This Feels More Like War

*** This post was written on January, 28th. It took me a little while to work up the courage to post it. Since it was written there has been more sadness I could add… but also more healing… life goes on, doesn’t it? Thanks for reading.***

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“I don’t think I can…” I stammered, after barely trying to read Colossians 3:16 in my small group last week. The verse reads, “And let the peace of Jesus Christ rule in your hearts…” Does it really? The deepest darkest parts of myself wonder. Will the peace come? Because it feels like a far off stranger right now — who is drowning, like I am, in a sea of sadness. Then it was my turn to prepare to share the story of how I came to know Jesus…  and I had to take a passon that too. How could I talk about how Jesus is my Hope and the Redeemer of my life when I can’t even utter the words to admit that he has the power to bring peace? I can’t bring myself to fully acknowledge that Jesus could bring peace because if thats true then where is the peace? This feels more like war, not peace. I have Jesus…. but I was feeling anything but peace in that moment.

The month started with me and Joe’s little house getting broken into. Support raisng for Greece has been going so well, I knew that if I believe the Word of God, then I should know hard times were coming because the enemy is close at hand. This was my immediate thought when I was told of the break in… and honestly the bad news barely affected me. I hear of people feeling very traumatized and unsafe… but I think the Lord protected me from that and I just took our now very messy bedroom as an excuse to clean out. I was feeling proud of myself, probably a little high and mighty, rejoicing in the face of turmoil and kinda like, “Oh yeah? That all you got?” Stupid. No. Thats not all the enemy had in store for our start to 2017. A few days later I traumatically lost a dear Uncle to suicide on January 5th. It was awful. January 6th, my 26th birthday, I think was probably one of the worst days of my life. My family is suffering the aftermath of loosing him, and the trauma of the whole experience. It has been stressful, overwhelming, sad, and unlike anything I have ever experienced. God gave me strength I didn’t even know I had to put a pause button on my emotions until there was time for me to grieve. Having a meltdown in the middle of Staff Prayer at work wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, but it was okay. And we thought maybe that wasenough of the load for now, but we were wrong. Soon after loosing my uncle a dear friend tragically lost his mother, and in an unprecedented act of strength and bravery he then spoke at her funeral. Where is the peace? This feels more like war. Is that all the burden? No, bring cancer with us too, as I beg the Lord to heal a dear friend who is suffering and in pain. Where is the peace?? This feels more like war. A friend told me that tragedy highlights disfunction, and I couldn’t agree more. Yeah, these things that all came up in January are brutal. But the stress and tension they bring is in some ways worse. The enemy hates my marriage, and stress loves it. The enemy wants to isolate us and make us separate from the body of believers. Loneliness is haunting. Lord, this doesn’t feel like peace, it feels like war!!

But here I am. Sittingin a strangers house. My sweet husband knew my heart was so tired and orchestrated this get away for us. I cried/sang/prayed myself to sleep last night weeping for my dad who lost his brother, and for my friend who lost his mom. I had never heard this song until yesterday but it pierced my heart and broke down part of my shield I have been hiding behind. Here’s the lyrics:

“I can’t see
What’s in front of me
Still I will trust You
Still I will trust You

Steady heart that keeps on going
Steady love that keeps on holding
Lead me on
Steady grace that keeps forgiving
Steady faith that keeps believing
Lead me on

Though the sky is dark
And the wind is wild
You’ll never leave me
You’ll never leave me

Though the night is long
There is a coming dawn
The light is breaking
The light is breaking

Steady heart that keeps on going
Steady love that keeps on holding
Lead me on
Steady grace that keeps forgiving
Steady faith that keeps believing
Lead me on

And as the dawn breaks
And the clouds clear
In an open space
Together we will run”

The lines that got me- “I cant see what’s in front of me…Lead me on…Though the sky is dark and the wind is wild, You’ll never leave me…Though the night is long there is coming dawn…Steady heart that keeps on going, Steady love that keeps on holding, Lead me on. Steady grace that keeps forgiving, Steady faith that keeps believing Lead me on.” This is how I feel. I have no idea what is going on, there is wind, and darkness, and night. I feel my youth so evidently as I have NO idea how to navigate any of this. All I know is I wish my uncle was here, I wish my friend was with his mom, and that I am NOT AT ALL interested in my friend having cancer. No. Not at all.

Lead me on, Father. Lead me on. In the midst of all of this I met with a woman who asked me if I had talked to God about being mad at him yet. This took me off guard a little bit because I had not told her that I was mad at God. I said… “No, I am trying not to be.” She said, “You don’t need to try not to be mad. You need to be honest with God, and honest with yourself.” She was so right. The war in my heart… so much of it was anger at God, clashing with believing the lie to be angry at God is to not believe in His sovereignty. Thats not where I wanted to be. But thats not it at all, I absolutely believe in God’s sovereignty— thats why I am mad at him. Because it’s confusing how a Sovereign God is with me even now.

So I have learned a couple things:

  1. I am not going to understand.
  2. The peace of Jesus is real. Despite not being able to claim it in the moment of reading with my group…. I know it is real. The hope of heaven and the hope that somehow all this catastrophe does not mean that we are alone and forgotten by God… I don’t know how people make it through things like this without that hope.
  3. The enemy wants more than anything to isolate us. I go to a really big church, and have been there for about a year and a half. Practically no one that I know there knows my family, or much of my family story. So when all this happened I felt like I had to have a friend that knew my family in order to love me. But when I am far away from all my friends that know my family…. that leaves me thinking that must mean I don’t have friends. Stupid. No. Just another lie. I have amazing friends. The ones that live near me now don’t know my family, and parts of that are weird for me. But I am about to live in a place where I am really far from anyone that knows my family at all… But that doesn’t mean they couldn’t love me well. For those of you reading this who did step into my mess despite really knowing what it even looked like, I thank you and I love you.
  4. Going to Greece is not a game. I knew that. Obviously. But having to swallow not being here with my family is not easy. And it just got harder. The enemy wants to make me believe that they will separate from me if I am not here physically, or they won’t believe that I  love them if I live in a different country. Stupid. No, they don’t feel that way. They love me, and they know I love them.

I don’t have a nice conclusion. For those of you who just signed up to follow the blog that I haven’t met…. don’t worry. They aren’t all like this. I felt the need to tell all of you, my friends and family that are praying over our journey to Greece, where we are. Because in Greece, I’m going to need to do that same thing. I think the enemy LOVES to make us feel alone by telling us we have to carry our burdens alone. Especially in ministry. So Im trying to start now. Trying to really tell you where I am, so that in the future I can continue to do so. So… where am I? I am in a strangers house, and I am resting, and recharging. I am praying and sleeping and reading and crying and laughing and being with the Lord. Because I’m mad at him. But I know He loves me. So I want to be with him. Walking with Jesus is not about feeling. The Holy Spirit is with me regardless of whether or not I am aware of His presence, and praise God for that. So in this time I will lean into the foundation of my faith, instead of in my emotions. I will gather with other believers in the morning because I need to be reminded that I am not alone — I will not give into isolation. I will rest in the embrace of a Savior who cries with me. And I will spend time with God, who I will never fully understand.

6 thoughts on “This Feels More Like War

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