Heartbreak is not the worst thing.

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If you had told me this half a year ago, I would have probably wanted to cut you and said, “don’t try to understand my pain!” But now that I have some time and experience under my belt, I can tell you with a fair amount of confidence that there are worse things than heartbreak.

God asks us to have our hearts broken for Him all the time and sometimes we even directly ask for it (‘break my heart for what breaks yours…’). Heartbreak is healthy, it grows us.

There are plenty of times when we don’t ask for heartbreak but our actions put us on the fast track toward it. Those times are usually when it really hurts the most because our pride gets pretty damaged in the process as well. What we thought was sure and true was actually shaky and unreliable. What we thought was going to save us actually sunk us. Ouch.

An aptly timed C.S. Lewis quote came into my life and taught me a thing about heartbreak that I didn’t really fully understand until today. Maybe I still don’t fully trust it. Anyway,

“But then, being hurt is not the worst thing in the world. Better to have suffered and grown than to never have suffered at all. In fact, most growth is accompanied by pain. God can use heartache as well as headache to help us grow.”

I was thinking today about my own heart and how when it aches I become a sorry for myself mess. And how I’m being so selfish because there are people out there with much bigger problems than a little heartache. And that’s when I remembered this quote and it finally dawned on me that I’m okay. I once was broken and lost in my misery but the joy of the Lord has once again dawned in my life. He has not forsaken me and He was by my side throughout the whole thing. Shaping me, teaching me, and comforting me. He was preparing me for the next thing that He has planned for my life and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the direction that it’s headed in.

In fact, I’m actually thankful for my hard time because it has made me all the more thankful for this time that I have now. Not only that, but it has helped me be more receptive to God’s glory manifested in my life. How can we regret anything that helped us to encounter glory?

Guys, our weakest moments and our greatest hurts really do make us into the people that we’re meant to be.

God’s Will vs. My Will… The battle continues

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“But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to?”

That right there^^ Yea, I feel that.

Sometimes I feel like I am in a constant battle. A battle where I tell God my desires and He takes them under consideration and says, “Okay Sarah, but what about this instead?” So I sigh and say, “Alrighty then God, if that’s what you say.”

But gee, what kind of a Christian am I? Should it really be that big of a deal for me to spend an extra hour talking to a friend when I know I should be studying? Should it really be that big of a deal for me to give a little extra money to a needy cause? Should it really be that big of a deal for me to give up 7 weeks of my summer to an organization that needs teachers? I say no! That’s not a big deal. That’s called sacrifice. And it’s not anywhere near what my Savior did for me. And it’s basically the bare minimum of what I should be doing.

BUT sometimes I just don’t want to have to do the right thing. I don’t want to have to tell the boy no- I like his attention. I don’t want to listen to my parents. I don’t want to have to have it together all the time. I don’t always want to dress and act like I should- I want to go out and party and make mistakes and ‘live’. I don’t want to have to be smart about how I spend my money- I want to splurge.

Okay, there is a point to my whining here so bear with me. God is working in me. I know that because of how confused I feel. I know it because sometimes it hurts. But there are moments when I catch a small small glimpse of what He’s doing in my life and wow- it’s going to be pretty beautiful from the looks of it.

I guess the point of this post was to let you know that you don’t have to be perfect to be a Christian or to be a follower of Jesus. His disciples weren’t the most upstanding. They were slow learners, selfish, inattentive and doubtful. Those adjectives all describe me. I know a lot of people who could attest to being the same way. But God doesn’t need a whole lot to work with. Give Him a little faith and He’ll take care of the rest.

I guess we can expect it to hurt because sometimes the Truth does that. And I guess we can expect to be confused because God’s ways are much too high for us to even comprehend. Kind of like how I feel when I look at Algebra x 5,000.

If you feel like you’re struggling to live your faith daily, to rid yourself of doubt, to comprehend God’s will for you, to be unselfish in your desires and actions… You’re not alone. You’re among friends.

Not much to say.

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Ironically titled isn’t it? Considering my last post was about how I have infinitely many things to say and not the courage to say them.

I’ve reconsidered.

Maybe there is a time and place to just say it and by it, I mean everything. But I do think the conditions often promote a “just say what needs said and get out of here” kind of situation.

When I was considering what to blog about today, I had this thought, “I don’t know, I really don’t have much to say.” But that’s perfect because that’s been my revelation this week.

Sometimes your heart cries out with a novel’s worth variety of sentiments, complaints, questions and apologies. Sometimes that’s too much. Sometimes that’s not what needs to be said.

It was brought to my attention that sometimes all it really takes to free a person is one sentence. “I’m sorry for hurting you.” or “I forgive you for hurting me.”

For me, condensing my thoughts is quite a process. I end up feeling like this:

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It all boils down to these questions: Is this really important? WHO is this important for?

For me the answer to the first question is a resounding ‘YES!!!!’ and the answer to the second is ‘I’m not sure, Lord.’ Because it really is ultimately God that knows the answer to that question. I know it’s important to me because He’s laid it on my heart, He’ll take care of the rest.

So, moral of the story… Sometimes you don’t have to say much to say it all.

Escape.

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“‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His Word; Just to rest upon His promise, and to know ‘Thus saith the Lord'”

Tonight while doing my devotional time, I read two separate passages. The first was about proclaiming the mighty works of the Lord. The other was about despair.

Seemingly unrelated but the passages of the Bible that they referenced blew me away. So I thought I would share my thoughts.

