How This Girl Learned to Say Amen - Even In The Face of Pain, Trial and Heartache
If you haven’t listened to Andra Day’s new song “Amen“, you MUST! That is an order! The base of it is that things happened in her life and it hurt, but she knows there was purpose in it so she says “Amen” to it all. What a beautiful view.
This came at the perfect timing as I have been studying Job and Ecclesiastes. Vastly different books (style, perspective and author), but they have a common theme. Hard times come, but with God there is now purpose in them and it always brings Him glory. Its hard to not sit here and weep as I put my life under the microscope of that truth and allow the words of Andra’s song to carry all my memories to the surface.
Guys. I have not had the most beautiful life. I have had more heartache than I ever expected. I have had more trouble than I knew how to deal with and I have faced things I never imagined would be a part of my story.
I’ve been hurt, forgotten, and left by some of my closest friends.
I’ve been used as someone’s stepping stone to their own goals.
I’ve been backed into corners and tried to fight my way out, only to be punished.
I’ve been beaten in almost every way possible.
I’ve been through loss.
I’ve been in the middle of spiritual war and felt every flaming dart hitting me.
That is only a small portion of the things that make up my life story. Those are all things I have tried to not think about, or have pushed into a box that I left on the shelf to collect dust. That’s the funny thing about God though. There is no shelf too high for Him to reach and He isn’t afraid to open your box.
Purpose in the Pain
God allowed Job to go through heartache after heartache. Job wasn’t being punished, and in the end he was “rewarded” because his story gave God true glory. His story left an eternal impact. That’s the greatest gift you can be given. Job’s friends didn’t see it like that and they were stuck under the rock of “Why him?” They couldn’t understand that sometimes things happen in your life that can’t be explained or understood on this side of heaven, but its not for this life, but for your eternity (and sometimes someone else’s eternity).
I can clearly see how all the trials and the painful experiences that make up my life have led me to this exact moment in my life. I have grown from all of them. This is how this girl learned to say amen. I have become a stronger woman, but more so, a stronger believer. I have changed for the better because I realized the importance of how to struggle through each of them. God didn’t allow my shelves to line up with box after box of experiences I wanted to forget. He lovingly opened them one by one and taught me a lesson with each of them.
Take a Moment
Have you ever looked back on where you came from and are blown away by the growth that happened? Then you feel like you can take on the world because you remember how incredible you are because you are a temple for the Holy Spirit? I truly believe that is a gift in and of itself. Life has a way of bringing new trials and heartache, but as Ecclesiastes says time and time again “there is nothing new under the sun”.
Why is it that we forget this when we are face to face with our demon? Why do we forget that “He has made everything beautiful in its time…” (Ecc. 3:11)? That verse isn’t talking about an outward beauty because that fades, but the fact that God can take any life or situation and bring beauty from it.
If you would have told me a couple of years ago when my “true love” and I broke up, my friends forced me out of our home and I was living in a tiny room full or bugs that was at the back of a camp cabin, that I would one day be married to the true man of my dreams with a beautiful and spunky step-daughter, attending a church that I love, helping lead worship and going to school for ministry….. I would have called you crazy and put you in one of my boxes and placed you on a shelf in the loony bin.
That’s my reality, though. God allowed (or caused) all of that to happen to grow me in so many ways. Between that time and now many more circumstances have come that I could tell you brought me to this moment, but that was one of the most pivotal moments for me. I didn’t unpack those boxes for many months and eventually my shelves became so heavy that I could barely function.
My Dark Ages
I became depressed and suicidal. I was similar to Solomon, chasing after that fleeting feeling of joy, that eventually Jesus reminded me was only found in Him. I had forgotten how to take the gaping wound that I so badly wanted to just close up and push aside as quickly as possible, and lay it at the feet of Jesus and say “amen”! I forgot how to “rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)
We cannot be the quiet Christians who make their lives look perfect and neat because our issues are in boxes lining our shelves. Instead we need to be the Christians who let out a mighty roar proclaiming that our God is STILL good and that HIS glory is what we are striving for. If that means my life must be stripped of every good thing, then so be it, because my God is still, and forever will be, good.
And let’s be honest, what better way to put the satan in his place than to look at his burning arrows and say “Bring it on, for my God will get the glory. Amen!”?