• DANCE IN THE RAINLife is not about waiting for the storm to pass; it's about learning to dance in the rain.- Vivian Greene

rest in unforced rhythms+

 

Rest.

I’m a huge proponent of it, in theory. I see its value for other people. I just can’t seem to figure out how to do it myself.

What’s undone weighs heavily on me. I can’t escape the feeling I’m not doing enough. My to-do list looms before me daily.

Draft a blog post. Call a struggling friend. Write a thank you note. Schedule a doctor’s appointment. Work on a talk. Figure out how to use Evernote. Plan a graduation party. Purge the file cabinets. Finish the girls’ scrapbooks (from 10 years ago).

I’m ashamed to admit it, but a good day to me is defined by getting things accomplished on my list. Not the people I’ve touched. Not the time I’ve spent with God. Not the things I’ve learned. Just what I’ve done.

But what am I accomplishing with all my busyness?

I had been sitting with this question for months, when a friend mentioned Jesus’ rhythm of life. He changed the world in His three years of public ministry. Yet He also knew when to rest.

So I started looking at the life of Jesus, how He spent His days, as detailed in the Gospels.

Jesus never seemed hurried, though He was inundated by people with urgent needs. Much of the time He was surrounded by crowds, with barely enough time to catch His breath. Events happened quickly, tumbling one after the other. He went from preaching in a synagogue to casting out a demon to healing a sick friend to ministering to the whole city gathered at His door at sundown. And this was just one day! (Mark 1:21-34)

But after this one day, “very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place and there he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)

After ministering to others, and before pouring Himself out again, Jesus left everyone and spent time with God. This pattern is repeated throughout the Gospels.

After John the Baptist’s death, Jesus said to the disciples, “’Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.” (Mark 6:31-32, italics mine)

Jesus knew that when the disciples were physically and mentally exhausted, too busy even to attend to their own physical needs, it was time to withdraw and rest.

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  • May 19, 2016 - 4:55 pm

    Anne - I was absolutely fine with your timely and encouraging blog post until I got to the part about your not posting! 🙂 Enjoy your rest! I will be excited to learn from you once again what God has taught you through your rest.ReplyCancel

    • May 19, 2016 - 5:02 pm

      Vaneetha - Thank you, Anne! I’m excited to see what the Lord will do IN me during this rest. May your summer will be restful as well!ReplyCancel

  • May 20, 2016 - 7:48 am

    Martha - Vaneetha, the words you ended spoke to the depths of my heart, and I truly sensed God was speaking right through the you. Your journey has been a difficult one, but I have been so richly blessed as I know many others have with all you have shared that you have learned through difficulty.
    May you experience much rest in every aspect, and may the presence of God encompass you with His peace, grace and mercy. He will continue to do NGOs in you:) I am looking forward to hearing about them!
    Blessing and much love.ReplyCancel

    • May 20, 2016 - 2:01 pm

      Vaneetha - Thank you, Martha! Praying God gives you His abundant rest this summer…ReplyCancel

  • May 20, 2016 - 7:55 am

    Laura - Your words are so true! Thank you for sharing your heart and the scriptures with us. Enjoy your rest and blessings to you.ReplyCancel

  • May 20, 2016 - 12:29 pm

    Elizabeth - Your words are always so perfectly timed for me. This morning as I read your post, I told my daughter I thought you crawled right up into my brain and heart. We are leaving in the morning for the first family vacation in a very long time. My husband and daughter have been excited for weeks. Me, on the other hand, have only been more stressed thinking about packing, pet care, cleaning, keeping up with work and other obligations while I am gone…These words: “But in actuality, nothing is ultimately up to me. It’s all up to God. And He doesn’t need my exhausted, frenzied help to accomplish His purposes. He is inviting me to slow my pace, savor His gifts and enjoy the present moment without worrying about what’s not done. And as I do that, I make space for the things that are life-giving to me. I feel energized, creative, and open to new ideas. And my soul feels more at rest.” are what I am packing right after my Bible, journal and favorite devotional. Thank you for sharing your heart and words. Hugs through the computer, my friend, as we go rest in Him. Phil 1:3ReplyCancel

    • May 20, 2016 - 2:03 pm

      Vaneetha - I so relate to your struggle, Elizabeth. I find leaving for vacation the least restful time for me! But I pray that as you are away, the Lord will give you a sense of His perfect rest.ReplyCancel

  • May 20, 2016 - 2:30 pm

    Elaine - I will miss reading posts but have something to look forward to. I am so glad that you are doing what you shared in this blog. Prayers of renewal, refreshment and peace. Blessings my friend.ReplyCancel

  • May 21, 2016 - 12:24 am

    Allyson - I want to cry and protest how much I need your blog posts, but 🙂 that would defeat the whole purpose of this post!!! As an individual with multiple autoimmune illnesses that have crept up over the last two years, I have struggled so much in finding the balance with rest and serving whomever is in need in front of me- friends, family, my children, coworkers. I think Christian culture has fueled a lot of guilt and shame over rest that I have acquired into my faith. This post is such a great reminder to forget about Christian culture, and let’s look at what Jesus did. I suppose I will just have to spend the next few months rereading your previous posts. There are so many that are so precious to my heart!ReplyCancel

  • May 21, 2016 - 1:34 pm

    Tamlyn - Thank you! Such timely God-breathed wisdom. I can see from other comments that I’m not the only one who felt that this post just nailed it. So many of us caught up in that cycle of the false virtue of busyness, guilt about resting, and total exhaustion.
    I’m very much going to miss your writing, because God uses your honest faith in such a powerful way and has given you a real gift for writing that touches so many of our lives. But I’m glad you’re doing this brave thing. I pray that it is a rich time of replenishment for you.ReplyCancel

  • May 22, 2016 - 5:11 pm

    Suzanne (princapecos) - I’ll miss your posts and I’ll be watching my feed for your (hopefully) eventual return! While you’re gone, I need to dig back into your archives to see what I missed before I discovered your blog. Blessings, sister.ReplyCancel

  • June 5, 2016 - 2:09 am

    Su - Vaneetha, thank you so much.Just what I needed to hear. I long for a rest. Like you’ve said,I’m praying for time and a place for ‘rest’.God bless and refresh you as you rest Vaneetha – and thank you so much for your posts.ReplyCancel

  • June 9, 2016 - 7:45 am

    Juanita - Enjoy your comment regarding rest. God will provide all our needs.ReplyCancel

  • June 17, 2016 - 12:05 am

    Terry - Vaneetha;

    (My previous post didn’t send). Anyway, it looks like so far I’m the only male to respond (!), but I just want to say that I’ve been reading your blogs for a while, and have always gotten so much out of them. This one, though, felt like you were speaking directly to me. You described me to a T. Such a great reminder for me to slow down, take time to rest, and have a quiet time each day with God.ReplyCancel

