Finding God’s Peace Through a Painful Journey

Last month an online friend, Lois, traveled through our city, and I had the privilege and pleasure of meeting her in person. When she gifted me with her book, Infertility: Finding God’s Peace in the Journey, I had no idea how much it would impact me.

It was truly a God-nudge that prompted her to give it to me as she didn’t know that God planted my children in my heart, not in my belly.

Lois wrote of her painful journey through infertility and the Biblical truths that helped her to find God’s peace in the midst of it. I would recommend this book to anyone going through infertility. But not only to those, but to all who are struggling with losses, whatever they may be. The Biblical truths God binds upon her heart are relevant to any trials and struggles we have in life.

I was captivated already from the beginning when I identified with what God spoke to her heart:

“Do you trust Me to know what
I’m doing with your life?
When you want to do it your own way,
when you start doubting My faithfulness,
when you start comparing yourself to others…
do you trust Me?” (p 11)

I’m sharing just a few of the Biblically-based truths and advice I gleaned that are invaluable to remember in every struggle or loss we may have:

God cares about our feelings. He wants us to face them. He can handle any emotion we have. Even the writers of Scripture freely shared their feelings.

 A solid starting point in our journey is to see God as He is. He is in control of everything and His plan for our lives is good because He is good. When something bad happens in our lives, it doesn’t mean He is punishing us or doesn’t love us anymore.

Praying Christ’s prayer “opens the door for the peace of God” and lays the groundwork that will enable us to make the right choices.

“Father, if You are willing,
take this cup from Me;
yet not My will,
but Yours be done.”
Luke 22:42

Look for God-sightings, “those often-overlooked little events and moments that gently remind us that our heavenly Father still loves us and is still working.”

Remember God has a different story for each of us. He knows what growth plan is best for us. (The comparison trap is easy to fall into.)

“And my primary job, as the main character in my story,
is to focus on Jesus, not on anyone else.”
~ Lois Flowers ~

Express your anger to God above all and to someone you trust, so you don’t internalize it. Many people mean well by giving advice, opinions, or bits of spiritual wisdom, but others are simply insensitive and non-empathetic.

“But you can either turn yourself into a victim
who takes offense at every wrong word,
or you can allow your circumstances to
make you more assertive, more gracious,
or more patient with others.”
~ Lois Flowers ~

Obsession with a dream or desire can lead to idolatry, placing our relationship with Christ on the back burner.

Do what’s best for you and your emotional intelligence. It’s okay to stay away from places that trigger pain.

It’s not all about us. Beware of self-absorption.

God never turns His back on us.

“He didn’t turn His back on me when I was hurting,
but He didn’t let my tears change His mind
about what He had in store for me, either.
And somehow – only by His infinite
mercy and grace, I’m sure –
I was okay with that.”
~ Lois Flowers ~

Letting go of a dream and grieving what we miss does not mean we have a lack of faith or are weak.

Jesus always understands. He asked God three times for another way, but the answer was NO.

“We despised Him and rejected Him
—a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief…
Yet it was our grief He bore,
our sorrows that weighed Him down.”
Isaiah 53: 3-4

Your Ways Are Higher Than Mine
by the Collingsworth Family

“It’s not what I prayed for
It’s not what I wanted
It’s not something I understand
My circumstances seem so confusing
I’m placing it all in Your hands

Your ways are higher than mine
I want mountains to move
You want me to climb
So I’m gonna trust Your work, Your will, and Your time
Your ways are higher than mine…”

When It’s Hard To Jump Into the Jordan

It’s scary to step out and take a risk into the unknown, isn’t it?

When God made a way through the Red Sea for the Israelites, they saw the waters part before they took one step. But crossing the Jordan River was different. The priests carrying the Ark were told to step into the swollen waters. When they took that step of faith, God opened the way to the promised land.

God has been whispering to me to “jump into the Jordan” ever since I read this guest post at Ann Voskamp’s blog.

I identify with the need for being absolutely certain. I recognize that paralyzing fear when it comes to decisions in my life. When I read eloquent posts, I feel insecure and indecisive, and that negative voice whispers, “You’re not good enough.” I question whether or not I should keep writing. Whether or not I should continue this blog. As I wrestled with this again during my summer break, I wanted a clear answer from God. He didn’t give me that. Instead, He gave me a nudge to trust Him, to stop standing on the shore, terrified that I can’t step forward without knowing for sure it’s His way for me. Without knowing what the outcome will be. Even without “feeling” Him beside me. He nudged me to take a step of faith and jump into the Jordan’s unknowns, trusting He’s got me and will never abandon me.

