a Word for all seasons…

a Word for all seasons…

{photo by Shirl}

I remember the day he broke my heart. After a week long vacation of exploring his neck of the woods and getting to know his family, he told me we were “over.” The next morning he drove me to the airport and put me on a plane headed north, back to my parents. I was devastated. Nothing… no words, no Kleenex, not even the kind nun sitting next to me could absorb my grief.
Some pains need some time to work themselves out of a heart. Perhaps you understand.
This particular pain would be no different. I spent the rest of my summer licking my wounds, even having thoughts of transferring to another college. My parents were wonderfully supportive. I don’t think they’d ever seen their baby girl cry so many tears. They loved me back to functioning health, and when September rolled around I made the one mile trek back to college (a hometown school) with a stiff upper lip and a gaping wound.
Asbury College was and still is a relatively small campus. Everybody knew everybody, and everybody knew—almost before returning to the fall semester—that I was suffering with a broken heart. There was a huge “elephant in the room” walking through the campus grounds that semester; everywhere I turned, he was there… not the elephant, but the boy that I loved. He quickly moved on to loving someone else. My heart’s pace walked a bit more slowly. And I never thought my tears would end.
But they did, and now some twenty-seven years down the road, I reflect on that season of my first heartbreak and just exactly where the turnaround began.
It began with the Word of God.
I’ve been a church girl all of my life… loved Jesus, known Jesus from the cradle. I’ve heard his stories, sung his songs, claimed his love, and walked some faith from the earliest of articulations. Along the way, there have been strong moments of clarity regarding my commitment to Christ, and my sophomore year in college would prove to be one of them.
As a teenager I began to lightly study the Bible. My youth pastor and his wife beautifully depicted for me what it meant to walk in discipleship with Christ; as a youth, I memorized a lot of Scripture as a requirement for participation in various missions’ trips. But rigorous Bible study wouldn’t happen for me until my late thirties. Up until that time, it was a gradual “heating up” of my heart and my developing a rich appreciation for what God’s Word could do for me.
In the fall of 1984, God turned up the heat a notch, and I found a scripture (perhaps it found me) that would become my saving grace for that painful season. I don’t know how I happened upon it, but as I did, I was sure that God had penned it into holy writ as a postscript just for me. I didn’t know what to call it then—“it” being when the Word (Logos) of God becomes a personal, spoken word (Rhema) to my heart. Thankfully, my lack of understanding didn’t get in the way of my receiving. Instead, I let it wrap its blanketing warmth around my heart. I quoted it over and over again until it became my certainty, and today (ever time I think on it or hear it quoted by another), I cannot help but attach a memory or two from that season alongside it.
It was the anchor that held me…
“Therefore, we do not lose heart; though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. Therefore, we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:16-18)
Twenty-seven years ago, my heart was in trouble. At eighteen years of age, that break-up was the largest “momentary trouble” I’d ever faced. I’m so glad that God doesn’t weigh out our needs before giving us his Scripture… as if some verses are reserved for those more sorely troubled. We’re blessed to receive the entirety of God’s Word as a personal anchor for all seasons, whether the heartache is perceived to be big or small.
My heart has moved on from the summer of 1984. My light and momentary troubles have changed over the years. There were more heart “aches” to follow that initial one, and as they arrived, even more of God’s Word to comfort and anchor my weary soul. But I’ve never forgotten that beginning “word” that helped me through that rough patch, and friends, I don’t suppose I’ll ever forget the current “word” that has helped me through this recent rough one.
It “found” me in much the same way as 2 Cor. 4:16-18 did in 1984… almost as if God had penned a postscript into Scripture just for me. Even though I had read it before, I’d never read it through the eyes of personal suffering. It gripped me seven months ago. It grips me still. It has been and will continue to be the anchor that holds me in the days to come…
“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 5:10-11).
God himself… restoring me. God using the best of what man has to offer me, but in the end, God himself… restoring me. Renewing me. Making me strong and firm in my footing and steadfast in my faith. Father God laying brick upon brick between mortar mixed by his own hands, making sure that the broken walls before him are restored to a beauty not yet seen. A loveliness not yet imagined.
Many doctors, nurses, friends, family members, and even strangers have held my hands in recent days, speeding me on toward my recovery. But only One has held my heart, making me his priority and making sure that I arrive safely there. Only God is capable of such healing. Only God knows when enough is enough. Only God holds the words, writes the words, and speaks the words that can truly tether a soul to eternity.
Perhaps today you need a word from God as well. Perhaps you’ve already claimed one as your personal postscript from his hand. Perhaps you’d like to use one of mine. God’s Word is a foothold for all seasons, including all manner of heartbreaks, heart “aches.” If your heart is filled with ample tears in this moment, then God’s Word is you answer. It’s filled with truth; it breathes everlasting. Dig in and take hold.
To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Peace for the journey,
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PS: A special thanks to Sheri for starting a scholarship fund for my attendance at She Speaks this year; I am humbled by her kindness.
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26 Responses to a Word for all seasons…