  • June 18, 2016 - 9:38 pm

    Martha - Dancing in the rain clears my mind and soul. A soft warm rain. Look up.ReplyCancel

  • July 5, 2016 - 5:41 pm

    Michelle - I found your blog thanks to a post from DesiringGod! And it’s so funny that late last year I sensed that I was just reaching the end of myself, so to speak. And I actually started to pray to God about needing a break. I found myself repeating that a lot. That I just wanted a break. The terrible winter was wearing me out, in combination with a difficult commute and work was tough and personal life stress. Well…the second week of January, following a bad snow storm, as I walked to my bus. I slipped and fell and I broke my humerus bone. For the next couple of months I worked from home and I actually got the break I wanted. Although not in the most painless way! But your post reminds me of where I can get a lot of the times…that constant need to see my ever growing to do list get completed and repleted.ReplyCancel

  • September 9, 2016 - 8:54 am

    Rani clare - Vaneetha, I soooo BLESS GOD FOR YOU! All you learn from your pain and suffering and brokenness…feeds and points the way to the rest of us, and so encourages and blesses us. I love the results, but shy away from the trials, tribulations and pain that bears the lovely fruit you do. May GOD forgive and have mercy on me!!!! GOD BLESS YOU ALWAYS DARLING, AND CONTINUE TO EXTEND HIS KINGDOM THROUGH YOU. with love, Rani xxxxxxxxReplyCancel

    • September 9, 2016 - 1:04 pm

      Vaneetha - We all shy away from trials, Rani. I certainly do! But God in His mercy gives us not what we want but what what will ultimately maximize our joy!ReplyCancel

  • April 23, 2017 - 3:28 pm

    Richard Brown - Hey and thank you,

    You nailed it. I have been meditating and contemplating the unforced rhythms of grace for a while and wanting to get to grips with it. I am so glad I found this post. The funny thing is I do rest, I am very good at it but I like to ask my wife to rest better. I let her read what you had written and tears flowed. Thank you.

    By the way, I love the rain – very short hair!

    RichReplyCancel

    • April 23, 2017 - 4:51 pm

      Vaneetha - So thankful that this was helpful, Richard. I honestly had to go back and reread that post and as I did I was convicted again about my need for rest. Less than a year after first writing this post, I’m still trying to learn the unforced rhythms of grace! I’m so grateful that the Lord is so gentle with us, and sends us reminders when we need them.ReplyCancel

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agony waiting God+

Waiting can be agonizing.

It’s hardest to wait when I am uncertain about the outcome. When I’m trusting God for the best, while at the same time preparing for the worst. It would be much easier if I had a guaranteed good outcome. Or at least a promise from God to hold on to. Or some reassurance to anchor my prayers.

But God often seems silent when I’m waiting. I have no idea whether He’ll ever answer my prayer, so it feels like I’m waiting in the dark.

I have read and reread Psalm 13: “O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way? How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day?”

How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day?

O Lord, how long?

I have asked that question many times. Waiting patiently. Waiting impatiently. Waiting well. Waiting badly. Waiting.

If I knew God would eventually answer my prayer with “yes,” waiting would be easier. But when the wait seems endless and I’m not sure if there’s any point to it anyway, it feels excruciating.

Even an answer of “no” would be easier than “wait.”

Several years ago, I went through a period of torturous waiting.

At the beginning of my wait, I had searched the Bible to find a promise that related to my situation. A word that I could “claim.” An assurance of the victory I longed for.

As I was waiting, I read in Romans 4, “Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.” 

While I admire Abraham’s faith, this passage often frustrated me. Of course Abraham never wavered. He had a direct word from God. If I had a direct promise from God, an assurance of my answer, then I’d be content to wait too. Abraham could wait because he knew he’d get what he wanted in the end. View full post »

  • May 5, 2016 - 9:24 pm

    Dora A. K. - Very inspiring post, thank you. However, wasn’t Abraham confident and rooted in the promise that Isaac would be his heir and that God would, if need be, bring him to life again as well as the Promissor? “He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.” (Hebrews 11:19 ESV) Undercutting the promises of God makes faith in Him as the Promissor shaky.ReplyCancel

    • May 6, 2016 - 4:32 pm

      Vaneetha - Thank you so much for pointing that out. I totally agree that undercutting God’s promises makes our faith in Him shaky and I especially appreciate the Hebrews reference.

      I was trying to say that Abraham wasn’t clinging to his own understanding of the fulfillment of the promise. God could fulfill His promise any way He chose, including raising Isaac from the dead if He needed to. So ultimately Abraham’s faith lay in the trustworthiness of God.

      I am going to make that change on the post itself. Thank you!ReplyCancel

      • May 6, 2016 - 5:47 pm

        Dorah A. K. - Thanks to you for your shining faith as we make our journey home to Him who loves us.ReplyCancel

  • May 5, 2016 - 10:39 pm

    Jacob David - Thanks Vaneetha for this beautiful article. You echoed my thoughts. I am waiting and waiting. No answer. “How long, Lord?” Psalm 13 has been my chorus over the years. All seems like wasted years. “Will you forget me forever?” Years have gone and no answer. Only pain and suffering. This promise keeps me going. “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.”

    As you have written “Perhaps God is making me, and you, wait …… To forge our faith. To make us attentive to His voice. To deepen our relationship. To solidify our trust. To prepare us for ministry. To transform us into His likeness.ReplyCancel

    • May 6, 2016 - 4:42 pm

      Vaneetha - Waiting is such a struggle, isn’t it? Praying with you that as you wait, God will forge your faith, make you attentive to His voice and transform you into His likeness.ReplyCancel

      • May 6, 2016 - 10:26 pm

        Jacob David - There could be nothing greater than being transformed into His likeness.
        Thank you for your prayers.ReplyCancel

  • May 6, 2016 - 8:14 am

    Kathleen Owens - Thank you for sharing your experience on waiting on God. I too have prayed for some things that God has not answered. Rather He has not answered the way I desired Him too. Some of the prayers were prayed so many years ago, that the desire is not longer as strong as it was when I first made the request. However, through it all I know God does what is best for me. He does what is best for us. And I’m grateful for that. God Bless You.ReplyCancel

    • May 6, 2016 - 4:45 pm

      Vaneetha - Thank you for your comments. I appreciate your distinction here: “I too have prayed for some things that God has not answered. Rather He has not answered the way I desired Him too.” I need to remember that. It is comforting that He always does what’s best for us. Even when the wait is agonizing…ReplyCancel

