7.12.2013

Today's Struggle Is Tomorrow's Glory


A sincere thanks to those of you who responded so tenderly to my last post. Each time I've shared a loss with you, your words have been like healing balm to our hurting hearts. I'm convinced that our sadness, brokenness and even depression is worth sharing...so that we can receive the healing balm that our hearts need. Which has me thinking....

What do you do with your deep sadness? This question has been on my heart a good bit in the last year, so I thought I'd put it out there for both of us to ponder.

As you may have noticed, I've had my fair share of deep sadness since we moved a year ago. Leaving your comfort zone and all things familiar has a way of exposing some pretty raw places. I've blogged about some of it, journaled about most of it and cried out all of it. I crawled back into bed more times than I care to remember during the winter months...and feared having a public meltdown here on the blog if I said too much about it.

But something is shifting as I wrestle with my raw and exposed heart. It may be uncomfortable and even unpredictable, but I'm believing it's good.

Back to the question of what to do with your deep sadness. I'll tell you what I used to do: I used to put on a happy face. I thought smiling through pain and struggle was the ultimate sign of strength. Little did I know, I was faking it...versus feeling it. And while I'm a big believer in the power of a smile, when it's used as protection from pain, your most authentic, true self slowly erodes...to the point that you may not even know who you really are anymore.

There's something really scary about feeling deep sadness...and then admitting it. What will people think? Some people have determined I'm depressed. Some have suggested I should move back to Houston. Some just want me to smile and keep my chin up. {At times, I felt awkward and overexposed when someone confronted my sadness. I think it was good for me to feel that way...and to learn that I didn't need to put on a happy face in order to bring comfort to others.} It's true that prolonged sadness and struggle can make other people feel uncomfortable, but sometimes the only way out is to let it all the way in. 

If you're in a place of deep sadness or struggle right now, I know this much is true: you are not alone and this is not the end of your story. I don't have all the answers and can't offer you an escape from depression, deep sadness and struggle, but I want to encourage you that these low places can be the pathway to deeper joy and greater glory. Sometimes it's hard to trust the process, but in the end, even the hard parts of your story will be used for good.

When you're feeling blue, some people will say things that make you crazy: "Chin up!" or "Choose joy!" But you and I both know there are days when that feels impossible or just downright artificial. On those days, I say this: let your head fall low and let your tears fall out...

...all while begging God to help you BELIEVE. Beg like a child. Beg Him to help you believe that He is up to something good...even when you can't see it or feel it. And if you can't do the begging, ask a friend or even a praying stranger to do it for you. {Even when, and especially when, you don't feel like you want anyone to know how down you really are.}

I don't feel like my blog is the place to share every high and low, but there are days when I feel prompted to share the journey right smack dab in the middle of the mess...right alongside the beauty. I don't always know how the messy pieces fit in with my love of beauty, but I just keep trusting that it all fits together somehow. Because this is the stuff of life.

As I sit here on my front porch and look out over the same pasture where we witnessed loss a few days ago, I see life and beauty. Blue skies, sunshine, a cool breeze, children playing, butterflies dancing, birds singing....


A reminder that loss gives way to life.
Brokenness gives way to beauty.
Struggle gives way to glory.

With increasing joy,

21 comments:

  1. Awe Linsey - so sorry. The pic is not offensive at all - it shows the gentleness of your husband - I just love the way you write - I don't comment a lot but I do follow along and your blog is one of my very favorite. Thank you for sharing your heart. Blessings on your weekend! xo

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  2. I don't think that someone who is sad for a period of time necessarily has depression, but having experienced it myself, it is something to consider. In my case I was on a medicine that made me want to sit on the couch and cry all day. It didn't come on suddenly, it took a few months. I literally quit a new job after 3 days because I had to get out of that office and I didn't know why and I had actually stopped the meds by that time. It took about 6 months for the meds to completely get out of my system and for me to feel normal again. As Christians, sometimes it's hard for us to accept a medical diagnosis when we want to be able to rely on the Lord to heal our heart. Just something to maybe consider getting checked out. BTW, I found the picture very touching and like Sheri, thought your husband looked so gentle carrying the fawn.

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    1. Rachel, you are so right that it can be hard to seek a medical help when you want to let the Lord heal the deeper places that medicine can't touch. But sometimes both are needed. It's such a complex and personal issue. Thanks for sharing part of your story.

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  3. I smiled through it for years..until I couldn't anymore.
    I think God gets us to places in our walks with him when he dries up all the things that have always worked for us.
    make sense?

    I used to be able to "fake it 'til I made it." And then I couldn't anymore.

    He brought me to a place where I couldn't do anything but FEEL what I was feeling.

