Hope in the Dark

“Why, God?”  Have you ever struggled with these words?

Why God did you not heal my friend from cancer?  Why God did my baby’s heartbeat stop?  Why God did you not do what I hoped you would do in my marriage?  Maybe you have your own “Why God” question.

In Craig Groeschel’s new book, Hope in the Dark, he addresses some of these tough questions. Honestly, I read this book in one day; it was so good that I literally could not put it down.  If you are in the middle of a heartbreaking circumstance and struggling with questions and doubts, I recommend reading this book.  It will give you hope and a new perspective.

Listen to what Craig shares in his book, “You can doubt, question, and even struggle in your faith.  But instead of finding that the questions distance you from the heart of God, you will discover something else, something much better.  Honest questions, sincere doubt, and deep hurts can draw you closer to God than you’ve ever been before.”

Could our questions and doubts help strengthen our faith? Could our broken hearts and hurts deepen our dependence on God?

My three greatest heartbreaks: my miscarriage, my divorce and my friend’s death literally brought me to my knees.  Crying out to God for answers and comfort, He met me in the middle of my pain and hurt.  I know He wants to do the same for you too.   

You may be thinking, but what about the questions that keep flooding my mind? Why God did you not heal my loved one?  Why God did you perform a miracle for another family?  Doesn’t God care about what happens to my family and friends?  I have asked myself these exact questions when my good friend, Jeannie, passed.  So many people were praying; I did not understand why God did not perform a miracle like I knew He could.  

Craig shares two stories in his book: one the family gets the miracle and the other has the family planning a funeral.  He says this profound truth, “Some might ask why God was with the first family and not with the second.  I hope you can see that God was with them both- simply in different ways. For the first family, God was with them as healer.  For the second, He was with them as comforter.  Though they experienced one of life deepest losses, they also experienced one of life’s deepest measures of God’s grace.  He was there for them every moment of every painful day.”

Friends, this was so eye-opening for me. God was with both families; one as a healer and one as a comforter.  I know we would rather choose God as the healer if we were writing our stories.  But now that I have walked three times with God as my comforter, I can confidently say that He is faithful.  Not only will He comfort you but He will strengthen you and daily walk alongside you.

I believe that the hardest times in your life will be the most growing times in your faith. 

Friends, don’t let your questions and doubts push you away, but instead let them draw you closer and strengthen your faith. Cling to the verse in Psalms 34:18, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.”  Remember He has not forgotten you! He wants to wrap His loving arms around you to sustain you.   

Praying over you today this quote from the book. As you “wrestle with God, questioning him and yet trusting that He is good, that He will use everything to achieve his purposes and He will bring you out- stronger, better and closer to Him than ever before.”  

Love, Jodi

Shattered Into Dust

Have you ever felt like a clay pot that has been broken into many pieces?  Your life shatters right before your eyes and you are not sure how to pick up the fragments and move forward.   I felt this way during my divorce and then again when my dear friend passed away because of cancer.

I felt completely shattered into a million pieces.

Maybe you feel the same way.  A death in your family has turned your life upside down and you are devastated. Or maybe each month, the negative pregnancy test crushes your hopes and dreams of having a baby. You wonder why me?  Why God?

If you are experiencing disappointment, then I want to encourage you to read Lysa’s new book, It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way.  I so wished this book would have been available to me back in 2014 when I walked through the hardest year of my life.  It is so full of truth and hope when life takes its unexpected turns.  I honestly loved the whole book, but I want to share with you one of my favorite parts.

For those of you that have walked through the last 4 years with me, you know my clay pot story.  To quickly catch some of you up, during my divorce, I purposefully broke a clay pot and glued the pieces back together after reading in a book about a woman who shares her testimony and shows her life like a cracked clay pot.

She describes herself like a beautiful mosaic that allows light to shine through her brokenness.

These words touched my heart so I decided I wanted to do something physical for how I was feeling emotionally. For me, cracking the clay pot was very therapeutic.  As I broke the pot, I noticed there was small pieces and dust that I could not save and glue back together.  It was not until reading Lysa’s new book that I realized just how important this dust can be.

Listen to this incredible insight she shares in her book about dust.  She says “You cannot glue dust back together.  But here is the hope, dust is the very ingredient that God loves to use.”  She reminds us that in the beginning, God formed man out of the dust.  God actually breathed life into the dust and Adam was formed.  She also shares the story of the blind man where Jesus restores his eyesight by spitting into the dust and placing it over the man’s eyes.  She says, “Dust, when mixed with God’s living water, can form clay. God as the potter can take that clay and make anything from it. You see, dust is a great sign that new is just on the horizon.”   What great perspective to focus on as we look at the dust from our brokenness.

God has a purpose for even our dust.  He does not waste a single hurt.

Lysa shares even more insight about dust in my favorite chapter of her book called “When God Gives You More Than You Can Handle.”   Have you ever this way?  Maybe you are in the middle of one storm and another one is on the horizon and you are not sure how you will make it through them both.  Perhaps you feel like God has given you more than you can handle.  The waves of grief keep crashing down upon you one right after another and you cannot catch your breath in between.

Lysa can relate and shares in her book that while she was in the middle of a very heartbreaking situation with her husband, she received another set of devastating news from her doctor.  Trying to make sense of it all, she shared about meeting a woman who gave her a new perspective about her circumstances.  This woman began to tell Lysa about her mom who was a professional potter and this fascinating fact about a clay pot.  (Now you can see why this is my favorite part!)

This is what Lysa wrote, “She told me that wise potters not only know how to form beautiful things from clay, but they also know how important it is to add some dust from previously broken pieces of pottery to the new clay.  This type of dust is called “grog.”  To get this grog, the broken pieces must be shattered to dust just right.  If the dust is shattered too finely, then it won’t add any structure to the new clay. And if it’s not shattered enough, the grog will be too coarse and make the potter’s hands bleed.   But when shattered just right, the grog dust added to the new clay will enable the potter to form the clay into a larger and stronger vessel than ever before.  And it can go through fires much hotter as well.  Plus, when glazed, those pieces end up having a much more beautiful, art.”

Stronger!  More Beautiful!  Able to withstand hotter fires!

Lysa shares this prayer, “Take this Lord and shatter it just right, so I can be made stronger, more beautiful, and able to withstand fires as never before.  I believe that You see things I cannot see.  And You have eventual good in mind.”

Love this prayer and new perspective.  My hope is that we can see our brokenness with God’s perspective.  We can trust our shattered dust into the Potter’s hands.  We can expectantly wait as He is making something new that is more beautiful and stronger than ever before.

Love, Jodi