Monthly Archives: January 2016

Suffering on the Side of the Road

picjumbo.com_HNCK06251 You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 56:8 (NLT)

I dropped my boys off at school, as I do every morning. Headed home to start my day, my mind was going in a thousand different directions. What I saw next happened so quickly and literally took my breath away. Near an exit on the side of the freeway I saw a woman. She was wearing a loose white shirt. The morning sun reflected off of her golden blonde hair. And she was kneeling at a cross near the exit. She wasn’t trying to hide her pain, but was visibly mourning the loss of someone right there, on the side of the freeway, for all those passing by to witness. Although I only caught a glimpse, I could see the anguish and pain in her face. For a brief moment I shared in this stranger’s pain.

We walk around on this earth and we encounter many things that bring us to our knees. There are many of us who stand upright on the outside but on the inside are kneeled, crouched low, in fetal position, aching for something… someone. It’s what we do. We suffer loss, but we have to carry on- for ourselves, for our children, and for our loved ones. But every now and then, most likely in the privacy of our own homes, we like the woman, kneel in a place of brokenness and pain. And we cry out for what is lost and what is unseen and the unknown. Because we don’t know. And not knowing is scary. And not knowing hurts. And sometimes we smile because the world is moving on and we feel like we need to smile. People are getting promotions and celebrating holidays and having birthdays…  but we ache inside because it still hurts. It hurts to watch the world move on when we don’t feel like moving on. We don’t feel like celebrating sometimes. Sometimes feel like we’re lost in the sea of people and we can’t quite find our place, we can’t seem to get a grip on our new normal, because it’s not exactly what we want.

What I want to say to this woman and what I want to say to you is that He sees. He sees you when you are inwardly wrapped in the fetal position and everyone around you is smiling and laughing. He sees your loneliness and how quiet and sometimes cold it feels in the inner chambers of your heart. He knows when you’re at a social gathering because you know you should be there and it takes everything you have to engage because honestly, all you want to do is run and get away. You despise the small talk and want to shout, “Doesn’t anyone see me, doesn’t anyone know I’m hurting.” And they might but they find their own comfort in the smallness of the moment and the small talk that surrounds them.

No one teaches us how to gather together and talk about the things that hurt, the things that weigh heavy on our hearts. And we tend to even feel selfish for bringing it up. “This is an awesome lunch, by the way I’m having a really hard day and don’t really feel like being here today.” How does one do that without feeling guilty for feeling like they’ve brought everyone else down?

We are definitely progressing on being authentic and real, but still have miles to go. The reality is this- whether you are the woman on the side of the road who is openly suffering or, like many of us, the one who silently just has some really hard days but smiles because everyone else seems to be smiling- God sees and hears and He gets us. He knows those things that keep us awake at night. He knows the ones that fight privately with their spouse but show up at every event smiling and together, because it’s what you do. I mean, how would we respond if we said to a couple in passing, “How are you guys?” and have them reply, “Honestly, we are not doing good. We’ve been fighting really bad lately.”  And so we keep moving on, pressing forward, some of us, quietly in our pain.

The Lord sees every single tear that’s fallen from your face. Many suffer quietly. The Lord sees every broken place. Sometimes we’re so wound up that we have trouble just letting Him in and we fight Him until it is all that we can do to drop to our knees. And when we do that, He tenderly and gently rocks us… back and forth, knowing we just need a good cry and His loving arms around us.

Because when no one else knows or understands- He does. And those secret things we think we’re so good at hiding, He sees. And although I don’t have all the answers for you today, there is one thing I am certain of- He can be trusted with our hearts. When no one else feels safe enough to let in to the deepest places of our soul, He is that safe place.

He is our refuge.

People are not always going to know how to comfort or have all the right things to say. That is okay because there is someone who does have answers and He knows exactly how to calm our anxious thoughts and heal our broken places.

Lord, we are believing, trusting, and praying that through the brokenness and the struggles and the pain and uncertainty for what lies ahead, that You will show yourself and bring healing and that through these things that we walk through, that it would only cause us to grow closer to You. Thank You that Your mercies are new every. single. morning. In Jesus name. Amen.