  • May 6, 2016 - 8:18 am

    Elaine - Waiting is so darn hard, but verse 5 of psalm 13 is the key. To trust, which Abraham did and I need to be reminded of that. Thank you for the encouragement. As I read this blog several times, it made me think of my children when they were young. They would have a hard time waiting for the car trip to be over that they missed the beauty all around them. A good lesson for myself. As I have times of waiting, Lord please don’t let me lose sight of the beauty of each day and all your promises.ReplyCancel

  • May 6, 2016 - 10:09 am

    Debbie - Through this article, God has answered the question I’ve asked every day of April: Why am I just waiting? March 29 my doctor called to tell me I have cancer. Since then it has been waiting waiting waiting. No treatment started. No specific plan. No surgery date scheduled. Just waiting. And now you have told me “Waiting draws us to God in ways that having answers cannot.” And that’s all I needed to hear, because I’d choose being close to him above everything else. You’ve reminded me I already have everything I want.ReplyCancel

    • May 6, 2016 - 4:48 pm

      Vaneetha - Praying for you, Debbie, as you await next steps from the doctor. Your faith is a testimony to the surpassing worth of God.ReplyCancel

  • May 6, 2016 - 12:12 pm

    Trudy - Hi Vaneetha. Waiting is so hard, isn’t it? Like you said, sometimes it’s easier to get the “no” right away instead of waiting so long and still getting a “no.” I love how you bring out that Abraham’s faith was not in the promise but in the Promiser. And this is so encouraging – “It was in those seemingly wasted years that God transformed him.” Even when we don’t “feel” Him, he is busy working for our good. Blessings and hugs to you!ReplyCancel

    • May 6, 2016 - 4:49 pm

      Vaneetha - I keep reminding myself of these truths too. He is busy working for our good!ReplyCancel

  • May 6, 2016 - 3:55 pm

    Mike R - Wonderful post, Vaneetha. Thank you. Your words captured my feelings and thoughts. As I struggle with my health and the doctors fail to find a direction of treatment, I am left to simply wait, ashamed of my lack of faith. As I read the list of heroes of the faith in Hebrews, I see that they died without ever seeing their faith fulfilled in this life. As I study Job I see a man that suffered more than I can imagine. And he had not a clue as to why or if or when. If he could have known what God’s thoughts were towards him, how much easier would have been his suffering! “God has thought so much of me that he has made an example of me with Satan, himself.” And while I don’t presume to suggest that any of us are the righteous man Job was, or that we are similar in our trials, his situation was the same–he had to wait.

    Thank you for remaining me of God’s provision. No matter how desperate I sometimes become, God sustains me. He gets me through the night, even though it feels as though it is insufferable. It is easy to fail to notice the myriad of ways that he provides for me. To forget his goodness. Depression sets in and God seems to disappear behind a dark cloud. Yet he is there. Surely God moves in mysterious ways. We are humbled and he is glorified.

    It is easy to mouth the words, “Thy will be done,” but learning to say them sincerely is surely only obtained through the furnace. I’m not there yet, I admit. But God is surely faithful. May I learn to desire his will more than the desires of my own heart.ReplyCancel

    • May 6, 2016 - 4:51 pm

      Vaneetha - Thanks for writing Mike. Praying that you will sense the Lord’s presence afresh in your trials as you lean into Him. So thankful that the Lord sustains you, me, all of us, when we are in the furnace.ReplyCancel

  • May 6, 2016 - 5:43 pm

    Joel - Hi Vaneetha, I saw this post on crosswalks before coming here. This is EXACTLY what I am going through and I had the same thoughts as you about Abraham as well. Really glad to see that someone else understands!

    I was thinking, maybe God didn’t say no to your request? Maybe he answered it in another way? I don’t know if this is being intrusive but if you don’t mind, could you share what was it you were praying for and the situation/circumstances surrounding your issue?ReplyCancel

    • May 7, 2016 - 12:24 pm

      Vaneetha - I can’t really share the issue, but God did say no. But having a “no,” while disappointing, is not a bad thing. I truly believe that God’s refusals are always His mercies- we just may not see why in this life.ReplyCancel

  • May 7, 2016 - 2:02 am

    the agony of waiting | what heights of love - […] The Agony of Waiting As I let that promise sink in, I see my waiting differently. Perhaps God is making me, and you, wait for the same reasons that He made Abraham wait. To forge our faith. To make us attentive to His voice. To deepen our relationship. To solidify our trust. To prepare us for ministry. To transform us into His likeness.- Vaneetha Rendall  […]ReplyCancel

  • May 7, 2016 - 8:43 am

    Jeannine Weeks - I adopted Psalm 13 three years ago as my “personal” Psalm. I,too, have wished that if God is going to say no, I’d rather He Had told me sooner than 3yrs desperate,gut wrenching praying only to still suffer great loss, questioning why, trying to pick up the pieces of a shattered life. I have been comforted by so many of your posts; weeping as I read; finding someone who GETS it.ReplyCancel

    • May 7, 2016 - 12:27 pm

      Vaneetha - Oh Jeannine, I’m so sorry for all you have been through as I know how difficult waiting has been. But my comfort has been that God sees and knows what’s best for us. Praying for you now that you will sense God’s presence and love afresh today.ReplyCancel

  • May 16, 2016 - 12:13 am

    fullmoons - Hi Vaneetha! Your column just made my eyes well up! Thank you for putting into words what has been a heart struggle for me for a long while. The only comfort I find in waiting is Who I am waiting for, not what, or when, or how. Though i would not deny that it has been a difficult time -filled with heart breaks and agonizing silence, I trust that the Lord hears the deepest groans of our hearts even in our silence. Holding on to His promises and love as I go through each day.ReplyCancel

    • May 18, 2016 - 10:13 pm

      Vaneetha - So thankful that you are holding onto God and His promises in the midst of your wait. God is doing so much we cannot see in this often gut-wrenching process- that one day we will thank Him for!ReplyCancel

  • May 19, 2016 - 4:14 pm

    Suzanne (princapecos) - After reading this wonderful post, it occurred to me that the Christian life (mine, at least) is full of waiting. I tend to get bogged down with all of the on-earth stuff I’m waiting for, neglecting the ultimate, the true hope that I have. Thanks for a lovely piece reminding me of God’s never-ending faithfulness.ReplyCancel

    • May 19, 2016 - 5:05 pm

      Vaneetha - I get bogged down too, Suzanne. So I wrote this post to remind myself of His faithfulness too!ReplyCancel

  • June 7, 2016 - 12:05 pm

    Kristen - Thank you so much for this post as well as so many others of yours that I have read. Waiting can be such a difficult thing to do. Especially when we really aren’t sure of the outcome. This post really expressed a lot of what I am constantly reminding myself and my kids of…our hope is in God, in who He is, and His faithfulness. He will take care of us!ReplyCancel