  1. Elaine, my heart is "filled with ample tears this moment" just from reading your post! It is always such a comfort to me when I read your words! Thank you for modeling such a great example to all.
    Yes, as you said…"He is the one who restores us "to a beauty not yet seen and a lovliness not yet imagined".
    ((Hugs))

  2. You have stirred my faith once again, my dear sister.

    "I’m so glad that God doesn’t weigh out our needs before giving us his Scripture… as if some verses are reserved for those more sorely troubled. We’re blessed to receive the entirety of God’s Word as a personal anchor for all seasons, whether the heartache is perceived to be big or small."

    That makes me glad too, and I had never thought of it this way before. Powerful word today, dear Elaine.

  3. Oh, yes, I need that Word today…especially this day. Jimmy was taken back into surgery at 1:00 p.m. (ET). Now we wait…

    Love you

  4. "So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” John 6:67-69 ESV

    Our anchor holds, Elaine. A most moving post, thank you.

  5. Dear Elaine, I believe many of us relate to your post and also realize that God had something or someone better for us. I am so thankful for you and the encouragement you always give when I visit.
    Hugs and blessings to you today.
    Noreen

  6. I love those grace notes from the Lord, delivered through His word. I'm encouraged and blessed by your post…as always!

  7. You have suffered…are suffering now.

    I'm so glad that our loving God ministered to you with these verses.

    I'm going to be praying them this week and in the coming weeks with you.

    That God Himself will restore you fully and completely.

    That God Himself will replace everything that cancer stripped from you.

    That God Himself will make you strong and able to run again.

    And I believe that God Himself has already made you firm and steadfast.

    Your writing testifies to that.

    Love you.

    Sweet dreams,
    Deb

  8. God's Word is so comforting and perfect for every situation. Thank you for sharing so personally how He walks with you in suffering. Your heartfelt words build me up too!

  9. Elaine once again you've written a very timely post – I'm forwarding your link to someone dear to me who may think you're writing just for her. blessings, marlene

  10. ahhh…. i love the sweet spirit that bursts forth from your posts! love you so my friend. praying for you always!

  11. Oh, how I remember that first heartbreak. I also remember my first 'word' from the Word. Mine came out of Chronicles and was like a lightening bolt that ignited my faith. How blessed we are to have the living and active Word of God to speak into our hearts and lives in whatever situation we find ourselves.

  12. Oh Elaine,
    Our Gracious Heavenly Father continues to use your gift with words to illumine His WORD for each of us!
    Tears are streaming down my face as I awoke needing comfort and reassurance in this foreign place, because I just want to "go home" to the life I knew only weeks ago.
    Your post is such a timely reminder that GOD's WORD is my anchor and HE will work ALL things out.
    Sending Love and Hugs!

  13. I love that verses in 1 Peter!! It was one of my memory verses in 2010. This week my memory verse is from 2 Cor. 2:14&15

    "But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of Him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing."

