Her. The one with the summer-ready bikini wearing body.
I’m doing good if I buy a new bathing suit that fits.
Her. The one who has meal plans and carefully prepares the healthiest choices for her family and grocery shops within budget.
We travel so much and honestly, Stephen and I both agree that he is a better cook.
Her. The one who never complains no matter the struggles in her life.
Hello! Is she plastic?! Does she not ever bang her funny bone and scream?
Her. Who rises early every day to work out and pray.
Cheers to you lady, my time with Jesus is often midnight, not 5 am. Unless of course I’m in another time zone and it’s 5 am back home ;-)
Her. The one who stays calm and only speaks kind things.
You, my friend, are a CHAMPION! Maybe it’s my red hair, but sometimes the passion I feel about life is, well,…not so calm.
I basically just described the modern-day Pinterest Christian woman and can I just say upfront that I am NOT her.
We all have at least one person who comes to mind when you think of someone who has it all together. There can even be aspects of several women that make up an ideal person in your mind. I know I have names that come to mind.
I believe one of the greatest distractions of our generation is rooted not just in comparison, but by not appreciating who we are.
When we don’t appreciate what we have, we appreciate and idealize what others have.
This causes confusion and unhealthy relationships on so many levels.
I’ve seen many social media posts of friends who I think are incredible say things that ultimately convey that they don’t feel like they’re doing enough or that they’re caught in this comparison trap.
While I don’t think there is wisdom in broadcasting these type of comments to the greater social media world, I haven’t been surprised when I’ve read them. The truth is many of us feel that way even if we aren’t posting about it.
I’ve even had some people comment on my social media posts and assume my life it altogether lovely when they’re only seeing small glimpses into what I refer to as #MyKuertLife.
Without going into the crazy details of what is wrong with my life at times to spare sounding like I’m complaining (because the ideal “her” wouldn’t do that ;-) ), these people don’t really want my life because there’s only grace for me to be me. And I don’t really want to be “her“, whoever she is because I’m not graced to be her.
When I’m trying to be someone else, I can never fully be myself.
Last fall marked four years of marriage for Stephen and I and it was an exciting little milestone in our little journey together. However, along with that fourth year, it marked four years of not being in good health as it correlated to a car accident and prevailing issues. I honestly fell into a funk for a few weeks.
We were traveling a lot, Kibibi Design was taking off and succeeding, and even though I felt like I was able to truly dream again, I felt discouraged by physical limitations. I was weighed down by negative comments from others and I desired some routine and familiarity in my world.
One morning I decided to have a pity party. I was complaining internally and telling myself how unfair things were and how alone I felt in my physical pain. I wished how I could sleep through just one night without waking with urinary pain and struggling through days with other complications. I was doing a pretty good job at feeling awful for myself in my self-absorbed world.
Then I heard the louder than loud voice of God speak and say, “Bailey, don’t I give you grace for every day?”. And as He often does by asking me rhetorical questions, I was silenced by His question.
Yes, there was a real pain I faced most days and He was not invalidating that.
Yes, there has been some real injustice at times and He was in no way ignoring that.
He was just bringing to my attention a much-needed reminder that He was giving me fresh grace to face every day for the ups and downs that my life encountered.
My struggle was because I wasn’t aware and thankful that there was grace extended for me to be who God created me to be even in difficult situations. God gives me grace for my shortcomings and to deal with the health issues I’ve faced. He also gives me the grace I need to use my strengths of administration, creativity, and connecting with people.
This realization caused me to have joy, TRUE joy whenever I faced these trials. One might think that because I know the words that James, the brother of Jesus opens his book of the Bible with that I’d have already walked in this profound joy. However, just because I have scripture memorized and have taught on it, doesn’t mean I truly KNOW it or apply it to my life.
James says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
I wasn’t facing every trial or pain with sorrow and discouragement, but some days are definitely harder than others. I wasn’t even struggling with comparing myself to others so much, but I often assumed that I “should” be doing this thing or that thing. Others told me I “should” be “her” and I let myself believe them and the lies I was telling myself.
In short, I was “shoulding” on myself.
I know that “shoulding” is not a real word and I’m fighting the red underline marks as I type, but it’s definitely a Bailey word. Whenever I think that I “SHOULD” know better, “SHOULD” do better, I am “SHOULD-ING” on myself. And you, lovely one, “should” on yourself and you “should” on others too.
