I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness, the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed. I remember it all—oh, how well I remember— the feeling of hitting the bottom. But there’s one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:
God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left.
Lately it’s been on my heart to share an excerpt from my book, may you be encouraged that no matter how tough life gets there is ALWAYS Hope… always x
Overwhelmed with fear and alone I found myself calling on God, my God the God I had abandoned, the God I didn’t need. All the while I had been trying to do life my way, He was there waiting for me to come running back into His arms, all of my effort and strength was gone all I had left was to surrender to the hope that I once knew. Hope in God was buried deep within my spirit, early years of Sunday school had planted seeds of hope that somehow, someway there was a divine meaning to my life. As I turned my thoughts back to God, I cried out to the unseen, somehow I knew He was in the room with me as a profound peace swept over my being.
My broken heart carried a pain so deep that I could hardly breathe, still in grief from my father’s death, in shock from the promiscuity of *Jake and now I lay waiting, hoping for a miracle… the survival of my twin babies. Somehow that night my hurt collided with the healing power of Jesus, I felt simultaneously weak but strong. The apostle Paul tells of the strength he found in Christ “It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (MSG)
Letting Christ take over is hard for most of us, for me there was no other choice I had reached rock bottom with no options but to surrender my will to His. Often in a sorrowful situation we shout accusations at God and then turn and walk away, I have learned by my past to not shout at God but instead it is best that we stop and listen.
Amid the calamity, a monitor strapped around my stomach, intravenous drip and observations by the nurse every hour, I managed to drift into a peaceful sleep a peace which truly surpassed my understanding. I awoke early to the gentle nudge of the obstetrician on duty, before I could clear the sleep from my eyes he began, “good morning, we are making plans for you to be taken to a larger hospital that specialises in pre-term labour, it is the safest place to be should your twins decide to come early”. Within the hour I was in the ambulance and being taken to Rockhampton hospital, alone and uncertain of how the following days would unfold the long drive in the ambulance ushered in the opportunity for my thoughts to begin to race and before long my peace had turned to dread.
Immediately upon arrival I was taken for an ultrasound to check on the twins, a cold stone-faced radiologist performed the ultrasound without a word spoken to me. All I recall is thinking “God where are you in all this, it’s all my fault this is my punishment for turning away from you”, why would He want to answer my prayers? I was convinced that God was angry with me. Finally, the radiologist broke his silence; “we can’t do anything for you, one baby is very sick and will possibly die in the next couple of days and then the other will have a chance of survival, you need to be taken to Brisbane”. His words were like missiles flying off his tongue and straight into my heart, no warmth or empathy just very matter of fact. The hours went by very slowly that day, as I lay and wait for the next report on when and how I would be leaving, the same incomprehensible peace washed over me.
Jesus says, ‘… In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NKJV)
Jesus knew well in advance that this life would be full of trouble, He has not promised when you believe in Him your life will be trouble-free, He has promised though that no matter what you face He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Trust me, when I gave my heart to Jesus there were no bolts of lightning tracking through the sky, the devil didn’t send me a congratulations card and wipe me off his list, what did happen though was a deep peace moved into my spirit.
Peace like no other, to this day has been my anchor in the storms. I am almost certain, had I not been anchored in Him throughout the past few years, I quite possibly would have ended my life. In His Grace, Mercy and immeasurable love I have been made whole, complete in Him.
Whatever storms you may be going through stand fast, let the winds blow and when things settle you will look back and see His Sovereign hand has drawn a line of purpose through that which you thought you would never survive.
Often times when I begin to get caught up with thoughts of ‘why me?’ and I lose perspective, per se. I am reminded of my blind father and his ability to press on and persevere in spite of his afflictions. I have wonderful eyesight, what a great blessing!
Helen Keller overcame the adversity of losing sight and hearing at age two, although faced with unthinkable circumstances, Keller counted each day as blessed, she once said “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart”.
When we read what the apostle Paul wrote in the book of Philippians it becomes clear that our perspective on life will determine our level of contentment. Paul wrote from a jail cell;
“I’m glad in God, far happier than you would ever guess—happy that you’re again showing such strong concern for me. Not that you ever quit praying and thinking about me. You just had no chance to show it. Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am”. Philippians 4:12 (MSG)
It’s so easy to get stuck in the ‘why me ‘trap, believe me I know.
In recent years, ‘why me’? has been the mantra of my life that was, until I realised, ‘hey why not me’? When we develop the ability to look at the tough times from a new position, we can embrace life as a journey of valley’s and mountaintops, all of which God draws a line of purpose through the centre of it all. Today, whether you find yourself in a valley, or upon a mountaintop, be encouraged…
“Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way…” Hebrews 12:2 (MSG Version)
“You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.'” 2 Chronicles 20:17
The most courageous decision I have ever made was the moment when I decided to take off my masks… my social mask, my school-mum mask, my corporate trainer mask, my church mask and every other ‘face’ that was not the real me.
Max Lucado, in his book Six Hours One Friday, describes our desperate desire to disguise our true -self…
“We are masters of the masquerade. Cars are driven to make a statement. Jeans are purchased to portray an image. Accents are acquired to hide a heritage. Names are dropped. Weights are lifted. Yarns are spun. Toys are purchased. Achievements are professed”.
In the depths of despair I had no energy for playing charades, the blessing of this desperate place was that the real me, the amazing strong woman I was created to be, was finally allowed to come out of hiding… it was literally a case of being strong enough to show my weakness. For most of my life the real me was hidden behind a painted smile, I believe we all spend our time wearing costumed faces. The fear of rejection, fear to be ourselves pervades out thoughts until the real self is forgotten. May I encourage you to remove your masks, silence the fear and step into the freedom to be you. You do ‘you’ perfectly!
In the book *Prince Caspian, Lucy sees Aslan the lion for the first time in many years. He has changed since their last encounter. His size surprises her, and she tells him as much. ‘Aslan,’ says Lucy, ‘you’re bigger.’ He replies, ‘That is because you are older little one.’ Lucy says, ‘Not because you are?’ He replies, ‘I am not. But every year you grow, you find me bigger.’ And so it is in our walk with Christ. The longer we serve Him, the greater He becomes. It’s not that He changes, but that we do. We see dimensions, aspects, characteristics we never saw before; increasing and astonishing increments of His purity, power and uniqueness.
It is only recently that I have realised God is much bigger than the religious box I had been holding Him in for the past 15 years. As I grow in the true knowledge of who He is I am in awe of the many facets to His goodness, mercy, forgiveness and love. David wrote: ‘Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things He does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things…’ (Psalm 103:2-5)
May you see Him ‘bigger’ today… get a BIG view of God and this will translate into BIG courage! For He is bigger than the financial pressure you have, bigger than the sickness you’re battling, bigger than the persecution of other’s, bigger than the relationship problems your dealing with… bigger than all that life has to throw at you. He is Lord over all that comes against you, Hudson Taylor said, if He is not Lord over all, He is not Lord at all!