Honest texts with a friend the other night:
It's been brought to my attention quite a bit lately that I portray myself as a high achiever, strong, confident, bulletproof. Truth is, I'm human and I hurt like everyone else.
Yes, it's definitely a season of ACCELERATION as I anticipated. And it's requiring a lot of sacrifice in some ways. It's hard. And it's lonely most days. I don't understand it. I battle tremendous fear sometimes. I even violate my own personal boundaries and carefully constructed plans. I confess, I even struggle taking care of myself- often forgetting to eat or falling asleep on my keyboard in the wee hours of the morning working on projects. I feel disconnected from the world as I stare at 2 (sometimes 3) computer screens for 14+ hours per day. And I wonder why. I mean I see the vision clearly. But still deep desires of my heart are unmet.
Yesterday while driving to a meeting, I wept in my car uncontrollably because I looked in the rear view mirror and saw vacant seats. It was a shock to my spirit almost expecting to see little people back there. The agonizing reality that I'm not yet a mother. Whilst I know God knows the desires of my heart and that in His perfect timing He'll bless me beyond belief, it's still hard. I work my butt off and have nearly nothing to show for it. And in times of exhaustion, I have no chest to lay my head upon, no human heartbeat to soothe me to sleep; protected, loved.
My amazingly encouraging friend replied with words I KNOW will bless you as they blessed me. A prophetic word of encouragement:
Gosh, I’m sorry Heather. I wish I could take it from you or have an answer for you as to why you’re still waiting for all that or better yet grant you your desires. But please don’t lose heart. Hang in there. I believe you’re in a “THROUGH” season.
I’ve been studying a lot about dark nights of the soul. I believe it’s where David wrote Psalm 23 from, based on the change to the second person in the middle of it when he said “yea, though I walk THROUGH the valley of the shadow of death”...
I believe there is darkness and then a whole different level of utter darkness. The valley of the shadow of death are times of utter darkness. Or dark nights of the soul. Or crisis’ of faith. Winter. Desert. Wilderness. Many terms.
Based on my own experience and some revelation I’ve picked up a few things:
1. The place you are in is a place of honor. Though it doesn’t feel like it. The Good Shepherd is bringing you through to a ridiculous spiritual breakthrough. And I believe His two sheepdogs of goodness and mercy are the only things hunting you down every day.
2. These seasons provoke deep questions. Like the ones you’re asking. What do I have to show for it? Is it worth it? God, have you called me to it and abandoned me? How can I accept the unraveling, tearing apart or decaying of my life, dreams, etc with joy? How long? Will this require me to always be lonely? If I know there will be suffering, how possibly can I prepare to suffer without losing heart? Our souls question, based on experience, the very character of God.
These questions, doubt, depression, distance from God and others will be opportunities for ministry, not obstacles.
Lean into the questions and keep praying about them...asking God to reveal Who He is in this season.
3. Your belief that you can control the outcome by accepting responsibility and taking action to create a different circumstance will be greatly challenged in this season. You’ll push and pull but only find closed doors. You’ll realize you are not in control of everything. This is a tough pill to swallow because you’re used to driving things in the direction you want. You’ll learn the only move is to surrender, let go and wait.
This sucks because you feel powerless, unproductive, like you’re not advancing. It attacks your sense of feeling capable.
Keep surrendering and letting go.
He is worthy of waiting on.
4. Its a season of isolation, alienation, and abandonment. The people you usually reach for are gone, unavailable, not there, or worse abandon you. Your normal support system is completely wiped out, completely. So you have no consolation other than the Lord. You realize nobody can go through this for you or even with you. You journey alone with your Shepherd.
This might be the worst part because it attacks your self worth. Am I not good enough? Nobody cares? Nobody loves me or cares for my soul?
He will strip you of all other voices so He can whisper everything you are to Him.
His whisper will be the loudest voice in your life.
5. You’re attacked where it hurts the most. First in your hopes and dreams by holding you down for long periods of time...often marked by years. Sometimes even breaking your desire to live...you just want to die and be with the Lord.
It also attacks what means most to you...success, family, marriage, ministry, money, health, ability, reputation. Often more than one but many of those. Your main lesson will be in that area that means most, leading to confusion and despair.
This breaks us down completely, so that the old is gone.
But it is a through season. Not a stopping point.
Though your life may feel like it’s at a dead stop. Keep close to your Shepherd. Keep reciting Psalm 23. It’s strangely prescriptive for comfort.
And I’ve found there’s a strange power of song that helps. Almost like we sing our way through it...both communally and privately. Psalm 42 and 77 both talk about His song in the night.
Heather, in His faithfulness He is afflicting you right now. But it’s only for a season. Not only is it producing for you an eternal weight of glory that will make all this seem light and momentary...but I also believe His next to be revealed plans for your life here are beyond what you’ve ever dreamed.
And I know you are a dreamer. 😉
-From an incredible human, a mighty man of valor, strength and wisdom of whom I deeply respect.