When we envy others or wish we had aspects of their lives, we don’t factor in the grace that God gives to them to live those lives. We automatically assume we would have the grace to be them and by aiming to be someone else, we negate the grace we have to be ourselves.
Sometimes I can’t do things that I could even just a few years ago because of new physical limits or the changes our job has brought our way. While that’s frustrating at times, it’s unfair to expect that I “should” be able to do the things I did before. I did those things before a lot of injuries to my body or when I lived in a consistent location with minimal travel.
Often these thoughts have originated with someone else’s opinions and their “shoulding” over my life and they have never originated with God.
We have to be close to what He is saying in any given season so we don’t get close to someone else’s plans for our life.
When I see others who have their well thought out meal plans and host dinners, I can’t assume I “should” do that. I’m rarely ever home in my pre-furnished apartment. When people see me traveling and think they’d like to have that, they’re not factoring in the sacrifices we’ve had to make.
Sure there are aspects of someone else’s life that from a distance we think we would want, but we never can truly operate in their lives with the individual unique grace given to us.
I stopped viewing “I’m not her” as a negative statement that projects a longing to be someone else. Instead, I say, “I’m not her” and I mean it as a positive statement because by not being “her”, I’m allowed to be fully me.
I’m not her because I’m me.
I’m not her because I want to be me.
I’m not her because only she can be her.
I’m not her because I am not graced for her life.
I’m not her because I’m only graced to be me.
You aren’t “her” either because you’re only graced to be you. And what a lovely “you” you are!
Recently Stephen and I spoke at one of our supporting churches in Winter Park, Colorado. Clearly it is one of the most beautiful places to connect and minister ;-) It makes me miss living in Colorado so much!
The Pastor asked us to share a little bit from our experiences in this season and on the topic of how to overcome disappointment. We have faced a lot of trials, mainly in physical health in the short time we’ve been married. We’ve walked through a lot of disappointment in this season in plain view of others, but some of the darkest moments we’ve been alone and have learned a lot to help others through their challenges. We want you to know that you’re not alone!
Here’s the main passage that we used in Luke Chapter 24 to illustrate a few points on how one can overcome disappointment.
Read for reference LUKE 24:13-35
13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven mile from Jerusalem.14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened.15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them;16 but they were kept from recognizing him.
17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast.18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
19 “What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people.20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him;21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place.22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive.24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”
25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther.29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.”35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.
This is one of the most powerful chapters in the whole New Testament. It was the resurrection, the premise of the Christian faith! It should have been an exciting day.
Jesus has been preparing his disciples: “And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.” Luke 18:31-34 ESV
It was almost like these two men had their fingers in their ears saying “la la la… I can’t hear you.”
They don’t understand what Jesus is saying. They had their own ideas of how things are supposed to happen. Not too unlike any of us, they wanted God to do things in a certain way at a certain time.
Their expectations of what they thought Jesus meant were disappointed by what actually transpired.
“But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.”Luke 24:21
Maybe they thought that He was setting up a kingdom, that He was going to drive out the romans, eliminate the heavy taxes, and that Jesus would be the president of a new empire and they would all have cabinet positions. It would be payback time!
That’s not what Jesus did. He hung on a cross for the redemption of sin.
Was Jesus the one to redeem? Yes, but there are two different definitions of what “redemption” looks like.
When their experience didn’t match their expectation, they experienced disappointment and extreme disillusionment. When we experience disappointment, we can fall into the same mindset.
Here’s a look at a 3 things we’ve learned to do to overcome the ongoing residual effect of disappointment.
1- We must overcome the tendency towards cynicism and unbelief:
Faith is the central premise of Christianity.
“…the just shall live by FAITH”
Romans 1, Galatians 3, Hebrews 11, Habakkuk 2 are all clear teachings on faith.
We often look at faith in the primary area of acceptance and adherence to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Yet there needs to be an ongoing continual walk in our daily lives.
The two towns, Jerusalem and Emmaus are only 7 miles apart. This shows us they’re walking not by faith, but by sight.
They had lost faith in what Jesus had said.
