When It Feels Like No One Understands

When It Feels Like No One Understands 

 One thing I’ve learned from Facebook, is that all of us are going through a lot of similar things.  When one mom complains of her child not napping, 5 more moms are there to say, “Mine too!”  When someone mentions her frustration with all the laundry piling up, we all do a cyber nod in agreement.  And when another complains of headaches, someone is there to say “I’ve been there and here’s what helped me.”

We all have common struggles with husbands, children, our work and stress load and just living life on planet earth.

But…

Our puzzles are all different. 

One woman has a child with special needs while another is raising a gifted child. 

One woman has a romantic, sensitive husband while another has a husband who has anger issues and he screams and yells at everyone in the house.

One woman struggles to make ends meet while another is going on her third vacation of the year.

One woman has a husband who doesn’t work while another is married to a workaholic.

One woman has a traveling husband who calls everyday while another woman has a husband who is off the grid for military reasons for weeks on end.

One woman is running a marathon while another suffers from a debilitating disease.

Our puzzles are different.

And here’s the key…don’t think for one moment that the woman with the Prada purse on her shoulder – who is on her third vacation this year has less problems than anyone else.  Her purse still holds junk–secret pain and dissatisfaction.

We’ve seen it on television –famous music, television and movie stars commit suicide. Why?  They have it ALL!  Because life is hard and we all have struggles that beat us down and  fame, fortune, power, and even health and wealth can’t fill that empty void that God has placed inside of us that only he can fill.

All of our lives are riddled with trials, hardships and circumstances that truly no one else can understand.  I’ve even contemplated that my husband, who shares the same house, kids, marriage and trials as me, does not really understand — because he’s not married to himself! lol!  He’s married to me…and that makes his puzzle different.

But Jesus…He sees and He knows.

Jesus understands.

He can sympathize with our struggles because He was born to die for us. It is hard for me to  imagine the struggles Jesus faced…because when I’m tempted, often times I just give in. For example, when my kids drive me nuts –I yell. Then I apologize. 

Jesus felt temptation to the fullest degree because He did not give in. He suffered deeply –for us.  We serve a God who understands.

Hebrews 4:15 says “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.”

Our God is not a distant God –He came near by dying on the cross for our sins and after he rose from the dead –before he ascended into heaven, his last words were that he would send the Holy Spirit –the ultimate comforter to be with his children. 

You do not walk this road alone.  You are a child of the King!  He is with you every step of the way. 

Somedays it may feel like no one understands…until you hop onto facebook or a blog with a writer you relate to.  Often times I breathe a sigh of relief to find that my marriage is normal or my kids are normal!  My Christian sisters have helped me through some of my greatest common struggles…but it’s through my deep study of God’s word and through prayer that I’ve found comfort in my individual struggles. 

And so I urge you, during this season leading up to Good Friday and the Celebration of Easter Sunday, to draw near to God in his word and prayer.  Open to the gospels, breathe in his love and truth and exhale all your burdens. 

Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

He already knows your burdens.  You need rest…you might as well set down that burden and talk to Him about it.  I can guarantee you –He FULLY understands. 

 Walk with the King,

 

Election Day Thoughts

My son at the “Restoring Honor” Rally in 2010 with his daddy.

 

I just finished reading this post by Kevin DeYoung at The Gospel Coalition:

 

Politics Is Hell

Imagine your life were an open book.

Every conversation recorded. Every errant word written down. Every gaffe broadcast before all.

What if everything you ever did was fair game?

What if every action and every decision were held up to the severest scrutiny?

What if all your last minute apologies failed to satisfy?

How would you feel to realize someone knew everything about your past? And someone was chronicling everything about your present?

How would you like to face a barrage of questions for every inconsistency in your life?

What a fearful proposition: anything you ever say or ever do can, and often will, be held against you. If an adversary so desired, he could paint an ugly picture of any of us. And without resorting to lies.

It’s a scary thought to think that your whole life could be an open book. With defenses that do not hold, and sorry’s that do not stick, and excuses which only make things worse.

That’s politics.

And that’s the day of judgment without the blood of Christ.

