Tag Archives: pain

A Closer Walk: Hold On To Hope In The Dark

It’s hard to hold on to hope, when you’re waiting in the dark, doing daily combat with oppressing fears.

Sometimes, you listen to sermons, you read the Bible, you fight “the dark” for all you’re worth—clutching for truth as if your life depends upon it—because it does.

I have those days when I have a strong grip on hope. My feet are firmly planted. I’m on course.

Led to a wildernessI also have days, when it seems like the slightest breeze will send my ship off the edge of the world the way the ancient mariners once believed; days when I am weary in soul and tired of waiting for things to change.

Unrelenting trouble can be so exhausting.

What do you do when you’re just, too tired, to hold on anymore?

Nothing.

(Uh-huh, you heard right.)

You do nothing at all—because those are the days when the only thing you can do—is let His love wrap around you and hold on to you.

Listen, no matter how deep the hole you or I might find ourselves in, no matter how black our night looks—His mercy will be there.

His mercy is sometimes tough, sometimes tender, but always, always there.

New every morningNew, in the middle of the night.

New, in the morning.

New, when I feel close to Him.

New, when I don’t.

No matter how dim hope’s candle burns…

He’s quietly there fanning it back into a flame.

I’ve learned a lot about hope walking through my dark valleys, and Jesus has taught me a lot, about the kind of encouragement that brings life. But mostly, He’s taught me that His love never, ever, lets go… no matter how long the darkness in my circumstances lasts.

Because of that?

I have learned to let go of my “why’s” letting Him plant the seeds for new hope in all of my soul’s dry and barren places.

Then, I can hold on to His hope when life gets HARD…

Hold On To HopeWhile He takes me in His arms… and we dance.

It wasn’t easy learning to accept His invitation to surrender, “Why?”

(That cry of pain put up a fierce fight in me!)

But, may I share with you?

There’s so much relief in the surrendering.

It’s peaceful in my soul now that all those “Why’s?” have had their say… and gone their way…

(And this dancing in the Arms of Grace has made me strangely… hopeful.)

Perhaps I am finally at long last—learning to trust Him with everything. Not just the easy stuff, but all the gut-wrenching questions, He only answers with His own eloquent silence.

It is curious how His silence stills all my questions… while speaking VOLUMES to my soul.

It is odd and peculiar, how I am learning about this powerful love of His, by walking through dark valleys of pain and loss…

Stranger still, the way He keeps whispering, “For such a time as this…”

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VALLEY OF TROUBLES

When My hand lifts you up many will criticize and condemn.

Many will say, “Who is this?”

(Never mind.)

As I lift you up and put you firmly in your place, I want you to remember, that a prophet is never accepted in his own land.

You're becoming a door of hope!Many will say you don’t deserve My favor. Many will accuse you of things you have not done.

(Never mind.)

It is part of the cost.

To be chosen for such honor will cost you dearly.

This is why you have gone through this Valley of Troubles.

All the lies, and false accusations; all the scorn and slander; it is only a fortaste of what is yet to be endured.

You have wanted many times to ask Me, “Why?”

(You have let the question die in your throat.)

Well, My child, this is why… training, toughening, and tenderizing.

(To be given so much blessing requires very refined graces to carry.)

Your schooling will soon be complete; lessons soon over.

Preparation for all that is ahead is essential for your balance.

And we dance...

You will be grateful in days to come.

You will thank Me over and over for bringing you through this valley.

As I take your life, and transform it from an agony to an ecstasy, and others gather to exclaim, “Who is this?”

You and I will look each other full in the face, smile, and say, “…a door of hope!”

a closer walk“…He personally will come and pick you up, and set you firmly in place, and make you stronger than ever.”

1 Peter 5:101 Peter 5:10
English: World English Bible - WEB

10 But may the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.

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A Closer Walk: Looking For Pain’s Logic

I could see the logic.

I mean, there are awful things going on in the world… and there are Christians who are suffering… dying… everywhere.

Where had I gotten the idea that the Bible taught I would always be kept safe from trouble?

When I started to search the scriptures again, it painted an honest and accurate picture of men and women who believed and trusted God, and yet suffered pain and loss, and sometimes even death. The scriptures were full of dirges and laments; songs of passionate questioning, pain, and deep sorrows.

Why had I believed that these songs would not someday be mine to sing?

I was being childish.

Who did I think I was to be entitled to a pain-free-life?

forgivenessI had wanted to only follow a safe God… a God who would always protect me from all hurt, in all circumstances. I decided I would listen more carefully to some of the teachers I had followed. Sure, they taught the Word of God, but I was beginning to see that they predominantly taught only one type of Truth. Yes, there is victory and prosperity for those who obey, trust, and believe… but sometimes, there is also sickness, suffering, sorrow, and loss.

