The Struggle

Sometimes it takes a late night conversation to make you realize that you’ve lost faith in hope.

The other night as I talked to a friend we struggled with the same idea of some of our desires never being fulfilled, never being met. I realized, as I spoke to my friend and she shared her heartache with me that I’ve lost faith that God can still do these things in my own life.

 I lost faith that He is still on the throne, I’ve lost faith that He is still sovereign and I’ve lost faith that I can still hope in these things as long as my hope is placed firmly in Him and as long as I’m walking in His will. We ask for these things (whatever your “thing” may be) and somewhere along the way I stopped asking. I stopped thinking that I should even think that I might be able to have some of these things. I started to believe that I have to sit quietly and not even ask because it was too much to ask for.

I started to believe that I just had to stay right here, where I am and never be moved and to just suck it up so to speak. The idea of that, as I’m sure you can surmise or maybe have experienced, is somewhat depressing and so I’ve stuffed these desires down. I mean deep down, down many layers of who knows what but it’s down there somewhere. Hope will sometimes peer its little head but its dashed by whatever thoughts I have or whatever lies I have been prone to believe or by whatever restrictions I put on my God.

Now, this is where I start to get a little squeamish. To what end do I have to allow this stuff to come up to the surface? Do I continue to stuff those things down? Or do I let them float up and feel them? The weight of them? The hope in them? The disappointment in them? Feel the uncomfortableness of them?

I think we need to bring these things up and allow them to make us feel all the feels.

I think sometimes we need to wrestle with God regarding them. This may be a controversial statement but I think it’s a necessary thing. Last year I was part of a small group of women in my church that went through an inductive bible study. One of the things we learned and that really stuck with me was that when we are stuck on something, when we cant figure it out and we just want to throw our hands up in surrender and wave our white flag that’s when we are on the verge of learning just what we need to. As humans we want to just breeze through things without feeling anything bad or uncomfortable. And I think sometimes we stuff these “things”down so far that we forget. Or we just don’t want to waste the time and energy to wrestle with God because maybe, like me, you have lost faith that God can or will even do anything. Sometimes we need God to touch our hip, just like He touched Jacobs, to break us. We need these things that we struggle with and wrestle with to break us down so we can get to the heart of the issue. So that we can get to the uncomfortable point before the breakthrough.

The other night as I talked to my friend and she shared heartbreak with me we both spoke of just not knowing what the future is going to hold and where the Lord is leading us, the Lord touched my hip. He told me that I don’t have faith in Him. That I don’t have faith that He can do what I think He cannot or maybe what I think He will not.

How dare I think He cant do something. He’s God, who do I think I am? That I, or my situation, or the state that I am in life would be too much for Him to overcome? It’s a ridiculous thought and even as I type the words it seems ridiculous.

I need to work on my faith in all areas, I need to know He is enough. As I sat in church service last Sunday and we sang worship the words, “Jesus you are enough” rang out. As those words drifted through the speakers and as I sat in my seat that line floated down to me and quieted my soul right then and there. These words made me stop and really listen and hear them, “Jesus you are enough”. I had to stop and ask myself Jesus are you enough? Not really asking if He is enough because I know that He is. But asking myself, if I really believe He is enough that He is more than enough for me. That whatever He has to bring to me, that whatever He has for my life is more than enough for me.

Because He will meet all of my needs because He has met all of my needs thus far.

Because He has met all of my desires that were founded in Him thus far.

Because where I am and what I have in life has everything to do with Him and Him being enough and Him meeting my needs and my desires.

So I have to sit back and I have to let those words sink in. I have to wrestle with God and I have to allow Him to come in and touch my heart and my hip and give me a limp. I want to have a testimony of what God has done. If wrestling with Him brings me to the realization that He is enough then I’m game.

The reality is that when I seek Him, He will carry me through. We may be wounded and we may be scarred but He will bandage us, He will put us back together. He will love us even when we are in the state of hurting and feeling and struggling and wrestling He’s right there by our side the whole way. So, I can struggle and I can wrestle and we can call each other and cry on the phone and speak words of truth into each other’s lives. We can go back and forth with scripture and still come up not certain as to all the answers but as long as we’re seeking God I think we’re in an ok place I think we’re fine. So keep seeking the Lord. Keep turning to Him. Keep wrestling.

Keep struggling.

Don’t quiet those things but bring them up to the surface. Search His word, invite in fellowship and accountability. Be where He has you but also wrestle and struggle in that place if you need to because its in that place that we grow and learn and desire more. It’s in that place that we grow closer to Him and it’s in that place that we remember that He is faithful and my faith and hope is safe in Him.

My Big Neon Sign

I am a cat-less cat lady or a grandchild-less grandmother (another post for another day) and I’m okay with that. I gladly identify with those things. What I struggle to identify with is being in my mid-30’s and single.

Yep, I said it.  

It’s out there and it stings a little and some days it stings a lot.  

You know those things that are so vulnerable in your life? Those things that you don’t want to give life or breath to because once you do there’s no taking them back. Even though people know said “thing” about you, you hope it isn’t what defines you? Or you hope that you can distract from it? But you know that once you mention it that’s all people will think when they see you? Like a large neon sign that follows you around. Like on one of those medication adds that lists all of the hazardous side effects and you think “why the world would anybody make this or try to sell it or consider taking this?” And then you remember big Pharma and ….

