I find myself at a loss for words. Literally, at a complete and utter loss of words. I honestly don’t know what to say. Have no earthly idea, what I am SUPPOSED to say. For a writer, this is an awful position to be in. I look at the keyboard, I stare at this blank page and wonder what I am doing here. Nevertheless, I am here. However, I stay. Looking, at the keyboard. Staring, at this blank page…*sigh*.
Normally, I sit down with a purpose: I want to encourage someone. I need to encourage myself. I long to share some wonderful, useful, hard, frustrating, joyful thing that God and Life had shared or shown me. This is not the case, today. Nevertheless, I am here. However, I stay. Looking, at the keyboard. Staring, at this blank page.
I suppose, I should go ahead and start. To try and make these words make sense. For, you. For, me. ESPECIALLY for me. You see, I had no intentions of writing. At least, not today. At least, not now.
I’m tired, you see. Physically, tired, after having fought the night, AND the dawn. The night and dawn, won, yet again. I tore little rest from their grasp. So little, in fact, I have NO idea where to put commas, semi colons, or any other things us writers use to be clever, to be effective, to be thought knowledgeable and welcoming. I feel none of that, right now: knowledgeable or effective.
Ah! The first clue as to why God, why Life, why my accountability partner has been prodding me to sit here, to stay here, and to write. I still don’t know why these words are so important to them. Nevertheless, I am here. However, I stay. Looking, at the keyboard. Staring, at this blank page.
Nevertheless. However….hhmm. These words are qualifiers. They tend to negate EVERYTHING that has preceded them, that has come before them. They are like the word ‘but’: we think you are well suited, for the job, BUT, we have selected someone else. You have such a wonderful and giving heart. Nevertheless, I have chosen to be with so and so. It’s not you, it’s me. You are such a wonderful writer. However, we have selected so and so to handle the project, using your ideas/words and talents. They will reap the rewards and you will know, because of you, the job will get done. You understand. You allow the losses. Nevertheless, the losses hurt. However, you scrape yourself up, once again, and try. See how they work?
I looked up what qualifying language is and found this: Qualifying language is when a writer or speaker uses words that make a statement less or more certain. For example, instead of saying ”We will overcome this challenge,” a qualifying statement would be ”Our goal is to overcome this challenge.” Another way to think about qualifying language is that it weakens or strengthens your action words.
After the last few months, I am less certain, of me. I am more certain, of God and Life. The last few months….egads, the last few months have been a special level of hell. From every direction hell broke out and acted a fool: lifewise, workwise, healthwise. Good egads….*shiver*.
I would love to tell you that I handled hell and life, like a champ. Would dearly love to show you all the medals I had won in conquering all that had tried to conquer me. If I was an actual writer, I would write something brilliant and stunning. I would declare that I had scraped by and entered the sunlight, with my pride, at least, intact. That is NOT what happened. Thank God. Thank God…
For months, I had been struggling with the loss of my mom. I didn’t share this with anyone. I told myself I was sure folks were deathly sick of me missing my mom. I had need of her. I had been struggling, mightily, with some past and persistent chronic health things. Health things that were not bad enough, to kill me, but were frustrating, painful, maddening enough to make sleep impossible and the notion of work out of the question. Yet, I HAD to work. I needed a paycheck to pay the bills. I needed to talk to my mom. I NEEDED MY MOM! I needed to let her know how I had been fighting to keep fear away. I was beginning to feel afraid: of my health getting worse(it was), of losing my job because my health was getting worse(I could barely concentrate at work due to lack of sleep and worrying about my health and trying NOT to worry about my health).
I needed to hear mom’s ‘everything will be okay’. Knowing I would never hear those words from her, hurt. I hid that hurt from me. Hid it from God. Hid it from Life. Hid it from my accountability partner. Instead, I allowed my pride to keep me bound up in a ball of fear, worry and doubt.
