Has It Felt Like You’re Sinking?

Hello, friends. The summer is over, and I’m sure that you are like me: trying to get back into the swing of fall routines.

The summer was so beautiful in many ways. I tried my darnedest to relish the minutes, days, and weeks that I got to spend with both of my boys.  We went (lived)  outside, we rode bikes, we planted a vegetable garden, we went to the ocean, we read books, we played games, and laughed, and snuggled up close.

But this summer was also painful and full of need and loss and defeat. Adam and I have felt like our heads have been spinning from all that happened in just a single month. Emergency home repairs, vehicles breaking down, savings accounts being drained, and excruciating situations with my mother who is very sick left us looking to Jesus and asking Him to multiply resources, strength, and healing.

This summer has been a reminder that God owes us nothing, but has given us everything. He’s not a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” type of God. He’s far too good for that; instead He’s interested in who we are becoming, and our knowledge of who He already is (and if you don’t already know Him, He is so good that I just can’t breathe when I really think about it). Just like I want my own kids to grow up to be men of character, integrity, honor, and faithfulness God cultivates character in us as His kids.

But the hard seasons of tilling the soil of hearts, ripping out dead roots, and pruning away diseased parts hurt. This season has sure hurt for me and my husband. We just have to keep reminding ourselves that without doubt, or the possibility of sinking, there is no such thing as trust. Without questions or needs bigger than we can meet ourselves we have no reason to look to God for what only He can provide.

One quiet morning a few weeks ago, before the sun was up, before little feet ran through the halls, I got up, snuck downstairs, poured a cup of dark-roast coffee, and sat down to pray, journal, and read my Bible. At the time I was studying the book of Matthew, and I came across a passage that might be familiar to you:

23 And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. 25 And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” 26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” -Matthew 8:23-27

I’ve read this passage so many times since I started following Jesus. It’s such a powerful reminder that when all seems lost, our God is Lord over the mighty waves. We can trust Him, even when our souls start to believe He is sleeping.

But this particular morning was different. Something new jumped out at me that I had never paid much attention to before: it was JESUS’ idea to get in the boat in the first place!

Did you catch that?!

Do you know what that means for you and for me?

It means that sometimes the problems of life, those things we fear the most, the stresses, the turmoils, the pain, the loss…sometimes we can be following Jesus and still end up in the middle of the raging sea!

It means that sometimes the storm is right where we need to be in order to see who Jesus really is–the able one. The One whose words are so mighty that the torrent of the sea obeys! As a writer, I hope my words move people. But Jesus’ words move oceans!

So, friend. Maybe you’re in the middle of a crisis. Maybe the days are long, the weeks are unending. There’s no light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, and you’re asking Jesus why He’s asleep in the boat while you are going under.

And maybe, just maybe, you’re right where you need to be in order to witness who God is in the middle of it all. Keep your eyes open. Stay watchful, and press into the truth of who He is.

Corrie Ten Boom, a Dutch Christian who helped Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust and was subsequently arrested for her actions, put it this way: “When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.”

Wherever you are, I encourage you today to press in and trust the God that isn’t finished with your story yet.

Run Hard. Love Strong.

Haley

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not For A Moment

This week has left me speechless. Our world–near and far– is so horribly broken. Sickness, death, war, and trauma abound.  None of us can say we have never hurt deeply. We are all very, very broken, and we all need a Savior. 

As a mother, I adore my son. He is precious to me, and I enjoy him simply because he is mine. Like most children, he has days that make me want to pull my hair out. Some days I fight him tooth-and-nail to listen and obey, and to understand that I love him and want good things for him.. Some days I just want to cry from sheer frustration when his strong will and my own collide.

But no matter the day we had, if my son wakes up in the middle of the night crying because he is scared, I go to him.  It doesn’t matter how frustrated I may have felt during the day. I love him fiercely, and I don’t want him to be scared. I want him to trust that I will be there when he needs me. I want him to know he is safe, loved, and that I am with him. I can’t make the sun come up, but I can be with him in the darkness. 

 I have to believe that God feels even stronger about us. We are pitiful, sinful beings that often quotescover-JPG-30distrust the God that loves us and wants good things for us. And yet He loves us with an everlasting love. In spite of our sin, our shame, and our guilt, He has has come to us in the middle of our nightmare and rescued us.

We are not alone in the darkness; our God is with us. He doesn’t always immediately take away the pain, but the morning will come. Until then, we are not alone.

About ten years ago, I was in the middle of one of the most difficult seasons of my life thus far. I was struggling with how a good God would allow me to suffer seemingly alone. Why would I want to follow a God that left me in the darkness? But my world was radically changed when God showed me what He has to say about:

14 “Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness
 and speak tenderly to her.15 There I will give her back her vineyards,
and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
 There she will respond as in the days of her youth,
 as in the day she came up out of Egypt. 16 “In that day,” declares the Lord,
“You will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master.’ (Hosea 2:14-16)

The Lord allows us to experience difficult, trying times not to show himself as a God that will beat us  into submission, but rather to show the intimate nature of His love and compassion towards us in spite of ourselves.

It is easy in the darkest times to believe the lie that God no longer cares, that He has forsaken us, that He doesn’t love us. It is easy to believe that we are being punished. In that hard season of my life, I believed I would never be better, and I would be left to rot in the wilderness. But that season is now one of the fondest of my spiritual life because I look back and see God’s goodness, tenderness, and kindness to me in the midst of my doubts, fears, and brokenness.

God loves us fiercely. He is with us in the desert to show us His heart; to show us that when all is lost, He is constant.

Maybe you are suffering tremendously. Look to Him. He has come for us like a good father goes to his child. He loves us with a radical love that changes us. He is able to take the Valley of Achor (the valley of trouble) and make it a doorway of hope.

How have you seen God move through tragedy and pain in your own life?

If you are like me, you enjoy a good song that speaks into the heart of an issue. Here are a few I encourage you to check out:

“The Cure for Pain” by Jon Foreman

“After All (Not for a Moment)” by Meredith Andrews

“Crushed and Created” by Caitlyn Smith

“If You Want Me To” by Ginny Owens