~Kevin DeYoung

 

Um Wow! That hit me in the gut.

There is NO escaping the fact that this is a huge day! Tuesday night every channel on television will be about the election results – and the suspense of such a tension filled race has us all on the edge of our seats. It’s riveting.

I’ll be honest – I’m very concerned about the direction and future of our country.  Elections have consequences and we decide for our children what kind of America they will grow up in.  Our family cares about this election.  But after voting – as believers we must press on.  God has mandated one way to change this world and it’s through the transforming power of his word and Christ’s work on the cross.

Do not confront culture just with your vote but with the spiritual power of God’s word.

John McArthur says: “This is a lesson evangelicals ought to know from church history. Whenever the church has focused on evangelism and preaching the gospel, her influence has increased. When she has sought power by political, cultural, or military activism, she has damaged or spoiled her testimony.”

So if it was a rough day at the polls – do not lose heart!  Do not give way to fear.

Do as Christ said “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19,20

And please – do vote.  Not just for you and your children - but also for our military who depend on you to choose their Commander and Chief.  They need a man in the oval office they can trust.

Walk with the King,

When the Bottom Falls Out

Last summer, my husband was walking down our deck stairs holding my daughters hand… they stepped on one stair (these are higher up than they appear in the picture) and it gave out – then they stepped to the next stair and it gave out too!  Thankfully my husband had my daughter by the hand and she did not fall through.  He strong armed her onto the 3rd step down but he got injured from gripping the railing – the wood punctured his hand and later developed an infection - it was just a mess!

The bottom fell out literally for him that day.

But I think of so many blessings in that moment.  I am thankful he was holding her hand…if he had not been holding it – she would have fallen through!  I am thankful that he has a strong hand that was able to get her to the next step safely.  I am thankful that he took the injury in place of her being injured…and it makes me think of Jesus and his strong hand and how he has endured the pain of the cross for us..

In Hebrews 13:5 he says “Never will I leave you, Never will I forsake you.”

God is always with us – he has a strong hand that upholds us when the bottom falls out.  He has taken the pain of our sin upon him and covered it over at the foot of the cross…he loves us, protects us, comforts us and never will leave us.

So the bottom fell out for me today…

I had a rough week last week with a cold that turned into Laryngitis and then my washing machine broke with a load in it and more loads to go… and really I was just feeling whiny last week!  I thought surely this week would be better…

But today my son tied our wagon to his bike and my daughter got in and he pulled her along – until she flew out!  She knocked out her two front teeth (which thankfully were baby teeth) but really scraped up her face.  Her lips are swollen and right now she can’t close her mouth to drink or eat…I’m pouring water into her mouth :(

Waaaaaaaaaaaah!

Sitting in the emergency room – I put on a smile for the kids…but inside I wanted to just throw up!  The blood was a little more than I could bare!  And the butterflies came as I worried about all the worse case scenarios. After X-rays, some reassurance from the Dr. that her mouth will eventually close again when the swelling goes down (lol! I needed that reassurance!), and some comfort from facebook friends :)  I am feeling a little better.

(I took a picture of my daughter’s face but I could see at the Dr.’s office she was embarrassed of it – she complained that she looked like a clown – so I thought it best not to share it with you all right now…but on Saturday we are having her 7th birthday party – so I’ll be taking pictures then – you’ll get to see her toothless smile next week when I post pictures.)

But as we drove to the ER, I prayed with the kids and I told them - even though this took us by surprise, this did not take God by surprise.  When we woke up this morning – God knew this accident would happen today.  His strong hand was with us – and he carried my little girl to the 3rd step down.

And in hard times like tonight – when the tears seem to flow easy…I’m reminded of John Piper’s words:

It is crucial that in our darkness we affirm the wise, strong hand of God to hold us, even when we have no strength to hold him.  This is the way Paul thought in Phil. 3:12 “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” ESV

The key thing to see in this verse is that all Paul’s efforts to grasp the fullness of joy in Christ are secured by Christ’s grasp of him.  Never forget that your security rests on Christ’s faithfulness first.

