Over the next few weeks, I’ve invited some of my dear blogging friends to share words of encouragement here on the blog while I rock my newborn baby and get some much-needed rest. Today, I’m thrilled to invite Marie Gregg on my virtual back porch to eat some blueberry scones and tell us a part of her story. Her words were like a soothing balm on my heart, and I pray they will breathe hope into your heart when you feel like you can’t do life on your own anymore…
Just a closer walk with Thee.
Grant it Jesus, is my plea.
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be dear Lord, let it be.
– Patsy Cline
Having More, Needing Less
Sometimes life is just plain hard.
Maybe you’re struggling with chronic illness, as I do. Maybe you’ve changed a thousand diapers in the last hour and you simply cannot handle another. Maybe your boss bit your head off for a mistake that wasn’t yours. Or maybe it was and you already felt terrible about it. Maybe there’s far more month than there is money, more loneliness than company, more sullen looks from teenagers than smiles, more chaos than calm.
Maybe there’s just flat-out more and you’re desperate for less.
The “more-ness” of my own life overwhelmed me the other day. I sat on the couch, pen in hand, journal open, ready to scribble my thoughts and prayers – and all I could do was weep. The shuddering, sighing kind of tears. “God,” I sobbed, “I can’t do this. I can’t handle this.”
Of Course You Can’t
The Lord is a tender, attentive Father. He let me cry. He listened as the confusion and frustration and fear came pouring out. As my breathing grew steadier, I heard Him speak, in that gentle-yet-authoritative voice of His, the one we hear only in our souls.
“Of course you can’t.”
A breathtaking amount of freedom in those words.
We’ve all heard it said that God won’t give us more than we can handle. I no longer believe that. Frankly, getting out of bed is more than we can handle, being the sinful and broken people we are. A few seconds into the day and chances are there’s something weighing on us or we’ve said or done something stupid. We like to think of ourselves as strong and self-sufficient, but we aren’t. Instead, we’re basically clueless and entirely weak.
In the Lap of God
One of Satan’s great lies is that we’re on our own. We have to handle it. We have to be brave and tough and “together.” Thing is, we can’t handle it, we can’t be brave or tough or “together” without God (and even then we aren’t hardly ever “together,” if we’re honest). We cannot face the diagnosis, the phone call, the pink slip, the angry words. We aren’t equipped, in and of ourselves, to deal with anything.
If we choose to be smart (and it is a choice), we run to Christ. We climb into the lap of our Savior. We let Him remind us of His presence. We turn our palms up to Him and confess our emptiness, our frailty, our lack of understanding. We tell Him where and how it hurts.
We ask Him to make it better.
When It Doesn’t Go Away
Sometimes, He does make it better. Sometimes He takes the problem away. Sometimes the relationship is supernaturally restored, the bank account filled with the exact amount necessary, the job crisis averted, the body healed.
Other times, in His sovereign wisdom and grace, He doesn’t work that way.
“…a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me… Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.'”
– 2 Corinthians 12:7b-9a (NKJV)
When it doesn’t go away, we make another choice. We can get angry, bitter. We can climb off of His lap and stomp away. Or we can stay right there, our ears pressed against His heart, and allow Him to pour into us the strength and courage needed for the fight. We can ask Him to grant us faith, hope and love. We can sing along with the psalmist:
“Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
…it is good for me to draw near to God;
I have put my trust in the Lord GOD…”
– Psalm 73:25-26, 28a (NKJV)
Dear ones, our God is faithful and true. He will not abandon us in the middle of our battles. He is right there, in the thick of it, shielding us from the worst of the blows. Whatever He allows through is meant for our good, a good that will bring Him glory. It’s a mystery that we won’t solve this side of eternity. There will be tears. Heartache. Pain.
In all of it, we can let Him draw us closer.
We can walk with Him, hand in hand.
Let it be, dear Lord.
Let it be.
Photo credit: Nathan Walker
Marie Gregg lives somewhere in the Pacific Northwest with her husband Chris and two neurotic dogs. She loves studying Scripture, libraries and chocolate. You can connect with her over at Along the Way.