I’d like to welcome my friend Bridget back to the author’s chair. It’s been a while. As you will see in her piece, she’s been slogging through some valleys since her last post. God is walking alongside her in her pain. Her writing comes from a raw place. Her trust is shaky. She is vulnerable as she shares her heart with us here.
I don’t mind vulnerable. This blog is not for perfect people to tell others how to get it right. This little community is for struggling people to share their “experience, strength and hope,” as Alcoholics Anonymous so perfectly puts it. If you connect with Bridget’s pain, please give her some feedback in the comments section. Perhaps you can be the one to share hope with her as she chooses trust over doubt and faith over fear.
“Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation]
under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you,
Casting the whole of your care
[all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all]
on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.”
1 Peter 5:6-7 (AMP)
No more, Lord.
Tired, no – exhausted and emotionally drained, I throw myself onto my bed. Tears stream down my face as I beg for the day to end.
I awake the next morning, my eyes heavy, my body exhausted, my mind scrambling—trying to distinguish dream from reality. I start searching around, only to discover that my fear is reality. My friend, my buddy, is really gone. My losses are all true. This one is just the most recent, a fresh wound.
As tears well up in my eyes, my heart begins to ache. I can’t breathe. My eyes search the room in the hope of finding him. Instead, my gaze is captured by a picture on the wall—a picture of Jesus carrying a black sheep on His shoulders. I cry out to the Lord, “No more Lord, no more! Am I the black sheep of your family, Lord?”
Blinded by pain, I can’t see God. The heartbreak of the past few months is suffocating me. I feel my physical strength declining, and I’m not sure how I can endure the emotional and mental anguish any longer. I feel lost. Abandoned.
The famous phrase, “The Lord will not give us more than we can bear” rings loud in my ears. For many years I’ve believed this saying to be true, but as I write this today, I’m not so sure I believe the truth. It’s obvious to me, because of the pain He has allowed to pass through in my life, that God sees me as stronger than I see myself. My heart is so heavy from the weight of my burdens. My struggles crush me. I can feel God’s Spirit slipping away…
Where is God? Does He see me? Does He know my pain?
Matthew 11:28 (MSG) comes to mind; “Come to me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.”
Rest? That sounds wonderful. I’d love to have rest. I would love to have peace of mind. I want this rest, but it seems out of reach. I desire it. I long for it. I seek after it, but every time I get close I am faced with another trial. Rest disappears—like a figment of my imagination. Once again, hope is lost and oceans of pain come flooding back in. Despair becomes my reality.
In the mist of the chaos of my mind, I hear a still small voice saying, “Come to me. Just come. I’m here.” It dawns on me that I desire rest, but I do not desire surrender. Then truth hits me. “Rest” is given when surrender is received. God will give me rest when I come to Him and surrender myself, my burdens, and my pain.
I have to Trust God’s promises—even when there’s no evidence or proof of truth in them. It’s not God who walked away, it was me who turned from Him. It was not God’s Spirit slipping away, it was me turning away from His Spirit. I now know that God does give us more than we can handle so that we will give Him the handle to steer our lives! He allows for burdens to be placed on our shoulders temporarily, hoping that we will turn around and give them to Him to carry. It is through our unwillingness to surrender, to “come” and release our struggles to Him, that we continue to carry our burdens and suffer underneath the weight of them. By not surrendering, we prevent ourselves from experiencing the rest He promised us.
So… Am I ready to turn my burdens over to God in full surrender? Truthfully, I am not sure. I am crippled by fear and pain, but what I do know is that He’s waiting for me (and you) to cast my (our) cares upon Him, for God cares for me. He cares for you, too. Will you let Him?
Bridget writes from Orange Park, Florida where she serves her community as an educator, her church as an elder, and her family as wife, mother, and “grammy.”