Have you ever felt surrounded? Like one thing after another keeps pulling the rug out from under you?
Lately, my family has gone through a lot. The last 2 years have proven to be the most challenging years we have ever endured. The past four months, in particular, have darn near broken us.
We’ve discovered some life changing health issues for John (my husband) and Kate (baby number three). The combination of sickness, great physical pain, and too many unanswered questions has turned day-to-day life into something unrecognizable. Self-medicating, addictions, deep depression, job loss (one week before Christmas), fights, overwhelming anxiety, panic over a child’s mental health, car repairs, robbing Peter to pay Paul, and the hits just keep on coming.
So, have I felt surrounded? You better believe it. To an outsider looking in, we sure as heck look surrounded. To the world, and to people unaware of the roots of our battle, it seems like we are drowning. One blow after another. One wave after another. One storm after another. Surrounded.
I’m not going to lie. At times it’s felt like my husband and I were standing back to back―beaten, torn clothes, bruised bodies, blood and sweat covering us―with our swords drawn, pacing in a circle awaiting the next blow from an invisible enemy.
But it’s in this place of complete and utter helplessness that the truth of our lives found rest in my heart. We are surrounded.
Surrounded by the most incredible support system.
Surrounded by blessings that tend to get swallowed up in the dense, misty hopelessness in front of us.
Surrounded by so much love. By inspiration. By opportunity.
This foggy swamp that we have found ourselves in is of our own doing. It’s a sticky, sludgy mess of bad choices and immature pursuits. It’s a place that is uncomfortable and lonely and filled with shame. Like a fog, the shame and guilt sit there, unmoving, unrelenting. But in this place, there is light.
The light is so strong that even in this place we are able to identify our surroundings. We know who we are. We know whose we are. And we know that this place is temporary. We know that our good, good Father sees us and has not abandoned us. We know so because He said so.
“Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’” Isaiah 41:10
It’s not easy living in shame and hopelessness. Owning our mistakes is painful. Accepting the consequences is hard. But we’ve seen that in these moments, God wants to teach us something. He has a lesson that doesn’t involve a parental “I told you so”. When we’re bold enough to trust Him, this murky place becomes a training ground for an inevitable victory.
If you are in a place of despair or shame, or if you’re living with the consequences of some life choices you’re less than proud of, don’t let it swallow you up. God sees you. He is still with you. He still has a plan for your life that is beyond your wildest dreams. He is still your biggest fan. And He still loves you.
So, use your sword (the Word), use your shield (your Faith), armor up, and remember that you are a warrior, and this is how you fight your battles.
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
About The Author
Jill is a full time teacher, wife, mom, and member of a wonderfully nutty blended family. She is a champion for women and passionate about the importance of learning to find one’s value in Jesus. Jill speaks at several different women’s gatherings and is a recurring speaker for teacher groups. After ministering to teachers at her school, she decided to start her blog, Teacher Be Still. Her goal is to inspire women to seek a relationship with Jesus. She hopes to demonstrate that seeking Jesus doesn’t have to be complicated or calculated; that simplifying your life, making some space for him, will inspire your spirit.