I woke up feeling overwhelmed this morning.
There are some heavy things weighing on my heart, but they're the personal kinds of things that I can't write about specifically on this blog.
Everything is generally going really well in my life right now, and if I did tell you what's troubling me, you might not think it's that big of a deal. But these challenges are hard for me--to the point that my stomach starts to hurt a little bit, and I kind of want to stay in bed watching movies all day. (Ever had a day like that?)
But I learned something really important during my travels and visits with friends this summer.
I learned that everyone has something going on that they would never post to social media.
In those quiet talks Eric and I had with our dear friends and family members, we discussed things that they or their loved ones are going through--like marital infidelity, divorce, custody issues, suicide attempts, children who were victims of rape, deep feelings of loss over the premature death of a spouse, financial stress, severe parenting dilemmas, and eating disorders.
I felt so humbled after some of these talks, especially as I realized how common it is for the people we love to be suffering more than we know they are.
But then this morning I read a few reminders during my scripture study that brought a beautiful peace to my heart, so I thought I'd share it--in case you're having one of those days where you're not breathing very well, or where you think everyone else's life is just one big party.
First, look to God and live.
This one is so simple, but it makes so much sense. We keep our eyes up. We focus on Him. We make the choice to live (not to stay in bed watching movies).
He has this incredible ability to lift the rest of our lives and to heal us from all those things that hurt inside. I don't know how He does it, but I know He does it.
His power is amazing. Amazing.
Second, when we bear all things with patience--because the Lord is with us and has given us power to do so--then at the end of each particular challenge, we will know that He was the one who delivered us.
This is an important point that I keep learning over and over again. Sometimes God allows us to be put in circumstances that feel impossible because He wants us to know that the only way we got out of those circumstances was because of Him.
We hear this question often: "If there's a God, then why does He let bad things happen to good people?"
My husband and I were talking about this the other day, and He said, "How about we change that question and make it into this: Why does God let HARD things happen to good people?"
That's a much better question.
God knows that when we go through things that are hard, we will turn to Him. He'll show us how strong He is, and then He'll transfer some of that strength to us. And He'll provide us mercy--because of His Son. That one idea is so powerful and comforting to me.
Third, as much as we put our trust in God, that's how much we will be delivered out of our trials and troubles.
Not sure if I phrased that right, but here's what I mean: It seems logical to pray less when we feel like we're not getting answers, but the reverse is actually true. When we feel like the heavens are closed or that life is too hard or that no one is listening to us, that's when we pray more.
That's when we pour our hearts out to the Lord first thing in the morning and keep a prayer in our hearts throughout the whole day. That's when we gather our children around us and invite them to feel that same power in their lives. We sing to the Lord while we exercise and run errands. We listen to music or podcasts or videos that strengthen our faith. We treat others gently and sweetly--like we know the Lord is treating us--and if one single doubt comes into our minds that we will ever get out of the difficulty we are in, we sweep that doubt out and replace it with an increase of faith.
That process has worked every single time for me.
I don't know what you are going through right now, but sometimes I feel like the Lord helps me to know a little bit of the heartache that the readers of my blog are feeling. That's why I'm writing this here this morning. (Usually these things would just go in my personal journal.)
I know that the Lord is there for all of us. He wants to help us with all those things we can't talk about, and as we increase our faith and help others increase their faith, our lives will take on an added measure of power and beauty--beyond what we ever anticipated.
Much, much love,