Friday, March 4, 2016

Beauty From Ashes


It was a chilly Saturday as I curled up in the guest room.  Tears stained my cheeks, the lump in my throat sore from holding back sobs.  The guest room, poised off of our garage, was my retreat.  My place of solace where I knew I could be alone with the pieces of my heart... searching.

When I look back on that sad Saturday, almost a month spent since it happen, I can't help but smile now for all the wonderful things God showed me through the pain... the beauty which rose from those proverbial ashes.  Words whispered in the silence alone... Words from my Father and I trusted Him... beauty would come.  I couldn't have known then how, almost instantly, healing was born from that trust.

I am not in a place just yet where I can divulge much of the details of that fateful day.  It was a culmination of both misunderstandings and careless, hurtful words.  You spend your life learning to trust someone, then feeling it was all a lie and heartlessness has won out.  That was the misunderstanding.  The careless words, when said in anger, always need to be weighed against their context.  Something I failed to do in my self-defeatist mindset that day.

Yet, curled and crying and wondering "why God" and "are you really there God"... that so-sweet voice whispered "you can't understand now, but beauty will rise" and "yes, you know I am".  Yes, I knew He was.  So many times I have seen His hand on my life, heard His whispers and witnessed His mighty work.  Too many times to deny His power.  So instead I rested and trusted Him.  I didn't have to know anything beyond He is my God and He is good.  That was more than enough.  Honestly, I didn't have the fight in me for anything more.

As this month has tumbled by my heart almost bursts with joy as I recall all I learned that day and in the days which followed.  I took time off from the blog to ponder and pray and  The beauty?  Here is just a glimpse:

I will never be enough.period.  Christ is what, or rather WHO, makes me enough.  To attempt "enough" in homemaking, wifing, mothering and beyond, then feel completely distraught when I fall short... is failing to see I could never "make it" to begin with.... it is pride blocking my view of God thinking I can do this on my own

Oh, I prayed.  I prayed over every single day; beginning, middle and end.  I invited God to guide and be a part and on and on and on.  But then I dug into my roll as attempted super-mom/wife, out to save the world, thinking it justified my existence and defined who I am.  But there-in lay the problem...

I had hit that bump, early 40s, and I asked: am I having a mid-life crisis?  I love my home/family/"job"... why doesn't my skin feel like it fits anymore?  The answer was so simple, I couldn't believe it was true: I had staked my identity so much in my roll here I lost sight of WHO I was.  My identity had been mis-placed... not lost.... no, I knew just where it was: in me.

How did missionary mama, women's ministry planter, Sunday school teacher... mis-identify?  Simply?  I think it was because I have always been a planner/preparer/DOER and never fully embraced the simple truth that what we do is not equivalent to who we are.  It is merely a reflection of our abilities.

Then church one Sunday, in the midst of this pondering, rolled around.  I lifted my voice to the same tune I had heard played many times... in the churches, on the radio, on my computer... but FINALLY it hit that sweet spot, deep inside, and something clicked.  The answer to my million dollar question of if I am not what I do, how do I identify?

You're a good good Father
It's who You are, it's who You are, it's who You are
And I'm loved by You
It's who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am

Chris Tomlin says it best.  If God is a good good Father and I have accepted Him... my identity is simply that: daughter of God, loved by God.  Why do I want to BE anything more?  Why would I want to identify as anything else?  Yes, being a mom/wife is wonderful... but if my children hit a rebellious stage I feel like a bad mom... if my husband and I argue over something I forget or fell short on I feel like a bad wife.  BUT, if I am so focused on and lost in my identity in God through Christ, then everything else just doesn't matter as much.  

Maybe I sound like a newbie in the faith, stating an obvious basic truth.  But that doesn't matter.  I have an inkling I am not alone in getting so wrapped up in doing everything right I get lost in the things I do.  I know I have needed this reminder in the past: when God helped me overcome bulimia (I am my weight), when I had to undergo a full hysterectomy at 29 (I am my ability to procreate), when God healed me of clinical depression (I am how I feel).... and so on.  Yes.  WHO I AM has been a re-occurring theme in my life but somehow, this time was different.

So why?  Why go through all this turmoil and questioning to discover (or rediscover) those 2 basic truths?  Well, Chris Tomlin's song answers that as well:

Oh, it's love so undeniable
I, I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable
I, I can hardly think
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
Into love, love, love

Just before all of this went down in beginning February I had reached a place in my Walk where I was asking God for revelation; something to bring me deeper into His fold.  He answered.  Sure it was messy and heart-wrenching and hurtful.  But it was so growing and cleansing and healing.  

Where am I now?  Well, I am back here writing again!  Taking it one-step-at-a-time.  I feel like my relationships with my husband and kids has grown exponentially. Being realistic has helped as well: they will still challenge me!  But I won't let those challenges take my eyes off the Mark.  I am not my failures... no.... I am loved by God, I am redeemed and that is more than enough!  When I fall, He will help me up, I can't do it on my own.

I pray you can understand my jumbled testimony of this past month's lessons!  Understand enough to be encouraged in your own identity.  You may be a wife, mom, daughter, sister.... but you ARE loved by God.  Draw closer to Him and trust this identity is all you need to be complete!




  1. It's a joy to feature your beautiful post on my blog this week. You are our featured #TellHisStory writer of the week. Thank you for your ministry here. Your words make a difference in the lives of God's daughters.

    1. I am humbled and grateful. I know your site has been a blessing in my life. Thank you for the feature.

  2. I'm sorry you were hurt, Amanda. Hurtful words can cut so deep, can't they? But I'm so glad they brought you deeper and closer with God. I love this truth - "BUT, if I am so focused on and lost in my identity in God through Christ, then everything else just doesn't matter as much." Isn't that just so true? We are not our failures, but we are loved by God. I love these comforting words here. Thank you!

    1. I'm blessed you could be encouraged by these words today. They were tough to share at first... baring myself open... but I knew I had to in case God wanted to encourage others through these experiences. Blessings to you!

  3. Hello Amanda,

    I'm visiting you from #TellHisStory. Congratulations on being featured this week! I love that song by Chris Tomlin. So thankful we have a good, good Father. You have a lovely site and I'm happy to find you!

    1. Thank you, I'm glad you found me too :-) Aren't we so blessed by such a wonderful Father we can place our identity with?!

  4. As you shared the timeline of what God was doing in your life, I could resonate. As it says in The Chronicles of Narnia, 'Aslan is on the move.' My January and February had a similar theme of sorts. March has brought more hope, but I am so glad to have visited this site just the other day - we are not alone. God really wants His Bride to see our identity in Christ alone. Blessings on your journey. (From a fellow missionary/wife/mother/home school teacher)

  5. Thank you for sharing your heart. Seeing a fellow missionary/wife/mother/homeschool teacher fight the same battles, and overcome, is encouraging! Blessings to you as you feel God's presence and see Him move!