Oh, sorry tangent. 

So back to the big neon signs following you around pointing out your vulnerable truth. One of mine is singleness. I think that there are more women out there that are my age or younger or older that feel the same way. And that is why I’m writing and hanging my big neon sign above my head for all to see. So that any of you out there that feel the same way can find comfort in knowing you’re not alone. You have community and other sisters out there that are in the same boat. I want to share in this experience with you all or maybe just you, yes you, but either way I want to share.  

I remember being in my mid to late 20’s being surrounded by amazingly Godly friends who, one by one got married and then one by one started having babies. These same amazing women invited me and continue to invite me into their lives but at some point I started to realize I was walking a path alone. My community, our lives were quickly becoming so different. It got harder and harder to connect mentally and even just physically, meaning it’s hard to even plan to see my friends because our lives can be so vastly different at times that connecting becomes a challenge. (Funny side note. I was reading Lauren Grahams book today and she totally talks about this!! In my head I was like, I would totally be friends with Lorelei Gilmore!! Sorry, back to your regularly scheduled blog post) When I say my friends are the best I mean it. I know they are there for me through anything and just a text away. But I was missing a connection. I needed to connect with other single women my age, in my same life phase and I was finding it, well, hard to find. I searched the blogosphere and found one. One blog that I could connect with. One girl that spoke my single language who wrote words about feelings that I could relate to. I would sit at my desk and read the latest blog entry and many times cry because it was real and vulnerable and I understood it and it understood me. 

I want to be that.  

I am at a place in life where I think I can be that, or at least I feel like the Lord asking me to be that. I am ready to wear my neon sign in solidarity with or for women who aren’t ready to.  And I’m ready to do so clumsily.

That’s what I hope this blog is.  

I hope it is me wearing my sign so that you can see it and relate and be relieved of your burden of singleness or barrenness in any area of life. That area that is unfulfilled or that you feel your growth is stunted in. You see, I think this area of “singleness” is in many women’s lives not just the single girl. I think it’s also in the girl that feels alone in marriage or in parenthood or in her career or the woman that is having trouble having her own children or even for the girl who desires deep and true friendship. For Whatever state of “singleness” you find yourself in, my hope is, my heart is, that this would be a place of respite from the loneliness of it.   

I also know better. I know that marriage is not a happily ever after. Just like I’m sure you see that children or new friends or a new career won’t fulfill you either. I get that. I see that. I don’t want that. I know I wont ever have that outside of Jesus because He has to be enough. I also know that even with Jesus that feeling of barrenness and singleness is real. I know that as a mom of young children you can feel alone and can get lost in the day to day of raising and caring for little lives, you can forget what an important job that is at times. I know that some days can just look like mounds of laundry and maintaining your sanity through tantrums and potty training. I know that you can feel just as alone or lonelier in a marriage. I’m not trying to diminish any of those things. I think what I would like or what I’m trying to get at is that we all need to bear with each other in love and understanding. 

Ephesians 4:1-3 tells us “Therefore, I the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the spirit with the peace that binds us.” 

I think we so often forget this. We need to remember this. We need to live like this. All sides, all opinions, all walks of life. We are women that God created. In different walks of life. In different stages. I think it’s safe to say we all want to be known and loved for who we are. For who God made us to be and in that we are not different. We are the same. Let’s work to understand and bear each other’s burden of “singleness” whatever that looks like for you or the women you serve with or your friends or neighbor. Let’s remind each other we are not alone. 


P.S. this picture above is just a testiment to how awesome my friends are. I sent this post to a friend before I posted to get feedback and she sent this back to me. So much love. I love you my Deanna Schrantz😍

Be still

About a month ago I was given an assignment for a small group I’m part of through my church. The assignment was to pick a topic, research it, learn it and then come to group and share/ teach it. I immediately knew I needed to share about something that the Lord was wanting to teach me, something He specifically was going to speak into my life. So naturally I wrote down my topic, researched it, wrote out scriptures and whatever knowledge I had gained down in my pretty little notebook. Last night as I say there in Starbucks and looked at my well scripted, well researched topic none of it made sense to me or my life or what God wanted to teach me. So I sat there. With my earbuds in, my iced coffee sweating on the table next to me, my mind blank thinking I had failed. I wasn’t prepared. I had nothing. So I prayed, I sat with the Word open in front of me, worship blaring in my ears and I cried out to the Lord to show me, to speak to me, to lead me. I had nothing but pages full of knowledge. I knew that was not what I was supposed to share, I knew there was something more intimate. So as I quieted my heart and head and simply flipped through my bible with no agenda, no bullet point to fill, no topic to research He opened my eyes. He spoke to me He brought the scriptures that spoke to my heart and into my life and I knew this was it. This is what He wanted to show me and more than the heart of what He was showing me through His word at that moment but actually the moment itself. The quieting of my heart the clearing of my mind. He wanted time alone with me to lead me to whisper to me to make Himself known in my life. The words He spoke were fitting and eye opening and hopefully heart changing but how He got me there was a sweet reminder that He is God and I need to quiet my soul, stop and listen.

He wanted me to be still.

“Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth” psalm 46:10

How sweet it is to quiet my soul and hear my saviors voice.