Not Ignoring Either the Pain or the Beauty In Our Lives and In This World

Courtesy of Little Birdie Blessings

“Why? Why? Why?” The only word she would speak. On and on in a croaky voice.

This woman recently passed away at the care facility where my granddaughter works. Over-analyzer that I am, I wondered “why” she did this. Were there deep hurts in her heart that she could not voice?

It wouldn’t let me go, and I realized that deep down in my heart many whys are like heavy sludge, refusing to loosen. Why do so many vulnerable children and adults suffer from abuse and neglect? Why is there so much hate and injustice in this world? Why won’t God heal me from this chronic illness? Why does my heart sometimes refuse to see myself through Jesus’ love and grace? Why do I condemn myself when God doesn’t condemn me? Why can’t I let go and trust God completely with all that overwhelms me? Why? Why? Why?

I too easily get bogged down with the pain and ugliness in this world. How dare I be happy when so many people are suffering in this world? I can’t seem to let go of these concerns and place them into the hands of our God who has the whole world in His hands. And I forget to remember the beauty He still gives us.

I recently read an article about living in the tension of beauty and pain. Alia Joy‘s reflections resonate in my heart and speak to the anxieties that sometimes burden me. She challenges us to keep turning our eyes toward beauty.

“We keep turning our eyes toward beauty,
not to ignore the ugliness in the world,
but to have the strength to do something about it.

He has equipped me with everything I need.
He’s not calling me to ignore
his blessings or my pain,
he’s asking me to bear witness
to life as it is.
The pain and the beauty.

He’s calling me to peace in the tension,
not an escape nor another thing to do
but a place to abide in him
and be met with hope.”

Focusing too much on the pain and darkness can overwhelm us and drain our strength. Turning our eyes toward beauty, especially the love and hope to be found in Jesus, strengthens us. Our calling is to abide in Him and His love and to bear witness of life as it is, both the pain and the beauty.

During my break, I again revisited a 2012 post, Depression and New Beginnings. It helps to remember how God graciously sends beauty in the midst of pain to help us move towards the light of His love and grace and how He gave me the vision for a changed focus at this blog.

It’s good to remind ourselves of past mercies, isn’t it? To purposely look back at how God rescued us again and again. To remember that even when we can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, God is still loving us and working quietly to strengthen us to make it through the darkness.

Pain in your heart and life, in mine, and in this world is real, and God doesn’t want us to ignore it or hide it. May we be authentic with the pain and the ugliness but also bear witness to the beauty of His unfailing love and compassion.

Though I have returned, I need to give myself more grace. I hope to be here through the summer, but there will be times when I share something short or even skip a week or two. I look forward to hearing from many of you again. As always, readers, though I would love to connect with you, don’t ever feel pressured to comment. Whether or not you join in the comments, it is my prayer that Jesus wraps you in the safety of His love and grace. I hope you never leave here without His hope!

Steady My Heart
by Kari Jobe

“Even when it hurts
Even when it’s hard
Even when it all just falls apart
I will run to You
‘Cause I know that You are
Lover of my soul
Healer of my scars
You steady my heart…”


Trusting God’s Faithful Care In the Midst of Heartache

good-shepherd-2
Art by Warner Sallman (1892-1968)

Do you see how the lamb is gazing so trustingly at Jesus and how lovingly Jesus holds and cares for the little one? We have an art print in our bedroom that has often aroused a prayer in me that I will trust Jesus so freely and fully.

good-shepherdEven though we have had this picture for years, and various aspects of it have ministered to me, something else struck home a few weeks ago. The sheep next to Jesus is also gazing so trustingly at Jesus. Perhaps it is her lamb He is holding. Another prayer bubbled up in my heart. Lord Jesus, please help me to trust You also for my children and grandchildren. Help me to truly leave them in Your hands of love and mercy.

It’s not that I haven’t prayed something like this before, but the meaning I saw in the picture captured my heart in a deeper way.

You see, sometimes I forget God is God. I forget His character of love, compassion, mercy, and power. I forget He reigns over all the earth, over every single human being. Not one hurt, heartache, or horror escapes His notice. It may not feel like it sometimes, but He is still in control on this earth. He is still in control of our loved ones’ hearts. He is still in control over every hurting soul.

