What’s your never?

These are the areas I’ve struggled the most: the areas I told God “never.”  Never would I share, never would I do that, never would I say that, never would I treat someone like that.  Never, never, never.

My heart was so intentional about saying never.

For example, my two year old just cried himself down for nap.  I said I would never.  I know not realistic, but my heart just aches when my kiddos are crying.  However, my two year old needs a nap, and he won’t go with others in the room.  So I shut the door, and he cried for less than a minute.  And I hear a gentle whisper say “see he is okay.”  And maybe more importantly “you are okay.”

Lots and lots of parenting things I said I’d never do (pre kids of course because you are always judgmental until you walk through it-am I right?).

When I have claimed “never” over an area of my life those are the times I’ve struggled the deepest in my faith.  When I’m actually faced with the reality that “never” is now a possible option or just the reality of life at the moment.  I hurt, I resist even more because I’ve promised myself never.

Maybe for you it is medication to help you stay sober, or the keep you calm.  Maybe you said never to counseling because you had a bad experience.  Maybe you said no to taking care of yourself, because we are supposed to serve right?  I won’t be like them…on and on we go.

Our mind keeps track of that inner voice, and when we say no I’d never, our mind has a hard time letting us do it when it actually is good for us.  Or a good option for the time.  Allow yourself freedom, because others around you need that same freedom to move and live and make decisions.

What are some of your never-s?  Maybe some are funny, and maybe some need an evaluation.  Let God search you.  It is for freedom.

“The Way of Suffering”

Suffering.

How can a word provoke such a powerful image, feeling, or place most everyone can relate?

I might have already lost you.  No-one wants to suffer.  I don’t want to suffer.

But we do want deeper.  We do want closeness.  We do long for acceptance and understanding.  We do want compassion for those hurting, and patience with people closest to us.  We want freedom.  We want peace.

I feel very unqualified to write anything of worth about this topic, but I have suffered.  And I think suffering is what makes us most relatable.

For the longest time, I’d gloss over tough topics with people and put a shiny Christian phrase over their hurt.  Fighting that urge to try and remove someone else’s suffering.

Not too long ago, I was sharing with my counselor how I was feeling about others pain.  I don’t like when others are hurting or are upset.  I want to remove it and make them happy.  And she said something profound, she said “Tara, you don’t really want to take it from them do you?  This is their journey.”  See those moments I’ve wanted to step in and save are the moments someone needs most.  Those are the moments I’ve needed most.  The moments when I was alone and no one could save me but Jesus himself.  He became so real, so close.  And in the moments you realize for yourself who God is and pursue Him, those are the deep, compassionate, loving, kind moments with a  Savior that will never let go, never let you down, even though the world has turned their back.

The truth comes forth.  You see who you really are.  What you are really made of.  And that makes all the difference.

And I know 100% that God will use your suffering for good.  I cannot recount every moment that God has used my suffering for good and for His glory.  Those things in my life I thought were better left hidden and concealed.

Be vulnerable.  Even when it’s hard.  Let God use you.

And maybe we can just sit with people who are suffering, let them know we are there, that we care, and watch them soar in ways we didn’t even see possible.  Maybe we can be proud people are healing and restoring.

I fumble, maybe speak too much.  I’m still learning what sharing my suffering and story looks like, but I know it’s good.

There’s purpose to suffering is not just for you, but for others too.  Keep your eyes up, He will use it.

Looking for a picture for the title page of this blog, and it is fitting I found a picture of the Via DeLorosa from our trip to Israel.  The places where Jesus carried His Cross to Calvary for us.  Jesus came, suffered on the Cross for me and you, and rose victorious three days later.  I think it make sense to think about suffering as we prepare to enter into the Easter season.

Suffering is for victory.  Our ultimate victory in Heaven with our Savior.