There is this lie from hell that you have to have your life together to love well and minister to others. Whether on a platform, or in person. In your relationships.
I want you to think of your favorite author, or speaker , and notice that they’ve been through significant trauma, abuse, trials, loss. The list goes on. These amazing warriors for Jesus that you look up to so much, they’ve been through some tough junk. It’s shaped who they are today with the grace of Jesus. They have fought hard, and succeeded in standing in truth, even when they were exhausted. Ready to throw in the towel.
Once I was attending a church for a special event and I heard the Pastor say:
” We had to ask Steve to leave the church. He’s getting a divorce. He isn’t worthy of standing on stage and preaching Gods word.”
I was standing when I heard this and literally had to sit myself down, and put my hand over my mouth. I was so deeply grieved for Steve, who had tried hard to save his marriage. I was angry at the Pastor for his arrogant attitude, as if he had never sinned himself. I was sad for the lack of grace, and the abundance of religion that filled that place. I physically felt like I had been punched in the gut of my stomach.
This was years and years ago , and that moment, that situation has ingrained itself into my memory, and who I am as a daughter of Christ. Who I believe and know my Father to be, he would’ve wrapped his arms around Steve, invited him to have his next meal with him, and loved on him.
He would have , after a few months of grieving alongside Steve , invited Steve to share how the Lord comforted Steve during those dark months. How Jesus healed his heart, and gave him hope.
Most importantly, he would keep inviting Steve to be in his presence. To hold his hand, because if you are in a place of authority or leadership, you have to care for the burdened. You have to see the falling down, but trying to show up people.
Sometimes hurt and loss is hard to see. A woman trying to walk into church, who has recently broken her ankle is seen. Everyone takes note that she is possibly in pain, and probably needs assistance to get to her seat. To stand up for worship, to be able to be social after the service.
Take that same woman who has just been through a loss of a child, lost her job, or is having marriage problems. You cannot physically SEE these signs of grief and distress, and most likely she is hiding these things from you, and anyone that she comes in contact with. Her pretty smile , but puffy eyes from crying herself to sleep the night before. She wore a black dress to not bring attention to herself.
But that isn’t always the case.
It could be the woman with the perfectly curled hair, and husband on her arm trying to seem to have their lives together. But deep inside, each of them are struggling and hurting. They may run your bible study, or be your children’s youth pastor, teacher. Librarian. Trials and hopelessness doesn’t care what you look like, or your position.
I’ll be completely honest with you guys, as I always try to be. I bought a laptop three MONTHS ago, and I haven’t touched it.
I bought it with great intentions of starting my new blog, and being funny and making you guys laugh. I saw myself writing parenting blogs, and getting down to the nitty gritty.
Reality: I was so beaten down and defeated I didn’t think I had any wisdom or advice to share. I was hopeless, and feeling the shade leave. I felt like once the tree fell onto my safe place that I was exposed. The only place I’ve ever felt safe, wasn’t anymore.
Suddenly the literal walls that were built over a hundred years ago, the walls I wrapped around myself and my family after such trauma, were broken.
They were molded and couldn’t save me anymore. The were taken apart and torn down as I watched.
The house that I believed saved me from childhood embarrassment of my home, the house that saved me from being demonically tormented and physically ill, wasn’t my vice. It wasn’t this glorified realm of joy and safety I had deemed it to be.
It deconstructed my mind and the months of disorganization, lack of funds, constant fighting with the insurance company, loss of joy at times in our marriage, making do with molded ceilings and make shift beds, and bedrooms. It changed me. It broke me.
We are still in the process of rebuilding our home, and we are still not in our own bedroom. In a few weeks it will be a year since the tree fell, and although it was a long and difficult process, it seems just as if it was yesterday. I wish I could say that it didn’t hurt me, or shake me to my core, but it did.
I tried hard to make light of the situation, and that worked for a while, but soon I was on my knees with grief. I had to face Jesus with the grief in my hands. As if I had packed up a suitcase with all my tears, my expectations, and my utter grief.
I handed it to Him. But it took MONTHS and months for me to realize one thing:
HE is my home.
When I said that out loud it stung my tongue like a bee. My entire life I had longed for a forever home that I was proud of. I would host large parties and dinners and love on everyone that came. I would feed everyone and enjoy serving others.
I had made this my God. I didn’t know it until my house was ripped apart. I wasn’t aware of my faith in the things I could touch. How my fingers could descend down the bead board in the hallway and feel Gods presence.
He was there, but I was missing Him.
He is there in his good gifts, but he is also there in our suffering. So, if Jesus is with us at all times, why can’t we minister when we are limping?
I’m sharing this with you because no matter where you are in life, there will be trials and new things to come up in your marriage, your parenthood, your friendships.
Do not look for Him in buildings or things, He is just there.
At times they will come as a shock. You will feel helpless at times for direction and wisdom.
But know this, Jesus is your home. He is your hope. He is ever present. He hasn’t left you. He is here.
I can say that for me, my home is still my safe place. I open it up to many , because it was a gift to my family.
I am learning and understanding that Jesus is my four walls of protection, and putting ANYTHING in His place is grounds for disappointment. Putting ANYONE on a platform in your mind is grounds for hurt.
( I learn and admire so many speakers and authors who love Jesus and yearn for His presence. But I ALSO understand that they are human, and may be experiencing trials of their own.)
This life is crazy and sometimes throws you to the wind, but what I am grasping as I blow away is that HE is with me.
We cannot always see the horizon we are hiking to, but I can assure you that if you look to your left and your right, He is there. There are camp sites along your path where you will be forced to set up camp, and rest. Even when you are striving to reach your destination.
Fact is you often have to take a break, and rest in your chaos. This doesn’t mean that you are content in your situation, but that you have the grace and the peace of the Holy Spirit to do so.
” I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. “
You are not alone in this walk to freedom , or dreams coming to fruition.