I’ve been thinking a lot lately.
A lot about: Life. Relationships. God. Church. Family. Grief. Helping others through grief. Illness. The FANTASTIC people you meet in life. The not-so-great people you’ve had the displeasure of knowing. Healing that has taken place. Raw wounds that scab over, yet somehow re-open. What a great gift life is — actually, what a treasure each and every day truly is.
Lots and lots of thoughts…both good and bad.
I’m a pretty deep person by nature. My husband jokingly says while some people tend to be kiddie pools or swimming pools, I’m lucky enough to be a large, deep ocean.
But those who are “oceans” know that it doesn’t always feel so lucky.
When you have depth and many life experiences, you can see, discern, and perceive things around you..and that’s not always a fun thing. You can quickly “know” a person’s character and motives…sometimes without them saying a single word. You have an incredible God-blessed ability to help others — and feel an empathy that allows you to absorb others heartache so you can truly help them find healing and wholeness.
And people who are oceans think a lot more than most realize. When you’re often around grief and heartache, helping the grief community day in and day out, you truly have times where you don’t just think about things…you carry a lot of your clients pain and questions, too.
Questions such as: why do children die?…why do people put their precious spouses through so much agonizing heartache due to adultery?…why do people have to get sick?…how do family and friends hurt, backstab, reject, abandon, or betray those closest to them—and sometimes not even care?…how do some pastors and church people cause intense pain then not even care about those they’ve hurt, ran off, rejected, or offended?…why is there so much pain, chaos, and heartache in the world?
Pretty much, you think about and question every scenario you see people you help go through.
And then you wrestle with God with questions you may have.
And there you go…you have an extra crispy collision.
For the record, I grew up in a conservative church. You weren’t really taught much about wrestling with God or asking tough questions because to question God was considered Extra Crispy. I think every Baptist has heard sermons on how Jacob wrestled with God, but I would have loved to have been taught how to bring my questions to God without feeling like an extra crispy heathen.
Definition of Extra Crispy: an undesirable activity, thought, feeling, or action that others believe can send you straight to hell to fry for life.
Growing up, extra crispy could have been my middle name. Ashamedly, I was my mother’s worst child. I questioned everything, and wanted to experience life so I’d know what I personally thought or believed. For myself. On.my.own. All by myself.
Majority of it stemmed from a place of deep hurt…yet I’m extremely grateful for the harsh lessons I learned from my “extra crispy” days long ago.
When God turned my life around, the same closed fist that shook at Him demanding answers…was turned into a soft open outstretched hand that desperately sought Him for life’s answers.
Similarly, I sharply questioned my parents while growing up. After I became a parent myself, I found great value in my parents and asking them for advice and guidance.
Both were similar experiences.
I didn’t fully respect or value my parents advice, opinions, or guidance until I understood their love for me. Likewise, I didn’t value God’s authority or answers until I understood His deep love and concern for me, as well.
When you understand just how HUGE God’s love (and heart) truly is, you understand that He will NEVER allow you to go through deep heartache without having a great purpose behind it. His heart is kind…good…merciful…compassionate.
I truly hate that I wasted so much time getting to that humble spot…with God and my parents. I also truly hate that people are taught that it is an extra crispy sin to question God during their greatest life struggles.
For the record: yes, God is God. He is holy, perfect, perfectly good and 100% right all of the time. Absolutely! He doesn’t owe any of us anything…and He most certainly doesn’t owe anybody answers. Ever.
But…as the Ultimate Parent, He loves each and everyone of us so much that He welcomes the dialogue.
It is always better to have a difficult or hard conversation with God where you share with Him your questions and everything you think and feel – in a respectful way – than to harden your heart and make poor choices that will eventually lead to a hard and difficult life.
We don’t ask questions to demand answers…we ask questions to seek to understand His magnificent heart and purpose. And there is ALWAYS purpose in pain.
God can handle the big questions. He can handle the dialogue we bring to Him from the overpowering grief, hardships, and heartaches we each go through. He welcomes our messes…and the imperfect questions we have…with arms wide open.
God wants you to ask Him why your spouse committed adultery, or broke your heart, or left…or why your precious baby or child died…or why your prodigal teenager or adult child is in deep rebellion…or why your family or friends mistreated you…or why you lost your job…or why you or a loved one is going through a major or terminal illness or disability…or any other life questions you may have. He wants you to ask because He genuinely listens and cares.
When questions are asked, the One who holds the answers can work deep within our hearts and lives.
Whatever you are going through, God wants you to have a full head-on collision with His great heart so He can help you through your most heart wrenching, honest, authentic, toughest mess of questions.
Because when you go to Him with your questions about life…He gives you an incredible gift — He then deeply ministers to your heart and brings you healing, guidance, purpose and peace.
So go to God and ask your toughest questions. It doesn’t mean that you lack faith…it means you want to finally cross the bridge of the Cross so you can powerfully reconnect with His amazing heart to build your faith back up!
Share with God your gut-wrenching feelings, fears, and concerns. Plead with Him to intervene and work in (and through) every situation in your life.
God doesn’t roll His eyes or resent our questions or pleadings. He’s slow to anger. He welcomes us, loves us, and stands ready to embrace us in His loving compassionate arms.
Whatever you are going through in life, He truly cares. And it isn’t a flippant or fickle type of a care. He’s all in.
When you understand just how all in He is, you begin to place your burdens at His feet…onto His back…into His capable hands…sealed into His loving heart.
So go to God today. Ask Him the questions you most long to. Ask Him to reveal His purpose for any heartache or disappointment you are going through. Ask Him to turn your hardships and grief into something of great value. Seek His heart, unconditionally give Him your circumstances, and ask Him to use you and your life experiences for His glory.
He’s waiting. He loves. He cares.
So after thanking Him for His great patience, compassion, genuine concern, and unfailing love, what will your first heartfelt conversation be?
He welcomes the dialogue. He always welcomes and loves YOU!❤️
©2016 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.
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For more encouragement:
Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net
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Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): Click here for book
Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com
FREE YouVersion reading plans:
1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships
2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed
3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites
4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays