Hi, friends, it’s Monday morning, the time I have scheduled to work on this week’s blog post and it’s going SLOW. In fact, I’m a little panicked because I don’t have a clue what to write about. And yes, you’re right, I should probably dust my turtle collection.
I think about you and ask the Lord what I could share with you that would make a difference, because why else would I even do this? I don’t want to waste my words or your time. What do you need to hear this morning, friends? What would do your heart good? Help me, Lord!
And suddenly I hear the words of my Mom:
“Everything is going to be alright.”
Yesss! Thanks, Mom, I needed to hear that and maybe they do, too.
But I hesitate to say those words because it sounds like I’m making light of what you’re going through. If you’re like me, you don’t want casual reassurances; you want to know FOR SURE that things are going to be alright.
Here are a few things, that at the time, I thought would never be alright:
- Being diagnosed with epilepsy when I was 21 and having to take meds that could cause birth defects
- Teenagers that were determined to walk away from everything we’d taught them
- Wounds from a painful church situation
- Working a job that physically wiped me out
- Struggling to adapt to having my Dad live with us
- Losing my house
- My husband nearly dying from a pulmonary embolism
I can endure almost anything when the end is in sight, but sometimes that pit is so deep there’s no looking over the edge.
What do you do when everything in your life conspires to make you believe that things will never work out?
This is the part of the post where I’d love to give you three simple steps to make sure everything does work out for you. Man, I wish I could do that. With all my heart, I believe that things will work out, but probably not the way you wanted or expected them to. Sometimes things turn out better than you could imagine. Other times you have to look REALLY HARD for the good thing God is doing in your pain. And you often have to wait a long time to see redemption. But you will, friends, you will.
Can I get really personal with you and ask what is it that weighs down your heart this morning? Is there something in your life that you have trouble believing will ever be alright?
- A young child with development problems?
- Are you divorced, or widowed, facing a future you never imagined?
- Is there a dream in your heart that appears to be unattainable?
- Does a loved one struggle with addiction?
- Are you paralyzed by all that’s on your plate?
- Do you feel like nothing. is. ever. going. to. change?
Why its such a struggle
My friend and spiritual director Summer Gross helped me understand why we struggle so much in this area. It’s because we’re picturing a future that God is not in. Honestly, it’s why I had such a hard time as I sat in front of a blank computer screen just a few minutes ago. I pictured myself dealing with the blank page all alone. No inspiration. No help. No encouragement. No direction. No blog post.
That, friends, is the goal of the enemy, always. To get us to believe that we’re on our own. Summer calls it the orphan mentality.
It’s a scarcity mindset:
I am alone.
I am neglected.
I must fend for myself.
The scarcity mindset makes us believe it’s all up to us and so that’s where we focus… on ourselves. We concentrate on self-promotion, self-protection and self-provision and we end up self-absorbed, oblivious to God’s care and the help and companionship of others.
We forget: His faithfulness, His provision, His help, His promises. We wait for the other shoe to drop. Even when we’re in a season of blessing we worry that we won’t survive the next storm, that God is trying to trick us into relaxing and letting down our guard.
What a horrible way to live. I know; I lived that way for years.
We could get all deep and theological here and talk about why a good God allows such bad things to happen but I’m not a theologian. I just know that “in this world you will have trouble” but “He has overcome the world.”
Ps 145:18 tells us, “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him…”
Ps 16:8 says, I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Here’s how it reads in The Passion Translation: “Because you are close to me and always available, my confidence will never be shaken, for I experience your wrap-around presence every moment!”
[Insert huge sigh of relief]
The unshakable kingdom
James Bryan Smith, author of The Magnificent Journey:Living Deep in the Kingdom, writes, “I am a person in whom Christ dwells and delights. I am living in the strong and unshakable kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is not in trouble.”
Listen to that again: the Kingdom, Smith reassures us, is not in trouble. That means YOU are not in trouble.
That pit you’re in? It’s not your final destination.
Thou, who hast shown me many troubles and distresses, will revive (chayah) me again (shuwb) and will bring me up again (shuwb) from the depths of the earth. Ps 71:20
Revive: Chayah – recover, repair, refresh, restore.
This beautiful sunrise is a picture of resurrection and restoration and that is His heart for you.
Identity is at the heart of this: yours—as a well-loved child of God, and His—a loving Father.
I’ve talked before about a little song I wrote when I had a tough time believing things would ever work out. It’s a children’s song, really, but I think that’s why the Holy Spirit gave it to me. I needed childlike faith. Here are the lyrics:
I am a child of the most high God
I am not forsaken
I am not forgotten
I am forgiven and free
If you struggle with having an orphan mentality, say these words as a breath prayer. Say them as a declaration, as an anthem. You are not an orphan and God is not an absentee Father; you are significant and you are safe. God has not, is not and will not ever desert you, no matter how bad things are, how bad they look or how bad it gets.
EveryTHING may not be alright, but YOU will be alright.
Want to know how I can say this with such conviction?
I’m OLD! The same age my Mom was when she said it to me!
Part of the beauty of growing older is you can look back and see how things worked out. Somehow, someway, you lived through it. You are stronger than you think. And God is bigger than you can imagine.
That list I wrote above about all the things I thought would never work out – they all worked out, though not the way I thought they would. I lived through the stuff I thought would kill me. And, yes, Kelly Clarkson, it made me stronger. Not one thing that happened was able to separate me from the love of God; it actually drew me closer to Him.
I hope you won’t cringe or roll your eyes when I say this, but believe me, friends: Mom knew what she was talking about. She just had a longer perspective than I did.
Ultimately, everything really IS going to be alright.
Happy Valentines Day, friends!
And Mom? Thanks for the writing prompt!