The Beautiful Struggle

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We walked through the dark valley together, Jesus and I. It was the hardest two years of my life, the two years after my husband decided he didn’t want to be married anymore. The two years when nothing was stable except the Rock of Christ Jesus.

Through the darkness, through the depression, through the questioning and the confusion there was Christ, always Christ, always near; tangible.

My life tends to be an open book, one of the consequences of working in radio. I can only share what I know, and for most of my life that hasn’t been a problem. As I’ve grown and matured I’ve better learned how and when I should share. I’ve learned that not every detail has to be shared in order for a story to be effective (although I still love details and often have to reel myself back in). When I was a young girl of 15 and very new in my walk with Christ I asked Him to use my pain. I honestly didn’t know at the time what I was praying, but I knew it was a life defining prayer, “God, whatever I have to walk through, please just use it to help others.”

That prayer has chased me in the decades since it left my mouth. There’s been times I’ve whispered, “I know I said whatever, but maybe not this?” And always there was a reckoning between Jesus and I and a decision made to share even “this” (and there have been many “this”es in the last couple of decades).

I even tried to be as transparent as I could in the season of my divorce, while still honoring other people who were tangled up in my story and giving myself much needed room to protect my heart and keep sacred things secret. I honestly never thought I’d be able to bring myself to utter the word “divorced” much less write or talk about it. Yet, here I am.

After coming to a decision to let God use the divorce “this”, I thought I had reached a new milestone. Surely nothing else that could ever come into my life would be as hard to go public with than the death of my marriage.

I was wrong.

It’s been over a month since I last posted a blog update. And before that post another long gap of time passed between posts. Why? Because I don’t want to write about where I am in life right now. I don’t want you to know. Why? Mostly because I haven’t figured it out yet. I tend to try to wait until I’m on the limping-but-victorious side of the wrestle before laying myself bare. Today I’m still in the wrestle. Today I’m still struggling. Today I’m still asking hard questions. And it’s hard to admit our struggles when we’re stuck in the middle of them.

I’m tempted to remain quiet here in this frustrating place. But I can’t. Why? Because of my brave friend Amber’s words, “I have tended toward self-preservation and hiding, and I have felt that I have had little to offer.”

That’s exactly where I am right now. Self-preservation and hiding with little to offer. But isn’t that exactly where God usually shows up to perform a miracle? And, seriously, I could use a miracle about now.

Because, you see, I’ve lost Jesus.

I know, I know, I haven’t really lost Him. How can the omnipresent one who came to dwell, Emmanuel, be lost? He is here, in the midst of this wrestling place. Only I can’t see Him. Can’t feel Him or hear His voice either. The only thing I can find is the space He once filled, the void of His absence.

I’ve been tempted to fake it a lot lately. To act like things are “just fine thank you”. But I’m having a hard time mustering up the strength to do the whole good-Christian-girl thing, where nothing is ever a struggle. The truth is; it’s all a struggle right now. Prayer. Bible. Worship. It’s a struggle.

The funny thing is, I don’t at all feel hopeless or desperate. I’m strangely accepting of this questioning place. Not content, mind you, but accepting. I can’t help but think that God is growing my roots deep in this wrestling place. Normally, when I feel distant from God I have an overwhelming urge to figure out what’s wrong and fix it immediately. I don’t feel that this time. I feel a resting, a waiting, and an assurance that Jesus and I are okay, even if we don’t feel particularly tight at the moment.

I know what it is to be carried by Jesus. I know what it feels like to have Him bend low and gently bind up my broken-heart wounds. I struggle with knowing how to walk with Jesus in the common everyday mundane of life. I can feel Him when the days are dark and hard, I can’t seem to find Him when the days are sunny and calm. And that is what my heart longs for. Not only to be carried through crisis by Christ, but to also learn to walk beside Him. To be led by Him through dark valleys and green pastures. To walk with Him through raging seas and still waters. To be so aware of His presence in every moment that He can’t ever be lost.

That’s the struggle. Seeking Jesus here. Seeking something genuine and real and sustaining. So, the wrestle continues. I’m not letting go. Not giving up. I’m hanging on and waiting.

~Keri

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11 thoughts on “The Beautiful Struggle

  1. Keri,
    So grateful for your honest heart. As a nurse and the wife of a pastor, I have faced similar journeys, and I feel what’s in your heart. Fresh courage, Sister!! Hang on, and on, and on, until you once again are secure in His arms. It will come; He will come; He promised, and He ALWAYS keeps His promises. Love & hugs.

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    • Thanks for the encouragement Cindy. Learning to rest in the ebb and flow of this journey with Him can be hard stuff. Thankful for sisters to walk with!

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  2. I could have written this myself, word for word! It’s comforting to hear it’s ok to be in a resting place. I even question my salvation, if I can’t feel him now, maybe I never had him? To be in self-preservation mode, would explain why I don’t venture any farther than work, family & a few very close & trusted friends. I can’t take any more rejections in my life. However, I even find it hard to complete tasks in my home. I just want to be in my bed & sleep, which I can do for hours.

    Thank you for sharing!

    Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands! (Psalm 63:3-4)

    >

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    • Oh Sally! It’s a hard place to be isn’t it? But we have to keep holding on, keep waiting for the fog to life. It’s the whisper of our enemy that has you questioning your salvation. You are His, and He doesn’t let go of His girls that easily. Praying for His relentless pursuit of you to be very apparent today and in the days to come. Thanks for your encouragement to me today, I’ll be treasuring that verse.

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  3. That was amazing. I love your honesty and the rawness of your writing. I have felt and at times still feel your pain! Remember with God nothing is impossible. This is just a season

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  4. I agree with you. My struggle sounds very similar to yours, but sprinkle in a LOT of feelings of abandonment, and overall loneliness. I live at home with family whom I love, and focusing on doing the right things, but seems like I’m still messing up somehow. Been reading a lot and trying to remind myself to keep going in the midst of struggling and failures. One thing I remember reading is that feelings are NOT truth. In Matthew 28:20 Jesus said “and lo am with you ALWAYS, even till the end of the world” Not sometimes….. Always. Just writing to remind myself and others on here that we may not get to choose how we feel but we do get to choose what to believe. we always have a choice. And thanks for sharing your struggle on here with us. I will pray for you and the others on here. God bless you 🙂

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    • Oh JINS, I’m so sorry for all you’re going through right now. Yes, He is with us! Aren’t you thankful for that? Praying for you today!

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