It was that kind of morning.
The un-showered, pajama-clad, and (late-to-everything-in-life) kind of start. The fuzzy, gradual, transition when you realize that absolutely no coffee in the world will be able to fix your downward spiral into hyperventilating, crazy-lady-land.
I might’ve even growled through my teeth a bit. Frazzled, impatient, and exhausted from the past couple of weeks, I was way past edgy. We’re navigating back-to-school challenges, financial goals, workloads, volunteer projects, prayer requests, and home improvements all in the personal sphere alone. Let’s not even start on the COVID-19 pandemic and this new Delta strain that seems to be re-entering our lives and affecting each and every one of us in one way or another. I realized I was hanging on by a thread.
A very fine, sliver of a thread—emotionally, physically, and mentally.
I was a ticking time bomb, ready to implode. Every once in a while, I get overwhelmed and discouraged. Life sneaks up and suddenly shoots out kamikaze bombshells. When I assemble the courage to take a peek out over the bunker and assess the damage, I find the horizon is heavy laden with stress, busyness, and worry. And when you are on the edge (with minimal amounts of sleep and copious amounts of caffeine), questions arise: What in the world just happened? God, are You seeing this? Did I do something wrong here? Or was it something I didn’t do? And please, before you respond—I really need you to understand something: I KNOW that this season will not last forever, OK? I don’t need to hear the same old adage that, “This too shall pass” or "God will never give you more than you can handle" or "This must have been all part of God's plan".
Because honestly, I despise those words. I need more than filler words. I need truth in the form of love. I need your presence and a reminder of promises to come. I need you to pray with me and bring me back into the reality of eternity. I need Scripture whispered in my ear and my soul fed its Daily Bread. I need light in my world of darkness. It’s OK to tell me that life is hard sometimes because it certainly is. But don't sweep my pain under the rug. Instead, sit with me and read to me the story of old. Remind me that hope often comes in the darkest hour. Call out God's goodness and whisper the truth that I am in the palm of His everlasting hands. Speak life-filled words of affirmation that bring me back to the reality of who I am in Christ … that I am loved beyond comprehension and He is here with me.
Remind me of the pain, rejection, and condemnation that Jesus experienced on the cross, and never let me forget that death and evil do not win. Revive my spirit by your presence so that I may walk in truth and love—even on the days I don’t feel like it. Especially during the times my spirit is downcast and troubled with sorrow. Don’t tell me, “This too shall pass” unless you are prepared to remind me of all the other things that go with it. Encourage me with substance by being a channel for the Holy Spirit to minister, comfort, and support me. Tell me that, YES ... the Bible says that “…tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance character; and character hope” (Romans 5:3-4) but even if I don't believe that for myself right now, you'll believe it for me.
Weep with me (Romans 12:14) and tell me that although I might be afflicted, I am not crushed ... and even though I'm feeling struck down, I am not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:9). Read me verses that say, "...God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain" like John did in Revelation 21:4 (NKJV).
Because when you remind me of God's Word, my soul is revived, and I can be brave again.
When you encourage me with substance, I remember grace sprinkled throughout history and time that lifts my face to see past the here and now. My current circumstances are brought back into the context of eternity. This allows me to drink my coffee and let Scripture change my countenance. I realize I can trust Jesus when things seem impossible. Because when you encourage me with substance, I remember. I remember who God is in relation to my problems. I am reminded that everything will be made new. I hold onto the truth that this life is my temporary home. I recall the things I so easily forget when going through the crazy land of sickness, kids, bills, setbacks, hurts, and aggravations. And most importantly of all, I get down on my weak and wobbly knees and ask for forgiveness for my Real-Housewives-of-Jennifer-Land attitude. I ask God (like the disciples did), “Lord, increase my faith!” (Luke 17:5). Here's the truth: when life is difficult the pendulum of my countenance swings to the right and left more quickly than flashes of floods in the desert. Our emotions waver dangerously in raging waters.
But when you encourage me with substance ...
When you point me to Jesus ...
When you speak the truth in the form of love into my context—everything changes.
The storm in contrast to God is bearable. I can turn my weary countenance and cling to the everlasting Truth that God is with me. Incarnate in this very moment with love, light, and hope that a future of His glory is near.
When you encourage me with substance you bring the proximity of heaven closer to my reality on earth ... and my soul breathes.