“God is God. He sees and hears
all our troubles, all our tears.
Soul, forget not, in your pains,
God over all forever reigns.”
~ Charles Spurgeon

God knows all the burdens and messes in our hearts and our lives. Every single one. Not one tear escapes His notice. He cares so deeply that His loving, compassionate heart cries tears with us.

He can and will take every tangled, broken thread in our hearts, lives, families, nation, and world and make a beautiful design that glorifies Himself and benefits us. 

Thank You, God, for all Your goodness and faithful care over us, even when we resist Your ways and want our own way. Please help us to unload all our burdens and messes into Your powerful, ever-capable, merciful hands. Help us to trust You with the bigger picture that You have in mind. To believe Your plans are always for our greater good. Please help us to trust You with our families and friends, our nation, and every hurting, lonely heart in this whole wide world. It’s so hard, Lord, when You don’t move the mountains we long for You to move, but please help us to trust You no matter what. Please help us to rest in Your plan. Help us to believe that even when we can’t see You or feel You, You are still here with us and for us. You will never abandon us! May we cling to You and Your tender love!

serenity-prayer
“The Lord is my Shepherd;
I have all that I need.”
Psalm 23:1 NLT
“Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray.
Pray about everything.
He longs to hear your requests,

so talk to God about your needs and
be thankful for what has come.

And know that the peace of God
(a peace that is beyond any
and all of our human understanding)

will stand watch over your hearts
and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One.”
Philippians 4:6-7 Voice
“For I know the plans I have for you,”
says the Eternal,

“plans for peace, not evil,
to give you a future and hope

— never forget that.”
Jeremiah 29:11 Voice

A Child's Trust

“Trust In You”
by Lauren Daigle

trust
Little Birdie Blessings
May God Hold You and Yours
In the Palm of His Hand!Signature

God’s Got Us

nothing-impossible-with-god2

Have you ever laid back and gazed at the clouds? As a child I would find all sorts of animals and shapes in them. But what I didn’t think about at that time is who forms and holds those clouds up. And the power behind them.

fullsizeoutput_1285Recently I went to Outdoor Campus, and I saw something I hadn’t even noticed before. In a children’s play area, grasses were planted in a circle leaving the middle open. A sign in front of it says: Cloud Garden. Lay back. Relax. Watch the clouds. I was strongly tempted to do it. I even glanced around to see if anyone was watching. The coast was clear. Now I wonder… Why didn’t I just do it? Why didn’t I just let that inner, excited child in me relax instead of wondering what others would think.

fullsizeoutput_1287

Anyway, this resting place of gazing at the clouds inspired me. I could hear God whispering:

Lay back.
Relax in My love.
Focus on Who holds up those clouds.

Can’t the same God who holds up those clouds and changes them in endlessly unique ways be powerful enough to take care of me? Can’t the same God who dissipates the clouds in the sky to reveal the sun’s full light also remove the stormy clouds in my life and reveal the light of the Son in my heart? Or even if the clouds remain, can’t the same God still warm and brighten my heart with His love?

Yes! He can! God’s got us! The same God who holds up those clouds with His Almighty hand holds us up. He has made us a special part of His creation that He will continue to care for. He has written, even engraved us, on the palms of His hands. He is not going to drop us. He’s got us.

“Look here.
I have made you a part of Me,
written you on the palms of My hands.
Your city walls are always on My mind,
always My concern.”
Isaiah 49:16 The Voice

God is working

When prayerful longings are not met
God’s Got Us
He still cares whether we get a yes or no

When troubling situations don’t change
God’s Got Us
His plans are higher than ours

When others don’t support or understand us
God’s Got Us
He empathizes and hugs us to His heart

When we worry about the hearts and lives of our loved ones
God’s Got Us
He brings miracles in His time and way

When fear for our country and world consumes us
God’s Got Us
He still has the whole world in His hands

When losses leave us desolate
God’s Got Us
He fills the emptiness with His love

When painful memories get triggered
God’s Got Us
He cries with us and heals us layer by layer

When others reject us
God’s Got Us
He will never, ever abandon us

A Child's Trust

“In the Hands of God”
By the Newsboys