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…”


Hanging Onto HOPE In This Chaotic World

“So God has given both His promise and His oath.
These two things are unchangeable
because it is impossible for God to lie.
Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge
can have great confidence
as we hold to the hope that lies before us.
This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.
It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.”

Hebrews 6:18-19 NLT

On February 3, 9-year-old Serenity Dennard walked out of The Black Hills Children’s Home Society, a private nonprofit that provides residential treatment and programs for children who are victims of domestic violence, abuse and neglect, or other trauma.

Dozens of people have searched for her for days, also using a helicopter and 7 scent and cadaver dog teams. Because of cold temps and snow, it turned into a recovery effort. But still no Serenity.

I keep praying, “God, please help them find her!” I keep checking up on the latest search news. But still no Serenity.

God, why won’t You answer the prayers of all the people who are praying? You know where she is. Help, Lord!

When something like this happens, I always think the worst. I fear someone who doesn’t have honorable intentions has picked her up. I’m so scared. Not only for Serenity, but for children who are missing everywhere. My heart aches for them and for their loved ones who must be agonizing on what has happened or is happening to their child, grandchild, etc.  

It’s hard not to get distressed or depressed when we know the evil that is happening in this world, whether openly or secretly, to vulnerable children and adults. So much pain and sorrow. So much hate and discrimination. So much abuse and injustice. It can wrench us to the depth of our souls. It can seem so hopeless and we can feel so helpless.

I have been upset with God, because I know He knows where Serenity is. I have been focusing too much on all that is happening in this chaotic world. I have listened too much to all the lies that Satan whispers, sometimes even without my realizing it, that all these things are far too big for God to handle. I have hung onto my pride that my plan is better than God’s. I have let it overwhelm me and I have refused to allow myself to unclench my fists of rebellion and give it all to Jesus.

In Psalm 42, David was taunted, too. He described himself as a deer panting for water brooks, hunted by its enemy. Day and night he wept for God’s help. His enemies scoffed, “Where is this God of yours?”

Two times in this Psalm, David cried out:

“Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise Him again—
my Savior and my God!”

Despite all the raging emotions in his heart and the taunting of his enemies, he pushed past all the discouragement that was drowning him and grasped onto the hope there is in God. He remembered his Savior, his Refuge, and his Promise-Keeper who never lies. He recalled how strong and trustworthy our Anchor of Hope is.

Yes, we live in a broken world where bad things happen. Where people choose to hurt people. Where Satan is still fighting to discourage us and keep us from our Anchor of Hope. But God is still in control. He is still the King, even though we don’t understand everything that happens.

Someday we will understand. Meanwhile, however much it hurts, may we together remember God knows and loves and cares. Nothing bad that ever happens will change that truth. Without that truth, we have no hope.

I Have This Hope
by Tenth Avenue North

“As I walk this great unknown
Questions come and questions go
Was there purpose for the pain?
Did I cry these tears in vain?

I don’t want to live in fear
I want to trust that You are near
Trust Your grace can be seen
In both triumph and tragedy

I have this hope
In the depth of my soul
In the flood or the fire
You’re with me and You won’t let go…”

YOU Are the One Whom Jesus Loves

Jesus loves to the end

Dagger-throwing eyes and accusing fingers pointed at me, “You whore.” It was so real that I woke up with a thumping heart, a sinking spirit, and a strong urge to run and hide.

Memories flooded in, swallowing my spirit like quicksand. So many years ago when I was but a vulnerable young woman in youth group who needed help, many people did accuse me of being a “whore” instead of the pastor’s victim. When their mouths didn’t degrade me, their looks and silence did.

On the day of the dream, the three big Ds that abuse victims feel hit me full force and smothered me. Dirty. Damaged. Different.

As my husband and I sat outside on the patio, I told him how I was trying to remember what he always told me, “God knows the truth.” I kept trying to replace the lies with God’s Truth, but I still felt so downhearted.

I tried and tried to focus on Jesus and who I am in Him, but it seemed so hopeless. I tried to consider how precious I am in His sight. How His thoughts towards me outnumber the grains of sand on this earth. That’s a lot of thoughts! Yet still darkness crowded out the light in my heart.

“How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God.
They cannot be numbered!
I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
You are still with me!”
Psalm 139:17-18 NLT

Then that afternoon I was reading a devotion and I came upon a verse:

“One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved,
was reclining next to Him.”

John 13:23

I knew John is the one who was inspired to write the book of John, and yet it hadn’t sunk in before that John actually spoke this of himself. He considered himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” As he leaned against Jesus, he knew in his heart that he was the very beloved of Jesus.

Too often I still let past abuse and accusations define me, and it’s choking the joy out of my heart and life. It’s binding my wings, so that I cannot fly in Jesus. I can say I know Jesus loves me, but it doesn’t really sink into my heart that I am His beloved. His chosen. His precious child.

I took deep breaths in and cried, “I am the one whom Jesus loves!” Then every time I blew out, my heart shouted, “Get out of here, Satan!” I did this several times and comfort seeped into my heart along with a longing to truly believe and live as Jesus’ beloved one.

The negative voices of shame and insecurity and Satan’s lies become so strong sometimes in me. I deeply long to identify myself in who I am in Christ, not in the lies.

He loves you, too, my dear readers. YOU are “the one whom Jesus loves!” Many of you have had past or still do have experiences of some type of abuse, and perhaps you feel cloaked in shame. You feel so dirty, damaged, and different. But Jesus gives us a different identity in Him. He invites us to come to Him. Past abuse can burden us, but Jesus says His yoke is gentle and His burden is light. He doesn’t want us to carry the heavy burden of shame. On the cross He endured shame, degradation, and humiliation so we can be freed from it. Freed to fly!

“Come to Me, all you who labor
and are heavy-laden and overburdened,
and I will cause you to rest.
[I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]
Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me,
for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart,
and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment
and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.”
Matthew 11:28-29 AMP

“Jesus Loves Me”
by Chris Tomlin

May we believe with all our hearts
that we are the ones Jesus loves!

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Linking up with: 

Holley – Coffee For Your Heart 

Jennifer – Tell His Story 

Kelly – Cheerleaders of Faith

Bonnie – Faith Barista’s Beloved Brews