The threat of CoVid-19 is real. What are your children learning as they observe you?
The thing about parenting is, when we start out, we have so little experience in life. We haven’t been knocked down enough to be challenged in our faith. So, how do we lead our children to process such a time as this? Years of walking with Jesus through the good, bad and ugly times of life is what builds our faith. Years of clinging to Him prepares us for such a time as this.
Many of us are feeling out of control. As the ‘older’ woman to many of you, I’d like to share some out-of-control situations from my life. Situation to helpless situation, God built (and continues to build) my trust in who He is! Situation to situation, God will build your faith too – right in the midst of your scariest days.
We are living through unprecedented days with Covid-19. Anxiety is lurking in the air. Fear welcomes all who breathe it in. Dread threatens, “You have absolutely NO control!” And we shudder.
Covid-19 hit our world, and it’s gone silent
As we sit in our homes, some in complete isolation, God is on His throne.
Our human frailty quakes at the loss of control
Our imagination takes us to places that chill us to the bones
Will we die?
Will our family die?
Will our friends die?
What about our children?
Is the government taking over?
Will we soon be living under Marshall law?
Would you join me for a brief walk through some of my life experiences? Come, take a peak as I open a sliver of the past. I’m inviting you to witness how God meets me on the other side of fear. This is where He waits to teach me. In Him I am safe. He is the Blessed Controller of all things.
As long as I can remember I have had this underlying wish to be in control of my circumstances. I grew up in dysfunction and chaos. My life felt out of control. When I left home to attend a Christian college, I encountered a sense of order and control. It was a wonderful respite from my past.
Looking back, I realize that I have lived an out-of-control life through various circumstances. I’ve lived it over, and over, and over again.
SIX SITUATIONS when GOD SHOWED ME HE is IN CONTROL – I am NOT!
Soon after I married the love of my life, a church called Gary to be their Youth and Music Pastor. It was our first ministry, and in was brutal. Though we loved the congregation fiercely, our Pastor demanded control. When a friend addressed my husband as Pastor Gary, (which was his title) the senior Pastor growled, “I am the only Pastor of this Church, you will not address him as Pastor!” Then there was the Pastor’s wife. She sneered my way when the women at Church surrounded me for a glimpse of my newborn. One night, the Pastor’s wife chewed me out because I confronted her teenaged daughter on her bad attitude. I was nine months pregnant, yet she railed on me and then walked me to the Pastor’s office where he joined her in demeaning me. I sobbed all the way home. Once home, I tripped up the stairs, blinded by my tears. I had no control! As a new Pastor’s wife, I looked forward to learning from our Pastor and his wife. They shattered my hope. I was at the mercy of mean-spirited, supposed, ‘Christian’ leadership. When I relayed this story to a college professor friend, she said,
“Susie, you have just been in school to learn a lesson in ‘how NOT to be.'” She continued, “And don’t you ever treat a person the way she treated you!”
Her words were as a healing balm to my broken heart. There was something I could do with this. There was a lesson to learn. God never wastes a Hurt!
After the birth of my baby girl, my hormones went wacky. I was a mess and couldn’t pull myself up by the bootstraps. I shamed myself for not trusting God enough. My emotions were utterly and helplessly out of control. My heart raced. I imagined my experience to be like sticking my finger in a light socket and not being able to pull it out! Merciless electrical shocks ravaged through my body. Any noise, music, talking, laughing had to be silenced because noise sent my nerves flying off the charts. I cried out to God over and over, but He was silent. I was a goner, helplessly at the mercy of endocrine dysfunction.
A goner, that is, until Jesus did what he always does
He reached out his strong arm and pulled me out of the pit. He sent help through my friend Annie. Annie called, “Susie, tell me all your symptom’s, Tom’s calling Mayo Clinic for you.” Tom contacted the head of endocrinology. And wonder upon wonder, this high level doctor called me at home that night. The first words out of her mouth were, “Who was that man?” My friend’s husband possesses a commanding nature, and when he speaks, people listen! (God’s provision.) The specialist from Mayo got my hormones back to normal. I embraced life with all of its joys once again.
While I was still sick, I met my friend Tracey through a local physician. The doctor didn’t know how to help us, but he put us together for support. Eventually, when we were well, we determined to reach women who were suffering as we had suffered. We held conferences at a local college. We taught women about hormonal imbalance and the disruptive symptoms that come with it. We shared resources and pointed them toward treatments. Women and their guys came in droves, there was a huge need! We featured Christian Physicians to discuss the condition, offer hope and provide solutions.
If I had not experienced this out-of-control situation, I might have judged those suffering from illnesses hard to diagnose. If I had not suffered, I’d have no clue how to help these women. God never wastes a Hurt!
Another Church called Gary to serve as Christian Ed. Director, Youth and Music Pastor. In this Church, a close-knit group of friends surrounded us. One night, at a business meeting, the members learned the Churches funds were desperately low. It stunned us! After the meeting, Gary felt the only right thing to do was to step down from his position. He resigned, and suddenly we were without a paycheck. Though I wholeheartedly agreed with Gary’s decision, I had no control over what lay ahead. There was no plan. We had three children and no provision. The spirit whispered, “Susie, I am in control and you are my child, trust me with your life – Trust me.” It wasn’t long before one of our Church friends hired Gary as a carpenter. Also, a sister Church in the area took us under their wings and showered us with love and the largest amount of Christmas presents our family has ever experienced! God never wastes a Hurt!