As I began to honestly look at the stories of Joseph and Job; Isaiah and Jeremiah; the disciples of the early church, and the Apostle Paul in particular, my eyes beheld the worst kind of suffering. I had been taught that Paul was one of the greatest Christians that ever lived, and yet he suffered terribly for his faith. (And, who could have done more than he had?) Why had I believed that if I just, did enough… prayed enough… believed enough… declared enough—God would protect me from all harm? Wasn’t all my doing a sort of idoltry? Rub the magic lamp, or say a sincere prayer, and the genie will pop out and do my bidding?

performance condemnation trap

Wasn’t I really idolizing my own comfort; hoping for a way, or a formula, to manipulate God into giving me the comfortable and safe life that I wanted?

What selfish foolishness.

My eyes were open alright, and I was beginning to see, but I didn’t like what I saw.

(No, not one bit!)

I began to wonder if maybe, I really deserved all the bad stuff that had happened?

(Now I was really depressed.)

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SING!

Oh, My dear child, how I see you struggling to walk in freedom, but dear one, your jailers are not the condemnation of those around you. That is why you still struggle so.

(No, Sweetheart.)

The one who keeps you bound—is YOU!

Let Me explain.

making bricksYou grew up in terrible slavery. So did your parents, and their parents, etc., etc. Generations of “brick-makers” just like the children of long ago, enslaved to the Egyptians, making bricks. But you are no longer in Egypt child, yet you still have the voice of the evil taskmaster in your head. Instead of shouting, “Clay! Straw! Water!” he whispers, “Try harder! Do more! Perform!” and so you obey, and do, do, do… to the point of exhaustion.

But honey, I set you FREE.

What does My Word say?

“Who will set me free from my slavery to this deadly lower nature? Thank God! It has been done by Jesus Christ our Lord. He has set me free.”    Romans 7:24-25Romans 7:24-25
English: World English Bible - WEB

24 What a wretched man I am! Who will deliver me out of the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ, our Lord! So then with the mind, I myself serve God’s law, but with the flesh, the sin’s law.

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The next time your old task-master whispers, “Do more. Try harder.” and you are tempted to begin laboring, by bending your back in the “brick-pits of performance,” remember who bought your freedom. (Me!) I have released you from “performance-condemnation” forever!

free to be myself

Remember the song…

I’m under the blood of the Lamb; who covers the guilt of my past. By the mercies of God, Holy and righteousness I stand. I’m under the blood of the Lamb; I’m safe and secure from the enemies hand…Sing, Sweetheart, sing…

Your song!

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“So now there is no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ Jesus.”

Romans 8:1Romans 8:1
English: World English Bible - WEB

8 1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who don’t walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

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God Is Real & The Bible Is Truth with Kim Bond

Part 1: Is God Whispering Or Shouting?

Is God whispering your name?

Is He?

This storm you’re in—could it be that God isn’t whispering but actually shouting to you?

It could be.

It might be.

I wonder.

“Do heroes know when they are heroic? Rarely. Are historic moments acknowledged when they happen? You know the answer to that one. (If not, a visit to the manger will remind you.) We seldom see history in the making, and we seldom recognize heroes. Which is just as well, for if we knew either, we might mess up both. But we’d do well to keep our eyes open. Tomorrow’s Spurgeon might be mowing your lawn. And the hero who inspires him might be nearer than you think. He might be in your mirror.”

― Max Lucado, When God Whispers Your Name

 

(I wonder?)

The more God empties your hands for other work the more you may know He has special work to give them.

— Edmund Garrett

If Job could have known, as he sat there in the ashes, bruising his heart on this problem of Providence, that in the trouble that had come upon him he was doing what one man may do to work out the problem for the world, he might again have taken courage. No man lives to himself. Job’s life is but your life and mine written in larger text… So, then, though we may not know what trials wait on any of us, we can believe that, as the days in which Job wrestled with his dark maladies are the only days that make him worth remembrance, and but for which his name had never been written in the book of life, so the days through which we struggle, finding no way, but never losing the light, will be the most significant we are called to live.

— Robert Collyer

As evening fell, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.”

So they took him just as He was and started out, leaving the crowds behind (though other boats followed). But soon a terrible storm arose. High waves began to break into the boat until it was nearly full of water and about to sink. Jesus was asleep at the back of the boat with His head on a cushion.

Frantically they wakened Him, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you even care that we are all about to drown?”

Then He rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Quiet down!” And the wind fell, and there was a great calm! And He asked them, “Why were you so fearful? Don’t you even yet have confidence in Me?”

Gospel of Mark 4:35-40Mark 4:35-40
English: World English Bible - WEB

35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let’s go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the multitude, they took him with them, even as he was, in the boat. Other small boats were also with him. 37 There arose a great wind storm, and the waves beat into the boat, so much that the boat was already filled. 38 He himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion, and they woke him up, and told him, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are dying?” 39 He awoke, and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” The wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? How is it that you have no faith?”

