Posted in Faith

When the Answer is No

 

country church

I have a friend who has been anxiously awaiting news of a decision – someone else’s decision.  One out of her control, yet having the potential to greatly impact her and her family. She waited months for the outcome.  She needed a yes.  She prayed for a yes.  But the answer was no.

Another friend, expecting her first child, prayed fervently for a healthy baby.  But the answer was no.

Other friends have prayed non-stop to conceive a child, or to carry a child full-term without miscarrying.  But the answer was no.

Still other friends have prayed for healing after a cancer diagnosis. Despite aggressive treatments and much prayer, the battle seemed lost.  The answer was no.

Oh, friends, what do we do when the answer is no?  When our hearts ache and our disappointment threatens to smother us?

Do we stomp our feet and throw a fit like an unhappy toddler? Sometimes we sure feel like it.

Do we retreat behind closed doors, refusing to come out, unsure of what to do or say, intent on building a wall between our hurting heart and the rest of the world?

Do we become angry at God and those who represent Him?  Do we question how He could possibly love us yet not give us the “yes” we so desperately desired?

Do we give up? Throw in the towel? Consider ourselves done?

I have probably tried all these solutions at one time or another and not one of them proved to be helpful. None of them healed my broken heart or gave me strength to keep on living.  I piddled with some of them far too long, allowing them to tighten their grip on me, nearly rendering me helpless.

But then I remembered.  God was still there – even when the answer was no.

And He remains there today.

He still cares.

He still loves.

He still desires to bless us.

How do I know this, you ask?  I know this because I know God. He and I have a little history together.  And although I don’t have answers to the many why’s I’ve pondered, I have no doubt He will take all the no’s I’ve experienced and turn them into something good. Something lovely. Something which will someday bring me a blessing.

Why?  Because He is a God who loves us and promises to work all things together for good to those who love Him. And I sure love Him.  I’m praying you do too.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

Posted in Everyday Life, Overwhelmed

Living in Denial ~ Part 2

ground view into trees

We find ourselves in denial at various seasons of life. And whether the issue we’re battling is one we’ve brought on ourselves or one in which we had absolutely no control, denial is  common to both.

Broken relationships. Trouble with the law. Abuse. Failing grades. Serious illness. Job loss. Death of a loved one. Financial hardship. Addiction. Rebellion.  And that’s only the top of the pile.

This is what mine currently looks like —

I muster the courage to step onto the scales only after struggling – and losing the battle-  to comfortably fit into my “big” jeans. The scales confirm it.  Denial has not been my friend.

I’ve admitted to others, and even to myself occasionally, that staying on track with this whole exercise, healthy eating kind-of-lifestyle is not working too well for me.

I don’t deny there is a problem. The difficulty for me is owning up to that problem. To admit it is truly mine, and my choices have landed me in this predicament.  To admit those choices are in reality, tiny little denials stacked up, one on top of the other, finally resulting in large, ugly consequences (such as a closet full of clothes that no longer fit).

Small choices such as skipping a workout here or there, eating that small piece of chocolate cake, or drinking that delicious five hundred plus calorie frappe (yes, you read that right; I was shocked too), all the while ignoring the reality that these isolated events may cost me more than I care to believe. 

The hard truth for me is this:  one or two missed workouts will likely lead to several; one small piece of cake often makes me crave more; and those frappes – let’s just say they can be quite addictive for a coffee-loving girl on a hot summer day. 

So for me to know these truths about myself and to disregard them, choosing to indulge anyway, is extremely risky.  Such behavior usually pushes me down a slippery slope straight into the hands of defeat.

When tough issues are swirling around, denial appears to be the simplest way out. But denial is a master of disguise.  It prolongs the battle.  To win this fight, to finish well, to find victory, sooner or later I must consciously commit to stand up against denial.

I must look this bully in the eye and declare, “Enough!”  I must courageously call my issues what they are … deep-rooted struggles needing excavation. I must be willing to hear the truth –  and allow it to soak into my very being.

This is where I begin to win again.

But I’ll need a little help (perhaps a lot of help) along the way. And despite my stubbornness and blindness to the truth at times, I know exactly where to look …

Care to join me, my friend?