    • June 7, 2016 - 11:50 pm

      Mike R - God will deliver his saints. Not always in our timing and not always in the manner we desire. But always, and always to our ultimate benefit. What you are teaching your children is wonderful, and they are seeing your faith lived out before them. What a blessing for them, even if you visibly struggle to hang on. I think pf Paul who even “dispaired for his life.” O that God would give us peace in the furnace. I find myself reciting Psalm 23, which has become my most constant prayer of late. Praying for you and your children.ReplyCancel

  • June 11, 2016 - 6:55 am

    PRECIOUS - “……. I see that while
    Abraham was waiting, God was
    working. Molding his character.
    Teaching him patience. Building their
    friendship.” God truly builds our friendship with Him in the process of waiting. So we can have the right perspective on His answer after the wait.If He says ‘No’ We know it is out of Love and He has a better plan. Like our dear friend,if He answered ‘yes’ to your prayers you may not write this article on ‘the agony of waiting’. Which is as refreshing as an oasis in this desert-like-world where ‘wait’ seems like a cuss word.Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • June 15, 2016 - 10:50 am

    Cathy - Think you enjoy reading the poem entitled “Wait” by Russell Keller (google it), which summarizes in poetic form your steps of waiting (and mine).ReplyCancel

  • June 15, 2016 - 11:04 pm

    Michi - Amen. Thank you for stating so eloquently why God makes us wait. I am in a waiting period now and found your post encouraging and a good reminder of what God’s goals for us are. His goals are often different than ours. We often focus on the destination but God focuses on the journey.ReplyCancel

  • June 16, 2016 - 2:24 pm

    Caitlan M - Vaneetha, this post is beautiful and raw and touched a spiritual nerve just right. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You encourage me to do the same.ReplyCancel

  • June 17, 2016 - 5:01 pm

    Carrie Dahl - Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post! I cried the entire way through. The Lord gave me these words as a gift at the perfect moment.ReplyCancel

  • June 18, 2016 - 3:43 pm

    Crow - Thank you again Vaneetha for a wonder insightful article. How we all struggle with waiting. God does indeed use waiting to strengthen our faith in God AS GOD. We want to know so we have a sense of our controlling our lives. We belong to our Creator God. He alone is God and that is the hardest lesson we have to learn. Adam & Eve failed to learn it initially. Abraham came to see God as God and so could seemingly give up his long promised son because it was God’s will that mattered to Abraham now. It took many decades for Abraham to trust God to be God and to stop wanting to be God himself. The whole book of Job is about the loss of the gifts and submission to the Giver as God Almighty. “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. May the name of the Lord be praised” said Job, but only once he had made his argument and had been shown it was God who was in charge of everything, and Job had no right to be angry at the loss of anything for all is God’s and is from God, including Job himself. It wasn’t about sin, it was about Job recognising who God is and who Job is relative to Him – just as Abraham did. Even Christ wrestled enormously in Gethsemane before he could say “Yet not my will but yours be done” – perhaps his divine nature was wrestling with his human nature so that he was whole-hearted towards God His Father when the final trial came. While he was without sin, we do have a new nature and an old nature and they will wrestle with each other until we also are whole-hearted towards our Master. Then the blessing will come.
    Just one more point – Abraham did not have the whole of Scripture, replete with promises and truths about God, Christ, salvation etc as we are blessed with. That is why Hebrews speaks of our being blessed and of our forefathers wishing they knew what we know. We really already have the richest of God’s blessings in Scripture – with the Holy Spirit of Christ within us to inform our meditations. You’re absolutely right Vaneetha – it is in the waiting that we truly come to meet with the all-sufficient God Almighty who alone is God. It is the breaking of our prideful sinful nature that God would bring about in us (our sanctification). We need to learn just how weak and needy we really are – the hardest lesson indeed. Thank you again.ReplyCancel

    • June 19, 2016 - 3:33 pm

      Vaneetha - Thank you for writing! Although waiting is hard, it is truly amazing all that God does in us as we wait.ReplyCancel

  • June 18, 2016 - 11:07 pm

    Faith - Thank you so much for this wonderful post 🙂 I have been discouraged quite a few times because I am unsure of the outcome and many times I imagine the worst outcomes. Right now I am in the process of waiting and your wonderful post reminded me the reason why I chose to wait in the first place: to learn to be fully satisfied in Him before anyone else and to be moulded into the woman He wants me to be. Thank you for an encouraging post <3ReplyCancel

    • June 19, 2016 - 3:30 pm

      Vaneetha - Thank you for writing, Faith. Praying for you as I write this that God would encourage you as you wait.ReplyCancel

  • June 21, 2016 - 1:38 am

    Madeline - Thank you for your post! Currently, we are going to a “waiting” period and it is gut wrenching. We put plans in motion, but it has not come into light yet. Waiting upon the Lord and His timing is very hard. We want to jump the gun and do something in our own power…..but the Lord shuts that door also, which leaves us to turn to Him alone. We think that He will fulfill our prayers in our own time, but I learned that it is in His time. He has put us in very uncomfortable situations in order to help us be creative and patient .ReplyCancel

  • July 15, 2016 - 5:19 pm

    Tamara Walker - Thank you for posting this… It comes at a time that I am also ‘waiting’ in… 3 years of IVF, 5 miscarriages, countless money and time spent, and still no baby… And still we wait…

    I also ‘stumbled’ across this recently… It’s a poem I found that had also encouraged me. I thought I’d post it here. I hope that’s okay.

    Wait – Russell Kelfer

    Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried.
    Quietly, patiently, lovingly God replied.
    I plead and I wept for a clue to my fate,
    And the Master so gently said, “Child, you must wait!”

    “Wait, You say? Wait!” my indignant reply.
    “Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
    Is Your hand shortened? Or have You not heard?
    By FAITH I have asked, and am claiming Your Word.”

    “My future and all to which I can relate
    Hangs in the balance, and You tell me to WAIT?
    I’m needing a ‘yes,’ a go-ahead sign,
    Or even a ‘no’ to which I can resign.”

    “And Lord, You promised that if we believe
    We need but to ask, as we shall receive.
    And Lord, I’ve been asking, and this is my cry:
    I’m weary of asking! I need a reply!”

    Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
    As my Master replied once again, “You must wait.”
    So, I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut
    And grumbled to God, “So, I’m waiting…for what?”

    He seemed then to kneel and His eyes wept with mine,
    And He tenderly said, “I could give you a sign.
    I could shake the heavens, and darken the sun.
    I could raise the dead, and cause mountains to run.
    All you seek, I could give, and pleased you would be.
    You would have what you want — but, you wouldn’t know ME.”

