By Tara Beattie
This blog has been very hard for me to write. So here goes… you get me. Completely and utterly unscripted.
I have been in a place of despair, just like you. I know what broken looks like. I know what brokenness feels like. Take a look at the world around us. Brokenness in every direction. Whether we are mourning the loss of loved one taken too soon, the loneliness of lack of communication with others or the sheer volume of a broken world with anger and hostility running amuck.
Our hearts are hurting. Damaged goods. There was once a time that I thought I was so damaged that I was beyond repair. I did not understand how God could possibly love me. I could not even wrap my head around what that kind of love really meant. I would love to be able to tell you that this was addressed in my youth but that is not my story. Like you, my heart has ached. There was a time that my heart was aching to be a mom. After several losses, I wondered if motherhood would happen for me. I would wonder down the baby aisles at Target and Wal Mart. I would always find myself at some point in tears. I am sure anyone who saw me was thinking what is wrong with her. And then I saw her. She was doing the same thing I was doing. Our eyes met and we knew without speaking a word we were facing the same fight.
You see, after an early pregnancy loss such as an ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage there is no burial. There is no real goodbye. I guess this was my way to cope and say goodbye and to mourn our babies and maybe even find hope. During this time, I knew who God was. However, I wanted nothing but distance between me and God. I was angry. I felt like a failure. But mostly, I was hurting. I needed God but instead of turning to him, I blamed him for the reason my heart was in shambles. The enemy found a way to entrap me and I allowed it when I turned away from God.
You see, the enemy attempts to frustrate and alienate believers from God. The enemy tries to create a wedge that cannot be overcome. We see that Job stood firm in his authentic love of God and passed the tests of faith orchestrated by the enemy. Satan’s attempting to defraud believers at every available opportunity. If you have not read “The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis, I highly encourage you to do so. This book provides so much insight as to the method and manipulation utilized by the enemy.
I read two amazing books by Angie Smith that began the healing process for me. “I Will Carry You The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy” and “Audrey Bunny.” And I began writing my own book. I talk in more detail about my journey and it was been so good for me. Writing has always been my outlet. And last but, certainly not least, I made amends with God. I laid years of anger, resentment and hurt at his feet. And with that my heart softened and the healing truly began for me because I know that those babies are resting in the arms of our Heavenly Father.
You see, we all have a back story that is the prelude to our individual testimonies. I know there is another woman who is going through or has gone through a similar situation as me. I want to support her through her brokenness and be an encourager. I do not recommend the route that I took. I needed God and I think I even knew that I needed him yet I refused to let him in. Yet, he continued to pursue me. He did not stop. I pushed and pushed and he never gave up on me. That my friends, is what God’s unfailing love looks like. It is just that simple. The love of God is unlike any other kind of love you ever experience. As humans, we will fail our loved ones, not necessarily on purpose but we are humans and that makes us fallible. You guys, He approached the woman at the well. The woman with multiple husbands and who was outcasted by her village. He did not care whether or not she “looked or acted” like the atypical Christian. He could care less about appearances. He is all about seeking that personal relationship with YOU. A moment in the presence of Jesus and that woman high tailed into the village to share her story of her encounter with the Messiah.
Thomas struggled with doubt, yet Jesus considered him a close relationship. Jesus left the ninety to find that one lost sheep. The one with a back story who is going through something and needs a moment in the presence of Jesus. Maybe that sheep is you. Maybe you have been running and you are tired. I get it. Heck, I was you. It took me awhile being hard-headed and all to realize that Jesus wanted me just the way I am in that moment…a mess. He was not waiting for me to get it all together and certainly is not waiting for you to get it all together either. He wants to take our brokenness and begin mending us. This is just one of the amazing parts of our testimony, aka the backstory.
From my experience, suffering introduces humility. As humans, we are not profoundly fond of humility. Humility can make us appear vulnerable. I am not one of love the state of vulnerability. Humility tends to showcase our imperfections. However, humility opens the door and allows God’s grace to break down walls. 1 Peter 5:5-6, states, “Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
Suffering is deeply personal. This is where we need to personally lean on Jesus. Psalm 34:18-19, tells us “the Lord is close to brokenhearted and serves those crushed in spirit. The righteous may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.” In Psalm 147:3, “He heals then broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.” You guys all we have to do is humble ourselves before the Lord and allow his sweet grace to break down the walls. You can never be so broken that God does not want a relationship with you.
It took me a long time to wrap my head around the fact that you do not have to “look” a certain way to be a Christian or have #Christian‘cred, if you will. There is no “Christian look” per se. In fact, a Christian comes in all walks of life. Being a follower of Christ simply means that you have the heart of a servant and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior and invest in nurturing that relationship.
By now, you all know that I like to review scripture for my blog but I also try to find a song that drives the message home. The song “Truth Be Told” by Matthew West has been the song that I have listened to and reflected on while writing this blog. It is ok to be broken and it is ok to not be ok. However, it is not ok to live there. This my friends is where the amazing grace of Jesus comes in. He wants our brokenness. He wants us to lay our burdens at feet. And my friends, it is a given fact that we will have burdens and suffering. The Bible tells us in John 16:33, “You will have suffering.” But in this pain and suffering, there is so much potential for growth and sweet, sweet grace. God’s grace for his people is one of the most amazing gifts he reveals to us. We lean on Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of people who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” I look at it like this, you have a choice to make: (1) you can continue to run from God and try to handle life and adversity on your own or (2) you can run to God in the midst of your storm and allow God to take the wheel. I would encourage you to choose the second option. I tried the first option for far too long and it never worked out for me in the long run.
On Monday evening before Thanksgiving our family watched God’s Not Dead 2 and there was a phrase in the movie that shook me to my core…Walter Wesley said: “Honey, you of all people should realize when you’re going through something really hard, the teacher is always quiet during the test.” Umm… ya, that phrase was an “aha moment” for me. I was close picking myself up off the floor. The quote is so simply but this is THE ANSWER I have been seeking for months. I have been working on this blog for a while now. And there it is just as plain as day…the teacher is always quiet during the test. We must trust his timing during the storm. The test or the storm is the time to really press in and seek God. Read scripture, praise the Lord, worship all while giving Thanks to the creator of Heaven and Earth for he is good especially in the storm.
Jesus, I just want to thank you for all you do and continue to do. Lord, I am praying for those who do not have a personal relationship with you. Jesus, I pray that humility creates a pathway for walls to come tumbling down and God’s grace to enter hearts and lives begin to change as others accept you into their hearts. I pray that folks find hope through Jesus. I pray that through the acceptance of Jesus that hearts can be mended and hope is restored. Thank you for being a good, good Father.