Category Archives: Feeling overwhelmed

There are many lenses I have viewed my husband through over the last eight months. The lens of anger and hurt, of bitterness and displacement. Even though the world would say that I have a right to all of these reactions, I am learning that we have to be very cautious about which lens we choose to view our life through. Viewing our life through a wrong lens distorts our understanding of the gospel and brings disaster into our lives. 

After many hard knocks I have come to understand that it’s only the lens of God’s word that should influence our lives. It’s the only way for true contentment and fulfilment with the one who knows us best.

When we are looking through a wrong lens, sin is crouching at our door.
 

Proverbs 17:9 says:

Love forgets mistakes; nagging about them parts the best of friends. 

God forgets our mistakes, he hurls our iniquities into the depths of the sea. If we are loving God before ourselves, then we do the same when people hurt and offend us. 

James 1:25 says:

 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it, not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it, they will be blessed in what they do.

When we experience betrayal and hurt our instinctive reaction often turns to bitterness and distance, anger and unforgiveness. Looking through the lens of God’s  word  enables us to see that God reacts to us very differently. God  reacts with kindness and forgiveness, with tenacious love and with no thought to his own feelings when we have hurt and offended him. When we are looking through the right lens we begin to view those who have offended us as loved and precious to God. When we break it down, we begin to view ourselves as no better than those who have hurt us. We are all sinners that don’t deserve the outrageous kindness of our Heavenly Father. So, if  God reacts with love, grace and forgiveness when he is hurt and offended, so must we. 

Advertisements

My life right now is inconsistent.I am having ups and downs. Good days and bad days. Times of joy and times of melancholy. Feelings of hope and feelings of overwhelming despondency. 

Acceptance is a big thing, and it’s so easy to look back and wish for what has gone. The past has gone and God has taken it away. This is right and fair. Even in the light of mighty forgiveness and overwhelming grace, I  am bearing the right  consequences for my husband’s sin. It could be no other way, because our Heavenly Father is a good parent, and there are always consequences for wrong actions. King David was forgiven, but he and Bathsheba always had the grief and sorrow of a son who died. Sin matters. 

My prayer is that the experiences that I’ve gone through won’t be wasted. That all this hurt and pain will be used to help and support others. That many will be encouraged to understand that it’s possible to feel all of these overwhelming and debilitating emotions, and yet know God in such a wonderful and intimate way. It’s such a paradox. Grief and sorrow and hurt, yet at the very same time knowing joy and hope and such a knowledge of our saviour. 

Eventually, this roller coaster ride with its ups and downs, twists and turns making me feel sick and disorientated will level out. But I will look back and I will be able to say:

I have really felt a sense of joy now and then over recent days, which has been welcome. I am making progress, but this morning I had a trigger that overwhelmed me. It weighed on my heart like a millstone. I have started helping in the toddler group at my new church. As we set up and then prayed, I felt suffocated with grief for all that I had lost. I missed my old group and the fellowship I had with them. I missed being known. I missed all the people I served with. All their names were in my heart. All that served the coffee, precious ladies that I caught up with over the hatch. I missed the mums and carers and grandmas. I loved all those I served with, and at that moment in time the hole in my heart felt unfillable. I began to quietly sob and had to escape. I know my life will be hard for months and months to come. 

There will be no easy fix. It’s a season I have to go through in order to get to the other side. There is nothing that can be done; it can’t be fixed or mended. As I write, I am quietly standing in a quiet spot in town and thanking God for smart phones. I can pour my heart out as I write, which helps me to put my emotions back in their proper place. 
Later in the morning, I talked to a mum from Morocco. She was telling me how hard it was to settle. I was able to see how bereft she must have felt and I was able to express that to her. At the end of the session she came and found me and hugged me. Empathy is often born out of pain; I learnt this morning that no difficult situation is wasted. 
Two steps forward and one back. We go on in God’s strength. 

