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Monthly Archives: October 2016

When You Come Undone and Can’t Pull Yourself Together

I copied this article from incourage.me/blog instead of simply inserting a link to the site. It seems readers are less inclined to click on a link once they arrive at my home page and I really want people to read this article by Angela Nazworth. I love how she unfolded Hannah’s story. So, no link to follow today, just scroll down!


I have been pregnant three times. I have given birth twice.

Fragmented memories remain of the day I lost my first baby — the child whose heart thumped in my womb for only eight short weeks. I remember the horror I felt when I discovered the first scarlet spots alerting me that my baby was gone. I remember the weight of my husband’s hand resting heavy on my shoulder when my doctor confirmed our fears and tried to comfort us with statistics. I remember the coldness that swept through my chest when the nurse who assisted with the examination gave me a stern warning as I shakily made my way toward the exit.

“Now I know you’ve heard some unsettling news, but you need to pull yourself together,” she cautioned as I brushed tears off my cheeks and neck. “You’re young. You’ll get pregnant again in no time. There are women in that waiting room who are pregnant now, and they don’t need to be upset. So just get a hold of your emotions before you go out there.”

Then, with a pat on my back, she scurried away leaving me shamed by my grief.

My legs trembled as if I was walking a tight rope without a safety net. Through blurred vision, I forced a stoic expression, entwined my shaking fingers with those belonging to my husband and walked out of the building. With each step, one thought bounced around my mind.

Pull yourself together.

I’ve heard those words numerous times throughout my life in various situations. Sometimes they were spoken by well-meaning individuals. Other times, I whispered the phrase to myself.

A graveside vigil. Pull yourself together.

Job loss. Pull yourself together.

A loved one’s betrayal. Pull yourself together.

Saying goodbye to dear friends. Pull yourself together.

Overwhelmed by an infant’s colicky cries or a toddler’s 40-minute tantrum. Pull yourself together.

I’m sure that everyone who reads this post can add to the list above.

The expectation of pulling yourself together after life twists you undone is misguided.

Need biblical assurance that I’m sharing truth? Turn to the story of Hannah. Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel is a beautiful example from Scripture of a woman who mourned honestly before the Lord. Hannah didn’t pull herself together. You can read her story in the first chapter of 1 Samuel, but here is an excerpt from 1 Samuel 1:10-16:

“In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, ‘Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.’

As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, ‘How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.’

‘Not so, my lord,’ Hannah replied, ‘I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.’”

At that wall, Hannah unraveled the twisted, messy knots of her grieving heart before God. Passersby probably shook their heads. Eli mistook her agony for drunkenness. Hannah’s core was shaken. Her heart was broken. Her hope was nearly threadbare.

She wasn’t able to “pull herself together,” but she knew where to turn as her emotions were shred to bits.

The fiery pain of a personal loss is immeasurable. And each person’s threshold for heartache is different. There are times when we cannot keep going on our own. And God doesn’t expect us to pull it together and shine with glee when we’re busted up.

In the moments when torment throbs deep, God doesn’t bark “stiffen that upper lip, girl.” He instead whispers, “Come to Me dear one, come to Me.” He invites us to crumple into the comforting arms of Christ to pray or scream or to beg with abandon until we heal.

“For He has not despised or detested the torment of the afflicted. He did not hide His face from him, but listened when he cried to Him for help.” {Psalm 22:24}

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2016 in Faith, Grief, Links

 

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Down the Damascus Road, Again . . .

damascusroadI have found there are points in my life where I find myself completely unable to accept God’s obvious plan. Maybe you’ve found yourself in a similar situation? It’s what I refer to as my “Road to Damascus” experience. By that point in time I’m filled with frustration and anxiety and doing everything I can in my own power to change the circumstances I find myself in only to have God pull me up short and shine a painful, blindingly bright light of truth down, revealing that I am not just kicking against the pricks but actively working against His greater plan.

It’s hard to describe how it feels to know that the thing you least want to accept in your life is an irrefutable part of God’s plan. Oh, to be a two-year-old again so that the temper tantrum I want more than anything to throw, while not tolerated, is at least understood.

Harder still and completely beyond my human capabilities, is the ability to change the desperate desire of my heart, let alone make any attempt to surrender and embrace God’s unacceptable plan.

I firmly believe changing the heart and embracing God’s plan only happens at the point where a believer’s brokenness is met by the active work of the Holy Spirit in that believer’s life. Surrender definitely comes before embracing the plan.

In fact, embracing the plan may never actually happen and it may not even be something God expects from me — from any believer. Maybe all God really expects is for us to quit actively working against Him — not because we have the power to prevent His plan from unfolding but because the fight — the anger, fear, frustration, anxiety and bitterness exhausts and destroys us from within.

Maybe simple resignation, surrender to the inevitable, is a victory in and of itself. Maybe surrender, resigned or not, allows one the energy to take the next step, endure the next blow, and the next, until only the sorrow and quiet emptiness remain leaving room for the Savior to fill you from the cup of consolation and enabling the broken believer to receive the only remaining hope worth clinging to — an eternal future promised to stand in stark contrast to every aching moment the present reality reflects. Maybe that’s sufficient until the day we are made like Him.

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2016 in Adversity, Faith, Grief

 

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