Losing a loved one without warning; continually being “replaced” in friendships; having my heart shattered into pieces; moving to new places and trying to make my way into well established circles/cliques; trying to be perfect at everything while looking perfect; being judged for being myself and taken advantage of because of my work ethic; never knowing how to turn “off” my brain; fighting through hormonal changes of pregnancies; having a body that attacks itself and doesn’t know how to go back to normal; trying to keep everyone happy and healthy – all while looking at social media which tells me I am definitely falling short, that no one really “knows” me, and I will always be missing out no matter how hard I try.
This is a look at some of the biggest struggles I have faced over my lifetime, and some I am still combating to this day. Can you relate to any of these? Yes, life is tough. It’s tough in pandemics but it was tough even before 2020. I am not listing these things to gain sympathy or cause room for comparison. My heart is to just be real. And yes, I know many of you have gone through worse and maybe some haven’t. None of our stories are the same but whatever our story looks like, it will include things that seem to suck the life out of us or completely turn our world upside down. So what happens to us when we reach the point of feeling like we have nothing left of ourselves to move forward or offer?
This Spring, something really cool took place in my backyard. I have an 8 year old amaryllis plant that I honestly thought was dead. It has never been moved from its original pot with all its original soil. The top of the soil is covered in a solid layer of weeds and I have never gone out of my way to water it. I didn’t even remember I had it before last month – and that’s when I noticed a few green leaves sprouting… which turned into a lot of long and lush bundles of leaves… that led to 3 stalks reaching toward the sky… and ultimately displaying 8 magnificent flowers the week of Easter. I had so much fun watching this transformation take place and the best part is: I can take absolutely NO CREDIT for any of it! I just wondered, how could something so glorious and beautiful come out of something so lifeless, dry, and covered in weeds?
God has been working on my heart about what to say about all of this. The original version of this blog was a take on Ephesians 2:4-5: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved…” And how we are not saved by any of our own works. But nope, I felt there was much more He was asking of me.
Soon everything shifted to feeling a burden for those already in the faith. Those that may be thinking their best years are already behind them and that what is left now, thanks to life’s heavy blows, is just a portion of “what used to be;” that the soil (our soul) that once produced an orchard is only good for weeds now or a few wild flowers here and there.
Last year I reached my breaking point. I was not living the life I knew I was called to live. Little by little, I had allowed those “events” I listed above to inhabit my soil and poison my soul. The longer they stayed, the more joy they continued to steal. I had allowed myself to be sucked so dry and was exhausted from it. My life, blessings and all, still left me unfulfilled and not producing nearly as much “fruit” as it once had. It was especially effecting my roles of wife and mom and I knew something had to change.
God brought me to my knees and showed me that this is not who He has called me to be. I was entangled by so many lies that I had accepted as my truth. I didn’t see myself in light of who Christ was in my life anymore; I only saw my reflection. I felt alone in my “routine” as a wife, mom, and PA. Outside of my husband, I also felt friendless, not seen, not known, and restless.
God didn’t leave me here though. Instead, He MET me in this pit of doubt and heap of lies and said,“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30).
God saw potential: a perfect setting for something amazing to happen. He saw my heart’s desire to surrender control and stop trying to do everything on my own. I came to Him with empty hands lifted high and out of nothing, He has worked wonders! Looking back, I can see how this has happened multiple times in my past as He has taken my ugliest situations and brought about beauty, abundant joy and peace, and a better understanding of His presence each time. Really, I can give example after example- just ask! But this time I am paying attention and learning, hoping to carry these lessons more intentionally going forward. Having the weeds removed has not been pleasant. For me, it usually requires late nights when everyone else is sleeping, a time of deep repentance, prayer, and breaking agreements with things that I have grown comfortable with having around – which leads to tears. Immediately after this, I am left with a heart that has been taken care of by the one who knows it best. He fills me with peace and joy and removes the burdens from my shoulders – seriously, I can usually lower my shoulders an inch after doing this. God is so faithful in allowing me to soak in His Living Water during these moments. It replenishes my soul until I am overflowing. I wake up with new strength that is not of my own. Now, even though I still struggle, I can say that more days than not I have patience and endearment towards my children during the 20th meltdown of the day with my toddler or 1000th question of “why” in my 4 year old. I have delight in better serving my husband instead of grumbling. This is my redemption song!
Psalm 107 says this:
“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!
2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
whom he has redeemed from trouble
4 Some wandered in desert wastes,
finding no way to a city to dwell in;
5 hungry and thirsty,
their soul fainted within them.
6 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
7 He led them by a straight way
till they reached a city to dwell in.
8 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
9 For he satisfies the longing soul,
and the hungry soul he fills with good things.
God saw me in my desert, and He sees you. Right now He is actively replacing the lies I am still tempted to believe with TRUTH! These are Our Scripture based Truths as sons and daughters of God: I am loved, I am chosen, I am completely known, I do not have to live in condemnation, I was uniquely knitted together in my mother’s womb by the creator of the Universe which means I am perfect, I am a child of God, I am delighted in, I have victory and I am free! All of this is ONLY because of Jesus and what He achieved at Calvary for us.
I don’t know what your life has been like. I don’t know everything that made you the person you are today. But God knows. He has seen your pain. He knows the road you have walked and the “events” you have faced that have left your soul thirsty and feeling like you have nothing left to offer. Will you come to Him? Can you physically make a list of what has led to weeds in your soil; those things that are getting in the way of your redemption story? Will you lay each of these at His feet? What Miracle could be right in front of you, just waiting to burst from the ground? What is God going to create when you come to Him with your empty hands?
Just watch and see, it will not be unredeemed!
OK this is a first for me… but God put all the pieces together on this one. Click on the image below for my recording of a song called
“Unredeemed” by Selah
Psalm 107:22 – “And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,
and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!”
Have Courage, Be Kind, and Let Your Light Shine,
~ Lindsey Alaine