confusing! Wasn’t this from God? Didn’t I already talk to God about this the prior day and ask if it was from Him and give Him the glory for setting it in my lap?

Hm…wait a minute. I didn’t really wait for God to respond. I “knew” the “right” answer. According to who?

Well…

According to me: whenever something happens that’s good, that I didn’t go seeking, that always means its from God…

Right?

As I reflected on this and worked on memorizing Daniel 2:20-22 (which I chose to memorize long before this situation came up) I saw some words leap out at me

HE removes … and sets up kings…”

If God can (and does) set kings in place, how much more is He able to put me in the places I need to be? As I’m remembering this too, there is a story right around Daniel of a king who thought he was so great, that God had to humble him to the point of wandering around for years as a wild animal would (slobber and rabies and all!). God took him to the lowest human state possible in order to teach him that he still really had a pride-of-heart problem and it wasn’t until he could honestly say that God is the only one so great, that God then restored him to leadership and great things.  I definitely don’t want my pride to take me into that kind of situation!

I love the reminders in the Word of God. I need them. For situations like these, as I start to open up my ears and listen to the whisper of His Spirit, I am reminded of those who walked with God long before I did, and I’m still learning from them. A few days back I asked of God “What are you teaching me in this situation?”

It wasn’t until this morning when I was working again on memorizing these verses that I heard Him stop me at “He removes kings and sets up kings”.

“Do you see, my daughter? Do you see that you don’t have to strive or struggle to be recognized or to push through to what I’ve called you into? Do you see why this is true? Because every single person ever in leadership has been put there by my hand. You can’t mess that up. And every person who I’ve allowed in those positions has been removed by me when it was my time. I know you don’t understand everything I’m thinking about – that burden would be too much for you anyway. I want you to understand that you can trust me. I want you to remember that I will always make the best and right decision and as long as you stay focused on me and my wisdom and my strength, you’ll be standing in exactly the right places at exactly the right times.”

Thank you, Father God for this reminder.

“And Daddy? What about what I’m supposed to do with leading my kids well? I feel so overwhelmed at all the things I’ve already done wrong as a mom, and there are still so many years to come and…”

“Peace, Little One. Let’s look again.”

And so my Abba leads me again back to His Word and quiets my anxious thoughts with the reminder that He is the one who knows all the answers and He already knows all that can and will happen and if I will simply remain in the light as He is in the light, He will hold back the darkness in our lives.

He will reveal deep things to my children as He knows they are ready for them.

I need to listen for His wisdom and keep myself in the light. My kids will learn how to live in the light with Him if I will walk in the light daily instead of moving into the dark places where I’m the one in control (or rather, under the illusion of being in control).

“Remember?” my Daddy God says. “You picked your own daughter’s name as a reminder to yourself that: I already know. I have always known. And I will always know all things even after this time has passed.”

Once again, My Father God has ever so gently, like a loving Daddy does, turned my face back to His own and re-connected my heart with His. He has fixed my eyesight to see that He’s got this.

He’s always had this.

“Peace, be still.” He reminds me.

“I’ve got all the wisdom and ability you need and I give it all to you because I, your Heavenly Good Father, love you.”