I’m not giving myself much time on here today, for the simple fact that I would wallow and edit until I just couldn’t push the “publish” button. That being said, there’s just so much on my heart today, that I would very much appreciate a little grace if the words are murky or I ramble a bit. I tend to do both when the heart is full, the mind is clear and the spirit is pressing on me something to get out there.
There are those seasons in our life when we struggle. Those times that, for whatever reason, getting out of bed is just not fun. The burdens are heavy, the flesh is weak, and often, the heart is wounded. Sometimes, life just doesn’t seem to cut us any slack. Been there?
Yeah, me too.
I’m in the thick of one of those times right now. I have a loved one who has struggled her whole life with health issues. Last week, she had a very serious health issue arise, and it sent my world into crisis mode. Dropping everything, going to be with her and my family, and then….waiting. In the midst of crisis, waiting is often the only thing you can do. Waiting wears on the body like nothing else. It drains all the energy, the life, the joy.
Waiting holds you in a place you cannot move from. It’s like the Super Glue of spiritual places.
One of the knee-jerk reactions we have in our culture is our reliance on self. We try to handle it on our own, we can rely on no one to soothe, fix, comfort. Because we don’t trust. I don’t know about anyone else here, but how often do we convince ourselves that allowing someone else to help is a sign of weakness, of showing we don’t have it all together?!
If self-reliance were an Olympic sport, I’d be a gold-medalist.
Quick back story, a friend of mine, who is very much a spiritual mother in my life, shot me a text one morning (before the aforementioned crisis arose). It said this: “The Holy Spirit will not violate the will of an individual. He will allow them to go around the mountain again and again until the time they are willing and ready.”
Go around the mountain. Again. And again. And again.
Never get to the top. Never conquer that which is before us. Imagine, spending one’s whole life going around and around one mountain.
Makes me a little dizzy.
As I read that text initially, my prayer was, “Lord, next time I’m beginning to circle a mountain again, show me.” And as only the Lord can, he brought the mountain image to my mind last week. As I was waiting, as I was hurting, wallowing around in the “Why do I have to go through this?,” I saw the mountain. The mountain of self-pity, self-reliance, and anger associated with this particular place in my life. The complaining was in every conversation I had with those around me. The arguing found in the places when others tried to speak kindly about the situation.
But this mountain. This mountain of complaining and arguing. And it hit me. He was asking me to face this particular mountain. To submit to him the emotion I was wallowing in. Truth be told, this is a pretty big mountain. It’s a black place on my heart that needs a great deal of attention and healing. I’m working on it. It’s not all fixed yet. But now there is light shining on it, and the Lord has helped me call it what it is, the mountain is starting to not seem so big.
Beloved, until we are in Heaven with Jesus, there will be mountains. There will be family members who hurt you, friends who betray you. There will be the incomprehensible, the unfathomable. The big gaping wounds we can’t seem to ever get healed.
And there will only be One who can help you overcome that mountain.
I don’t know about you, but I’m no Mountain Girl. Gimme a beach any day. But mountains? No thanks.
Yet in his sovereignty that’s not what the Lord asks of us. So there will be times when I want to complain and argue. There will be times when this hurt and particular crisis seem overwhelming. And then, in my sassy smart-aleck tone, I tell the Lord as much….”What am I going to do if I can’t vent about it?!!”
“Ok,” the Lord says. “but complain and argue to Me.”
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28
Then it hits fresh.
Complaining and arguing are not wrong.
What IS wrong, is taking those things to others. Venting, yelling, butting heads, tattle-telling, gossiping, telling others the hurts of your heart. The Lord wants to give you rest, to give peace that surpasses understanding.
But He can’t do it if we don’t tell Him about it.
Aka, prayer. Yell, scream, complain to the Lord. It’s ok.
Our God is a big God. He’s got big shoulders, a big heart, and big arms. He can cover all of these things so much better than our best girlfriend can. Tell him what your heart is holding. Tell him why you wanna cry and rock in the corner. Tell on the guy who ripped your heart out. The catty girl who didn’t invite your daughter to the party. Give the Lord those things. Not your best friend. Not your spouse. Our darling girlfriends and spouses aren’t emotionally equipped to handle the depth of despair in us, nor can they even begin to heal the gaping wound. And it’s not fair of us to ask others to heal what they were never meant to handle.
On a side note: one can go the entire opposite spectrum in this also. Shutting others out during a crisis can be equally as harmful to one’s heart. The Lord gave us friends to “bear one another’s burdens” (Gal 6:2). But that word bear in the Greek means “to help, support, tolerate“…
It doesn’t mean to take away. Bearing one another’s burdens sometimes just means showing up. It means taking someone’s kids for an evening, cooking meal, or praying and fasting for someone. It means tolerating them as they walk through a rough place. No judgment, no harsh words. Just hang in there with them until they get through that season.
Or, in my case…the laundry. As I type, I can see neatly folded clothes sitting here in the living room with me. Oh Lord, thank you for my darling friend Heather. I did not ask it of her. She showed up with an empty laundry basket at my house this morning and filled it with the kids’ dirty clothes. She took them and showed back up a few hours later with them smelling like Tide and Downy. I’m crazy about her. And I’m still teary-eyed about her kindness toward my family. She didn’t try to take away the pain I’m going through right now. She couldn’t even if she wanted to. In a moment when I am in the midst of climbing a mountain and couldn’t do it all myself, she helped, supported, tolerated me.
There have been others who bore part of the burden this week. Carla and her cottage. Nana Nancy and breakfast. Cary/Lota mowing my parent’s lawn. Gerry and Jimmy helping with Abbey when I was stuck in an ICU waiting room for a week. Many others’ texts/calls with loving words. They can’t fix it. But they sure have made the burden lighter. I’ve decided to be a Mountain Girl. I want to know the joy of the mountain top, after a season of being in a dark valley. I don’t want to stay in the cold shadow of the mountain when there is sunlight and warmth at the peak of the ascent. I’m not there yet. But I’m alive, and I’m learning.
And dare I say, someone will read this that isn’t at the bottom of a mountain right now. Maybe you are in a blessed season of ease, of smooth paths. Look around. Ask the Lord to show you someone who is hurting and how you can help them. Remember the old adage, “To the world you may be one person, but to one person, you may be the world.”
But to you my hurting sister, I pray the Lord meets you wherever you are too. If the load is heavy, I pray He will comfort you too, teach you what He intends to, and brings someone to come along side you that will ease the burden. He is there. He doesn’t leave us. Seek him today. Tell him all about it. He is already in the place, and ready to wrap you in his big huge loving arms.
Much love and affection, kristi