I just get so sick and tired sometimes. Maybe it is all the dreary and cloudy days in Winter. Maybe it is all the trials and tribulations that just won’t go away. Maybe it is all the frustrations I have with God not moving quickly enough in my life. Maybe it is a combination of all of the above. I just want to explode sometimes!
God always shows up when I am like this. This morning I was asking Him, “Can I just be done with working on myself?” And I got a very gentle answer. “You aren’t just working on yourself. You are growing closer to me. You are finding more of me. And isn’t that what you said you wanted for 2019?”
OUCH! I needed to be reminded of that fact. And God is always right. (Of course He is!) That is exactly what I said I wanted. Isn’t it funny how most of us ask for things and then when we get them we think, “That’s not exactly what I thought I wanted.” And the process getting what we think we want isn’t always what we thought it would be either. It’s all very confusing. Even my wording is confusing, but I think you get what I mean.
Life is just hard and suffering is a part of life. So instead of moaning and wishing things were different—which is my usual way—I want to learn to suffer well. If you are going to do something—do it well, right? It does sound kind of weird to say, “I want to learn to suffer well.” But, that is what I want to do.
I just read a quote today on Instagram. “Sometimes you have to let go of the picture of what you thought life would be like and learn to find joy in the story you’re living.” Now, I don’t know about you, but there are many days the story I am living frankly sucks! (Sorry if I offended anyone, but I couldn’t think of a better word.) But, I agree with the saying. I believe one of the keys to surviving life is to look for the little things that happen every day that bring me a little bit of joy and sometimes I am really reaching to find it.
That is why I keep a gratitude journal. I know I have mentioned this before, but the practice of doing this really helps! I try to write down at least three things every day that I am thankful for or ways I have seen God work. Some days it is hard to find three. Other days there are many more. If you need some help getting started, here are a few things from my journal: Sunshine, great counseling session, a weekend at Purdue to see my daughter, safe travels, time to sit and be with Jesus, a chance to read, writing my blog… You get the idea. And yesterday I was grateful for new bras. It’s the little things in life that bring joy. (Too much information?)
I know that sometimes it is hard to find the good—but it is there—usually buried underneath my refusal to see it. Oh I hate to admit that I can be a bit stubborn. Thank goodness God is faithful and patient because He knows my heart and He knows how much I want to see Him in my life.
Right now, I am in the middle of reading, “It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way” by Lysa Terkeurst. I am constantly looking for books, scripture and Bible studies that can help me get through my suffering. I highly recommend this book to anyone out there that needs help.
Here’s the thing I have been learning that last 20 years of my life. All of us have to go through a process to get to where we need to be. That process isn’t always fun and sometimes it really hurts. Lysa states, “God has to take me through the process of getting unstuck from what’s been holding me captive before I can take a stand.” I have had many things hold me captive in my life. I have had to dig deep to find them and I am still finding more. But in the process, I have found so much truth and have grown so much closer to Jesus. I wouldn’t trade that for anything. He wants to get me to where I need to be and to be honest— that is what I want too.
“The suffering will end. He will restore us. There’s a reason for this. He will strengthen us. He will make us strong in the midst of our feeling weak. And there’s a perfecting of us that’s happening in the process. When we think the process of long-suffering is unbearable, we must remember it would be deadly for God to put us up on that solid rock before we are strong, firm, and steadfast. And it would be cruel for Him to require us to sing before we have a song.” Terkeurst
Those words comfort me. God is making a way in the desert for me. He is perfecting me and making me strong, firm and steadfast. (Even though there are many days I don’t feel that way at all!) I can’t go by my feelings because they are constantly up and down. Thank goodness God is steadfast, strong and firm. He is the only one who can make any of us that way. I know when I think of myself—those three words don’t even enter my mind. But, that is what I long to be. I long to be like my heavenly Father—strong, steadfast and firm.
I have shed so many tears in my lifetime over what has happened to me and to those I love. I have seen so many awful things happen in my family. I have heard terrible words said to me and to those I love. I have seen torment and pain in the eyes of myself and other family members. But, when look at what He has done in me–and continues to do–I know that He is using this process to restore me.
“We just have to make the choice to see Him and rightly attribute to Him the good that does exist. I truly believe what keeps us on the path of longsuffering instead of veering off in the dangerous direction of wallowing is to walk up with great expectation of these little reminders of God’s goodness.” Terkeurst (That’s why the gratitude journal is so important!)
You see a picture of me at the beginning of the post covered in paint and dust. I look like that every day when I am working. I know that God is taking the dirt and dust of my life and making it into something beautiful. I remember when I was a little girl, we used to take the dirt in the ground and make mud pies out of it. We would pretend they were something special to eat. I think I even ate a few. (Who says dirt isn’t good for you?)
Well, I like to think of God making mud pies out of the dirt in my life. I can just see Him forming them with His powerful hands smiling and laughing like I did when I was a little girl. I just need to remember to pause and look for Him every single second of every single day so I don’t miss out on what He is doing.
I am going to leave you with some encouraging words by Lysa. “But the compassionate soul who has hurt deeply and come out loving? Yes, she is one of the superstars of God’s grand story, and the one you want near you in the battles of life. She wears well the scars of suffering and can’t wait to tell you her survival story so you, too, can survive. She has great compassion toward every created thing, whether it be covered in paint or flesh or dust.”
Hang in there dear friends! God is working! Until next time….