Life is Hard but God is Good
God Never Wastes a Hurt
There are times when life hits us hard. We are just going along minding our own business when BAM out of the blue tragedy strikes us or someone we love. How do we handle life’s surprises?
I have lived long enough to know that we do have a choice about how we handle mishaps and misfortune. We have a choice. The choice to let life’s hurts make us better or bitter. The choice is totally ours. Life is hard but God is good
Something I have learned over time is that God never wastes a hurt.
"Make no Friend's with an Angry Man (person) " Prov. 22:24
Does God Work when you Hurt?
How NOT to Be
I was talking with my dear confidant and friend Kathy yesterday when she reminded me that I had taught her that very thing when she desperately needed to hear it.
She then went on to rehearse ALL of the hurts of my lifetime. She mentioned the insecurity and abusive home I grew up in; she spoke of all of the financial struggles we have had all through our lives. She continued to list the painful occurrences that took place in the different Churches we served and ministered and then finally the most hurtful of all, when my son turned his back on us and walked away.
Kathy said “Mekenzie, look at your heart and the heart of your husband. God did not waste your pain and you are a living testimony to that. As a result of your troubled home life your heart reaches out to people in pain.. You give people hope for their future. Your struggles with finances have never kept you from giving to everyone you know.”
Kathy reminded me of our first Ministry to Youth. The Senior Pastor’s wife was jealous, spiteful and angry. She turned on me and did everything she could to tear me down. NOT exactly what I was expecting as I looked forward to learning from an older godly woman. Kathy pointed out ... instead of turning from the ministry you determined that you had just been in life’s school to learn “HOW NOT BE” as a Pastor's Wife.
My Son His Son
As a young woman I had such hopes and dreams for our family. My children were everything to me. The home of my youth was filled with strife; I had no one to model what it meant to raise secure, healthy kids.
I read every book on parenting I could get my hands on. I read them hungrily hoping to learn the secrets of raising my children well.
My father was an alcoholic and a rage-aholic. My mother was disconnected and cold. I already knew I possessed a different heart than my parents, I loved deeply, I just needed some parenting tips. I applied consistency, love, balance, structure and anything else I thought might be beneficial to my children's development.
Kathy walked me through this journey as she took me back to the time when my son entered the world of defiance and rebellion. She reminded me of what she observed, “Mekenzie, though you felt you would literally die as you watched your son spiraling out of control and spewing such hatred, you never ever gave up on him .. not once ...” She was right. ...”but you continued to love him with tough love and hope in God … I watched you through it all Mekenzie and I have also watched how God has used you in an uncanny way to encourage those who come behind you.”
Loosing My Church Family
The last Church we ministered in almost knocked me down as I questioned my own emotional stability. We were with that beloved Church for 15 years.
My husband is a gifted teacher and was respected all throughout the years of our Ministry. Our Church was a place of peace and love. We opened our home to our congregation; so many memories of bonding, growing in the Lord, watching football together and more.
One of the ministries I held in the Church was to work with the children. I loved the children of our Church and took great joy in watching them grow spiritually. I conducted a Children's Christmas program for several years with the help of my youngest daughter. We nurtured our little protege's and uncovered their gifts in the areas of drama and voice. We basked in the joy of watching each child marvel in the discovery of a hidden talent These kids were amazing and we loved them so much!
We invested our hearts and souls in that Church and loved them well. After all of those years, we thought of them as family. Then that BAM, out of the blue, visited us once again. After about 13 years at the Church a battle took place ... it was a vicious battle that, in the end, God won ... An exodus took place ... a HUGE victory over evil ... Once more Peace took up residence in our congregation.
My husband experienced such freedom after the exodus. He was receiving tons of feedback on his messages. Many were sharing how God was using them to minister to specific needs in their lives. There was power in his preaching and the spirit showed up each and every week. There was a bond amongst the Church folk; a bond that was stronger than it had ever been.
During the storm we had come together, as a Church, and were of one accord. We prayed and sought the Lord together humbling ourselves asking God to shine his spotlight on our own individual lives; asking Him to reveal any hidden motive or sin. We were bonded together in prayer to ask God to show us what to do. God answered and it was miraculous.
A couple of years after God's miracle we found ourselves personally sinking into debt. Since the exodus the Church had not been able to support us financially as they once had; They were only able to provide half of what we received previously.
On top of this I had been put on medical leave to which I was never released. I had worked full time and carried our medical insurance. As a Church we were experiencing growth in the Church - yet we knew we could not continue in this ministry if Gary could not support us.
Then the final BAM ... out of the blue ... at least for us. A BAM from which are are still not fully recovered. My husband’s inner circle and closest confidant’s began to scrutinize him. The extent of discontent was revealed at a luncheon which was ironically on his birthday.
Though Gary was receiving constant positive feedback on his messages and Gary himself felt God move in ways he had never experienced ... these friends wanted him to change the style of his delivery. Although he was receiving half the salary previous to the exodus, his dear friends expected him to be in the office when they said he should be there.
We were in trouble financially, He could not pay the bills with the salary from Church. He had to find ways to earn money. He received criticism for working a small business he had created to supplement our income. That day as he walked away from the luncheon he felt as if someone had removed the plug and his spirit died.
He was totally broken and I was beyond grieved. As the realization of betrayal sank in and our financial situation grew more desperate .. it seemed, at the time, the only option was to resign.
Although we left on good terms we were personally battle weary and deeply hurt. I can only remember one person who dropped by to check on us. After all of those years .. did no one care?
My friend Kathy brought this situation to my attention. She said, “Mekenzie, you could have become bitter – but you didn’t. You worked through your pain and you forgave each and every person who neglected, turned and left you feeling abandoned and alone. You are the one that has taught me that God doesn’t waste a hurt.”
Beauty Out of Ashes
After my friend and I finished talking I did a lot of soul searching and inner reflection. I could say with Joseph, you meant it to harm me, but God meant it for my good.
I thanked God for working all that good stuff into my heart. Kathy helped me to see God’s handiwork as she walked me through my past. I see it and I lift my hands in Praise to the God who brought beauty out of the ash heaps of our life. Life is Hard but God is Good!
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be a crotchety ole' fart (as my son-in-law Jon would say) when I grow old. I know the key is staying close to God and allowing Him to work goodness, love and His character into my life. He is all I need.
My heart cries out … Draw me close to YOU … never let me go. "He is a friend that sticks closer than a brother". "He will never leave me nor forsake me." Because He lives I can face tomorrow.
Draw Me Close to You
Music is therapy. Music has a way of bringing out emotions that lay buried. Music is filtered through your subconscious, the place where a life-time of data (all you have experienced in life) is stored ... but perhaps not explored. As music filters into the senses an awakening of emotions takes place.
Have you noticed that while listening to a song your senses fall into the sweet, dark, tense magic of its melody? A song will lead you into the depths inside. If that emotion is pain, allow your soul to linger and feel it. We cannot heal from a hurt we don't acknowledge. Music brings us to the place of acknowledgement; I feel sadness, pain, longing, joy, etc. Worship music has the ability to transcend ones soul from this human existence into the majesty of God's presence.
The gift of song takes us to the place of acknowledgement; a place we may never have reached apart from it. As music brings your emotions out of the subconscious realm and into consciousness you then have an opportunity to examine, wrestle, forgive, enjoy and deal with them.
I invite you to sit back and allow this music to fill you up and to soothe your heart. Let the words and the melodies be a balm to your soul's need. Bask in the beauty and be filled with healing.
May our heart cry be Draw Me Close to you. We know Life is Hard but God is Good and may we agree that Because He lives I can face Tomorrow.