I'm glad you're here today.
Today I'm going to share my hard with you.
Today, I'm going to share my broken.
What exactly is my broken?
My broken is a combination of misfit feelings-
loneliness, struggle, worry, fear.
Perhaps you know some of them, too?
I will be sharing the bare bones details of my current hardships.
A few bits of hard.
Maybe you can pray for the bits? Will you?
Thanksgiving day was a seemingly "normal" day here.
Mr. Mustard Seed had to work all day,
and so the littles and I spent the day together.
They helped me make pretty pumpkin pies,
and I cooked a turkey feast.
We celebrated together when Mr. Mustard Seed came home.
It was a sweet time together-
our cozy little family,
gathered together, with hearts of thankfulness.
There's brokenness in my extended family,
and brokenness is hard.
I found myself missing the extended family feeling,
or at least my idea of what that should be like.
I suppose the feeling was not without reason,
yet it caught me off guard.
Mr. Mustard Seed and I have always been a rock star team.
We've always handled the hardships of life together,
and I know it's that rock star togetherness has helped root our relationship.
Sometimes we struggle together with the loneliness in the hardship.
Perhaps you know that loneliness too?
Sometimes I think that the loneliness in hardship
is almost more difficult than the hardship itself.
When I find myself facing a large trial,
My heart longs to be spurred on, encouraged, hugged.
But I shrink.
I feel lonely,
I feel like hiding.
And it takes strength to tell myself,
"Self, you can't hide."
I know hiding lets the devil win.
I know hiding keeps me from the goodness God wants me to grow in me.
I refuse to let it hinder the refining of my soul.
Yesterday, I pushed through.
I pushed through and went to church-
afraid I would cry.
Afraid I would feel alone.
Or bottle up.
But I pushed through,
because I know there's a greater good in all of this.
The first song we sang was, "Happy Day."
Do you know that song?
I was worried I was going to cry,
and you know what?
I held BW in my arms,
fixed my eyes on the screen,
and sang praises to my Savior.
And I cried-
big, salty, soggy tears.
And you know what?
In that moment,
the only thing that mattered was the song I was singing.
In my brokenness, Jesus met me there.
And then my pastor started teaching.
He taught from the book of Acts.
He shared about the numerous hardships Paul faced-
-riots (Acts 19:23-41, 23:6-10)
-assassination attempts (Acts 20:3, 23:12-22, 25:1-5)
-imprisonment and house arrest (Acts 24, 28:14-31)
I'd never really thought about how hard Paul's life really was.
And you know what?
Through his hardships, the words of Jesus were fulfilled.
And despite the seemingly hopeless circumstances of his life,
he repeatedly shared a message of hope with others.
Paul's hope was not a temporary earthly hope.
Paul's hope was an eternal hope,
firmly rooted in his faith in Jesus Christ as the risen Savior.
Of course, all of this caused me to reflect on my current situation.
I immediately felt convicted and
knew I was living a defeated life in my current hardships.
My eyes were focused on the struggle within my circumstance,
and not focused on the goodness and grace of my Savior in the circumstance.
And I recognized the sin in my struggle.
Lately I've found myself pondering two questions:
Am I willing to suffer for Jesus?
And if so, how much?
I know I need to live my life like Paul- a life of eternal hope.
A life that glorifies God, even in the broken.
I can suffer for my Savior,
look how much my Savior suffered for me.
Suffering is not without reason;
it's in our broken that we are refined and made new.
And that, my friends, is a beautiful thing.
"Oh, what a glorious day,
what a glorious way,
that you have saved me."
-Tim Hughes, "Happy Day"