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The Living Bible

God whispering your name

 

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A Closer Walk: When God Asks Something Crazy

when God asks something crazyWhy would God ask me to do something so crazy?

I wanted to cry or wave my arms and scream at the unfairness of it all, but…

Sing?

It still amazes me how God will sometimes ask us to do the most extraordinary things at the most incredible times!

I thought, “Sing? You’ve GOT to be kidding!”

That was perhaps the very LAST thing I felt like doing. I mean, who sits in the ruins, life in shambles, a fresh scar on their face, and then sings about it?

Talk about asking something crazy!

I still believe in the old adage:

Pain is inevitable. ~ Misery is optional.

misery is optionalSo, I decided to try to sing.

Not an easy thing to do when you are hurting and choking on your own tears.

(No, not easy.)

I thought, “Perhaps this is what the scripture means when it says, “Give the sacrifice of praise.” a sacrifice always costs you something.

I really was trying to cooperate with God.

Again, not an easy thing to do when nothing in your life is the way you want it and I had to admit, I was still feeling plenty “ripped-off.”

sacrifice of praise

There was a stubborn part of my heart that was looking at all the rubble and thinking, “Is this all there is, if you do your best, work hard, and try to do it God’s way? Is this what you get?”

I couldn’t stop thinking about all I had given up—the place I had loved, the people I had cherished, all the shining possibilities for a career in ministry, to come back to a place I hated—for this; these ruins!

spirit of entitlementI looked at the ornery, selfish, and downright dishonest people that I had laid everything down for, and this is the result of years of obedience and faithfulness?

That spirit of entitlement dies a slow and painful death.

I didn’t know who I was more angry with, God, or the people who I believed had let me down?

And worse yet, I didn’t know how to stop being angry, especially when I looked at the way things had turned out. And now I am supposed to, SING?

Still, with all this anger I wasn’t having fun-time, either.

A gray fog of futility had settled down on me.

gray fog of futilityBefore all this happened I had always felt I knew what to do or where to go, I had a sense of direction and purpose, I had a handle on life—at least a small one. Now, I couldn’t seem to get my bearings. I didn’t want to sing, but I didn’t want to be angry either.

In truth, I didn’t know what I wanted.

I felt stuck and I hated that, too!

There’s nothing worse than being royally ticked-off and stuck inside your own skin with nowhere else to go.

God had asked me to trust Him and I thought I had.

Now I wasn’t so sure.

What if my decisions had all been wrong?

And, if you couldn’t trust God…

Who could you trust?

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WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO NOW?

Ah yes, My sweet Dreamer, you are saved by trusting.

So, you found out the people who raised you weren’t the perfect people you wanted them to be.

Well, what are you going to do now? Be angry? Be depressed? Stay confused?

Honey, listen. What have I been teaching you for these past few years? You know. People fail. People let you down. People hurt people. Even the people we thought, never would, never could hurt us!

people fail

Where do you think that dream of yours was born?

I’ll tell you, through the things you’ve suffered. Dreams and dreamers that will change the hearts of men, and heal them, are not born in nurseries of perfect people posing, posturing, and pretending to have pain-free spotless lives!

Ugh, it’s a lie spawned from Hell itself.

Do you know how many of My children feel or believe, they are disqualified from their dreams because of their failure, or the failures of others?

you are not disqualified

MILLIONS—millions of hearts, full of millions of hopes, hiding!

Why?

Because they are convinced that all is lost before they even try.

And, how can these dreams be saved? How can these dreamers be salvaged?

They are saved by trusting.

Did you know TRUST is contagious?

Did you know HOPE is infectious?

Your enemy knows.

I guess you’d better get busy.

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“We are saved by trusting…”

Romans 8:24Romans 8:24
English: World English Bible - WEB

24 For we were saved in hope, but hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for that which he sees?

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A Closer Walk: Where Do You Take Your Anger and Hurt?

What do you do when the One you trusted to always take care of you, always be there for you, let’s you down? Where do you take your anger and your hurt?

where do you go?

You realize you’re adrift, because the One you really need to talk to about everything, is the very One you are convinced has betrayed you.

Talk about frustrating.

Now what do you do?

Where do you go?

To whom do you speak?

That was my dilemma.

I had “believed” with all my heart that I had developed this face-to-face, heart-to-heart relationship with God. I had believed His word promised that He would always protect me. He was “my hiding place” where I could run and tuck myself under His wings… close… right next to A Heart that I just knew, would never let me down.

At least that’s what all the songs and bible verses had said—had promised.

Only, I was let down.

Monumentally so.

And I hurt.

