I saw the pain in your eyes that day. You ask me now what that looked like, but there is no one word to describe it. Fear? Defeat? Agony? Weariness? Hopelessness? Evidence of your pain leaked only from the windows to your soul; every other entrance had been shut down and sealed off. You were past the point of reaching for help. Past the point of acknowledging the hope of a rescue. You were ready to give up.
In fact, I think you already had.
You were trudging along because that’s what is done, but if you fell you wouldn’t have cared to get up again. It was too hard. Believe me, I understand. The road gets so rough you forgot what life was like before your pain. I had just gotten off that same road, and when God told me to go right back on it to get you, well, my first response wasn’t a “Yes, Lord”!
But how could I not share that there was an end to the road? To share hope was a privilege, yes, but to get to you meant I had to re-live some of the same moments I had just gotten out of.
The verse that I had clung to when I was where you were was Proverbs 31:25, “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh without fear of the future.” I loved that verse because I was nowhere near achieving it, but knew I could get there because God was the one in charge of clothing me. To have strength and be dignified were far from what I felt, and the thought of being able to laugh without fear that I would just be sad again was nearly mythical, it was such a foreign concept. Yet I clung to the hope that one day I could be like the woman the verse was talking about.
I didn’t realize at that time that in order to be clothed in strength, you may have to revisit some of your weakest moments. In order to be dignified you have to be humbled. And in order to laugh without fear of the future you have to conquer your past.
When I reached out to help you heal, I didn’t realize how much healing God was going to do in me. It was the furthest thing from easy. It was the furthest thing from painless. Yet it was one of the most powerful things I have ever experienced.
The thought of my hardship being redeemed was laughable to me. How could even God ever turn it around for good? I could see absolutely nothing good in it, but to see you make it through to the other side was a victory for me too. It was a redemption for me, to know that my past was not wasted. To think that God used my story in yours.
So now, as you’ve moved from one hard place to another, let me remind you to think back on where you were. By the grace of God you’ve come this far, and He will lead you Home. He’s not giving up on you now! He hasn’t brought you this far to leave you now! You lift your eyes to the Author and Finisher of your faith, who for the joy set before Him, the thought of you being in Heaven with Him, endured the cross, despising its shame, so that one day you may be seated with Him in Heaven.
No part of your story is wasted. God will work everything together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Perhaps these seasons of hardships have actually been seasons of preparing you for your destiny? What if God is strategically positioning you in the home that you’re in so that you can stand up and speak (maybe even without being called upon, like Esther) a message that will save those you love? Maybe you’ve been prepared and placed where you are for such a time as this? Maybe this is your time to declare that you are not backing down now. You are standing up to fight on this spiritual battlefield, and in the name of Jesus you are taking back what the enemy has stolen from you: childhood innocence, years of your life, peace, sound sleep, and more! Today is the day to tell the devil, not today satan! I AM in me makes me enough. I AM has clothed me in strength to fight and in the dignity to lift my head up again. I can laugh without fear of my future because God has purchased my past and holds my future in His hands. He has done the same for you. No shame or fear can hold you back!
Fix your thoughts on things above (Phil. 4:8)! Keep your head up, and if one day it droops again, remember that God is the lifter of your head (Ps. 3:3) and the strength of your heart (Ps. 73:26).