Christ is faithful first!  It is HIS mercies that are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23).  HE gave me just enough mercy to make it through last week’s inconveniences.  HE gave me the mercy I needed for today – when this frazzled mama just wanted to cry her eyes out in the waiting room and I am counting on HIS mercies for tomorrow’s trials!  I can testify - HE is faithful first!

Some days we have to fight for joy.  We have to fight to see God in the hard things of life.  It is crucial that in our dark moments we remember that though our grasp on God may feel weak – He has a strong hold on us.

Walk with the King,

The Biggest Disappointment of Relevant

Me with Ann right before we spoke on a panel about “Upside Down Blogging”.

There was one HUGE lesson God revealed to me during the Relevant Conference…

I’m a huge disappoinment and it’s time I embrace disappointing others -  to the glory of God!

Let me explain.

The closing speaker for the Relevant Conference was my #1 favorite blog writer – Ann Voskamp of  A Holy Experience.  Her writing takes me to the throne of God each time I read it.  I simply can’t get enough of her writing.

Previous to her closing session, I had shared the platform with Ann in a session titled “Upside Down Blogging“.  I spoke about Genesis 11 and the tower of Babel.  The men building the tower of Babel wanted to “make a name for themselves” and in God’s eyes this was wicked and brought judgement.  As bloggers, this temptation to “make a name for ourselves” exists and we have to be so careful of this trap. 

I also talked about Paul and Silas – when the jail doors fell open they stayed in the jail and the jailers family was saved!  Opportunities have arisen this year for me – doors have flown open – but thus far I have stayed put believing that it is God’s will for me to stay right where I am at.  But I’m not always so sure this is completely noble. 

To be honest, I’m scared to death to put myself out there much more than I have on my blog…I fear that expectations may be too high – it raises the bar in every area of my life.  From my marriage, to my parenting, to my homemaking – I feel pressure to not disappoint.  And this fear of disappointing has caused me to stagnate.

 Those closest to me in my real life - know I’m just Courtney…wierd, passionate, talkative Courtney…I have hurts, pains, problems, and fears just like everyone else…I say immature things.  I say sinful things.  I am SO flawed – the cross says I am flawed!  Hallelujah for the cross! 

Trust me, I’m a big disappointment in real life.

And so as I sat with pen in hand, ready to receive the message Ann had to share at the closing session of the Relevant Conference – this fearful, weary, wrestling mommy blogger found hope and tears stung as she spoke these words…

“You have been appointed to disappoint so you will point to the one who doesn’t disappoint.”

Did you catch that?  It’s my calling!

This is my calling – to be a disappointment to the glory of God!

I am free!  Free to be a big disappointment!   Because it’s NOT about me – let me point you to who it’s ALL about – Jesus! 

Here’s more from my notes that I wrote down that night:

There are no rock stars in blogging.  God is our rock and we are all stars shining for him.

Jesus does not need our help to be famous.

Fame is the ugly world of over exaggeration.

Jesus rejected, retreated, and resisted fame.  When he healed, he told them go and tell no one!  He reteated from being crowned King.  Jesus knew he would be used more with a crown of thorns than with a crown enthroned.

Be willing not to be esteemed but to be sacrificed.

Our method of ministry must be as counter cultural as our message is.

There’s a dark underbelly to blogging.  Satan would want nothing more than to destroy us.

All the Christian bloggers united are thunder -we are signaling God is about to rain – rain on the wilderness of parched and dry souls.  Since Jesus is the rain, we must be thankful people are reading at any blog. 

And so I conclude, I am but thunder…I pray that when you come here, God rains on your soul.  And when I post something unsettling, don’t answer your email (oh the guilt I carry for not answering your emails :( I just feel terrible I’ve disappointed so many in this way) or you meet me accidently in the supermarket (multiple times I’ve met strangers who are readers in stores) and my kids are standing on their heads lol!…I will remember I am but dust…you can’t expect too much out of dust (as Sally Clarkson says).

And I am learning to make peace with my new identity. 

“I’ve been appointed to be a disappointment so I can point others to the one who will never disappoint.”

It’s my honor to be a disappointment to the glory of God! 

 Walk with the King,

Courtney