It was Resurrection day. The women had found a rolled away stone. Jesus’ body wasn’t in the tomb. They had a vision of angels with a message that he was alive. It’s the third day. Peter only found the grave-clothes.
These two men would’ve known these things, yet they were walking AWAY from Jerusalem because they didn’t believe.
There was a lingering effect from being wounded by disappointment. God didn’t live up to their expectations of what they thought He would do or HOW they thought He would do things.
Recently I (Bailey) cut my tendon on my right index finger while scooping out coconut milk from a can. I had surgery to permanently stitch the tendon and the scar on the surface has healed really well. The surgeon and my therapists aren’t as concerned about the tendon rupturing again or the finger being permanently damaged. They’re concerned that the scar tissue would form too much and entrap the tendon and nerves around the repair causing a greater injury than the initial cut.
I thought about how wounds in our lives can be like this. Maybe we are removed from the situation that caused the initial hurt, but the residual effects of the wound can keep growing.
Scar tissue is a great reminder that you can’t always see someone’s pain. On the surface you or someone else might look alright, but you never know what’s going on in someone’s heart.
God wants us to come to Him with our questions and our pain. He is not your problem, He is your provision for healing.
“Come, and let us return to the LORD; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up.”- Hosea 6:1
“For I will restore health to you And heal you of your wounds,’ says the LORD.”-Jeremiah 30:17
2-We must overcome a tendency to isolate ourselves from healthy relationships and from God:
When people get wounded and hurt the tendency is to pull back and retreat.
We see this with these two guys left the larger body of believers that they were connected to. We know from the book of Acts, that there were 120 gathered together on the day of Pentecost. That means that there were at least 118 other disciples that could have encouraged them and ministered to them. Yet we read that they are by themselves on a road to Emmaus and apparently lonely enough to talk with a stranger about their woes.
With every step they’re walking further and further away from people who could encourage their faith.
The problem with isolation is that you make yourself more vulnerable to the enemy.
Instead of isolating ourselves, we need to stay connected to the body of Christ.
Luke 5:17-26 tells the story of the paralytic man being lowered to the ground.
There were 4 friends who did whatever it took to get their friend to Jesus’ feet.
The weight of carrying another person is not easy.
That stretcher required 4 people.
We need to be willing to go beyond our own comforts to help people in their trials.
Set in place some healthy relationships in your life now so that when storms come there are some people strong enough around you who will carry you back to Jesus.
We need to ask ourselves: what kind of friend are we to others?
Are we the kind who when people are isolating themselves that we pursue them anyway?
Are we moved in compassion to help those hurting around us?
Are we willing to tear through roofs and do whatever it takes to get them to the feet of Jesus?
It’s a lot easier to point our fingers and start blabbing our mouths instead of carrying someone’s weight as they face disappointment and isolation. We can speak words of life and encouragement to prevent them from discrediting Jesus’ love for them.
You need to know that even if you feel no one is there to “carry” you, that you’re not alone.
What is so beautiful about this story on the road to Emmaus is that even though other friends and disciples aren’t with these two guys, Jesus is. He comes at a critical time and intercepts their unbelief with truth. He reveals Himself to them even when they’ve cut themselves off.
Cleopas’ name is never mentioned anywhere else in the Bible and it’s a unique point that Jesus knows your name and where you’re at with your faith and will always be pursuing you to remind you that He is faithful.
HE IS NOT TURNED OFF BY OUR QUESTIONS OR BY OUR WEAKNESS. He instead meets us in our weakness and reveals Himself to us.
You also have to know who He is and who He says you are in seasons of abundance so that when storms come, you know the truth.
In a season of disappointment, everyone will give their opinion on who God is and what is happening to you. The first person who will knock at your door is the enemy. If we don’t learn to press in and learn the voice of God in seasons where we aren’t encountering as much resistance, we won’t clearly recognize the lies that the enemy throws at us when we’re being shaken. Others will speak to you about who Jesus is from their wounding and from their offenses so you have to know who He says He is and who you are in Him. Don’t allow distractions to keep you from building a firm foundation of hope and truth that keeps you from building upon the lies of self-hatred, condemnation and doubt.
