What do we do when things go wrong? I’m not talking about the little things like losing every picture on my laptop, having my neighbor nearly blow up my car by hooking up jumper cables incorrectly, or getting a 24 hour stomach bug at work on one of the busiest days of the quarter. No. Those things seem big in the moment but can all be fixed by the excitement of a best friend announcing a pregnancy, spending time with my nephews (typically getting into trouble by our mothers for being too loud or too wild),
You can totally see the "Cheese" face here...
The best guys I know.
meeting one of my favorite authors at a Lipscomb event and chatting with him before the lecture,
Donald Miller, Author of Blue Like Jazz and A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
and celebrating a one-year Friendiversary with a new best friend.
Mandy and I painting Mason Jars (thanks to Pinterest) on our Friendiversary
In fact, I’d like to just wrap all of that up together into one little package and just call it “January”.
I’m talking about the really big stuff. The stuff that hurts to talk about. The things that make us wonder about life and purpose. The events that make us question “Why” and “How”. The things that leave us breathless and make us wonder how we can possibly get up and move on from here. These parts of our lives are colored with hurt and loss and pain and betrayal.
We’ve all been there. We have all been covered with darkness and in a place where nothing seems to help. Where words seem empty and hope seems distant and loneliness makes itself at home.
Let God in.
Let Him enter into your brokenness and questioning and trials and emotions. He will always meet you right where you are. Don’t try to assign purpose to your disasters. Don’t try to figure things out on your own. And don’t assume that you are alone. You are never left alone in your time of greatest need. You are held. Surround yourself in Him. In your church, your music, your relationships, your dialogue, your prayers. Allow your lost and wandering heart to be lost in Him.
We all have broken hearts that need Healing. Our hearts are broken, not because of God’s absence in this world, but because we see just how much we need Him in this world.
“Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light” – John 3:19
The Great Light came into the world to bring us healing and love and hope, but we were more comfortable in our blind, ignorant darkness. And this is still true. It is easier to live in the darkness. UNTIL. Until you catch a glimpse of the Light. And when we finally turn our eyes to God's light, we realize how badly we want out. We see what we are missing. We see the mess that we are in. We see that the darkness holds only fear and insecurity and doubt. And we see that the Light holds truth and healing and redemption. You may be frustrated with where you are right now or longing to be in a new place. Allow healing for where your heart has been, but keep your heart pointed towards where you are going. Towards Light.
The truth is that God does not cause darkness to show His Light. Instead He has chosen to bring His Light to a darkened world, His healing to our broken hearts, and His redemption to our wandering souls. This is our desire. That we may honor Him with bright, whole, redeemed hearts. May He take up residence here, take over the places that we have held on to, and take hold of the parts of our soul that we still own.
And we know that Comfort and Healing seem impossible in these situations. But we have faith. And He is a God of the Impossible. He makes Beauty from Ashes. Every. Single. Time. He never fails us or leaves us or abandons our hearts. He holds us close. May our stories rest in His stillness and refuge and strength.
I also know this to be true: I can’t imagine going through the darkness on my own. If you don’t have a best friend who is rooted in faith and grounded by the Spirit, find someone. I have this pact with my best friend. I tell her everything. No matter how awkward it is, no matter how bad it makes me sound, no matter how long it takes for me to get it all out, she gets it all. And then? Then healing has room to make its way in. When I open my heart and shed light on my struggles and pains, darkness flees. Sometimes it moves slowly, but it is always replaced by The Light. Healing and Light come to hearts that are open. We all need someone to carry us to Jesus when we can’t make it on our own. So keep talking. Keep asking. Keep questioning. But do it out loud. Let someone in. A Friend of God. And in the thick of it, sometimes you will get tired of the emails and phone calls checking on you, sometimes you won’t want to answer questions, sometimes you will just want to be left alone and forgotten so that you can dwell in your own darkness for a while, and sometimes you will just want to disappear into your brokenness. But those sometimes moments don’t compare to the always moments of always needing a friend, always needing someone to point you to God, and always needing help and love and courage. No matter how hard you push or resist, I pray that you have a friend that won’t leave you there. Truthfully, as friends sometimes we will forget something important or say something to make everything worse, but by opening your heart, you are open to so much more than a friend who always wants to be there. You are open to a God who always is. You are never alone.
And when you are open to God, He will remind you over and over again that His love and redemption and Light is steady. Just like the drops of water that just started falling from a vent in my ceiling. Thank goodness tomorrow is February. We all need a new beginning.