Category Archives: Suffering

I wrote this blog a few days ago.  I’m posting it today because it’s our son’s wedding day. I want to give God thanks and praise for where he has  brought me to today. He is good, kind and generous and delights to show mercy.

I think I have stepped over the line. I have begun to shed those negative emotions that have hindered and dragged me down. Bu God’s grace, I have left them behind. They may not be far away, but they are definitely on the other side of the line.

There has been a turning point today. I saw hurt in my husband’s face and I felt complete compassion for him. I wanted to absorb his pain and take it away. I didn’t feel hurt, or resentment. I didn’t view his hurt through the lens of my own hurt; I felt no prickly emotions. Rather, I felt liberated and healed. What  an amazing God we have!


Even though my husband is bearing the consequences of his actions, I was able to look at his pain through the lens of sadness for all he is bearing. I felt healing in my own soul as I acknowledged how hard this situation was for him. I was glad to hug him as he cried over all the damage done.

If I have really stepped over the line and I am responding to my husband as the Father  responds to each of us, then I shouldn’t just cautiously  step over it, I should  run over it and be glad to forgive and actually  look upon him as though he hasn’t sinned against me. This may sound a ridiculous thing to say, but after all, this is how our Father responds and continues to respond to the hurt and shame we cause him when we are repentant. 

If I’ve stepped over the line, I won’t  be tempted to use his past actions as ammunition when I’m under pressure. I will  love him unconditionally. I will be proud to step on that podium and say how much I love him. This is how God responds to us. If we love God, then this is how we are commanded to respond to each other. 

So when we sin  against one another,  I pray that we may look to the Father, see him looking for us when we are far off, and just like our Father, we will run and forgive and embrace and exalt each other when we’ve been sinned against. That we would forget self and remember Christ. 

He freely bore hurt so that we could know healing. I pray that we won’t abuse the wonderful gift God has given us. When we don’t forgive it grieves him because we just don’t appreciate or understand the sacrifice and the depths of love it took Jesus to suffer for us.

Lord, 

  We all fall short in our walk with you. When we hurt we don’t want to forgive, we hold back and bear grudges, we respond badly with self at the centre. Help us to respond like the Father. Help us to be the first to respond with grace and kindness and forgiveness, even when we feel our offender doesn’t deserve to be forgiven. We don’t deserve to be forgiven and yet you run to us. Give us compassionate and forgiving hearts. All marriages are imperfect, but we look forward to a greater marriage to come. The marriage of the church and her beautiful bridegroom. What a saviour.     Amen 

 

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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. 

Trust is hard. In order to trust we have to let go.

We feel  vulnerable letting go and we stand exposed.

If we knew the end results before we let go, it would mean that we could hang on to perceived control and the process would be made easier for us. We do it blind; in the dark ; not knowing the outcome.

Trusting and letting go has been one of the hardest lessons I have learned. 

When we really trust it means fretting, anxiety and worry are binned – otherwise we aren’t trusting. 

When we trust it means that circumstances in our lives, however impossible are handed over to God, and we trust him to work it out without us frantically trying to help him, because we think our wisdom is valid.

Trusting and letting go has been an excruciating journey that has really tested me and shaken me up.

I have never blogged about my children. Each one is unique and precious. I was like a lioness with my Cubs when they received the devastating news. I can’t verbalise how pained I was for them. I can’t express my anger and horror and sorrow I felt for them all. If I could have absorbed all their pain for them I would have. I wanted to absorb all their brokenness and make them better. This was my job.

For me, trusting and letting go in this situation was a NO GO. I was not willing to just hand them over to God and say:

 ‘ Lord, you are in control, I hand each one of my children over to you, and I know that even in this, you are working everything for their good. Help me to know that whatever the outcome looks like, they belong to you, and you have the right to work out this situation in whatever way pleases you.’

So I fretted and obsessed and worried. Each child in a different location and each child overwhelmed with hurt. I lay awake at night, obsessed in the day. I tried to fix things, I tried to make things right, I tried with all my might, but I would not hand them over. They were mine and too precious for me not to worry over. 

This led to an accusing spirit in me. My husband should have protected, he was a role model, he should have loved them. He should have practiced what he preached, literally.

I have now  come to the end of myself and have now prayed that prayer that I was so unwilling to pray.  I have been humbled and God has opened my eyes to the fact that they are his children before they are mine. He is the wise parent, not me. My children are experiencing pain and hurt and everything I didn’t want them to experience, but God is using that wonderfully in each of them for his glory.

I have handed control over to the ultimate parent. The only parent who truly loves, wholly understands and uses each situation to hone us. He will shape each of my children to be more like himself through this. Of this I have no doubt, as I am seeing it already. May God be praised. 


