When we deal with painful things, do we pull away from our Lord or lean into Him?
“You’re feeling yucky today, aren’t you?” My husband asks, seating himself next to my quivering body. He reaches out and pulls me in to a warm, close embrace. I cry out in pain.
But our eyes are on you.
The Judeans were a desperate people. The kingdoms of Ammon, Moab, and others were marching against the people of Judah.
"A great multitude is coming against you..."
This was no secret thing. All of the people knew it. Imagine the panic. Work postponed for the day as the people gathered tensely to hear what their king would say to comfort, to rally. But as he looked out over the assembled families--even the children! the children!--he felt only the sick acid knot in his heart. He had to stand and he had to speak and he had only one thing to say.
"What can I get you?" Paul asked as he stooped over me.
"New tonsils," I replied. It was week two of mono--a virus like the worst, longest, and most painful flu you can imagine--and I felt like a disgusting ball of misery.
Paul laughed softly and seated himself next to me on the couch, careful not to bump me or to move suddenly. After hours--weeks, really--of caring for my every little need, he knew that my best therapy was simply having him near.
"She is a brave woman."
My husband spoke the words thoughtfully, knowing full well what he said, but my heart was still breaking for my friend.
"But over twenty miscarriages!" I sobbed, unable to stop the tears. "No woman wants to be brave for that reason."
He was right, and I was right. No one is ready to be brave, because bravery demands so much more pain than we ever think we are capable of enduring, and so much more trust than we dare to give. And yet we are called to be brave.
People used to tell me, "God will bring you a husband when you least expect it!"
That never made sense to me, because I was never not praying for or keeping my eyes open for a husband. I wasn't desperate. I wasn't chasing down every potential candidate. But I desired marriage and I was always aware.
So how in the world would God bring me a husband when I "least expected it"?
I wrote this in May of 2016 and, for whatever reason, I never actually posted it. It just sat in my drafts...until now. Because Joy is something worth sharing about. Enjoy!
"Oh!" I gasped as I looked down at the street from the second story window. "It's raining! Look how beautiful it makes the world!"
My friend laughed. "You're cute, you know that? Most people dislike rain."
Later, as we prayed, my friend said, "Thank you, Lord, for giving Yaasha such joy..."
And it hit me like a spray of sunlight through clouds. My joy was a gift.
Some time ago, I walked upon a beach, breathed upon by soft darkness, draped in the glimmer of an infinity of stars, touched by the wet sand beneath my feet, and in the company of a young lady whose compassion and friendship has blessed me immensely.
I felt the Lord's presence as I have only rarely felt it before.
And for half a moment, I felt a twinge of alarm.
"I don't understand," I told my friend through my tears. "I thought that I'd be over this by now. What is wrong with me, that I can't just move past this?"
"Honey," my friend replied gently. "You've been living with this situation for years. You think you're going to heal in just a few months?"
Yes. Yes, I did think I would. I didn't want to believe that I was so weak. What design could God possibly have in my weakness?
Fear has been a near-constant battle for me in the last few months.
Recently, my life changed significantly. When I came to grips with a number of difficult things I had been denying or minimizing over the years, it all led to making significant changes in my life. Suddenly, I found myself in a completely unfamiliar place, surrounded by strangers, battling constant doubts and fears, unemployed, and uprooted from almost every familiar or comforting thing I knew.
Every tomorrow seemed like a yawning chasm of the unknown.
This post first appeared on LessonsFromPain.com on February 17, 2016.
This week my community lost a 23-year-old young man. He was ice-fishing on the lake with friends and, through a series of circumstances, was alone in sub-zero temperatures when his truck broke through the ice. He extricated himself and tried to make it to shore. He never made it.
None of my life has gone the way it was "supposed to go," but I don't love my life any less because of the hardships and new directions. I see so much unexpected good in it, and I want others to see the good in theirs.