Here are some scriptures to bring hope and comfort. I’ve underlined the action verbs that reveal what He does. He redeems, He lifts, He is aware, He carries, He saves, He sees, He listens, He hears, He encourages, He comforts, and He is not only aware of our sufferings, but He preserves our life and wants to set us free.

  • Isaiah 63:9- In all their affliction He was afflicted, And the angel of His presence saved them; In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them, And He lifted them and carried them all the days of old.
  • Exodus 3:7- The Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings.
  • Isaiah 49:15- Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.
  • Psalms 10:17- You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry.
  • Psalms 118:5- In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and He answered by setting me free.
  • Psalms 22:24- For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.
  • Psalms 119:50- My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.
  • Romans 8:18- I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be joy revealed in us.
  • 2 Cor. 1:5- For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

 

My Word- 2016

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I love getting a new word for the beginning of each year. It intrigues me as I’m praying to finally see what will end up being my word. Last year it was Digging in & Dreaming in 2015. For the most part it was right on. I’ve been anxious to see where the Lord was going to take me. I watched as many other friends got such beautiful words like abide, peace, joy, remain, etc. I wanted a pretty word that would look nice on a cup written in cursive with swirls. But my word isn’t fancy, and I’m not even sure I can find a scripture to go with it, but I know it’s right for me and it’s right for my current season.

Drum Roll…

Learn-

  • · to gain knowledge or skill by studying, practicing, being taught, or experiencing something
  • · to cause (something) to be in your memory by studying it

I know, I know. Nothing super spiritual or fancy, but I know in my knower that it is right. Other words that go along with my word for the new year are: teachable, student, grow, disciple, disciplined, sponge (soak it all in), apprentice, to be taught, master, study, absorb, prepare, specialize in, take course in, and acquire information.

I am going to focus this year on learning and improving my craft (speaking and writing).

We all know that a writer’s conference is a great place to learn and meet other authors. I am praying that I can attend at least one conference. These are my top picks:

I have a goal/dream of learning the art of magazine article writing. There is a plethora of information out there via books (many of which I already own), podcasts, YouTube, paid online courses, etc. I shall learn all about the art of magazine article writing this year.

I want to learn evernote this year. I get by with it, but I really want to learn all that I can do with it. Michael Hyatt has written extensively on the many great uses for evernote.

This year I want to take some online courses for topics and areas that I’m passionate and excited about. Here’s a couple I’ve already signed up for:

  • Make Over Your Mornings, a 14-day Online Course by Crystal Paine
  • Brene’ Brown has online video classes and I’ve signed up for the free one, The Anatomy of Trust. The other classes are: Living Brave, Daring Leadership, and Leaders Rising.

I am also going to be more intentional with my time. When I’m cleaning and driving I’m going to continue to listen to podcasts. A few of my favorites are:

 

I also want to be more intentional in my book reading this year. Confession: It takes me forever to read a book. The last book I read was by Bob Goff, Love Does. It was such an inspiring read, but it still took me forever! I’m going to try and read a little every night before I go to bed and see if having a set time each day helps (hopefully I don’t fall asleep- I am so NOT a night person). My husband also has an Audible account that I’m going to start using so I can listen to books when I’m driving. Like the saying goes, good readers are good writers. I like to learn from other authors- I observe their intros, story-line, flow, and their voice. I highlight, asterisk, and underline as I read. Some books on my ‘to-read’ list for 2016 are:

I also have many other books on the craft of writing and communication that I will be going through. And of course Bible studies and devotional reads.

So there you have it. I’m excited to be learning in 2016 and growing in those things that I love to do. I’ll blog about all that I’m learning throughout the year. My next blog will be on goals for 2016.

What about you? Do you pray about getting a fresh word for the New Year? I would love to hear what your word is! If you’re not even sure how to get a word over you and your new year, I usually just pray about it and see over the next few days or weeks if God confirms it. Sometimes I keep reading about that word or things keep coming up that have to do with that word.

Praying you have a Happy New Year and that God gives you a fresh new word as your word for 2016. Praying He will guide and direct your steps. May we press on towards the goal of knowing Him more and making Him known. And whatever gifts He’s given us, may we be faithful stewards, doing our work as unto Him.

Colossians 3:23-24- 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.