    It happened for me when I broke an engagement. I knew it was what I was supposed to do, but the pain that followed that obedience was gut-wrenching. I was giving up trusting in my own plan for trusting God with HIS plan for my life. Just thinking back on it brings tears to my eyes.

    He's been teaching me about trust ever since, and his lessons are always good but oh so hard because it means giving up a little more trust in myself.

    The people in my life during that time had NO IDEA what to do with me bc they were so used to me "smiling through" everything.

    I'm so grateful that I feel things deeply now...it allows Him into those places in my heart. He heals and brings forth new life in those places.

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    1. I'm so thankful for you, for your stories, for your faith and encouragement. Even though we've never met (we so need to change that!), I feel like you're a soul sister. YES to feeling deeply and letting God into every place. That's totally where I am. Feels good to have someone "get me" in these places. Hugs to you!

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  4. Hi Linsey. I always enjoy your blog and read every post though I haven't commented often. Loved your words in this post. I have a struggle that I'm dealing with, and I feel like now is the time I need to confront it. Ever been confused if you are strong because you deal with something, or if you are weak because you deal with something? That's been me. Thank you for your words and keep on writing and inspiring.

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    1. Sometimes the very things that require our strength also reveal our weakness. I love God's promise that when we are weak, HE is strong. It means our strength can fail...that we don't have to hold it all together. So thankful!

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  5. Linsey, I love your blog. Thank you for being real. It's so refreshing. I've been there...when the darkness of the soul covers over. Sometimes it hovers briefly, sometimes it envelopes and stays for a while. Thankfully, as you beautifully stated, God is near. My times of tremendous spiritual growth seem to coincide with my times of darkness. I had a move a few years ago that left me down for nearly 2 years. It wasn't all dark. I had days of the brightest sunshine. But, I struggled a lot too. And that was where I learned to truly cling to God, that was where I found what God created me to do. And I found joy that hasn't left me since. It was absolutely worth every tear, every heartache. I know you too will find this unspeakable joy again.
    I am praying for you!!!

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    1. Whoever you are, thank you for your prayers! And for your story about moving and the 2 years of struggle. I know what you mean about days of brightest sunshine amidst the hard and heavy. Thank God for those glimpses of glory! In the end, I know this is all glory...even the rough patches. Thanks for reading and for reaching out.

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    2. I am so sorry my original comment posted as "unknown." My name is Maria. It's so nice to "meet" you.

      "The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing." Zephaniah 3:17

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    3. Thank you for introducing yourself, Maria. And I love that Zephaniah verse!

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  6. Just loved reading your post today...and truly love the words that you ended with...so true!..

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  7. I really hate to admit this to myself, but I am deeply deeply struggling with our move from Virginia to Dallas almost five years ago It seems so ridiculous that I haven't settled in and found close friends, but unfortunately I haven't. We live in a beautiful golf course community and have a lovely home. I tried Bunco, mom's clubs and even invited in Mormon missionaries when I was feeling lonely one day! My husband has no friends here and has a job that looks perfect on paper, but he is miserable at his company. So this is our situation that I pray about daily. We hope to move in the next few years. I was convinced the hail storm that destroyed our roof and broke windows was a sign from God to start packing up a moving truck lol!

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    1. Oh, Angela, so sorry you are still feeling a deep wrestling with your move five years later. Moving is so HARD. And if it makes you feel any better, I think Dallas is hard. People tend to love it or hate it. Keep praying. God will make a way...either in your heart or in another move. Or both!

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  8. I'm so sorry that this year has been such a difficult time from you but often times that when the Lord grows us from strength to strength because when we are weak he is strong. I pray that you feel him wrapping his loving strong arms around you today.

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    1. The good news is, I feel His loving arms even in the hard times. Maybe even more so! I loved your post on joy the other day. A needed refreshment! Keep writing your heart out. It's awesome to read! xo!

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  9. Linsey, I love it that you share the good, the bad and the ugly that comes with your big move!! Following a dream that God places on your heart certainly doesn't mean that it will all be smooth sailing, huh? My husband and I have a similar dream and have loved following along on your adventure. I really appreciate that you don't just show us the good days. I will pray for many happy days to come for you! Your family is really special.

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    1. You are absolutely right that following your dream doesn't mean smooth sailing. We had to fight for our dream, but I thought once we got here that the hardest parts were over. Ha! But the good news is: we'd do it again. We are learning deep things about ourselves and about God...things we wouldn't know if we didn't have to lean so hard on Him. I'm glad to know the struggles of my journey haven't discouraged you from your own dreams. Go for it!

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  10. Typo above! Meant to say - So glad that you would do it all again. I was worrying about you! :)

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"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one." ~ C.S. Lewis

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