Today, my sweet friend, Shannon, is sharing a piece of her heart, a piece of her story for God's glory. It's a gentle reminder that God is always there. We just need to listen. You can read more of Shannon's beautifully strung together words on her blog found here.
I sit here in the early morning hours of the sixth day of being snowbound. The house quietly waits for the hustle to begin but I know it will be a bit longer. My husband has long since left for work, and the girls are hidden in a mound of blankets trying to absorb the luxury that sleeping in affords.
I pull the fluffy throw closer to me and my pup and wrap my cold fingers more tightly around my hot mug. The sun isn’t shining, so a gray cast falls across the floor and a light snow begins to fall. The whiteness surrounds me. I snuggle in and listen. I listen for His voice.
“Let me hear of Your unfailing love each morning for I am trusting You. Show me where to walk for I give myself to You.” Psalm 143:8
I want to hear His voice. I long for it. It had been quiet to me for some time. Oh, it hadn’t been His fault. It had been mine. I am sure you have heard the quote, “If God feels far away, guess who moved?” Well, that is true. He doesn’t go anywhere. It is us. It was me.
I would like to say I had a good reason, but I didn’t. It started innocently enough.
- Our best friends moved.
- My job changed.
- My ministry shifted.
- Family members died.
I was lost. Every single thing I knew had suddenly crumbled like a tower around me.
I knew, in my heart of hearts, because I had loved the Lord for so very long, that He had not left me. I knew that He was still there. I knew that He still loved me. I knew that He was working something good in the hard. And even though I knew these things, I couldn’t see the good for all of the thick dust surrounding me from that crumbled tower!
I couldn’t read my Bible anymore. I just sat and stared at the words. I couldn’t pray. I opened my mouth to pray but nothing came out. I felt I was completely ineffective in everything I did and felt I no longer had a purpose.
Maybe I was having a pity party. Maybe it was a little depression. But I felt alone and worn out.
I longed to hear Him. I longed to feel Him. I wanted to feel the joy bubble up in my soul again. Instead, I slept more and more, and my physical self grew sicker and sicker.
I appeared fine on the outside. But on the inside, I had lost my joy and my sparkle. It was exhausting putting on a front all of the time, trying to appear happy when I was dying inside.
The holidays were drawing near, and I was dreading them. I love the time with family, the decorations, and traditions, and all of the food. I am like a child when the holidays are here!
But this year, I wanted to retreat and skip it all. I knew they wouldn’t be the same without the loved ones we had lost. Overall, I was just in a mood, and it wasn’t a good one.
Although I did not want to, we went to our Christmas musical at church. As I sat and watched the people milling around and hugging and talking, all dressed in their Christmas attire, I felt my heart squeeze.
I was tired of being sad. I was tired of being tired. I was tired of missing Him.
As the music began, I began to feel the weight of those blocks of that crumbled tower begin to lift off of me. Suddenly, the smoke lifted. and I could see! My heart felt light and free, and tears filled my eyes! I could feel Him again! I could FEEL!!! What I thought had died with all of my dreams and plans, He had made new again, just like that, in an instant!
All along I knew He was teaching me a lesson. My history has always shown me that I can never see His lessons in the midst of them, but only when I look back, after I have gotten through them, is when I can see.
What I learned through this is that He truly hasn’t ever left me, even though my stinky heart does wander from time to time. He is always waiting right there for just the right moment to show me how much He loves me and if He has to strip every single thing from me to show me to depend on Him more then He will.
He has also shown me that periods of grief are alright. He understands my sadness and desires to restore my joy. Grief should be for a period of time but not a way of life.
He also taught me that He was using me even in this wandering in the desert time, no matter how ineffective I felt.
He used it to grow me closer to Him, and it has become part of my testimony to help others. There is not one moment of our life that the Lord doesn’t use. Not one minute is wasted.
We are not here for us. We are here for Him, and He uses every moment for His glory.
So, this new year, my heart is lighter. I am reading the Bible through and enjoying it so much. My prayer life has been renewed. I am so far from the woman that I wish to be, but I know that taking daily steps to growing closer to Him gives me more joy than anything else that I can do.
I will stumble, be discouraged, and be sad again. But I know He will be right there waiting for me because He is the God that loves me. He is my Abba Father. And He is yours as well. No matter how hard life gets, never stop pursuing Him, this precious love of your life!
“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13