“If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.” Psalms 34:18
If your week has looked anything like mine, the above photo accurately depicts how you feel right now. Some weeks are just hard. It’s just life and usually I take this POTS journey as it comes. Sure, it’s frustrating much of the time, but I am constantly reminded of the faithfulness of Christ. Just when I become discouraged, He opens my eyes to see past myself and my circumstance. So many people are in similar and much harsher seasons of life than myself. As I write, Hurricane Matthew is making its way up the Florida coastline. The storm is still raging and no one is quite certain where it will hit the hardest, but millions are waiting to see how devastating this storm will be.
Seeing all the pre-hurricane coverage and warnings made me think about how we often miss warning signs in our own lives. Residents were clearly told to evacuate, to make proper preparations before leaving, and to take these warnings seriously. Ultimately, not following the warnings could be devastating (if you live in the areas being beaten by this storm system, please know you are in my prayers and the prayers of others). I think because I have followed the storm more closely than usual, the constant warnings made such an impression on me. I know for myself, I have not always followed warnings signs. Whether it be in relationships, friendships, parenting decisions, etc., I have not always followed my gut when a red flag was shown. Many times we try to justify the red flag by making excuses for our behavior or the behavior of others. I have learned these warnings are not meant to be taken lightly. There may not be immediate consequences, but there will be repercussions for not obeying.
It’s so interesting because much of the time, we look at it as though God is withholding our desires from us. But that is not the case at all! He is actually wanting to give us the desire’s of our heart, but if we choose not to heed His warnings, we ultimately become our worst enemy. We stand in our own way of experiencing abundant life. Something crazy happened this week. Before marrying my husband, I had dated someone that I really cared about. I cannot say I thought I was going to marry him, but I wasn’t thinking about marriage at the time. We had so much fun together and took lots of adventures. Because I am more conservative, his free spirit was something that I found so appealing. But there came a point in our relationship where I knew we had to break up. I didn’t want to break up with him, but red flags were flying everywhere! Knowing that Jesus was giving me these warnings made it no easier to walk away from him. And he did not make it easy to leave either. He continued pursuing me and honestly everything in me wanted to take him back, but I knew in my heart Jesus was saying, “No”.
I want to emphasize that while knowing it was not God’s will for me to stay with him, it was no easier to process and accept. The heartbreak was still just as real and maybe even worse because I wanted to stay with him. But something inside me knew I had to obey. This was no game. So, I did like every other woman who goes through a breakup does, I took the things he bought me and threw them away. Not out of anger because I wasn’t angry, but rather I needed closure. He wasn’t giving me any closure because he kept up the pursuit, so I needed to make a clean break. BUT, there was this one pair of sunglasses!!! I looked so cute in those sunglasses! They were unusual in color but they matched my complexion and hair perfectly. I knew I would never find that color again…EVER! Can you feel the struggle??? If you can’t, you have no heart. Kidding!
What did I do with those sunglasses? Well, I held them and looked at them. I thought of all the ways I could keep them and not think about him. I even tried to buy another pair, but they were all gone. Of course they were! They were the PERFECT pair of sunglasses! It may seem I had as hard of a time letting go of the sunglasses as I did the relationship (Not gonna lie…it was a close call…JK!). Ultimately, I threw them away. Something in me kept saying break ALL ties! So I did.
This week was my mom’s birthday. I went to her house and she hands me a pair of sunglasses. Yes, I realize it was her birthday and she was handing me a gift (actually 3 gifts). It’s not my fault! They always send me home with stuff! Anyway, I tried the sunglasses on and guess what? They were the same color of the ones I threw away over eighteen years ago! They were even prettier than the ones I was holding onto so tightly thinking I would never find any to replace those. Yet, there I stood in front of the mirror (looking so adorable again!) with an updated replica of the ones I knew Jesus told me to remove from my life.
Now some of you may be saying, “Really, Jesus said throw away those sunglasses?”. Well yes…yes He did. But it wasn’t about the sunglasses, it was what they represented in my life. It took me awhile to even remember the old sunglasses. I kept looking at my new ones trying to remember why I loved the color so much. But, when I figured it out I said, “Thank you Jesus! You knew ALL along the steps that were ordained for me. My role was obedience, while You brought the man I love dearly into my life. You brought your best into my life because I didn’t settle for good.” Not that the other guy wasn’t good enough, we were just not God’s best for each other.
You see, sometimes what feels like a ripping of your soul is really a preparation for what is to come. The choice is yours. He will not force you to make the right decision. He will give you warnings and nudges, but ultimately you have the free will to decide. Sometimes, it’s one of the hardest decisions you face, and your heart may feel shattered. But if you allow Jesus to pick up those broken pieces, He not only restores your broken heart, He makes it brand new. He brings life to those areas that you thought would never see joy again. If He is showing you red flags, do not ignore Him! He is not trying to take from you the things you love so dearly, but He sees what we cannot see. He sees the bigger picture, and He knows the why, where, when and how. We don’t have to always understand. If we can remember God is for us and desires great things for His children, we can choose to obey even when we cannot envision the outcome. So when you are in a long and painful season, know He can see the beauty that comes from your obedience. He is not warning you for kicks, He is protecting you and desiring to give you His very best. Trust and obey! And then look at my cute sunglasses…(Thanks mom).