I hurt

Like Job, my life was shattered in a million impossible pieces and I was wrestling with how to reconcile my understanding of all those beautiful bible promises with my confusing and darkening realities. This ugly stuff wasn’t supposed to happen to someone who had trusted and obeyed! Was it? And, as if my hurt and confusion wasn’t bad enough, add to it, all my so called friends and family had stepped way back, only watching my chaotic life from a nice cool distance.

Daily, their stony silence speaking volumes to my bleeding soul.

Ah yes, Job’s friends.

The “One” who could have prevented all of this—didn’t.

Now what was I supposed to do? To, believe? What kind of a GOD was this? And, why had He deserted me?

What had I done but trust Him utterly?

I had no answers, only lots of confused questions, hurt, and anger.

For three long months, each day I awoke to another day of turmoil. Sitting in stunned angry silence. (I smile now, remembering.) Because even though I didn’t want to talk to God, God was having none of it!

And so He began to gently whisper… and I listened.

I was desperate.

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I AM WITH YOU

Talk to Me.

I AM here: with you.

I know the others left you ~ let you down. My friends sometimes let Me down, too. They tried. They just couldn’t be there for Me. You know. Your friends have let you down, too.

(I know.)

You will have to make the same choice I did. You will have to forgive them their weaknesses and frailty. Come, if I did it, you can too.

I’ll help you.

You must learn the difference between the finite and the infinite ~ between potence, impotence, and omnipotence.

broken vessel

POTENCE: a vessel for force and power. That’s you! In all these difficulties and trials I AM creating in you a ‘force and power’ for My Kingdom. What you are going through, is preparing you, for what you are believing Me for. I will help you through.

Now, IMPOTENCE.

(We have talked of this.)

I want you to understand and learn, once-and-for-all, where power comes from:

“Vain is the arm of flesh.”

Your friends only have influence. I give you power.

Which brings Me to OMNIPOTENCE: unlimited power!

(That’s me of course.)

Dearest, can you see now? For Kingdom work influence will not carry you through. You need Me. I AM your supply of unlimited power!

Apart from Me you can do nothing.

That’s not idle chatter ~ that’s your LIFE!

a closer walk

 

“But God is my helper. He is a friend of mine.”

Psalm 54:4Psalm 54:4
English: World English Bible - WEB

4 Behold, God is my helper. The Lord is the one who sustains my soul.

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Pain-Killer Laments

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It all stopped working God…

(What a dirty trick!)

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For so long, these pain-killers did their job.

I confess…

I loved them!

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I loved the numb.

I could breathe.

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A little at least.

Little seemed better than not at all, right?

effects-of-food-addiction

Then one day they just stopped.

Stopped doing their job!

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I confess God, I loved not feeling.

I loved just floating.

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To not feel the weight of my chains, even for a few hours, was such a relief!

Now, that’s gone too.

Now, no matter what I do. I feel. I see.

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And worst, I think!

Oh, what a blessed relief it was, not to think!

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I suspect You’ve something to do with this!

Not bad enough You’ve brought me here.

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Now You’ve taken away all anesthesia.

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Now I see myself as I really am—this fruitless tree!

Isn’t that an oxymoron God?

A fruit tree with no fruit?

InternetaddictionNicoDePasqualePhotographyGetty-56c0d79d3df78c0b138ea45c

 

 

Couldn’t You have just let me be?

Was it so much to ask?

Are-You-Giving-God-the-Silent-Treatment-

Never mind.

Your silence is my answer.

Oh God!

This pain! This throbbing, pounding, relentless pain!

drug-addiction

Wasn’t it enough that I hate this place?

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Do I now get to hate You, too?

 

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The DREAM-MAKER’S Promise:

The Caterpillar’s Prayer:

An “awful grace” isn’t that what the poet said? Yes. I don’t know anymore about grace Father, but if this pain is a grace? It is certainly is an awful one!

How does one thank You for an awful grace? How does one bless with so much anger in their heart? How does one breathe through the smothering black clouds of pain?

(I confess… I do not know.)

Jeremiah… at least you understood what I am going through. At least God has given that grace—an understanding heart.

I hear your heart cries from centuries past, and they reach me here… right here, in these ashes of mine, and I know that I am not alone.

The Keys

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To every broken heart He calls
The young, the old, the great, the small
If you will hear… just listen please
He sees your heartaches; they are the keys

~~~
To all He wants to do for you
Bring joy and peace; your hopes renew
He wants to take your pain and loss
And fashion it into a cross

~~~
You see, dear one, your open doors
Are in the hurt and pain, so sore
To glorify and honor Him
Your feet must go where light be dim

~~~
For in our darkness, grief, and tears
We learn to trust and hold Him dear
So come now… in the end you’ll know
‘Twas all His plan… His LOVE to show!