When Loneliness is a Blessing -The Word Works Series

Writing on her blog Fearfully Made Mom, Abby reveres the Lord and His workmanship in her words and life. Sharing stories and thoughts that many of us encounter in daily our lives, Abby is quick to point straight to the truth we need to hear. Listening in gladly today!
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I remember the first time we drove through this small town tucked into hills of Western Maryland. It was a cold, rainy day and a heavy fog hung over us like a blanket.

As we made our way across the overpass and I looked down at the place I would later call home, I thought, “Oh God, what have I done?” My husband and I were going to be living here in a few months, and I had agreed to the move here sight unseen.

I looked out my window and I thought about the friends we’d be leaving, the church where we’d thrived, and the snowy peaks outside our doorstep in Utah. Had we gone crazy? On what planet did we decide this was a good idea, to pick our family up and move cross country for the second time in five years?

And yet, in late January during one of the coldest winters on record, that is exactly what we did.

After living with my in-laws for a few months while looking for a house, we finally found a place to raise our growing family. We were expecting our second son, and I was eager get active in the community. But the more we tried to fit, to find a church family and make friends, the more elusive our desires became.

I wondered if we’d heard God wrong. Even though we’d prayed fervently before making the move, I couldn’t help thinking we’d made a mistake. What I didn’t realize was that even in the midst of my grief, God was working.

God can use some of our loneliest seasons to draw us closer to Him.

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As we push back against the isolation and wonder where He is, He’s whispering, “I’m right here, my love. Come and sit with me a while. Everything you need is right here.”

During those months where I grieved the life we’d lost in Utah, God drew me to his side and comforted me like no friend ever could.

He gave me an understanding of his Word which can only be gained by living it.

I remember coming across this verse in James during those first few months of transition into our new town.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,

whenever you face trials of many kinds…”

James 1:2 NIV

I used to look at verses like this one and think, “Seriously? That sounds really nice in theory, but how can it apply to my everyday?”

But the move changed me.  It took James words and put skin on them in a way I never expected.

After spending some lonely months in my recliner nursing my newborn, I saw that James wasn’t delivering some clichéd phrase to sound religious. He was speaking truth and life.

joy

I wasn’t happy about my situation, but I had joy. Because friends, joy goes so much deeper than being happy. It is knowing no matter what trials life brings, we cling to a hope which will withstand it all.

As God worked on my heart, he prepared a place we would later call our church home. He brought people to our doorstep who ministered to me in my sadness.

When a new spring dawned and buds formed on the trees outside our window, I knew our winter of isolation was over. And I thanked God for everything He taught me during the cold.

This post is being shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, #TellHiStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup and #LifeGivingLinkup.
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Saved From Self-Condemnation

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“This is how we know that we belong to the truth

and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence:”

-1 John 3:19

            Oh, those words. That verse. How enticing it is to our souls. To mine, at least. A person naturally quite keenly aware of her sin, it’s never been as natural to me to find myself at rest or at peace with anything.

But rest, peace, and a sense of belonging are what I long for. They led me, years ago, to take up an independent study in college. The individual class was designed to answer this question:

how, in a broken, sinful world, are humans able to find solutions to problems besides simply Christ?”

Although an academic study on non-profits in practice, in truth the matter was personal. I’m a fixer. I’m a problem-solver. And I’m a sinner. These conditions are contradictory.

I’ve been executor and witness of the problems I have “solved” falling apart over and over again. My response, rooted in fear, used to allow my awareness of my own sin to hold me back from trying to fix anything for fear I’d make it worse.

Inaction marked all that mattered to me. If “it,” whatever “it” was, might be Spiritual or impactful, I’d gladly leave “it” up to another sinner. I didn’t want the mess of trying to do good without having any goodness in me.

You are letting your fear of sin overrule your fear of Christ. That’s what my professor said when it became apparent in conversation that the study was hitting me personally. He said it more kindly, and in more words. But the sentiment has long remained.

The truth of what He said was undeniable. Choosing inaction, choosing fear, was just as much a sin I wanted to avoid as the sin of not offering adequate solutions.

My lack of a sense of belonging to God changed. My restlessness with what to “do” in life turned to resting in His presence. My heart found the peace I was rejecting before my Savior, because I understood the rest of the verse:

“If our hearts condemn us,

we know that God is greater than our hearts,

and he knows everything.”

1 John 3:19-20

We can’t solve anything without Jesus. Not really. None of us can adequately offer hope or joy or righteous change in this world apart from Christ. We don’t have it in us, we are sinful. But He, within us, can.

Our hearts condemn us because we know the sin in them. What we forget is that the God who is greater than our hearts works in us and through us. He works through the sin and the muck to solve and fix and heal.

He knows how to save and redeem every bit of this world according to His will. That’s why we can belong to Him. That’s how we can put our hearts at rest in Him. There is no need to act in fear, even when the fear is rooted in our knowledge of self.

The Lord knows, and He wins even the battles in our hearts.

This post is being shared on: #LifeGivingLinkup #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, and #TellHiStory