I love inspirational quotes, quick notes of affirmation, and catchy phrases. The ones that grab your attention hold you still for a minute and allow you to reflect on the good in your life or push you to do more with it. What I don’t like are words that are meant to inspire, but only bring about feelings of failure and misguidance. The ones that tell you if you hoped hard enough, pray long enough or follow the directions life will be easy, enjoyable and meaningful.
I saw a void. A sad empty place that once burned for God and now was left barren both physically and spiritually.
But what came upon me in the RV was so much darker. Not only did I feel isolated from the world, but I pulled away from my parents, my child and my husband. I withdrew into a realm of online chat with meaningless banter and faceless usernames. They didn’t know me. They didn’t see my struggles. And the best part was they didn’t care. I wanted that. I didn’t want to put on false smiles or hear how things will get better. Or worse, how others have suffered more, making my own struggles seem small in comparison. I just wanted to escape.
This went on until one of Tommy’s three jobs went full time. A month after he started house hunting. Not only to cut down on his 120-miles a day commute, but to get me out of that 27’ prison. It helped. We had a place where we could spread out. Where our daughter could have her own room and I could use my energy on the yard and house.
Soon after moving here I started working for an online mom site. My focus was encouraging other mothers. During that time I became pregnant with the twins. A year after that I started a women’s Bible study out of my house. Once a week we met. We had anywhere from 6 to 12 ladies and twice as many kids. I loved those times and could feel God moving again in my heart.
And then the exodus started. First our church, then our friends, even the website I worked for. My excitement over our new town was short lived. I started to feel isolated again and couldn’t feel God moving anymore.
I remember our preacher back home saying that in a Christian’s life he will reach a point in his walk when he finds himself filling others and left empty. He will no longer be sustained by weekly visits to the church or those around him. Instead he will have to rely completely on God and that takes effort. He has to be empty so he can be filled completely by God and the cycle is ongoing.
The lie we hear often is; “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” The truth is He will and for many of us He has. When I stood in my own blood I gave up. I emptied my soul and closed my heart. Had someone told me that lie I probably would have given up completely thinking God had truly abandoned me; that I was not worthy of His love.
2 Corinthians 1: 9 “Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.”
I feared following God again. I now know His road isn’t always easy. That sometimes He’ll ask what might seem impossible so that we can learn to trust Him more. He will ask us to minister to others while we’re left barren and dry so the He can fill us completely. A glass of water is never as sweet as when we are thirsty. Only then can we fully appreciate the life it gives us.
2 Corinthians 4: 8 “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”Today I still have inner struggles with God. It’s taken 5-years but He’s been gracious enough to show me what some of my hardships were for. The most obvious are the twins, the fact that Tommy went from thinking he couldn’t sustain a family of 3 to successfully taking care of 5. I hear friends tell me of how I lifted them up during their times of troubles while I still was in my own. I realize now that my desire for my church to fill me will never come to fruition and that I now have to rely solely on God for that.
As comforting as that should be I freely admit that it scares me some. Once I followed God with abandon. I gave up my dreams to see what He had for me, but the truth is I had inserted my own dreams in the blank spots and was disappointed when my ideas didn’t line up with God’s. So in reality I’m the reason my leap of faith ended up being a series of jagged outcroppings that tore at my flesh and my soul. Now I know that when I give myself completely over I have to let go of all the things I want so God can give me everything I need. His love is sufficient.
2 Corinthians 12: 10 “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”