    I thought of you as I have been putting this to heart and memory over the last couple of days. You are such a sweet aroma for our God, your words so sweetly fill my heart with Him. I so desire that for myself that I too will be His sweet aroma.

    Love you friend…

    Believing Him~Pamela

  14. Another wonderfully vibrant and heartfelt post Elaine. 🙂

    I have a number of passages that have been anchors for me over the years, and you're right; when I found them they seemed to have been penned specifically for me. His Word reaches out and touches us in our times of need, and lifts us up in times of joy.

    You and your family continue to be in my prayers.

    Have a Blessed Day!

  15. I loved this. I needed to read this. Have you heard the new song from Laura Story called "Blessings?" This post remeinded me of that song.

  16. Elaine, This week's post was so timely. I'm still grieving the loss of my husband, James, and the death of his entire family. So much loss in a short period of time. Some days It's as though I'm mired in mud.

    I read from several different Bibles. Max Lucado has a small Bible containing the New Testament, Proverbs & Psalm. While the wording is different from my NIV Bible, I've glommed onto this passage from Max's version: "Lord, have mercy, because I am in misery. My eyes are weak from so much crying, and my whole being is tired from grief." (Psalm 31:9).

    It speaks to where I have been for the last 3 months. God's love and His Word will see me through this time. My love for God and His Son overflows.

    XOXOXO,
    Brenda

  17. I love when our Father uses His Word to give us a personal touch from Him just when we need it the most. Like you, He's done it for me time and again, too, and oh, how grateful I am!

  18. Elaine, loved these words from your heart. And the moment that His Word first stirs your heart and speaks to you, it is amazing! My Words were Phil 4:6-7. And this also happened in college. 🙂

    I miss you, sweet friend! Prayers for you and the family each day.
    Love you bunches!
    Susan

  19. God does amazing things with broken things. I love the way you worded how people have your hands, but He has your heart. It's so vivid; so organic; so right.

    Keep telling it, dear one. Other hearts need the salve of His word for their own broken places.

    Sweet dreams,
    Kathleen

  20. What a heartbreak that was, Elaine… at 18 years of age, that was really major. I can definitely relate.

    But you are so right about the word of God being your anchor, and how beautifully you put it… that although many can hold your hand, only One can hold your heart.

    God has kept you safe through all the painful seasons, and He will do it again, dear friend.

    The words He has spoken to you are dependable words because the one speaking is completely trustworthy.

    Keeping you close,
    Lidj

  21. Elaine – What a beautiful word you have written here. I was simply touched and blessed by everything you had to say. Yes, I have felt many times that God wrote something JUST for me. I guess that's why they say His Word is alive…

    "Only One holds my heart…"

    This brought tears to my eyes – it's just such a precious thought.

    Thanks, Elaine – this was inspiring.

    GOD BLESS!

  22. This was such a blessing, Elaine. Thank you again for the proper perspective even in the midst of such difficult providences. 1Pet.5 has also been such a comfort to me. May you be blessed anew by the Comforter my friend.

  23. wifeforthejourney:

    Another example of how, with God, there is no such thing as wasted time. The Lord is in the business of redeeming the hardest and most difficult of circumstances – "beauty for ashes" (Is. 61:3)

    Love you,
    Billy

  24. Elaine:

    One more time, it's a joy to listen to your heart. Not one time have you 'thrown in the towel' during this journey… not saying you didn't ever feel like it, but you have held so fast to what your heart knows, and you've stood firm on how completely able He is to see you through this. You are such a blessing, to me and so many others.

    Love you!

  25. "But only One has held my heart, making me his priority and making sure that I arrive safely there. Only God is capable of such healing."

    That says it all for me. Thank you for sharing your heart in the LORD Elaine. Continuing to intercede for you before the Throne of GOD by faith. Praying His WORD over you!

    Blessings and peace!
    Lisa

  26. Thank you for those words of strength and hope. I needed to read your blog today to remind me of who to hold onto.