You’ve got to as I like to say “bulk up” in the word during seasons where there aren’t as many storms. As athletes train for their sporting events in off seasons, we must bulk up and study God’s word and listen for His voice so we aren’t shaken when difficulty hits.
3- We must overcome the tendency to rush God’s purpose and timing:
In a day where our microwave can deliver our food to us in a matter of seconds, it is easy to find ourselves resistant to and inpatient with the timing of God.
We can’t impose our time-table over Gods sovereign purposes.
We see with these two guys that they rushed the promise Jesus made.
Jesus has made clear promises that on the third day that he would rise from the dead. It was the third day. They waited as long as they thought prudent. The roads would’ve been dangerous at night. It was 7 miles to Jerusalem to Emmaus. If they walked at a brisk pace of 15 minutes a mile or 4 mph, then it would take 1 hour 45 minutes to complete their journey. Jewish sunset is around 7 pm. So let’s say it was 5:15 pm when they started their journey. It’s clear that these men waited until what was likely the last possible minute that they would’ve waited before walking to Emmaus to arrive before dark.
Jesus is going to appear to the disciples later that night.
In a very real sense these guys were just hours away from their breakthrough!
Instead of waiting and holding onto promises, they forsake it all and walked away right before the moment of breakthrough.
To encourage you, His timing is always perfect.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,”-1 Peter5:6
“At the proper time…”
When is that?
We may not know, but we can rest assure that He does.
When I (Stephen) was a senior in college, I was walking into the chapel on campus one day and clearly heard God say to me,” you’re going to meet you wife here”. I have honestly only heard something that clear a handful of times in my life. I walked into the chapel service that day thinking I’d “find her”. I looked for the pretty girls raising their hands in worship. I graduated that Spring and there was no wife. I moved back to Kenya and again there was no wife. I ended up moving to Burundi in the middle of a civil war and again, there was no wife. I pastored a church in Tanzania and by this point I’d long forgotten the word God spoke to me some ten years prior. I returned to the United States in the summer of 2010 and the next Spring I was asked to return to my alma mater to share a message with some college mission students. We met in that exact chapel building and there on the front row was this beautiful red-head sobbing while I shared stories of Kenya. I came to find out she has loved Kenya since she was a little girl and God moved on her heart that evening. We hit if off, began dating, and it wasn’t until we were engaged that I even remembered God’s word to me that day 11 years earlier.
His timing is always perfect and when we take the timing into our own hands, we can miss what He has for us.
We can see how we can relate to and learn from these two travelers. But why would Luke choose to conclude his book this way?
Well, here’s the rest of the story: resurrection was just warm up for Pentecost.
In other words Jesus wasn’t setting up a monument to His suffering; He was mobilizing a movement to reach the world.
The message of the resurrection wasn’t for the disciples alone; it was for the world.
That movement was going to be birthed in Jerusalem NOT Emmaus.
The Holy Spirit was going to fall in the upper room NOT in their supper room.
The crucial problem is that they were headed the wrong direction and were about to miss God’s purpose!
They needed to be reconnected to other believers.
They needed the spark of faith to be reignited.
They needed a new awareness of Gods timing and purpose.
In order for that to happen they needed a burning heart.
“They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”-Luke24:32
Here’s the thought for us to take away from this story: Our hearts can continually burn even during times of great sorrow and suffering.
The lie of the enemy is this: if you are going through tough times then your heart will invariably go cold or at least lukewarm.
Jesus shows us that’s not the case.
Jesus warns us that in the last days hearts would grow cold.
“And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.”Matthew24:12
We are seeing it left and right in this hour. This isn’t the hour to be apathetic and slow of heart. This isn’t the hour of fear and indifference with double minded allegiance.
Jesus continually revels Himself to us so that our hearts might burn within even in hardships.
He’s doing this to bring about full healing in our lives so that we can then become His witnesses to the world.
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”-Revelation12:11
In order to live this scripture out and overcome disappointment, we must accept Jesus’ full work on the cross, share our testimony with others of what He’s done in us, and have a burning heart so that our lives are not our own.
Jesus’ evidence that He had died and rose again on the cross was His scars. The scar on my(Bailey) finger won’t ever go away. It’ll always serve as a reminder that I cut my hand in the kitchen. Yet once I walk through the necessary steps of physical therapy and regain function, it’ll serve as a testimony of healing for others. Likewise when we allow full healing, our scars will serve as a sign we’ve overcome disappointment and be a source of healing for those struggling to find Jesus through their pain.
