It’s Monday morning and all is quiet in the house. The only sounds are those of my fingers hitting the letters on the keyboard, birds chirping outside, and my fur-babies breathing. I like it quiet.
This past year has been a quiet year.
Don’t get me wrong, a lot happened this past year.
- Bobby returned from what may have been his tenth deployment.
- My character was maligned by someone I considered a good friend.
- I walked away from a ministry I had poured my heart and soul into for years.
- Bobby’s and my marriage struggled as we tried to “reintegrate” our lives post-deployment.
- We went on two marriage retreats (love love love them!)
- My hemiplegic migraines worsened.
- They finally diagnosed me with P.O.T.S. (thus, proving my “spells” were not anxiety, but a nervous system disorder).
- We went to court for my social security disability case, where my lawyer failed to show up, and we still ended up being awarded disability.
- I had to give up driving due to medical issues.
- I finally started to come to terms with being “disabled”.
- We paid off all of our debt except for our mortgage.
- We drove home to Minnesota for Christmas so we could see my family and bring our fur-babies with us.
- My Gran died from colon cancer.
- I managed to get the flu and bronchitis a couple of times.
- Bobby and I started working on projects around the house (currently working on our farmyard-with-a-chuckle-powder-room, as well as stairs for our fur-babies to get up onto the bed with me and a little haven for them out of a repurposed dresser – I’ll post pics once I finally get my blog reformatted).
- I finally started physical therapy (they’re kicking my arse even though they barely touch me! – Kelly, Karen, and Christine, you’re amazing!)
- And, I gave up social media because the “noise” of it was a negative influence in my life.
Within one week’s time last year, my character was maligned, I lost some dear friends, I walked away from the ministry, Bobby returned from deployment, and our marriage almost ended.
It was at that point I decided I needed some “quiet”, thus, I shut off my social media accounts, pulled away from all relationships except for my mum, bio-sister, and two of my heart-sisters (one of which I didn’t talk to very often due to her busy schedule and ridiculously poor cell-service). So, essentially, I kept three people as my inner circle, as a small circle felt safest after my heart had been torn to shreds.
(WARNING: This post is about to get “spiritual”, so bear with me, eh).
As this was all happening, I felt a strong urging to learn what it means to trust God.
The people I spent the most time with had broken trust with me. The people I felt I could trust the most had all moved far away (thank you, military life). And, I was desperately in need of being able to trust someone I could spend loads of time with. The only good solution was God (or, as I refer to Him, my Abba Father).
And then … God went quiet.
The only person available to spend loads of time with, and who wanted to spend time with me (my hubby didn’t want to), was my Abba Father. And yet, I sensed Him go quiet as I shut out the unnecessary noise in my life. (This made me say a lot of “grrrs” followed by loads of cussing, as I struggled to deal with the rot life kept lobbing at me. Yep, I’m faulty and impatient and tend toward swearing like a sailor. I was angry at this perceived quietness that I didn’t ask for. Yes, I wanted the negativity to go quiet, but not my one true supporter! I had a lot to learn — and still do.)
As I learned to trust in Him DESPITE the quiet, I began to appreciate stillness, solitude, and silence.
I didn’t feel like God was near, but MY FEELINGS DON’T DICATE REALITY.
So this morning, when I was reading in, The One Year Book of Encouragement, written by Harold Myra, the quietness began to make sense in view of the need to learn to trust Him. Myra quotes Rosemary Budd as saying, “As our emotions wither and desert us, God is burrowing away at our wills. As we journey through the dark with a growing awareness of our helplessness, we learn to trust ourselves less. Trust in God takes us on a journey into humility.” Myra continues, “The furnaces of life slowly purge and refine [us] toward understanding the truth about [our]selves – the core of humility.” Again quoting Budd, “Only as I persevere can I become of more use to God and others.” He concludes by making the point that “we’re called to persevere despite flagging emotions.”
I felt that life was screaming at me in the most negative and heart-breaking fashion. The “sound” was deafening as it beat my spirit to a pulp, clawed my insides out with hurtful words, and stomped me into the ground with false accusations, character maligning, and all the discouragement that comes with being “disabled.”
As I allowed life to go quiet, even though it also felt that God went quiet, He was here all the time. He spoke to me in the quiet, in ways I wouldn’t have been able to hear if the rest of the cacophony continued. In silence and solitude, He was tender with my heart. He whispered to me in the quietness that I was enough, that I was loved, that I was worthwhile, that I was accepted.
He encouraged me when I needed to be of good courage. In the stillness He was there.
When you feel life screaming negativity at you, it’s okay to pull back and allow for a period of quiet. Not only is it okay, it may be the best thing you can do.
Although friends may fail us and our bodies WILL fail us (especially those of us struggling with chronic illness and disability), we can rely on what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:16, “Therefore do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting way, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (NIV). We can hold onto the truth of what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others” (NLT). For, “Mightier than the violent raging of the seas, mightier than the breakers on the shore – the Lord above is mightier than these!” (Psalms 93:4, NLT).
Life is hard. Negativity surrounds us. Our bodies are breaking down. We will be failed by the people around us. AND … We will fail them.
In the stillness, in the quiet, we can experience rest, peace, renewal, hope, and encouragement. We can learn trust.
If all that I’ve gone through, am going through, and will go through, can be used to encourage others, then my perseverance will be worth it. This perseverance is only possible with the knowledge that He is with me – even when my feelings say otherwise.
May you find encouragement today. Allow for some time of quiet, for in the quiet you just may experience a glimmer of hope.
Till next time,
BTW, I STRONGLY SUGGEST Harold Myra’s book, The One Year Book of Encouragement: 365 Days of Inspiration and Wisdom For Your Spiritual Journey published by Tyndale House Publishers. It has been a true source of encouragement to me as I struggle through this difficult and discouraging life.