hope spiritual

When You're So Over It

12:21 PMHeather

Last Monday night, I was absolutely bent into fetal position, in a cry beyond the ugly cry (what is that even called? The grotesque cry?), wetting my pillows with tears and bemoaning how my life was truly over while I shook the bed with sobs and my husband sat next to me. 

Then, my son walked into the room. He asked my husband delicately, "Um, is Mom okay?"

I couldn't decide if I was relieved or disappointed that I had been found out by my offspring in the midst of a particularly ugly melt down.

My long suffering saint of a husband explained to our son that I was hitting a wall hard with all sorts of heavy burdens and frustrations.

When my son began to pray over me and rub my back, I knew I was glad he'd found me in this particular state of despair. Initially, I was embarrassed and felt the Mommy guilt of Mommy fail that my teenager saw me in a very weak moment.

But, then, I saw it for what it was. An opportunity. For my husband to lead him in how to love on and encourage and sit with a weepy mess of a woman.

That lesson should serve him well someday with his future wife. Sweet girl whom I regularly pray for even now-- you're welcome. Glad I could help ensure that my son knows how to be a safety net. I will likely be offering such service again, as I am prone to these sorts of complete unravelings on occasion.

The next day, still knee deep in a funky funk and wading through cautiously, I decided I should pray. Barely able to articulate, I instead turned on the praise and worship music, asking God to speak to me.

In case you are in the midst of a similar state of unrest, this blog post is for you.

Here's what I've discovered. Here's the whispering that came to my muddled, frustrated, downcast mind.

Dear one, you're just in the middle of it. You think this is the end. You are struggling to move forward here. You are stuck in emotional quick sand.

But you're JUST in the middle. This isn't the end. This isn't even close to the God-appointed better days to come. Just imagine all sorts of wonderful that might come your way in this life! It's not even here yet. And beyond that-- beyond your wildest imagination of a "good life"-- there's an eternal one. There's a never ending happy ending where God will create a new heaven and a new earth and Jesus will reign and we will reign with him.

Life might FEEL like it's over. Things might FEEL as if they will never change, never improve, never move forward... but it's a big fat stinking lie from the pit of hell.

Because this is just the middle.

For everyone of you stuck in the middle. For everyone stuck in the middle of cancer treatments. Stuck in the middle of financial upheaval. Stuck in the middle of a job search. Stuck in the middle of infertility. Stuck in the middle of painful relationships. Stuck in the middle of health issues. Stuck in the middle of mental health issues. Stuck in the middle of the gross and frustrating and ugly and hard that life throws our way.

You may feel stuck. 

It may feel never ending.

But it's JUST the middle. 

There are better things ahead. 

There are better days coming. There is provision and grace and faithfulness from an Almighty God that can turn the tide. There is strength and a refuge from the storms raging right now. There is a Father who covers you with his wings, giving you refuge under his feathers. There is a Heavenly Father waiting for you to cry out, "Abba! Please help!" There is a Lord of Lords and a King of Kings who is weaving all these ugly threads of struggle into a tapestry far more beautiful than you can picture.

This is JUST the middle.

You've come a long way. And there's ground to gain yet. There's mountaintops to come. There's sunsets to make you marvel. Colorful paintings of his goodness to look forward to after the scorching noon heat of the days of trial. There's an exhilaration of the finish line after the agony of the hard race run. There's laughter and smiles and memories not yet experienced after the tears and sorrow. There's incredible hello's to new things after all the painful good-byes. 

This is JUST the middle.

And there is so much more GOOD to come which will be worth it.

Hang tight. Hold on. Stand firm. Don't waiver. Don't fear. Don't be discouraged.

Every bit of this "middle" will make sense someday. The plot twists and the conflict and the tragedies will turn into triumph and gain and glory.

This is JUST the middle.

This whisper has been rolling through my heart for the last 10 days, and I am encouraged. I am leaning into the promise of better things, better days, prayers answered. I am looking up instead of looking hard at my circumstances.

And today, God wrapped it all up with a glorious bow. Just to show off that he can. Just to show that he hears and he listens and he answers and he longs to reach in and lift up every single time we are stuck in the middle.

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
Isaiah 11:1

Oh, listen in, everyone. Everyone. Everywhere. All ages. Every reader. Grab another reader and share this truth. Listen carefully. This is world changing, life changing and HISTORY changing. 

Listen in, because God's story is getting good. This is the most important news ever. The best news in ALL of history, for every last person.

I cannot overstate this.

In the first 10 chapters of Isaiah, God has been warning the prophet about all the discipline and punishment and destruction to come for the rebellious, stiff necked disobedient people. God called Isaiah to go and tell, and then he charges him to go and tell the worst sort of news ever to spread to all the Israelites. 

It's all doom and gloom and I'm sure Isaiah was WAY over it! 

But then, comes verse 1 of chapter 11.

And the horrible and painful middle of the story takes a major plot twist for the best.

Because God will bring a shoot from the stump of Jesse. And from the root of the stumps, it will become a branch that bears fruit.

That branch is Jesus. For all the middle-of-the-story people, the answer is coming and his name is Jesus. He is the mighty Savior that changed our destiny and our ending because of God's great love. 

Jesus shows up in the middle of our stories to pour out grace and forgiveness and love in abundance.

When we see STUMPS, God intends FRUIT.

When all is cut down and cut off and counted out -- God brings forth a shoot. God brings the tiniest hint of the new things that he is springing up in our lives and the rivers that will come to the wastelands and the streams that will come in our deserts (Isaiah 43:18-19). 

This tiny shoot will become a branch. And not just any boring branch, but a branch that will bear fruit.

Where you see a STUMP of prayers unanswered and hope deferred and trials and hardships, and you feel that all is counted out.

 
THERE, God intends and wills a tiny green shoot to sprout forth. And not just a little shoot, but a shoot that will become a branch that will bear fruit.

When we are in the thick of it, lean in to this verse of Isaiah 11:1. 

The shoots of new growth and new life are coming from our dead stumps. 

God was painting a picture for Isaiah of the Messiah and Savior that would be born from the lineage of David to the people who were exiled and held captive and left in a silent waiting room for hundreds of years before that tiny babe was born in Bethlehem.

God says you may see a stump, but there's a green shoot a-coming. 

May we surrender our stumps. May we believe in the fruit and cling to the branch with boldness and courage and confidence.  

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