If you’re interested in hearing the message, you can click HERE.
Easier said than done to write this post, but here I go…
While God doesn’t make bad things happen to us, we live in a fallen world and bad things will happen in life.
The challenges that come are opportunities to invite Jesus into our struggles and our trials and meet with Him in a way that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.
When we walk through challenges and overcome them with the help of Jesus, we are then able to reach out to people in a way we never could have on our own.
There are a few thing that you need to know in the midst of a challenging situation in life;
1. God is good…always and loves you with an everlasting love. If you have this assurance of knowing Him and making Jesus the Lord of your life, His love is always available even when things are hard.
2. Someone around you is hurting and doesn’t have the assurance of Jesus’ love and peace.
I’ve found that when I’ve walked through a particular hardship, that on the other side are people that need hope in that same struggle. While I might not LIKE what I’m walking through in a given season, I know there are always other people who will benefit from my testimony in the end.
We need hope in our difficulties. The world around us needs HOPE not just for the present circumstances, but for their eternity.
Question(s) of the day;
In what ways are you walking through challenges right now?
Have you invited Jesus into your present pain?
How do you think Jesus sees your physical, emotional, & spiritual pain?
Who around you needs hope and encouragement to hold on to His promises?
Scripture(s) of the day;
2 Corinthians 9:8 – And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
Colossians 1:13 – He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son.
Worship song of the day;
This song was written by John Mark McMillian and in the original format (below) he shares the testimony of how God met him when his friend Stephen died. “You met me in my breaking…I know that I still love You God despite the agony”…”He loves us, woah how He loves us…” This song has to this day marked me in difficult times. His love is still available in my pain.
What songs and scriptures have ministered to you or do minister to you in hardships?
I am not one to use face make-up like foundation or concealer.
If anything I dust some light homemade bronzer on my face for a subtle glow. HOWEVER, I recently bought concealer a couple of weeks ago.
The reason for this is that for the past two years as I’ve had some complications mainly resulting from a car accident and international travel, I’ve had such poor sleep. It’s not that I CAN’T SLEEP, it’s that I have a bleeding kidney and other crazy things so I’m in the bathroom most of the night.
Truthfully I’ve not been very open about what I’ve been walking through because for the most part I look “fine” to the outside eye. It’s been a looooong long road and a few close friends know, but it’s hard to talk about and even writing this much is vulnerable.
I feel cold sweats writing this. Just kidding! :-P
I share this to say that most nights I sleep under 5 hours and sadly, I don’t have an adorable baby/toddler or a PHD for getting this amount of sleep.
I’ve had puffy eyes from the urinary issues and the concealer was a must-grab for the dark circles particularly on days when make-up is more necessary than other days.
That being said, here’s a recap of my morning yesterday…. We were in a town in Oklahoma at one of our supporting churches for a missions convention to help them raise funds for missions in 2015.
I was up all but 3 hours of the night.
Stephen had to speak at 2 morning services and he ingested food he was allergic to and sparing details, it was a fun night for both of us.
I dozed off finally for another 30 minutes before I had to leave for the 2nd, NOT the 1st service because I’m already that cool ;)
I was pushed for time and I had to pack up our hotel room.
It had poured all night and the freshly curled before bedtime hair was now a mess.
On went the concealer and eye make-up.
I went to curl my hair, dropped my curling iron and grabbed it…WITH MY HAND! If I didn’t have my lavender essential oil, I would’ve been in major pain, but I applied it quickly and then I tried to do something with my hair and ran out the door.
((Yes I brushed my teeth too—don’t worry! I lost my toothbrush in all of our traveling on Saturday, but grabbed one at the front desk the night before…actually Stephen did—my hero! ))
I was a hot mess walking out of this hotel and the wind was SO intense that all the attempts at making my hair look in any way decent are now gone…
…and honestly I was not in the best mood. I was trying to think of a worship song and nothing was coming to me. I had just had worship on in the hotel room, but my tired brain was now drawing a blank.
I ended up at a GOLF COURSE, NOT the church and had to drive a little further to get to church late. Awesome.
