Thrive in your womanhood the Bible way.
Sounds like a basic goal, right? Basic and simple, yes. Easy?
What do you do when living out your womanhood in a biblical way includes facing unforeseen and traumatic experiences head-on? Some of you have noticed that the last post published here was on May 23rd–eighty-four long days ago. Many things contributed to that long break, and I apologize for taking so long to get back on the blog! Suffice it to say, things have finally settled down and we are getting back into a routine that is normal.
Well, it’s a new normal because now we have a sweet baby boy who is almost two months old. Where has the time gone? I thought today was a great day to start blogging again because the aforementioned baby boy slept for almost NINE HOURS STRAIGHT last night.
*cue the angels singing*
So, hey there. I’m back!
Have you had a hard summer, too? Did things not go the way you planned? And did you struggle to respond the right way?
You are not alone. I struggled, too! More than I ever have before. Doesn’t it seem that with every year we live, something gets harder, something new comes we have to adjust to, something messes up our neat little routine and reveals our weakness and pride with glaring reality?
I want to share something I read in the devotional book Renew by Paul Chappell, that encouraged me.
God has not promised skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways all our life through;
God has not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
But God has promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way;
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.
~Annie Johnson Flint
Annie Flint lived a much harder life than I have. She had more to pain to endure, more sorrow to experience, just like you probably have had a tougher time of it than I have. But the truth that God’s grace is sufficient and His plans are perfect remains the same for each of our situations.
In the middle of my hard summer, I experienced something that, as a relatively light-hearted individual, was unfamiliar territory for me.
I was miserable.
I’ll never forget how I felt when I suddenly realized that.
Wait just a cotton-pickin’ second. Other people get miserable when hard things happen, but not me!
I’m a youth pastor’s wife, for Pete’s sake!
I write a Christian blog!
Did I mention that this was during a church service? My pastor was preaching, and I was wrestling with hurt feelings since someone had made a comment–not a mean or inconsiderate comment, mind you, just an innocent remark. Some of this I know resulted from postpartum hormones because usually I don’t even notice things like that.
There I was, having just been splashed with the cold water of reality. I. Was. Miserable.
Then the pastor’s voice slowly became louder in my ears as I focused back in for a moment. He was holding up a book (a resource I have recommended to you all many times, What Do I Know About My God? by Mardi Collier) and reading some of it out loud.
My God cares.
My God comforts.
My God is in control.
My God doesn’t want me to be afraid.
My God forgives.
My God is good.
My God gives grace.
My God is hope.
My God loves me.
And he went on and on through the list. In that moment, God’s light shined on the answer to the question I had been asking myself–why am I so miserable?
Get this now. I was miserable, because
I was focused on myself.
How I felt, how hard the summer had been for me, how my body ached from a traumatic delivery, how tired I was, etc. I am not saying those things were not real. It had been a very hard summer. I did feel awful because of crazy hormones, my body did hurt, and I was exhausted.
Our deceitful, wicked hearts tell us that it’s perfectly fine to focus in on ourselves when life gets tough. But where does that leave us? Helpless to help ourselves. It’s like being stuck at the bottom of mud hole and looking at the mud saying, “This is terrible! It’s so thick and deep, how am I ever going to get out?” That only causes us to wallow in despair, self-pity, and, yes, MISERY.
But how much better it is to look up and say to the one above us, “Throw me a rope! Get me out of here!”
As my pastor read those truths about God out loud, I felt my heart being renewed, my soul being refreshed, and my joy in Christ being restored.
God is bigger than my circumstances.
He is bigger than my hormones. He is bigger than my physical weakness. He is greater than the obstacles I face. Christ is enough. He is all I need.
So, what do you do when you realize that you are, in fact, miserable?
Don’t neglect your relationship with Jesus.
This means going to church when you don’t feel like it. ESPECIALLY when you don’t feel like it. By doing so, you are saying to God, “I need you to speak to my heart, to show me your glory, and to teach me your ways.”
Read your Bible.
It’s as simple as that! You don’t need to surround yourself with commentaries, Bible dictionaries, and devotional guides. Just read. God’s Word is living, and God can use His living Word to speak life back into your soul.
Ask God for wisdom. Maybe you are struggling with postpartum hormones like I was and you need to take vitamins or something to help you get balanced out. Ask God to help you know what to do to get better. Tell Him how you feel and why you’re tired. Tell Him that you feel miserable and ask Him to show Himself strong in your weakness. You’ve heard it before, that prayer is not so much for God, for though He delights in our talking to Him and listens to us, He knows what we are going to say before we say it. Prayer is for OUR benefit. By speaking to God, we recognize the fact that we NEED Him, and that helps us to know that everything is going to be okay, because God does not fail His children.
When you are miserable, don’t focus on yourself, even though that is the natural thing to do. That is actually what causes our misery. Instead, choose to focus on Christ Who gives us strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow.
Great is His faithfulness!
In Christ’s love,