It has been a long, rough year; a lot of valleys surrounded by some low hills, without much hope of seeing a mountain top. Between health issues and just raising two young children, most days felt like a battle. The hope that I could find the time or energy to write on a regular basis dwindled, and I tried not to make too much eye contact with the Word icon on my laptop. Over the year I transitioned from pitching adult tantrums in the presence of my Maker to apathy to grieving, and finally have landed at peace.
I cried out many mornings to God that I didn’t understand why He wouldn’t lead me to just shut my writing down. Many others around me are carrying on the task; they obviously have more time, and perhaps even more talent. Then my crying would turn to anger and I would question why He even brought me to this path in the first place, especially when He knew I was going to be diagnosed with another illness that would change my life forever. On and on in a sick cycle this behavior continued, until one morning last week after months of steadfast searching I had a break through that led to peace.
Peace. What a comfort. What a joy. Peace is a place I want to live forever.
“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.”
All this year, and perhaps most of my life, I have been trying to manipulate and control the circumstances around me. This year especially, I failed over and over again trying to control my health, my children, my marriage, and my writing. I obsessed over every little change I could make in my exercise, diet, medication, and other habits to conquer this disease. I obsessed over how I could manipulate my children’s behavior without caring as much as I should about the heart behind their actions. I grieved over feeling like a failure as a mother and a wife and the dreams my disease stole from both my husband and I. I grieved over not being inspired or having the time and energy to pour my heart out in the form of words.
Finally, all these things came to a boiling point. And I had a choice. I could waste more time wallowing in my depression, eating my feelings, focusing on what I could not do and what I had lost to autoimmune diseases, or I could start seeking a way to live my life differently. When it all finally came to a head and my heart opened, it was as if God whispered to me – “You desire to tell people about Me. You desire to share what I have done for you, what I am doing for you. Let Me use this. Give this to Me. Let Me lead the way. Let me use your weakness to show My strength. You are going to have to share your weakness, and I know that is one of your greatest fears. Do not fear, for I am with you. We will do it together.”
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Sometimes God has to let us carry the full weight of a burden in order for us to finally realize there is no way that we are going to be able to do it on our own. There is no amount of manipulation or problem solving that we can do in our own strength to fix some things. He wants us to bring it to Him and leave it with Him. He wants all of the glory and all of the praise.
I was bringing my problem to Him, but I couldn’t understand, until I allowed God to reveal it to me, where I was making a mistake. Over and over I have laid my health at the foot of the cross, but over and over I have gone and picked it up again. Plus, while I was there I would pick up other things I had left there; like my marriage, my children, and family.
Believe me when I say that I have had plenty of tests and heartbreaks prior to this point in my life, but many of them were prior to making Jesus the Lord of my heart, and the consistency and extent of the rest pale in comparison with my health problems. Most of my previous tests included circumstances that I could control, events that I could foresee and prepare myself for; which made me lean way less on the Lord than I am having to right now. My health issues leave me crawling to the foot of the cross, begging God to help. They are erratic, they flare at random and there is no way of controlling them in my own power when they do. I will write more about this on another day, because I could go on for days about how I tried to control this situation in every earthly way possible.
Today I just want to encourage you that if you are willing to lay whatever battle you are fighting at the foot of the cross and leave it there, God is more than able to use it for His glory. No where in the Bible does it say that as Christians we will be free from pain and suffering, in fact it says much to the contrary. Yet, in the midst of all the darkness of persecution and afflictions, we see a light of hope and love. That light is Jesus. Reach for Him.
It takes the breaking down of something that was imperfect to begin with to create a starting point for a magnificent Master-piece. Let the Master do His work. Let Him take the pen writing your life song and He will transition those notes of sorrow and pain into a glorious song that sings His praise with joy and peace.
I was really encouraged by one of the interviews in the video series that goes along with the book Becoming a Woman of Extraordinary Faith by Julie Clinton. She was interviewing Jennifer Rothschild on her journey through life after losing her sight. Jennifer had a few words to say about gaining peace that really stirred my soul. She said, “To me peace is something we receive as we release… Jesus said that He came to be our peace. He is our Prince of Peace. And when we fall before Him and say, ‘You’ve got what I need.’ Then He gives it to us. And we shouldn’t be ashamed to ask, even if we have to ask every ten minutes, ‘God give me Your peace.’”
It looks like my writing is about to take another unexpected turn, but this time I have peace, because I am no longer trying to lead the way. I have yet again stepped behind my Life Guide, and I am ready to follow His lead; even if I have to readjust my position to be behind Him every ten minutes. I am excited to see where this path leads.
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
All is grace and all need grace, friends.