The last eight months have unfolded into one beautiful plot twist after another, stirring my heart with so much joy and even more love for the One who authors this grace-drenched life. Lots of things have happened and one day those things will work its way into sentences and paragraphs to share with others, but until then, here are some things I’ve been up to:
“Broken hearted one, Jesus Christ knows all your troubles, for similar troubles were His portion too.” -Charles Spurgeon
Though the spring sun was shining its way into summer, clouds were rolling into my heart and the horrible, unwelcome darkness of the depression I thought was conquered slithered into my soul.
The following is a raw and bitter-but-trying-to-preach-and-believe-truth journal entry from May 25. Maybe someone else needs to be reminded, as did I, that there is One who will never change His mind about us.
“For the Lord will not forsake His people;
He will not abandon His heritage…”
Road trips and lots of cleaning and cooking created space for a lot of listening time, which was then filled with music, sermons, and, um, five audio books. #nerd.
Here’s my eclectic reading (and listening) list:
That’s what healing is. It’s not always overnight or immediate, not always fixed with a Band-Aid or kiss from mom, not always quick and easy or even medically treatable. Sometimes it just takes time. And sometimes, even months or years later, something can happen that tears open an old wound. You thought scar tissue was protecting it, but then even that gets severed. The new rip in the old wound causes grief to pour out like a torrent while you desperately look around for a compress and wish you’d have been prepared with a tourniquet.
But that’s the thing. One is never prepared for the scab being torn off a wound. It’s like accidentally scraping a sunburn. If you knew it was coming, you would have stopped it. But it always catches you off guard.
She loves the snow, the cold, the way your lungs freeze up and give out when you try to breathe, all of it. (Okay, fine, I embellished the breathing one, though she does like breathing cold air.)
I’m not a fan.
I love sunshine and warmth and the smell of dirt and trees. I love being outside and hiking and adventures and going barefoot and being at and in the lake (that isn’t frozen). I love outdoor sports and Enoing (is that a verb? Let’s go with yes) and picnics and grilling and barbecues and, as you can see, pretty much anything that includes eating outside.
On the other hand, it’s unnatural how much I hate jackets and coats. I would rather risk pneumonia than put on a jacket. You know what else I could go the rest of my life without? Socks. And short days and having to start your car 20 minutes before you go anywhere so your hands don’t permanently freeze to the steering wheel.
What if Scripture tells us God is a divine multitasker and that this hurt doesn’t only affect us? What if we aren’t suffering because God is cruel but because He’s equipping us to help others in ways we couldn’t without it?
We all suffer. What separates Christ-followers from the world is the way we respond. And with hearts and ears anchored in the Gospel, we can hear the sermon suffering preaches.
Suffering tells us we’re all groaning for full redemption and that we’re not alone because no life is untouched by difficulty. The poison of sin has slithered into the DNA of every human and with it comes suffering—the proof of our brokenness.
Perhaps God walks us down roads filled with potholes and trials and grief so we can learn the streets and one day drive others down them, helping them to navigate the curves to get to the finish line.
And this year reading was a challenge.
It was hard to focus and get sucked into the pages because, for the first time in my life, I liked what was happening in my own life better than what was happening in the world of books.
Who knew that was possible?
Instead of spending every free second reading about other people living their lives, I was actually living mine. And it was wonderful and hard and beautiful and excruciating, and I would choose every second all over again to see God the way I do today and to get to know and love (and be known and loved by) the extraordinary people in my life.
Anyway, here are the books I did read. (And, minus the top five, these are in no order whatsoever).
“If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.”
And that’s only intensified in the last three weeks.
At times, that weakness has led to introspection, waterfalls of fear, running from everyone and everything, building walls, shutting down, depression, despair, and grasping for control.
At other times, that weakness has served as a beat up taxi into which I climb and let drive me to the throne of grace and into the arms of the Strong One whose sufficiency shines against the bleakness of my lack and covers me with blankets of mercy and security.
One of the things I’ve learned? Comfort in weakness is always found at Calvary.
May the following quotes lead you there.
The patients of the great Physician are those whose hearts are broken through sorrow.
Hearts are broken through disappointment.
Hearts are broken through bereavement.
Hearts are broken in ten thousand ways, for this is a heart-breaking world; and Christ is good at healing all manner of heart-breaks.”
–Charles H. Spurgeon, “Christ’s Hospital: A Sermon on Psalm 147:3,” originally published in Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 38 (1892)
This sermon has been especially helpful for me today. I promise it will not be a waste of your time to read it: https://www.spurgeongems.org/vols37-39/chs2260.pdf