a rally call to the tired and weary.
I write this to you with MUCH joy and hope for your future.
You can consider this a letter to the past, to the me of January 1, 2011. When I felt, indeed alone and lost and weary. Beyond hope and full of despair. I felt my dreams crushed and beyond my reach. I felt isolated and in the dark.
I was never suicidal, but this time last year, I was BEGGING for Jesus to come back. Or to go to sleep and not wake up. It was a tough, tough spot.
And I know that chances are, with the traffic that comes through these "doors", that some of you reading this know EXACTLY where I was, because you are there. This letter is to you.
Dear sweetly broken girl,
I know you feel hopeless and "done". I know you are tired of trying and want to give up. I know that you don't know how you will get through the rest of the day, let alone another whole year that looms ahead of you. I know you feel like your prayers fall on deaf ears...that God feels further than he has ever been. Can I gently suggest that he may be closer than ever? That the shadows that surround you may be the hand of God hiding you in the cleft of the rock protecting you?
Exodus 33:22 says "When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by."
That means His hand is on you. Protecting you from danger. I know it doesn't feel that way. Believe me, I know. You have never felt further from His touch. You feel punished. You feel deserted. But HE IS THERE. Use this time to push towards Him. When you are sad, read the Bible. When you hurt, read a devotional. When you feel alone, read the Bible. When you are desperate pray...out loud...in a scream if you must. Give it your all, He can take it. DIG your heels in and refuse to let go. Pull from every ounce of stubbornness you can muster up. Don't stop going to church, don't stop reaching out, don't give up on community. Stick to your guns. Go through the same motions that you would if things were "normal". In some areas, I dare say "Fake it til you make it".
Ask anyone who will listen to pray for you.
Ignore anyone who tells you to get over it.
God has not left you. He is not punishing you. He still loves you. He has a plan FOR YOU. It's better than yours. I can testify to the fact that if we had gotten all we prayed for in January of 2011, that we would be in a world of hurt come January 2012.
I can trace most of the steps of both answered and unanswered prayers from the last year and time has brought much confusion into focus, in a way that only time can. I can tell you, that if God doesn't answer a prayer the way you would like, that He is either protecting you or has something better in mind. Or both.
I just don't want you to give up.
There is good around the corner. This time next year or in the future, you will be wiser. And better. More patient and more kind. If you are seeking Him, you will be closer than ever. You will fight for the presence that you have with him now because...
He is close to the brokenhearted.
Don't waste this chance to grow.
Don't give up.
Don't stop going to church.
Don't stop reaching out.
Don't stop reading the Bible.
I've noticed that people who do these things, do so at the least appropriate time in their lives, ever. By doing these things, you are only doing the bidding of the enemy. he wants you alone and isolated.
You are punishing yourself, not God.
My pastor said something this morning that stuck with me...to HEAR God, you have to put yourself in His proximity. You have to know Him and seek Him to HEAR Him. It just doesn't work with wishing.
I am just here to beg you to not give up. It does get better.
As I sit here, at the cusp of a new year, I feel like I am carrying around less "junk" than EVER in my life. And I know it is by the grace of God and my stubbornness to BE JOYFUL. I know that I am "better" than ever because instead of isolating myself, I rolled up my sleeves and said "Let's do this".
My dreams have been restored. And they gleam more than ever before. Instead of pining that we are not home YET, I am making sure that every decision and action we take takes us closer to that goal. I am restoring and reaching out and pushing forward. I am enjoying THIS day and whatever it brings. I am choosing to be thankful and focus on our blessings.
It is a process to get from January 1, 2011 to January 1, 2012. But YOU CAN DO IT!
I want you to know that you are not alone. I believe that you can push through.
I will leave you with this fresh thought, for a fresh new year. One that YOU can choose to make awesome:
“Behold, I am making all things new.” Rev 21:5
And as our pastor pointed out...that is present tense, my friend.
Much love and hope to you in this New Year of the new you,