Philippians 4:11-13

“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

My life has plateaued, and the adrenalin that was frantically pumping in every direction has finally halted. Being in a constant state of high alert is finally over, and I am faced with my new life which I didn’t choose. I have struggled to find contentment with my life as it is now.

Rick Warren says:

“Contentment means my happiness is not dependent upon circumstances. Most people get caught in “when” thinking — “When I get such and such, then I’ll be happy.” ”

This morning, driving to work I  prayed for contentment. I also acknowledged that I didn’t want to pray this prayer, and I needed God to work In my life to enable me to mean the words that I was saying.  This took energy  and effort  because I was asking God to make me content with something I was discontent with.  Its hard to ask God for true contentment if  we don’t feel proactive about changing our attitudes.

Paul says in Philippians 4:11 that  He had to learn to be content. It wasn’t something that came to him naturally.  I’m sure he didn’t want to be in dire need or in prison or shipwrecked or hungry. Yet paul experienced all these things and through it, learned contentment.

I know my heart is rebellious and I know how wrong I am. I am struggling and grappling and trying to work through finding contentment in this situation I am now in. The key is loving God more and wanting every situation we find ourselves in, good  or bad to please God.

This is my prayer for today:

Lord,
I am discontent about many things in my life.  There is an unwillingness to accept the here and now. I am discontent over all I have lost. Forgive me for my rebellious heart that is so slow and reluctant to ask for contentment with the life I now have.

To know contemtement in every situation pleases you. You know best, and whatever happens in our lives, help me to trust you and understand that you are working out everything for my ultimate good. Help me to know that contentment can only come from you. It has  to be learned and applied as we look to you for help.Thank you for your willingness to forgive again and again. Thank you for Jesus who gladly gave up everything, and yet was content to submit to your will. Help me to do the same.

Amen.

Negative feelings are truly awful. They paralyse and debilitate and make us feel overwhelmed and crush our spirit.

Negative feelings are difficult to shake off, and I have never had the ability to compartmentalise my feelings by locking them away for a later date. I am consumed by them.

I have to learn not to listen to the lies that come into my mind. Sometimes they come with force like a huge violent wave. When they are believed,  feelings of despair are never far away. 

I think that my last blog is the link. Feeling flat, not having the energy to read and pray, and Satan seeing a huge chink in my armour. 

Satan is an expert in understanding and exploiting our weaknesses. He loves it when we leave the armour off. Christians who aren’t praying are a huge target. 

Yesterday I was overwhelmed by shame. When I try to break it down, I realise it’s because I’m still hung up about people’s perception of us now.

Thankfully, the only validation that we need comes through Jesus. 

When our mood is low, sometimes it seems impossible to be braced and prepared for those fiery darts. God is near to all who call on him in faith. As I am writing this I am struggling,  but I know it’s the truth.

This is a hard lesson to learn and I’m very slow to grasp it. I need to be always braced and there are good reasons that God tells us to pray continually.  I haven’t prayed as I should have done this week and I have struggled with pride. I want to feel affirmed by others and I want to look good in the world’s eyes.


Praying for grace and help to resist the lies of the devil, and for forgiveness once again as I come to the cross. 

“Blessed is he 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.”

Psalm 32

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:

Suffering has always been something I have worried about. Dying, long term illness, persecution for the gospel to name but a few. I suppose I can now be put in that catagory; sinned against by people who should have loved me, ripped from my home, my church and community, and living with betrayal and hurt. But I’m thankful to God that it doesn’t feel that way. 


I would never ever want to experience anything like this again, but this whole situation with all the pain and heartache has brought blessing. I have been grief stricken, overwhelmed, disconnected and bereft, but in it and through it there have been times of great blessing. I have been able to tell others how good God is, how faithful and kind and constant and sure. I’ve learnt that it’s possible to hand fretting and care and anxiety over to God and know that I can leave it with Him, who knows all. I’ve seen that heaven is beckoning, that life is short, that wisdom is putting all our effort and energy into pleasing the one who made us and who  gives us life and breath. I have learnt that obedience brings fellowship and closeness to him that nothing else can. 

Would I want this to be taken from me? 
We read Tim Keller and his devotions in the psalms this morning – He was looking at psalm 69: 29-33.
“But as for me, afflicted and in pain – may your salvation, God, protect me. I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hooves. The poor will see and be glad – you who seek God, may your hearts live! The Lord hears the needy and does not despise his captive people.”
Tim Keller says:
” DONT WASTE YOUR SORROWS. Praise to God is the antidote to self absorption that can overtake us when we suffer. This not only honours God but also encourages others. When suffering, don’t get sucked down into yourself- turn outward in praise to God and minister to those in need.”
I pray today that this will be the experience of all of us who are suffering. That we may see it as a gift not a curse and that in it and through it, we may minister and be of great help to others.