    “You’d not know the depth of My love for each saint;
    You’d not know the power that I give to the faint;
    You’d not learn to see through the clouds of despair;
    You’d not learn to trust just by knowing I’m there;
    You’d not know the joy of resting in Me
    When darkness and silence were all you could see.”

    “You’d never experience that fullness of love
    As the peace of My Spirit descends like a dove;
    You’d know that I give and I save … (for a start),
    But you’d not know the depth of the beat of My heart.”

    “The flow of My comfort late into the night,
    The faith that I give when you walk without sight,
    The depth that’s beyond getting just what you asked
    Of an infinite God, who makes what you have LAST.”

    “You’d never know, should your pain quickly flee,
    What it means that ‘My grace is sufficient for thee.’
    Yes, your dreams for your loved ones overnight would come true,
    But, oh, the loss! if I lost what I’m doing in you!”

    “So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
    that THE GREATEST OF GIFTS IS TO GET TO KNOW ME.
    And though oft may My answers seem terribly late,
    My wisest of answers is still but to WAIT.”

    Thank you again, and may God bless you, your family and your ministry…

    Tamara,
    Emerald, Australia xReplyCancel

    • July 26, 2016 - 8:38 pm

      Vaneetha - That poem meant a lot to me during some dark times of waiting. Thank you for reminding me of it! Praying you will find God’s comfort as you wait…ReplyCancel

  • July 26, 2016 - 10:36 am

    John - I just reread this post. So good. I recently learned about the translation of Yahweh-Yireh found in the passage about about Abraham being told by God to sacrifice Isaac. The meaning is helpful to me: “the Lord will provide” and/or “the Lord who sees ahead of me” – so I find myself repeating Yahweh-Yireh as a mantra when I need strength. This is where I found it: http://www.hespeaksinthesilence.com/2011/05/yahweh-yireh-the-lord-will-provide/ReplyCancel

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bag suffering trust+

 

 

“How do you prepare for suffering?”

When I was first asked that question years ago, I was startled. I had no idea how to answer. How does anyone prepare for the unthinkable?

Personally, I have felt unprepared every time suffering has shown up on my doorstep. Even when I think it’s coming. Even when I know what to expect. Even when I’m sure it’s inevitable. Somehow it feels theoretical until it actually arrives. Or maybe I just keep hoping it will not be delivered. But when it’s finally here, it can take my breath away with its intensity.

Even as I write, I’m dealing with escalating struggles with post polio syndrome, struggles I was warned about over a decade ago. And yet I’m still surprised at how hard it is to deal with the losses.

As I struggle, I stay in the Word daily. I declare that God is trustworthy. I remember that He is in control. I remind myself of truths that sustain me every day. Truths that come straight from the Bible. Like those I have learned from Job, who has been my faithful mentor in suffering.

In one fateful day, Job lost everything. His children, his servants, his home and his livestock. And then he was afflicted with sores all over his body. No one could never have foreseen that type of loss. There was no way to prepare. Yet before disaster came near his tent, Job did things that helped him withstand his trials. And I have found those same things have helped me face my own suffering.

Most importantly, Job knew God. Before calamity came, Job feared God and talked to Him. Continually. He prayed constantly for his children. He lived his life looking to God in all circumstances.

Like Job, my relationship with God was forged years before my heartbreaking losses. I grew to know God deeply through reading the Bible and praying. Even when the Bible felt dry and boring. Even when God felt distant. And even when devotions felt like pure duty.

Over time, simply reading the Bible and asking God for wisdom taught me to hear His voice, understand His heart and know His ways. And bringing my requests to Him, telling Him my fears, and listening for His still small voice brought genuine depth to my relationship. View full post »

  • April 21, 2016 - 6:03 pm

    Lisa - Today I read and shared your writings with two women who lives the LORD but are in the fiery furnace these days. The days are sad. I sent them you word from GOD to remind them that God is still God and He is still Sovereign. Thank you.ReplyCancel

    • April 21, 2016 - 7:27 pm

      Vaneetha - God is still God and He is still sovereign! What a wonderful truth for us all to remember in the fiery furnace.ReplyCancel

  • April 22, 2016 - 7:57 am

    Elaine - Just love this post. I stopped reading for a moment and thought of Job looking up and saying Holy Moly, how did this happen? What did I do? The how and why questions. But God loves us when the sun is shining and when rain is falling in buckets, something that took a long time for me to grasp. You are such an encourager and I pray, Vaneetha that you will always be encouraged.ReplyCancel

    • April 22, 2016 - 1:58 pm

      Vaneetha - It is hard to grasp that God loves us even when our world is falling apart – but that is when we get more of His comfort, which is an amazing gift.ReplyCancel

  • April 22, 2016 - 9:15 am

    Scott - “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

    Vaneetha, thank you for comforting me this morning with the comfort which you have received from God. I too have had escalating pain and can relate to a feeling of complete unpreparedness and dependence on God to get through it, although at times it feels as though He has turned His face away from me. Grateful that through Christ, He has not, nor will ever. Grateful for your words of comfort. Thank you again.ReplyCancel

    • April 22, 2016 - 2:00 pm

      Vaneetha - I too am grateful that He will never forsake us or turn His face away. I’m sorry for your pain and praying that God will meet you in an unmistakable way today!ReplyCancel

  • April 22, 2016 - 12:25 pm

    Trudy - Thank you for these comforting words, Vaneetha. We can find such encouraging truths in Job, can’t we? I love that Job could trust God and yet argue his case at the same time. Just this morning I read Job 23. Job looked north, south, east, and west, but He couldn’t find God. Then in verse 10, he says, “But He knows the way that I take [and He pays attention to it]. When He has tried me, I will come forth as [refined] gold [pure and luminous].”(AMP) He is right beside us, and the refining fire in all our troubles will make us more and more like Jesus. I’m so sorry you suffer so much pain, Vaneetha, and I pray God will give you grace and strength moment by moment. Hugs!ReplyCancel

    • April 22, 2016 - 2:00 pm

      Vaneetha - Love those words from Job, Trudy. Thank you for sharing them!ReplyCancel

  • April 22, 2016 - 2:34 pm

    Liz Sewell - Vaneetha, thank you again, so much. You articulate such rich truths so well. Life is hard…BUT God is GOOD, and means all for our good and His Glory if we are His…oh to ever meditate on this and for our faith stand strong in the day of suffering.ReplyCancel

    • April 22, 2016 - 2:59 pm

      Vaneetha - Thank you, Liz. I write to remind myself of these truths as well because in the heat of the furnace, its easy to forget!ReplyCancel

  • April 23, 2016 - 12:07 pm

    Bancy - Thank you so much for sharing this. What a thought, that these difficult circumstances are actually blessings that we’ll thank God for one day. Nothing develops faith, character like testing. And we can’t really understand the depths of His love until we find it in the darkness of the storm when all else has been swept away.ReplyCancel

