If I could go back in time– back to that difficult season of my life– I’d like to tell myself something like this:
Keep your chin up, buttercup. ☺️
This thing that is trying to break you, God will turn it around and use it to remake you.
This thing you grapple with, perhaps even feel stifling your breath… it will fade away. Rest in Him, Dear one.
This race you run, this toiling you do… the striving… it will cease. You will rest.
You will be brought to a place of freedom.
You will be new, remade, and stronger than before.
Do you find yourself on a journey you did not plan for? Facing challenges you never imagined being met with? May this resonate and encourage your heart too.
Friend, I wish we could press “fast forward” and skip the scenes of dark nights, problems, challenges, illness, loneliness and devastation. Oh how I wish we could. But the journey, the journey has so much to offer us.
We come out stronger, refined by the fire.
These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.1 Peter 1:7
God didn’t send the fire… no, He is good.
But He turns the storms life directs at us, and in His powerful hand, He transforms them from something that is set out to break us, and instead uses it to make us even stronger in Him.
I wish I could say it will be easy, friend.
I wish I could say you only have ___ days, ____ hours, and ___ minutes left before you find your freedom, your belonging, your safe harbor. I know this is what I wished when faced a difficult season of my life. I wanted someone to tell me things will be okay. And tell me when, how and where.
Instead it felt like all I was met with was silence. I even went as far to wonder, where is God in this? Why can’t I feel Him near?
But then, in moments of reflecting back on that difficult season… I see His hand in everything.
I see that He was there with me through it all.
I see that while I felt like I was left to weather the storm on my own, actually, I was safe inside His “cabin” the whole time— fire crackling, warm, safe and secure. The storm raged on outside… the rain, snow, and hail pelted the windows. But, I couldn’t have been more safe or more held. Interesting how I couldn’t see that in the midst of it all, but now, now I see. I was safe all along. I was in His hand, and still am. You are too.
If you find yourself weathering a storm, and feeling all alone, please know friend, God is here. He is MIGHTY TO SAVE.
The LORD your God is among you; He is mighty to save. He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you with His love; He will rejoice over you with singing.”Zeph. 3:17
He is working all things together for good (Romans 8:28). Be open to what He sends your way to help. His help can come in so many different shapes and forms: a deep connection with an authentic friend, a specific sermon, Bible studies and prayer groups, art, a Christian therapist, reading a specific passage of the Word, doctors and vitamins/medicine, the beauty of nature— yes, He can use any of these means (and so much more) to help you— to lead you on His path of restoration for you— the whole of you— mind, body, soul and heart. Follow Him there, friend.
He’s our gentle Aslan (Yes, I learned so much as a tender seven year old about relating to my Savior through the series “The Chronicles of Narnia”. Read it!) He can turn and face the enemy with just a snarl from his teeth, a deep throated growl and the evil goes running. He can also be our friend, companion, champion, and friend. And there is nothing that our “Aslan” likes more than being real with us, and letting us be real with Him. Standing so close, face to face, we can feel his “lion breath” and presence upon us.
“Connect with me”, He says. “Come further and deeper. Come with me.”
We feel the tickle of His breath upon our face as we nod and follow.
In His presence, no matter what outward circumstances we face, we find life, love, safety and belonging. I promise you, friend, if you hold onto Him, delve into the deep with Him, things will be alright. You will make it through. Cement these truths on your heart, they will take you through the rough times: He is with you. You are not alone. Hold tight to Him. He will bring you through.
If you’ve been on shaky ground, only an inch from losing it all… call out to Him. I’d like to promise you that He will swoop in and instantly restore you, redeem you, take you from that situation. But our Aslan… He does things different than we would have chosen. He is gentle, patient, kind, present. He is there when we call out in desperation, when tears drenched our faces. He is here even when when we don’t feel Him here. He will see us through.
I can see now how He wove all together for good… and how now, my feet are settled on His rock. He’ll do the same for you, too.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.Psalm 40:2
He brought me to His safe harbor. He will bring you to your safe place too.
Then they were glad because of the calm, And He guided them to their desired haven (harbor).Psalm 107:30
My relationship is now deeper with Him than ever before. He has been the anchor for my soul (Hebrews 6:19). He will be for you too, friend. Just reach out to Him. Draw near to Him. It can be as gentle as a whisper or as loud as an angry rant. He hears you, He is with you (Hebrews 13:5) and always… always believe that He is good.
I know for me, during a tough time, I leaned on the song “King of My Heart”.
It repeats over and over again, “He is good, He’s good, so good”. I repeated it to myself, my voice wavering at times, my voice strong at other times, my voice just a tearful squeak at other times… He is good. My spirit revived when I sung that tune over and over and over again. Yes, it is true! No matter what it looks like, no matter what we face, He is good.
And there is nothing in all the world that would cause us to be separated from His love (Romans 8:38). Our job is to keep the communion lines open. He is here, He is good. Repeat that to yourself daily. And again and again. As many times as you need to hear it. Outloud. Let your spirit sing with that truth.
Not yet convinced? Get to know Him from the Word. See His faithfulness and goodness in the Bible stories in the time line of the Bible… of how He sent His son to redeem us and bring us back to Him. He loves us so much.
Find the passages and promises you are standing on (there are a lot of good scriptures here in this blog to look up and start with now). Mark them in your Bible— and it doesn’t have to be beautiful calligraphy and doodles (it can be if you want it to be though)— underline it, underline it again— stand upon those words with so much force that your Bible now looks like a battlefield— marked, worn, and even tear stained. Write the scriptures down, post them around your home. Believe them in your heart. Speak them out loud. This helps change our focus from the problems instead to the WayMaker. We magnify Him and all else becomes “strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace” (Hymn: Turn your Eyes Upon Jesus).
It may seem so long, so hard, insurmountable, but friend, there will be a day you look out from the mountaintop, Aslan by your side, and you’ll say, WOW! Look how far I have come. Look how You’ve brought me through.
His brown eyes will meet yours and you’ll realize not only did He deliver you, but He turned that challenge into the ultimate bonding experience. Your heart and His now beat as one. And that, my friend, is the most wonderful place to be.
Would you like to read more encouragement on this subject? Click on my previous blog posts below:
Until next time,
PS. Here are some pictures of the latest Mountain hike we conquered last summer on our trip to Rocky Mountain National Park.