When You Need a Moment

I had braced myself for “no.” Or so I thought. I had stepped out in faith and taken a huge leap. I had prayed and prepared and felt God beckoning me beyond what was possible with my own eyes. He had opened doors, I thought. He had given me vision, I thought.

But when the “no” came it was so much bigger than any of the contingencies I had worked out in my mind. My heart was crushed. My soul felt wounded. I wept. I felt the numb of shock. I felt the death of a dream.

Deep down, I wrestled with this feeling. What kind of faith do you have if one little “no” turns you into a weepy mess? You said God was the God of Impossible Things and yet here you lay on your couch crying because the steps outlined to make the “no” a “yes” are completely impossible. Some faith. These words mocked me even as I could not deny the sorrow that swept over me.

And then I realized, I was grieving. Not grief like when my husband died, but grief none-the-less. I was grieving the loss of this dream. Not forever but for right now, this second in time, what I had dreamt of happening would not be happening. I remembered words I had written and shared with others: Grief does not equal doubt. Weeping for what was lost, what was dreamed of, what was anticipated, does not make your trust in His will diminished. It simply means you need a moment to feel sad before you step into whatever He has in mind instead.take a moment

Too often we imply to Christians dealing with sorrow that this feeling is wrong. Too often we say they should rely on the joy of the Lord for their strength and that we should shake off a spirit of heaviness for the joy of gladness. Too often we equate sorrow with faithlessness.

But Jesus wept.

It’s one of my favorite verses in the Bible. Jesus wept. He knew their sorrow was temporary. He knew he was about to raise Lazarus—dead for many days and already in a tomb—back to life and yet he wept. He shared their sorrow at their deep, real, tangible loss.

I’ve heard it preached he wept because they had no faith. I think that’s bunk. I think the compassionate Son of God wept with them because grief often needs to be experienced before healing can come. I think he took a moment with them to let sorrow do its work. Oh but then he did something amazing.

Sometimes we need a moment to mourn our loss before we can dry the tears, pick ourselves up off the dirt, shake the dust from our garments, and ask God, “Ok, then, what now?” Taking that moment does not lessen who God is or our trust that He is faithful. Taking that moment can mean letting go of our ideas so that we are open to what He has in mind.

Even Paul wrote, “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 NIV emphasis mine) We will get knocked down but it does not need to destroy us.

So today if you are mourning a loss—no matter the size—feel it. Don’t get stuck there forever, but let grief do its work so you can shake off the dust and get back up. Let yourself feel sad for a moment in time. Then dry those tears and give the broken pieces of what was hoped for, dreamed of, anticipated, to the God who has something better in mind.

(You’ll notice the graphic has my new website on it. Stay tuned for it’s release date. I’m still working out the design bugs. You, my faithful followers will be the first to know when it goes live.)

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Convictions in a Craft Fair

I found myself snapping at my children last night. Little things that probably did indeed need my correction had me yelling like a crazy woman instead of gently disciplining. Have you ever been there?

As I realized my stress levels were off the charts, hot tears threatened to spill out of my eyes. I realized I had made a mistake. And it was one I could have avoided.

TheBestYes125I’ve been reading Lysa TerKeurst’s book, The Best Yes. This fantastic book talks about saying no to the wrong things in our lives so we are available to say yes to the things God has for us to do. It talks about letting go of saying yes out of obligation or guilt and saying yes out of obedience and joy. I’ve been reading off and on in the midst of other things in my life. But I should have gotten a key element already. God had given me some tools and I’d forgotten to use them.

In chapter five she outlines some simple questions to ask yourself when deciding if this is a Best Yes decision or a time you should say no. She writes about considering if this decision is one you have the resources to handle, “physically, financially, spiritually, and emotionally.” It’s only a small part of an awesome book, but I realized my off-the-charts stress could have been avoided this week had I asked this of myself.

I had signed up for a second craft fair. It seemed financially a good idea. I had extra inventory after the only craft fair I said I was doing two weeks ago. I was worried about affording Christmas for the kids and this seemed a practical idea. As a widow, Christmas is stressful emotionally and financially. Maybe this would help?

But as the week went on the stress of having to get myself ready for another show started to build. I had other things that needed my presence and my focus that had to get set aside. A child came down with a flu bug. Grandparents needed me to send them Christmas gift ideas yesterday and I still hadn’t ironed out a list with the kids. Sisters started bickering in escalating levels that needed me to shepherd their hearts instead of just yelling like a crazy mama to knock it off. The thought of leaving my kids another Saturday to their own devices left me torn in two yet again.

My eldest son asked me, “Is there anything I can do to help your stress, Mom?” Conviction hit my heart.

I realized that though this extra fair had looked good on paper, I had not prayed about it. How often do we make those kinds of decisions?

Two days ago I received news I would be receiving a little extra money in December. My Heavenly Father who longs to give good gifts to His children knew I longed to give them to mine. Had I asked Him, my week would have looked much differently.

I thanked my son and apologized. I told him after today, I wouldn’t feel so stressed. He said “ok.” I took time to calm down and try to gently deal with the attitudes of my girls instead of just their bickering. And I stopped trying to sew anything else last-minute and sat and enjoyed some time with my son.

So today I head off to fulfill my commitment to this craft fair with a repentant and thankful heart. My Heavenly Father is providing for more than just my needs. And He loves me enough to provide gentle correction in the midst of my chaos.

The next time an opportunity arises, I pray I will remember the tools He has shown me to weigh its value in my life and to ask Him for guidance. He has promised to always provide wisdom when we ask. We just need to remember the asking part.