• St Aldates Youth

Testimony Tuesday // Barb

This past February I was meant to fly back to Oxford and continue my work in the ACT ministry. Unfortunately, for details I won’t bore you with, I was denied entry into the UK and was booked on a flight right back to the states.

In a matter of 12 hours my life had totally flipped upside down. Everything I thought I had control over completely fell through and I was shattered. I had no back up plan and I was at a loss of what God was doing. A month into my grieving and trying to sort my life out, the virus broke out and once again, everything I had control over, was stripped away from me. I lost the two jobs I had just found, no real idea where to live or what to do next....again, I was at a loss of what God was doing. Yet, I found myself feeling two things: thankful that the Lord brought me home safely, but also confused & heartbroken because there were still so many unknowns & no real time frame when I would be able to get my life back to normal.

These past few months have truly been stripping and surrendering to God. I came to a place where I was tired of fighting Him, tired of trying my hardest to grip onto control, and tired of making my own agenda. I found myself on my knees feeling more broken & vulnerable than ever before. I was simply waiting for God’s healing, His direction, & His wisdom...But despite the circumstances, I remembered thinking that I wanted to love God. I wanted to trust Him. I wanted to let go of my own understanding & submit to Him. I remember journaling...

"How do I walk through grief and disappointment with God, while also knowing how good of a Father He is? How do I love & sit in His presence, while also allowing myself to feel these wounds?"

... How could I possibly do both? It seemed so abstract to me. This was a whole new grief I've never experienced.

I'm sure like me, some of your plans or expectations for the future have all come to a screeching halt. I think we all need time & grace in allowing ourselves to grieve what we've lost, no matter how big or how small. But I also know we do not grieve hopelessly.

So how do we do both? How do we lament in a time like this?

I know with my own circumstances this pandemic has forced me to slow down & process all that I've lost. Normally I feel like I would try and put off these feelings & stay busy. But I've had to bring all my hurts, questioning, confusions, disappointments; literally everything to the Lord. It hasn't been easy. If anything, it felt like pulling teeth. But I know it's ultimately for my good. I want to be a woman who praises God in all the good & bad. I want to come to Jesus in all the victories & disappointments of life. He is a God who can handle both. He is a God who welcomes both. Our God is a mysterious one. He seems so big & powerful, yet is so near & intimate. He's the God of the universe & our best friend. How can this be?! How can He possibly be both?! The simple answer I've come to...

He just is.

We can grieve with a hope because He is our Hope! He is the one who died on that cross for our penalties! He is the one who beat death and rose again after three days! He is the Great I AM! Jesus is everything we could ever want or need. Jesus is the one our souls ultimately long for. There is no one else! Our God is right here in the middle of it all. In the highs and lows of life. He is Here! He's not distant or still dead in the tomb... He is RISEN! He is ever present and ALIVE with us. Just as He is faithful to rise from the dead, like He said He would... He is faithful to us, even in the midst of our greatest pains. Take it from me, our wonderful God is faithful in providing peace, love, & joy even in the most trying of times. He just is. That might be an uncomfortable answer to most, but for me, it's the only thing I am clinging onto.

Proverbs 3:5-6 is my life verse and one I’ve run to many times,

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

This season has been one of testing and deep grief, but even so, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I know that through it all, Jesus has been my steadfast rock. He has been my comforter, my Prince of Peace. I might not know all the answers or reasoning to my questions, but I do know that I can trust in my Heavenly Father who loves and cares for me.

My hope and prayer is that you would walk closely with Jesus in every good and hard season of life. That even in this odd 2020 season, you would be able to press into your relationship with Christ, and build a solid Hope through Him.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

- Romans 15:13

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