“Hi! I’m the Guest Speaker’s wife, late and distracting everyone as I make my way to the front row. Keep your eye on me because with my kidney issues, I WILL be distracting you more and going to the bathroom during service.” Sighs.
I took my place on the front row and thankfully worship was absolutely powerful. I immediately was grateful for the words to a song in front of me and my tired brain and I belted out singing SO loudly (and likely off key).
I didn’t want the enemy stealing my praise even after a hard night.
The Senior Pastor got up to pray for healing in the service and instructed people to press in with worship and focus on Jesus.
His wife, who was on the platform directing the choir leaned over and whispered into his ear.
He then called out for a gentleman by the name of “Mike” to come forward.
As Mike walked forward, his wife and a friend assisted him. He is fighting cancer and has been given a short amount of time to live.
A few gathered around him to pray and I darted across the sanctuary.
Compassion flooded my being and I began to weep over this man.
I saw his frail state.
I saw the pain in his eyes.
I felt a glimpse of the hurt he had been walking in.
More than that, I felt the love of God.
I stood adding my faith in agreement for his healing. My heart broke.
I knew my husband’s message would be good and I was expectant.
But I was distracted.
Distracted by the love and compassion that I felt over this stranger I’d never even had the privilege of meeting.
I am far from perfect and have some really rough days especially with crazy sleep, but I can’t hold back compassion. I’m thankful for God revealing His love and heart for others through difficult times.
You see while I might not share the details of my health journey with everyone, I’ve allowed God in to the details.
I’ve allowed His hope, His great love, and His compassion into my heart.
I’ve stood with close friends in desperate need of healing with a greater awareness of their suffering.
I’ve had some ugly things said and done to me during this journey from people who don’t understand what I’ve been walking through. And that has taught me even more so to be aware of what others might be walking through.
In the midst of all of this, I’ve felt God’s love through my suffering in a way I’ve never experienced.
It would be easy to shut down and not feel. It would be excusable to wallow in self-pity all day and not reach out to others.
With minimal sleep, there are so many excuses I could have for not partnering with God in this season.
The easy way would be to conceal what I’m going through and not allow God in.
I think of the song, “Let It Go” and how when the character Elsa is singing it, she looks down at her gloves and recites what her parents told her, “Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know….”
While the story line in the movie Frozen is a bit different from what I’m sharing here ;) , I think it’s very telling of where some of us find ourselves.
We conceal our feelings. We conceal our bad times. We shut down. We cut God out of the equation questioning Him and believing lies. We get angry and act from a place of hurt, rather than a place of love and compassion.
This is what the enemy would LOVE for our lives. He would LOVE for us to feel alone.
He fears us feeling the heart of God. He fears what would happen if we will allowed God to turn bad things around for good in our lives.
He wants us to suppress what we feel so that we will never move out of our comfort zones and minister to others with compassion.
And ultimately the enemy wants us to deny God and conceal the hope and confidence we’ve established in Him.
While concealer might be helpful for dark circles under our eyes on some days, it’s not fixing the dark circles. It’s only covering them up.
While we need healthy boundaries in our lives, we need to be an open book to the Lord and allow His purposes and love in our hearts even in difficult times.
There are “Mikes” out there waiting for your obedience to not conceal your love and zealousness for the Lord.
Take off the concealer and/or your Frozen hand gloves and step out and share the love of Christ with someone.
Please agree with me for Mike and his healing as well as peace and grace for his loved ones in this time :)
“We know what it is to lose health and wealth and reputation, but what is the loss of all things compared with the loss of the soul?”-D. L. Moody.
I realize my title is a BIT morbid, but hang with me for a minute. If you haven’t heard, Brittany Maynard, a beautiful 29 year-old woman who is battling cancer with a stage 4 brain tumor is planning to end her life on November 1st. She is newlywed who recently moved to Oregon with her husband, mother, and step-father so that she could take advantage of the state’s “Death with Dignity Act”. This would allow Brittany to end her suffering by taking medications that will allow her to die from something other than suffering in pain from her brain tumor and the complications that would result.
“I don’t want to die but I am dying,” Maynard tells PEOPLE in a new interview. “My [cancer] is going to kill me, and it’s a terrible, terrible way to die. So to be able to die with my family with me, to have control over my own mind, which I would stand to lose – to go with dignity is less terrifying.”