    • April 24, 2016 - 9:36 pm

      Vaneetha - I so agree with that! Nothing develops our faith and character like trials…ReplyCancel

  • April 27, 2016 - 7:57 pm

    Ruth - Thank you for the encouragement. We have traveled a similar path. I grew up in a Christian family. I had polio at age 3. God’s most precious gift was my mother’s faithful teaching about God’s love & soverignty. I became an RN, married, and had 6 children…all that I truly longed for was granted. When our fifth child was born with a rare syndrome & died at the age of 6 months I was to re-learn, or underline the things mother taught me. No matter how you FEEL…remember what you KNOW. God’s tender mercies became more real than they ever had been during sunny carefree days. His Word…especially from the book of Job…and the Psalms were my anchor. Experiencing deep sorrow was not ever what I would have signed up for, but experiencing God’s faithful love, mercy and sustaining strength would never be something I would regret.
    About 10 years ago I was diagnosed with Post Polio Syndrome. This was something I had heard about, but was sure I would never allow to happen. I had learned to fly over the top of my physical disabilities. After all God had given me an amazing recovery, and blessed me with strength to accomplish my goals in my career and my family for His glory, right? What a humbling, bumpy path this diagnosis has been. And yet another circumstance to experience and underline, “My grace is sufficient for you Ruth, & my plan for you is best.”
    We keep on learning about His grace, sovereignty and sufficiency…everyday.
    Thank you again for sharing and being real.
    I pray that God will send just the right people…just the right encouragement, and His measure of strength to you in His perfect time.
    Blessings,
    RuthReplyCancel

    • April 27, 2016 - 9:39 pm

      Vaneetha - Love this: “Experiencing deep sorrow was not ever what I would have signed up for, but experiencing God’s faithful love, mercy and sustaining strength would never be something I would regret.” Thanks for writing, Ruth!ReplyCancel

  • September 20, 2016 - 5:29 am

    Andy - My experience has been that suffering has prepared me for suffering. My nephew drowned when he was 12 and I watched her grief, and would often say to others that I didn’t know what I would do if something happened to any of my children. Then my younger son suffered major brain injury in 2012, when he was hit on the head by a train in London. As he lay in a coma, not expected to survive, I was challenged by the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, to trust God no matter the outcome. While he was unconscious I received word that my mother had died, suddenly and unexpectedly. But praise the Lord, He healed my son. However, 3 months after his accident my daughter collapsed with a cardiac arrest, and an ICD was implanted. Tragically this became infected with a rare bacteria, and she suffered immensely as doctors fought the infection, through a total of 49 operations over 10 months. She suffered another cardiac arrest when she was alone in February 2014, and passed into the presence of her Lord. My son’s accident enabled me to grasp the truths of God’s sovereignty, love and wisdom in our suffering, and to be better prepared for the death of my daughter. I do not understand why God chose to heal my son, and chose to take my daughter home – but I do know there is an answer.
    Thank you for your writings.ReplyCancel

    • September 21, 2016 - 2:01 pm

      Vaneetha - Andy, I honestly have no words for all you’ve been through. It sounds unspeakably hard. God’s ways are certainly mysterious and I often have more question than answers. But I love the way you ended this- “I do not understand why God chose to heal my son, and chose to take my daughter home – but I do know there is an answer.” Thank you for your faithfulness in the midst of crushing loss.ReplyCancel

  • October 26, 2016 - 8:22 pm

    Marie - I’m glad I found your blog. I have been dealing with anxiety and bouts of hopelessness for a few months now. The past few days have been really rough. I continue to cling onto God even if it feels so hard. I know He is near, but it is hard to feel His presence. Early on this journey, I tried medication and found out immediately that it was not the path for me. God has closed the door to that 3x. Right now is really tough and it saddens me to see how all of this is affecting my family and my work. Thanks for writing and for inspiring others as they go through their fiery furnaces.ReplyCancel

    • October 26, 2016 - 8:46 pm

      Vaneetha - I’m sorry things are so difficult right now, Marie. Praying as I write this that you will sense God’s presence as you walk through the fiery furnace with Jesus.ReplyCancel

  • October 26, 2016 - 8:56 pm

    Marie - Thank you, Vaneetha. I know Satan is trying to pull me down, but I also know that God never leaves or forsakes His children.ReplyCancel

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lament beauty+

 

When pain almost strangles us and darkness is our closest friend, what should we do?

For years, I thought the best response was cheerful acceptance. Since God uses everything for our good and His glory, I felt the most God-honoring attitude was to appear joyful all the time. Even when I was confused and angry. Even when my heart was breaking. And especially when I was around people who didn’t know Christ.

But I have since learned the beauty of lamenting in my suffering. Lament highlights the Gospel more than stoicism ever could. Hearing our authentic lament can draw others to God in unexpected ways. I first noticed the power of lament in the book of Ruth.

I had long seen Ruth as the undisputed hero of the book that bears her name, and Naomi as the grumbling character with weak faith and a negative attitude. But having walked in similar shoes for a fraction of her journey, I have a new respect for the depth of Naomi’s trust in God.

Ruth was an eyewitness to Naomi’s faith. She saw that faith hold fast, even in horrific circumstances. And behind Naomi’s faith, she saw the God who heard Naomi’s lament and didn’t condemn her for it, even as Naomi spoke frankly about her disappointment with God.

Lamenting to a god would have been foreign to Ruth. Ruth’s first god, the god of Moab, was Chemosh. No one would have dared lament or complain to him. Pagan gods were appeased; there was no personal relationship with any of them, especially not with Chemosh who demanded child sacrifices.

But Ruth sees a completely different God as she watches Naomi. Naomi trusts God enough to tell Him how she feels. Though she says that His hand has gone out against her, Naomi doesn’t walk away from God in anger. She stays close to Him and continues to use God’s covenant name, Yahweh, asking Him to bless her daughters-in-law. Naomi doesn’t stop praying; she believes God hears her prayers.

Naomi’s trust is further evidenced by her determination to travel to Bethlehem alone. If Naomi felt that God had truly abandoned her, she would never have begun that journey. She would have stayed in bed, pulled the covers over her head, and died in Moab, bitter and angry at God. But she doesn’t do that. She acts in faith, trusting that God will provide for her.

Naomi’s trust is extraordinary given the tragedies she has endured. She and her husband had left Israel for Moab with their two sons in search of food. While they were there, her sons and husband died and she was left alone. A widow. A grieving mother. A foreigner. With no means to support herself. I understand why she felt that the Lord’s hand had gone out against her.  In my own pain I have cried out to God, “Why do you hate me?” I have retraced my life, wondering why God had turned against me.