“For we walk by faith,
not by sight.”
2 Corinthians 5:7
“Because of the Lord’s great love
we are not consumed,

 for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.”
Lamentations 3:22-23

Maybe you, too, feel you don’t have a way with words like some writers. Maybe you, too, don’t feel “good enough.” The truth is we don’t need to become more fluent writers to blog. All God asks is that we “jump into the Jordan” with all our inadequacies, trusting His power to part the rivers of our impossibilities with His Almighty strength. Trusting His grace is greater than our fears of not being enough. Trusting His faithful love will guide us and give us the words, whether few or many. Believing He can bless even the sharing of a Bible verse, a song, a nature photo, or an inspirational quote.

Whatever insecurities and impossibilities are overwhelming us right now and paralyzing us from moving forward, God is bigger. In His power, we can step forward into the unknown. The same God who can make a way through the rivers and seas He has created also has the power and the desire to help us jump into the Jordans of our lives and to trust Him to lead us and take care of all our needs.

“And looking at them Jesus said to them,
‘With people this is impossible,
but with God all things are possible.'”
Matthew 19:26

Faith
by Jordan Feliz

“There is no ocean that can’t be parted
There is no mountain that can’t be moved
I know there’s help for the heavy hearted
The weak will find their strength renewed

You just gotta have faith
Mmm, you just gotta have faith

It’s light for the shadows, for all your tomorrows
It’s knowing He’s there through the sun and the rain
It’s when you believe it, before you can see it
And you can walk on ’cause he’s making the way…”

Promises of God’s Faithful Presence

“When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark,
you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off.
You sit still and trust the engineer.”
~ Corrie Ten Boom

Where are You, God? It is so dark, I can’t see You. I feel so lifeless, I can’t feel You. Are You still with me? 

Do you ever feel this way? It’s scary, isn’t it?

I sometimes wonder… Does God wait to send us comfort because He wants us to learn to trust Him even in the dark? To trust more in the immovable truth of His faithful character? To trust He is watching over us even when we don’t feel it?

Precious Lord
In the dark nights of our souls
We want to remember Your promises
Promises of Your omnipresence
You are everywhere present
We want to have peace in the knowing
Even when we’re in the dark
Even when we can’t feel Your presence
You are a faithful God
You will never abandon us
No matter what we do or don’t do
No matter what we feel or don’t feel

Promises of God’s Presence

I Am WITH you.

"And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
  (Matthew 28:20)

I Am BEFORE you.

"It is the Lord who goes before you;
 He will be with you. He will not fail you or abandon you.
 Do not fear or be dismayed."
  (Deuteronomy 31:8 AMP)

I Am BEHIND you.

"Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army,
 withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved
 from in front and stood behind them,
 coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel.
 Throughout the night the cloud brought
 darkness to the one side and light to the other side;
 so neither went near the other all night long."
  (Exodus 14: 19-20)

I Am UNDER you.

"The eternal God is your refuge, 
and His everlasting arms are under you."
 (Deuteronomy 33:27 NLT)

I Am IN you.

"My old self has been crucified with Christ.
 It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.
 So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God,
 who loved me and gave Himself for me."
  (Galations 2:20 NLT)

I Am ABOVE you.

"Who then will condemn us? No one—
 for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and He is
 sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us." 
  (Romans 8:34 NLT)

I Am BESIDE you.

"For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand
 and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you."
  (Isaiah 41:13)

I SURROUND you.

"For You are my hiding place; You protect me from trouble.
 You surround me with songs of victory."
  (Psalm 32:7 NLT)

I Am EVERYWHERE.

"Am I a God who is only close at hand?" says the Lord.
"No, I am far away at the same time. 
Can anyone hide from Me in a secret place?
Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?" says the Lord.
  (Jeremiah 23:23-24 NLT)

“Faithful God”
by Laura Story

“Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy,
fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives,
filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit,
will brim over with hope!”
(Romans 15:13 The Message)