Despair is very real in our lives. It creeps in when we’re at our lowest or when we’ve just had a crappy day. But thanks to God’s unconditional love, glory, majesty, and power, our despair can be overcome. A surefire way to overcome despair is to meditate on all that He has promised us and to consider all of the good works He has already done– Psalms 77:12 “I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.”

Even when you are in a time of despair (or not), another surefire way to feel blessed and lend that feeling to others is to tell people about the difference Christ is making in your life! Maybe you’re having the worst day of your life. But God is still in His heaven, He still loves you, you’re still living and breathing, and He is still with you wherever you go. The difference that Christ has in our lives is worth mentioning!– Colossians 1:17 “He is before all things and in Him all things hold together.” He is greater than anything I face and He holds my broken pieces together.

I’m just so glad that even in the midst of chaos, we still have an escape in God’s Word. A rock to hold onto that makes sense when nothing else does.

What is God doing in your life? What promises do you mediated on when you feel despair?

‘Tis the Season

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For the past few Sundays at my church, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 has been printed in the bulletin. In case you aren’t familiar, this is the verse that says “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven…” And then goes on to list all of the things. Check it out, it’s awesome (because it’s the word of God, duh). I’ve been really convicted by this passage of scripture lately because it speaks a lot into what I believe God is trying to teach me right now about seasons of life.

I saw a quote once on a friend’s dorm room wall that said, “The bad news- nothing lasts forever. The good news- nothing lasts forever.” And I thought “Pssshhh, that’s depressing.” And moved on. But as I was reading Ecclesiastes again, I thought of that quote. And I realized how much it has to say about seasons of life.It’s both encouraging and intimidating.

We experience seasons in our lives where we feel like we’re finally breaking through. We’ve gotten into the school of our dreams, we’re pursuing the career or our calling, we’ve got the best of friends and family by our sides… We realize the school has a lot more challenges than we anticipated (or wanted), we question our calling, we lose friends, significant others, disappoint our family members…

People would say that these are just the ups and downs of life. I can’t say that they are wrong. But Jefferson Bethke mentioned in a podcast that I listened to recently that we like to look at life as a linear thing when really it is more cyclic (he’s still very much in the Christian worldview here people, calm down). He said that the history of the stories in the Bible lead us in a spiral instead of a line. I think that’s true- though I may be doing a poor job of articulating it.

God puts us in certain seasons, when we aren’t anticipating them and when we don’t want to be in them because He is helping us grow. Sometimes growing hurts, sometimes it’s fun, and sometimes we go through seasons where we serve others in their growth as well. I think it’s important to remember that though this season may seem endless- there is an end, “there is a time for everything under heaven.” These seasons are things that we are going to experience throughout our lives. They’re going to pop up again- hence the spiral instead of a line. Once you move on from a season of ‘wait’ don’t expect to never have to wait on God again. Once you move on from a season of overflowing grace and happiness, don’t expect to never feel that way again. Once you move on from a season of feeling like you can’t feel God, don’t expect that He will always feel close.

Right now I’m going through a season that isn’t easy. I have to remind myself of my need for growth and dependence on God every day. I have to spend time in His word every day, meditating on His promises and reminding myself of the changing seasons of life. But I am so encouraged by the seasons of life that I am able to look forward to what great things God has planned for me. I know that I am being prepared every day for them and that in and of itself is a source of joy.

If you have any advice/encouragement about the different seasons of life, please comment and share it with me. I’d love to know what you think! 🙂

It’s gonna hurt because it matters.

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Yes, that is a John Green quote.

I am so sad because when I made this blog I had no idea that all of my posts were going to be so depressing and focused on the idea of pain, suffering, love, hardships, etc. But I’m not really sorry for all of the cliche’ quotes and declarations of love because this is my life and this is what life and loving is like. This is what heartbreak looks like when you spit it out onto a virtual page. If you read these posts and you roll your eyes and think I’m extreme and dramatic and wonder why I’m not over it then that’s fine, I invite you to go. Or to continue to do so behind my back. But I want you to know that these feelings are hard. Loving, trusting, that’s hard shit to do. And as an existing human they’re nearly impossible to avoid. One day you’ll take your stay in the heartbreak hotel too.

I’ve been sitting in this hell hole for about 3 months now. That is not to say that I haven’t made the most of it. I’ve been having a good time with the opportunities that I’ve been given. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t hate the lonely time before I fall asleep where my mind is ravaged by the same depressing thoughts that build up during the day every. fucking. day. I want out of here. I want it to stop hurting. I have that thought so many times. And my mind keeps saying back “so what are you going to do about it?”

I’ve been wanting to do something about it. Some days it’s an urge to do something dramatic and awe-inspiring. Other days I’d barely be able to muster out a whimper.  But I came across this John Green quote again this evening and it reminded me of why I have such an urge to do something…

“Maybe there’s something you’re afraid to say, or someone you’re afraid to love, or somewhere you’re afraid to go. It’s gonna hurt. It’s gonna hurt because it matters.”

Damn straight, John Green. GUYS, he’s so right. My heart hurts because this matters. And it’s not finished. I know that because every time I pray all I get is a ‘wait’ and all of these quotes about patience keep crossing my path. I know God is speaking to me. He’s telling me that He understands that it hurts, and that it hurts because it matters.

So if you’re going through a struggle, and if the holiday is re-emphasizing the literal ache inside of your body, remember that it matters. That you matter and that there is a purpose and something to be gained. Only God knows what that is and sometimes He doesn’t like to share right away.

I have never in my life felt the way I do about this one person. I have never been more convinced of something, except maybe of my calling to be a teacher. Over 3 months have passed and every day feels the same. Because it matters.

That’s all I have to offer right now.