I am a firm believer in writing from scars, not wounds. But today, I’m breaking that rule. I am writing from a wound because I can only hope these words will be comforting for other friends out there struggling and in need of hopeful reminders like I am.
The recent weeks have hit me hard. Does anyone else have those dry seasons? The times where life seem bland, joy seems further out of reach, and all you want to do is stay in bed and choose apathy instead of doing something to fix it? Maybe you can’t relate, but that is where I am now and I’d like to think we all have or will experience dry seasons in our lives. I have been praying broken, weary words, wondering why God feels so far away and why his life-giving joy and hope has been harder to find lately. I don’t mean to sound dramatic, just being honest.
I say all that so you can understand these next words are as much for me as I hope they are for you. As I have cried out my prayers, here is what God has laid on my heart as recently as 30 minutes ago (I know- I told you these wounds are fresh).
Keep going back to Jesus. The most difficult thing for me to do has been to sit at the feet of Jesus. I open my Bible, stare at a passage, maybe even read it, and then I close it in discouragement. I have felt like a fraud of a Jesus follower. I sit there staring at ink on a page, numb to life-changing truths. Honest moment: I have felt so far from God that I thought it would be too much work going back to him; because I am so messed up, I thought it would take a lot of work to feel near him again. I cannot think of a bigger lie than that statement. Every time I let that lie into my heart, I remember words from a friend who lovingly told me before: “Lauren, sometimes all we need to do is sit with our Father.” She’s right, rather than flipping pages, searching desperately for scripture to fill me up a fire hose speed, sometimes what I really need is to simply rest in his presence. That means going back to him, even when I’m discouraged, tired, or fighting shame. I show up. He will be faithful in our time together. I just have to keep coming back to him, carrying patience, grace, and trust the entire time.
John 16:33- “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Reflect and remember all he has done. After a small meltdown this week, I opened my computer and watched videos I made over the years from adventures and times with family and friends. I think I initially wanted to watch them because I was sad, but afterwards I actually felt lighter. It turned into a time of remembering things I love to do, experiences that have shaped me, and people in my life that love me. Being reminded of those brought gratefulness for all the Lord has done for me. He has taken me further than I ever could have imagined at this point in my life. He has taken the deepest pits and turned them into mountaintops. If he did that before in our lives, I have no doubt he is doing it now. Take time to flip through journals, notes, or photos and remember how far he has taken you.
Isaiah 49:16- “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.”
You are not alone. The only reason I’m spilling my heart out like this is because I know there are people feeling this way too. We are not alone in the emptiness. We have all been there, and unfortunately probably will be there again at some point in our lives. Feel what you feel. You have to treat the wound before it can heal, and ignoring it will only make it worse. You are not being over-sensitive or emotional; you are being human, and a really good one at that. It is okay, take a deep breath. You are not the only one feeling this way.
Keep your home team close. I am such a fan of home teams (shout out to the book “Bittersweet”). Everyone has a home team; it is your group of go-to people. It is the people who know way too much about you, who will do anything for you no questions asked, and who love you more than anyone else in your life. Even Jesus had a home team (okay, technically we are all on Jesus’ home team…but hang with me on this). He invited his three disciples, Peter, James, and John, into moments the rest did not see. I think it’s important to have your team of people who know the details of your life others do not. Open up to them; be honest and real about how you are really feeling. There is no shame on your home team. We all need accountability and transparency, pursue that with a team of friends you trust.
I hope those words were full of hope and encouragement for you; I know it was relieving for me to type them out. Dry seasons are not fun, but it’s important to acknowledge they exist. There will be times where the lies feel more real, our hearts feel weaker, and it takes a little more to get out of bed in the morning. But the desert doesn’t last forever; while it seems endless, life will start to appear, water will sprinkle in, and joy will be restored. No matter how dark it gets, let’s never stop choosing hope over hopelessness.
words by Lauren Grindstaff and photo by Alyssa Nesbitt