My son was just 12 years old when passive-aggressive behaviors peeked out of his personality. This was just the beginning of a downward spiral into full-blown rebellion. I thought I could fix him. I read everything I could get my hands on regarding Christian parenting. I spent countless hours trying to reach my son’s heart. We employed the best Christian counseling available. As he continued to plummet, I prayed and prayed and prayed, asking God to fix him.
Years later, I lay shattered on my kitchen floor, “God, you are the Potter and I am the clay; I understand you have me in the furnace of refinement, but have you forgotten about me? Soon, there will be nothing left but ashes.” Even as I cried out, God sent one of his teenaged servants to minister to my boy. It took me countless years and tears to give up control. God kept whispering, “This boy, you call your son, He is my son, give him to me.” God kept chipping away at the concrete barrier around my heart until at last, He got through. When I released Daniel to God’s control, I watched as the Hound of Heaven relentlessly pursued my boy. I have never witnessed love like this before – or since. Daniel is God’s child, and God loves him more than I am capable of loving. God never wastes a Hurt!
We went through a traumatic season when our last Church split. God saved the Church and its testimony, but in the process my heart got shattered. I developed several autoimmune diseases. My doctor put me on medical leave and never released me. The wealthy of the Church attacked my husband’s character – the betrayal left deep wounds. The tensions built, even as the Church met several times a day for prayer. But peace reigned in that tiny room as we invited God to search our hearts. We plead with Him to keep the testimony of His Church alive. Eventually, there was a mass exodus – the wealthy of the Church left. God answered our prayers and cleaned house, but their exit meant Gary’s paycheck got cut in half. I had lost my job. My paycheck and the insurance I carried was gone. We tried to stay to build the Church back up but financially; we were in big trouble. Gary knew he must step down, this time as Senior Pastor of our beloved Church. Once again we had no paycheck. Many years into scarcity, I began calling out to Jehovah-jireh (God provides.) Our phone began ringing. Then the phone wouldn’t stop ringing. People called for Gary’s services. God was providing the money we needed. Every time the phone rang, I lifted my hands and cried out, Jehovah Jirah – You are my provider. I danced and felt real JoY right in the midst of poverty. We didn’t lose our house, as we feared. He met our basic needs and since has gone beyond. God never wastes a Hurt!
Last year my husband experienced a deadly reaction to the drug Flagyl. We almost lost him. He is recovering but as a result, is experiencing many complex health issues. When he first fell ill, I found myself in the same place – no control whatsoever. But this time, it was different. All of my experiences taught me that Jesus is present in the storm’s midst. He was calling me with outstretched arms saying, “Come unto me all ye that are weak and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” My daughters were as ministering angels during this time. We cared for Gary around the clock. He felt like his body was on fire. He was in torturous pain, and couldn’t sleep. The girls and I took shifts. We carried him when he couldn’t walk, we got him in and out of the bathtub day and night, we played music to soothe his suffering, we fed him, we comforted him in whatever way possible. One day he put his arms around all three of us and cried, “I have the best family on earth! Who does this?” Tears were streaming down his face. God’s manifest presence was palpable. God surrounded us with Himself as songs of peace enveloped us. God never wastes a Hurt!
There are many other situations I could share, but I think you get the picture. I wrote these remembrances and opened these vulnerable spaces of my heart to say,
God is patient and loving and He’ll do whatever it takes to teach us He is in control.
He is God, and we are not. I was never in control, not ever!
Many years ago, (during my fearful ‘Susie’ years) my friend, Sally said, “Susie, don’t cross that bridge before it’s time – God is not in this moment to save you from what you imagine is on the other side. BUT He will be on the other side should you need to cross that bridge.” Her words comforted me, and I’ve never forgotten the wisdom held in her analogy.
So, dear friends, have confidence! God will not waste this CoVid-19 experience in your life. He is the Potter we are the clay. He is working in the midst of this storm. When we get to the other side, when our Redeemer reaches his strong arm to rescue us, our faith, in who He is, will be stronger.
Only God has authority to calm the raging storms
Only God has the power to reach into a heart and change it
Only God is able to meet our needs
You see, after we walk with the Lord through:
out-of-control real-life situations
hearing His voice instructing, “I am God – you are not!”
experiencing betrayal from people you trusted
He waits on the other side. There are lessons to learn. This a time to grow.
If we don’t go through the storm, how can we know He is on the other side? How do we learn He is in control of everything? God allows bad things to happen to good people to grow our roots of trust deeper. They grow deeper with each storm.
The only remedy for a fearful heart is trust in God and God alone. We all have an opportunity, right now, to see God in all His glory take care of His kids. God walks with us through the storms of life to grow us.
the lover of our souls.
May God continue to grow us as we face this unprecedented time with Covid-19.
God is deserving of all of our hope, all of our trust, and all of our praise.
I LOVE this song and it’s the perfect summation of this writing. “As I look back on this road I’ve traveled, I see so many times he’s carried me through, and if there’s one thing, I’ve learned in my life, My Redeemer is Faithful and true.” Steven Curtis Chapman.
My Redeemer is Faithful and True by Steven Curtis Chapman