But to my regret, I’ve always been very private about my pain. I have hesitated to voice my anger and fears, concerned about what others might think. Lament can be messy and I want my life to look neat. And I foolishly think my bleached prayers somehow make God look better.

View full post »

  • April 8, 2016 - 6:20 am

    Evelyn - Absolutely beautifully put. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • April 8, 2016 - 7:33 am

    Elaine - Thank you for revealing a different insight to Naomi’s lamenting. God does want us to be honest, even if we are wrong, he will bring us to the truth. The photo is incredible. It immediately brought the thought of rising from the ashes to beauty. Words and photo are so encouraging.ReplyCancel

    • April 8, 2016 - 12:54 pm

      Vaneetha - So grateful the Lord used the post and picture. My cousin gave me that photo and I thought it was perfect- glad you did too! And its been a blessing for me to see Naomi in a new light too!ReplyCancel

  • April 8, 2016 - 9:53 am

    Shawn - “Our authenticity draws others to God as it allows them to be honest too.”

    This is a beautiful post. I feel a little convicted in that I boast about the importance of being transparent with others about the goings-on of our lives, but the reality is that I have only given glimpses of my suffering to those around me. I put on a “stoic” smile and push thru pain so others do not see my pain. But that is not letting them see Gods grace and love thru me. It’s hiding Him. My goal now is to be “authentic”.ReplyCancel

    • April 8, 2016 - 12:56 pm

      Vaneetha - I do the same thing, Shawn. As I was writing this post I was convicted of my own tendency to hide my pain from others. It was seeing Naomi’s authenticity that convicted me!ReplyCancel

  • April 8, 2016 - 11:51 am

    Allyson - When I see there is a new post on your blog in my email, my heart leaps for joy! Your words provide such comfort, strength, and support beams for my faith in the midst of much grief. Thank you for your willingness to share with so many who are hurting!ReplyCancel

    • April 8, 2016 - 12:56 pm

      Vaneetha - So very grateful the Lord is using this. Thank you for writing, Allyson.ReplyCancel

  • April 8, 2016 - 1:39 pm

    Trudy - This is so hope-filled, Vaneetha. It’s hard not to put on a “happy face” to others. I’m learning to be more authentic in my writing, but I feel I need to learn it more face-to-face, too. Thank you for this insight. I love the truth that our authenticity “draws others to God as it allows them to be honest too.” Also how He welcomes our lament. He wants us to be dependent on Him and lean into Him. Blessings and hugs!ReplyCancel

  • April 9, 2016 - 11:07 am

    Effie Darlene Barba - Thank you as always for your post. For years I have written little bits of my life interjected into the series after series of writing through scripture one book in the Bible at a time. Being in February, I began writing a series “in Search of Love” as I quite openly am telling the story of my Life including all my frailties, my struggles, my lamenting moments, my sorrows and even my unjust anger against the only source of joy in my life. That was an anger I covered up, hid because of the very fear of proclaiming it–then one day, I screamed into heaven “What do you want? I have tried with all my heart and soul to follow you and you keep breaking my heart over and over again!! Then when my sobbing ended, a gentle quiet voice replied, “oh, my dear dear beloved child, don’t you see? It is you who has broken my heart. You keep looking for joy; but, I am here beside you and I AM Your joy. You want to be loved; yet, you fail to realize the depth, breadth and height of my love for you” All the anger, bitterness faded away and I suddenly realized that all my pain had purpose, all my sorrow had purpose. 1. First it was to display to my heart His magnificent Glory, Joy, and Love that I might know Him 2. It was so He could share with me His Glory–by using my life as a testimony to those who need to find Him. He did not need me to draw others to Himself; but, He graciously has allowed a broken, scarred vessel become testimony to His Grace. So, telling the truth of my story has been a scary thing; but, if it can point to His Grace–well I write on. Thank you for always being open, transparent, and vulnerable in your writing as well. I know how scary that can be; but, I also know how wondrously God is using you.ReplyCancel

  • April 11, 2016 - 6:16 pm

    Krysta Carhart - Thank you, Vaneetha, for continually pointing toward the God who does not require us to be inright-outright-upright-downright-happy-all-the-time (oh, how I loathe that song!). Close to ten years ago, my husband left me and our four small children. I have always had a heart for single moms – never dreaming that I would actually *be* a single mom – and currently work for an organization that ministers mainly to single moms. The women I talk with give me a place to speak into their lives that I would not have had, if our family had survived intact. God redeems all things.
    I agree with the importance of being transparent in the midst of our pain. I think, though, there’s a cost to choosing that – particularly in the Church, where I often encounter people with a need to reframe my pain in a neat and tidy way, in order to make themselves feel better. For me, this has run the gamut from the relatively mild “It’s good that you’re still single, so you can focus on your kids,” to my pastor’s wife saying with pleading eyes, three weeks after my husband moved in with his girlfriend, “You’re okay, right?” (You’re kidding me, right?!) Many well-meaning, caring people just cannot handle the evidence of a God who allows appalling things to happen to the children He loves. And their comments have added pain to an already painful season. Not that this excuses me from being transparent. But I do limit how I share with certain people who, when I share a struggle, seem to need to “put a bow on it.” I’m not sure this is right or good, but it’s what I tend to do.ReplyCancel

    • April 12, 2016 - 7:45 pm

      Vaneetha - I think your perspective is wise, Krysta. We need to be transparent and not try to hide our struggles, but we also need to careful about who we share our pain with- some well-meaning people add to our burdens and don’t lift them. I’m sorry for all the pain you’ve been through but thankful for what the Lord has been doing in you and through you.ReplyCancel

  • April 13, 2016 - 9:56 am

    Imogene Hatcher - Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I have been there. Whitewashing my pain,
    and fearful of letting others know what was going on inside and only letting them see the fake smile and the pretense that everything was peace and joy. Thanks for the honesty of the above comments. I
    thought I was honoring my Savior and Lord
    through my pretense of joy. Thank you,
    thank you! Imogene HatcherReplyCancel

    • April 13, 2016 - 10:15 am

      Vaneetha - Letting go of pretense is hard and daunting at first– but then it is so very freeing!ReplyCancel

  • April 14, 2016 - 5:11 am

    Ellen - Very authentic writing. God bless you, Vaneetha!ReplyCancel

  • April 14, 2016 - 4:29 pm

    Paula Rinehart - I love the way you bring out the permission part of lament…that
    in the Gospel it’s not only possible to “feel” but to bring those
    feelings to God. many thanks….ReplyCancel

    • April 14, 2016 - 4:39 pm

      Vaneetha - Lament is an amazing gift from God, isn’t it? I love the way the Psalmists modeled it for us so we all have permission to bring our emotions to God!ReplyCancel