While I have my opinions on this story, that is not the point of my blog. My heart absolutely aches for this girl and I’ve thought about her many times day and night and prayed for her this past week once I heard about her situation. I walked closely with my cousin, Tess who battled cancer for 7 years while we were kids. I remember the pain and the suffering that she faced and how hard it was for my aunt to walk through. It’s horrible and I can’t remotely comprehend having a brain tumor like Brittany so I’m not saying this to be insensitive, but I’d say that dying of a brain tumor is not the worst way that you can die.
A theme for some of our denomination’s missions work in Africa has been centered on this concept of “Lostness”. I wrote about it a little bit last year here. In short, there are many conditions in which a person can die particularly as we look at Africa. There are diseases like Ebola that are prominent in the news right now along with AIDS and other various diseases. There is extreme poverty and unsanitary and unsafe living conditions that many are faced with. However, even as horrible as any one of the above mentioned conditions are, the absolute worst condition for a person to die from is being separated from Jesus Christ.
What has deeply troubled me about Brittany’s story more than her terrifying medical diagnosis or her controversial decision to end her life, is a statement she made about her death.
“When my suffering becomes too great, I can say to all those I love, “I love you; come be by my side, and come say goodbye as I pass into whatever’s next.”-Brittany Maynard.
“Into whatever is next” indicates to me that she sees no hope for her eternal future. That she has no assurance that Jesus Christ is alive, that He died for her, and that she can spend eternity with Him. I realize that I am stepping on some toes here and some people will disagree with this blog, but that’s ok :-) While I don’t want to judge if she knows Jesus for certain, her words seem to indicate she doesn’t have an assurance. I pray that she does. I pray that if she doesn’t at this moment, that she will. I pray that before she dies from either medicine, brain tumor, or else, that she comes to a TRUE PEACE in her soul that can only come from salvation in Jesus Christ.
And I pray the same for all who are lost. All who don’t know Jesus are truly in the worst state possible. For those who accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior and live rightly for Him, there is an assurance of where we will step “into next”. We have a HOPE that this world and these present sufferings are not our home. That we will live forever with God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit in Heaven forever where there is no more tears or pain. One can die naked, one can die blind, one can die poor, or one can even die of a brain tumor, but if that person knows Him, they die in peace of spirit.
The worst way to die is not being naked, blind, poor, or even of a brain tumor or Ebola. The worst way to die is without the peace of knowing where we are going eternally.
Brittany Maynard thinks that the best way to die is as she stated above, with her loved ones nearby and peacefully in her sleep. She wants to be able to control the timing and forbid the horrors of what the tumor could do to her body. I think everyone if they thought about it would choose to die peacefully and surrounded by those we love. My cousin did this even though she was in great pain. Yet even if we were all assured that we wouldn’t be in pain when we die, that doesn’t assure us we will step into a pain-free peaceful eternity. If we are without Christ, our eternal life (which is FOREVER unlike our physical one) will be anything but pain-free and peaceful. Since we don’t know how, when, and where we will die, the best way to die is to know that you’ve made Jesus the Lord of your life.
Hebrews 9:27 says, “And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment”
For those who know Jesus, we will live eternally with Him after our physical death. There is a hope available to everyone no matter what we are faced with that we can call on Jesus and be born again in spirit.
If you are suffering right now, I pray healing over you reading this in every area; that physically your body would be healed, that your emotions would be healed, and that your mind would be at peace. I pray that no matter what you’re facing today, that you would know that there is HOPE in Jesus Christ. If you’ve never made Jesus Christ the Lord of your life, I invite you to pray this simple prayer;
Jesus, I acknowledge that I have sinned against You. I believe that You died for me, that You rose again, and that You are in Heaven. I want to live for You on this earth and live with You for all eternity. Be my Lord and my Savior. Fill me now with Your love, Your grace, and with Your Holy Spirit so that I can live for You. Thank You for saving me and filling me with hope.
Congratulations!!! You’ve now found the best way to die (again that sounds morbid, but who cares–you’re saved!!)
Revelation 21:14 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.
Romans 8:24-25 – For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead
Titus 1:1-2 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies,promised before the ages began