Galatians 5:22-23 says:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

I have been reading through Galatians this morning, and I have been reminded of the beauty of living with Christ in view. God is so kind and generous in the way he enables us to respond to one another by  his Spirit. 

 That simple list seems at first glance to to be such an easy thing. And it is easy to react like that with those who please us, those  we get on with, and those who make us feel safe.

These verses become less easy when we are hurt, under the cosh, and offended. I was struck also by these verses in Ezekiel which reminded me that any goodness we have is a gift. 

In  Ezekiel ch 36 :25 God says to his people,

 ” I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees.” 
Praying that the Holy Spirit does his work in our hearts today, enabling us to go God’s way; being kind to those who have hurt us. Not avoiding or giving the cold shoulder to those who have offended us. Reacting with gentleness and kindness in the face of unkindness.
We need Gods help, it goes against our natural inclination. But God is willing and able and He loves to pour his grace on those who want to go his way, for his glory.

Who is the man who fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way he should choose. (Psalm 25:12)

Every miracle started with a problem. 

I have a screen saver on my phone which says “every miracle in the bible first started with a problem.” So countless times every day this is what I read. As I look back in the gospels and see all the miracles that Jesus performed, this statement is indeed correct. Jesus’ miracles are all about people in dire need and overwhelming despair.

They are about the dead raised to life, the blind seeing, and lives that are completely smashed and ruined by demon possession. We also see people who are treated badly and counted as nothing because of their physical disabilities, and the dreaded leprosy which separates loved ones. In all of these huge problems we see the power of Jesus smashing through it all. He loved, and had compassion on all people, and sorted the problem when humanly speaking there was no solution.

As I am on my phone all the time, I am reminded constantly that every miracle first started as a problem, God is the same God and smashes through our problems and finds a way when we see no way forward. 

For us, this weekend is a painful one. It should be a happy occasion but it’s not. Many churches are meeting together, and I am obsessed  and terrified about bumping into people we know. So, I have hunkered down, got out of bed late, talked to a wise friend and my husband went to church with a heavy heart. Shame is an awful thing. We know that there is huge forgiveness at the cross and we revel in his grace, but facing people that have been  hurt stings, and feels overwhelming.

I felt for my husband and texted him, asking him if he was ok. His response was:  “the sermon is on psalm 32!”

This is what it says:

1 Psalm 32:1-11 Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven,whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.’And you forgave the guilt of my sin. Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them. You are my hiding-place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him. Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart! 

We were wonderfully reminded once again that God loves the contrite, and we felt his kindness to us in orchestrating this passage on this particular weekend. We often feel that we need to continue to be punished for something that God has forgiven. We often find it hard to accept the outrageous kindness and grace of God, in delighting  to show forgiveness.  Praying that God’s  miracle of grace smashes through our problem and all its consequences, so that people will be amazed at God’s  power and grace, and believe. What a wonderful saviour we have. 

When we are overwhelmed 

“But my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is is made perfect in weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me”

 (2 Corinthians 12:9)


There are many situations that I feel overwhelmed by. Sometimes it’s just getting up in the morning. Sometimes it’s the thought of having to find work after the trauma of the last months. I feel overwhelmed in the night when I wake up because I have a knot in my stomach and can’t remember why. I have been overwhelmed living in a new place, going to a new church and not being in a good frame of mind to be engaging and sociable. I have been overwhelmed as my children go on this excruciating journey of working things through, and I have felt pained, and been in agony for them.

I have been overwhelmed by having to drive in a place I don’t know and that’s unfamiliar.

I’m realising that it’s ok to be overwhelmed and to feel like I’m not coping. If our faith is real, and God is who he says he is in his word, then however overwhelmed we feel about everything, he will eventually see us through. We may feel that our situation won’t right itself, but I know that God is using it to teach and to shape us to be more like himself.

So, we don’t need to fear, but we do need to trust in the one who knows all, and in doing this we will make Christ known. 

I love this hymn and I want it to be my prayer;