  • April 15, 2016 - 1:27 pm

    Jazmine - Thank you so much for this post! I read an article of yours on TCW then clicked on the link to your blog and wow! These words have been a blessing for me! Thank you for your honesty and taking the time to write and share!ReplyCancel

  • April 16, 2016 - 9:39 am

    Joyce Snuggs - Thank God for you , Vaneetha. You have been blessed with the ability to see our God, Lord and Savior change a vessel from brokenness and chadderedness to complete wholeness. It is so very difficult to experience such tragedies in our lives, but it is essential for us to go through these times in order to be what He want us to be. For the last ten months, I have been on a rollercoaster ride and it’s the first time in my life where I have not been the one that was in the driver’s seat. I have finally learned how to totally surrender to Him and let Him take me by my hand and lead me. I tell you it was HARD at first. But at this time right now in my life, I am happy, have more peace and contentment to allow the Lord to direct every step of my life. By the way- this all happen after I told Him yes to become a vessel to take His word wherever He allows me to go. I am happier now than I have ever been at 64. For twenty plus years I have been running from preaching the word, now I’m running towards it. Thanks for encouraging my heart today. God bless you.ReplyCancel

    • April 18, 2016 - 11:37 am

      Vaneetha - I so agree, that God uses the hard things in our lives to draw us closer to Himself. It can be a hard road, but the blessings are incredible!ReplyCancel

  • April 17, 2016 - 7:11 am

    What Else Does the Bible Say? | Boxx Banter - […] Source: Lament: Beauty out of Bitterness – Vaneetha Rendall […]ReplyCancel

  • April 22, 2016 - 6:55 pm

    Toni Keeling - I thank God for your recounting of Ruth and Naomi’s story – trusting God and His Word and trusting God to hear us and love us when we are authentic and lament the losses of life. Your posts, especially this one helped me to really trust God that I could pour out the heartbreak day after day.
    I do feel now that this has opened up a new day for my walk with God. At 71, I do feel a new day dawning, of contributing and loving Him.

    Thank you for being faithful to your call Vaneetha and may God continue to pour out His Blessings through your writings to you and readers.ReplyCancel

    • April 24, 2016 - 9:26 pm

      Vaneetha - So glad that you are trusting God to hear your lament! It opens us up to God in new ways…so excited you feel a new day dawning in your walk with Him.ReplyCancel

  • April 26, 2016 - 4:24 pm

    Louise - As you, Vaneetha, I have always been very private about my pain.
    I still am.
    Because it is usually not safe to be open about it. Unfortunately, that has been my consistent personal experience due to being too different, an “other”.
    There were only a few close friends I could share my deepest sorrows with, people who would not punish me for not feeling and thinking the “right” things.
    Another reason for keeping my sorrow, or my lament as you so poignantly describe it, to myself is that some people would get really worried about me, people who have much to endure themselves. I am really reluctant to add to their burdens by sharing about mine. It doesn`t seem right, because it looks like I am dumping my woes on top of theirs.

    In a weird way I cannot explain, pain, suffering and sorrow has always drawn me closer to Creator Jesus.
    There are a few times when I am blessed to share laments with someone else and we can encourage and validate each other [rather than acting punitively towards each other].
    It also seems like I am going through very specific sorrows to be able to understand and reach out to others in similar situations. That has been a distinct pattern in my life.

    Nothing will happen to us that He does not know about and is in control of. I don`t like certain words, such as control, because they have been much abused and wielded like lethal weapons by some people against other people.

    Creator Jesus is the only one I do not fear or mistrust being in control of His creation and everything the created beings experience. I am not afraid of what he might do in my life, even if I don`t understand it on this mortal side of life.

    As someone wise has said :
    Never doubt in the dark what He has shown you in the light.ReplyCancel

  • June 16, 2016 - 12:12 pm

    philip - Am just from reading your post vaneetha you are blessed,the words you share are so building and encouraging may God bless u moreReplyCancel

  • September 25, 2016 - 1:27 am

    ~Brenda - Found your blog from Desiring God. This entry particularly spoke to me, as I have been in a lamenting season. Will be returning for more wise words from you! Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • September 27, 2016 - 10:55 am

      Vaneetha - You’re welcome, Brenda. Glad the Lord used this.ReplyCancel

  • September 25, 2016 - 3:12 pm

    Cheryl - Krysta, I couldn’t have said the last part of your comment any better. I was thinking the same thing and was going to comment, but you did it for me. I do have a little to add about our experience.
    In the church, there are indeed people who are very uncomfortable with transparency and lamenting. It is indeed wise to be careful who you share your heart with. Our situation does not have to do with divorce, but instead with chronic physical pain/disability, unemployment and deep-seated depression that resulted from the first two. Many have advice as to how they would “fix” our problem and think they are helping by recommending the obvious while not standing in our shoes. But we understand the heart of what they are saying; we know they are trying to help. We mostly keep to ourselves these days not because we don’t want to be transparent and allow our laments to show, but more because they do not seem welcome by most. A smile is most preferred and some have told us so. We have gathered that there is a shameful stigma attached to our situation. It comes across to us that some are kind of tired of our problem and wish that we would “get over it already”. And we understand that too. We have judged others that same way, to our regret. And we have prayed that God would keep us from doing that in the future.
    In our experience, lamenting draws some and repels others. Some people seem to be very uncomfortable with our suffering either because they don’t know what to say, or they seem to want to “put a bow” to make themselves feel better. Our problem is a one of those “no-casserole” kind of problems (like bringing a meal to a shut-in) that you don’t share openly. Our suffering is mostly invisible and sometimes it seems easier to just give them the smiles they want to see. I think that sometimes, especially for men, they are afraid of these very things themselves (disability, unemployment, depression) so they don’t want to talk about the pain or reality of it in someone else almost as if it might be contagious. It has made my husband, especially, feel very alone (and because we are one, me too!). I thank God for the few men who have been drawn to face it with him and pray with him through this season. It has been a long season of waiting on God! But He has been faithfully working on us while we wait for his answer.ReplyCancel

  • October 5, 2016 - 4:56 pm

    Sylvia - Originally, I was looking for information on Naomi and her character for something I’m writing. But the more I read, the more I saw my own sorrow – the death of my own son and husband. How true that we feel we must hide our sorrow! Now, not only do I know Naomi’s sorrow better, I know my own more fully. Expressing our pain to God brings us closer to him. What an insight. Thank you.ReplyCancel

    • October 6, 2016 - 3:40 pm

      Vaneetha - So glad that it was helpful, Sylvia. I learned so much about my own sorrow in Naomi’s response as well. Scripture is amazing, isn’t it?ReplyCancel

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