a rally call to the tired and weary.

This is a letter to the tired and weary, on the first day of the NEW year. 
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,


hannah singer said...

thank you. THANK YOU.
praise jesus that i stopped by today.
happy new year!


jonahbonah said...

i needed this. i needed a good cry. and cry i did.

thank you for your wise words.

Dawn said...

Thank you for posting this. The year gets so hectic and it is important to stop and reflect how blessed we truly are.
God is good all the time!

Happy New Year!

Unknown said...

You spoke what is on my heart today that I could not put into words on a blog or in a journal. Thank you for your words and for the reminder that we are not alone, and that we all experience being brokenhearted. I read this post with tears streaming! Praying for you and your family this year.

Sara Dunning said...

Thank you so much :) I needed to hear this.

Have a delicious New Year,
Sara Dunning

Gingersnaps&Daisies said...

thank you for this :)

Anonymous said...

I am bookmarking this to read over and over and over again. Thanks for letting God work through you to touch others!

Anonymous said...

I am bookmarking this to read over and over and over again. Thank you for letting God work through you!

Anonymous said...

thanks chrystal! ;)

Anonymous said...

How I needed to hear this! I'm at that spot right now where I feel very lonely and unloved, but you are right, I need to push closer to God more than ever. Thank you for that reminder!

Shanea said...

thank you for sharing~

Cora Anne Designs said...

Great post, it reminds me of a song by Matt Redman that we've been singing at our church the last few months called Never Once....well worth a download.

"Never once did we ever walk alone, never once did you leave us on our own. You are faithful, God you are faithful..."

Today in church we were reminded that while we all take one day to make our resolutions for ourselves (not that there's anything wrong with that), God is working on us 365 days, and to never forget that!

ragamuffinbeauties said...

love you, love this post. so timely...couldn't be more perfect! He is with us, carrying us, loving us through the much! SO encouraged!!!

blueschoolmomma said...

Thank you, Crystal!! I read a very similar post on another blog a couple hours ago...guess God's trying to tell me something! Thanks for listening to your heart and posting this.

Rachel said...

thank you! I needed this too today...

Smilie girl said...

Beautiful. Thanks for the encouragement to keep at it, to not withdraw, but keep going.
Wishing you a wonderful joyous year.

Nancy said...

I just found your blog. I thought your post was so beautiful. I LOVE your choice of words, "stubborness to be joyful." I am going to work hard on that this year!

As I explored just a little bit more, the joy comes "write" off the page. I bet you are an amazing force (in person). I am so thrilled God lead me to you!

Have a joy-filled 2012!

Apick said...

Thank you for your words! I have been following your blog for quite a while and felt comfort knowing that there is someone else who desires to move "home". I have been waiting for many things...a move back "home" with my family that is dependent on my husband's job; the start of our family that seems to remain only as a hope and desire a year and a half later; and the healing of my mother who is suffering with an undiagnosed respiratory disease.

Your words of hope and the reminder to remain in Him are priceless and I appreciate how your transparency has allowed the Lord to use you and your "suffering" as an encouragement to me and many others!

Retro Redux Furniture Gallery said...

Boy howdy, these were the words I needed to hear this morning. Thank you does not express the gratitude I am feeling.

forever folding laundry said...

Beautiful, beautiful post.
Praise Him for restoration!!


tigerchick said...

Are you reading Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts? One of the scriptures you quoted was what I read in that book today. Just curious to know if this book helped get you our of your funk.

Erin said...

i love how you use your blog to share love and encouragement! thanks for being you...

looking forward to another year of little bit funky! thanks, friend!

Rea said...

Thank you for your post. I am where you were. I have never been so happy to see a year end...only to have the enemy already waiting for me on the other side of the calendar.

You have eloquently said, what I have been afraid to say (and hear). Thanks.

nursenicki said...

GOD brought me to this post today. I will likely be e-mailing you...because we need everyone we do & don't know to pray. Thank you Crystal.

mamazee said...

Love this post!  Last year was months of pneumonia, a pulled shoulder that took six months to heal, six months of insurance stuff with the blown water heater, fertility doctors who couldn't tell me why i was shut down, and closed with the divorce of my parents after forty years.

On the other hand, God uprooted us and planted us in a town that is so friendly, with a better church than i could imagine, gave us another little baby when we thought we were through, and gave me a vision of the possibility of Godly husbands and wives for my children!  My husband is so much happier at his new job and scored a+ on his latest master's course.

I could not have foreseen this back in January when we sat in Boston Pizza and tried to plan our way out.  God did this for us, gave us so much more than we were even hoping for...

I posted this on my facebook wall so when i fall on hard times again, i will read words i know are true :)


anna said...

beautifully said. xo.

Vintage Dutch Girl said...

LOVED this. Thank you thank you for reminding me that God is near even when I am in the bottom of the pit! Thankfully, I've scratched and clawed my way to the edge of the pit, but one always remembers what it feels like to be at the very bottom. Bless you :)

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