This is when my heroine, or rather the source of extreme annoyance/frustration popped up and got all up over my case about not being ‘100’ with her, with God, with Life about my health. Busted. Of course, I hid behind pride and used excuses about how hard life had been. I showed her my scars, showed her my wounds, entreated her, entreated God, entreated life for a bit of compassion, already.
She was having none of it. NONE! She kicked me in the hind end, told me to get up off my knees and to get back, on my foundation, and to STAND, on God’s Word, on His CHARACTER, on His Love for me. She told me to STOP listening to lies and foolishness that I couldn’t make it, that I was too sick, that I was going to lose my job. I was tired. Life and hell was absolutely pounding me. Where was my compassion? Nevertheless, she said, stand, on God’s Word. However, lean on His CHARACTER and His Love for me.
Frustrated, and full of pride, I stormed to God and told Him that I was trying. I WAS. Yet, I was exhausted. From dragging myself from the bed, each morning, struggling through the day, often losing, return to bed. Only to rinse/repeat the days. I’m tired, God. I’m tired. Nevertheless, He said, “I am here, for you. I am here, with you. You can do this, My Daughter. You can. Life has thrown you many obstacles and have made your way difficult. However, I have made a way of escape for you. Stand on My Word. Lean on My CHARACTER and My Love for you”.
With those words, God left me to my struggles. He became silent. Life became silent. My accountability partner became silent. Outside, hell raged. Inside, pride, worry, fear and doubt were much worse than any hell the outside could ever think to provide.
To make matters worse, I had to fight this battle as Clark Kent and not Superman. In times past, I was able to rely on grit, hard work, and determination to make my way through. I am intelligent, normally have high energy and a positive outlook on work and life. Let me tell you, high energy, positive attitude and intelligence all told me to kick rocks and what I could do with my outlook!
So, here I fight, with BOTH hands, seemingly, unfairly, tied behind my back as Life and the enemy, pummeled me unmercifully. I can not begin to tell you who I was more angry with: God, for getting me into this trusting Him mess to begin with, Life, for siding with God and telling me to trust myself with Him, my accountability partner for forever kicking my hind end to ALWAYS keep it ‘100’ with her, with God, with Life. Or, myself, for making the hard choice to keep it ‘100’, for trying, and failing, and trying, and failing, and trying, and failing, to put away pride, worry, fear and doubt.
You would think we are in the part of the movie where I would valiantly rise, and declare victory over the vanquished foe called pride. Nope. Nada. I think not. Instead of listening to wise counsel, I continued, for a time, to use my pride as a shield, as an excuse to stand on old voices of fear, worry, and doubt that told me I would never make, that I surely could not take it. Those voices! The frustrating thing about those voices are that most of them did not even belong to me!
They were voices from my past. From well meaning parents, teachers, siblings, friends and foes who instilled fear in me, about this. Dread, about that. Worry, because of him. Doubt, because of her. I used to try and fight back against those voices. I would remind them that I am ME, that I am different. I told them that my life WOULD be different, that I am different. Nevertheless, the voices said ‘you will never make it. You will be pregnant by the time you are 15. No one will ever love you because you are too loud, you are too muscular, you are too athletic, your appearance is not pleasing to the opposite sex, hell, to ANY sex!’. I tried to fight back and say that I WAS a good person, that I had a good heart, that I cared for others, that I worked hard. However, the voices said ‘you will NEVER measure up. You will never BE enough. Not for us. Not for Life. And, surely, not for your God. He requires perfection. He requires everything. Your everything will NEVER be enough for God. Ha!’
This next part is hard. It makes me cry. For me. Cry, because I allowed myself to listen to that nonsense. Worse, I allowed myself to wrap myself, in pride, and hide. From, me. From, Life. From, God. Yea, I hid. Especially, from Him. Much as I loved Him, I was equally, as ashamed, of me. Secretly. For years. I was ashamed that I would never be able to give enough, to love enough. I looked deep into this heart of mind. It looked fine to me. It was full of love. For life. For mankind. For God. For my family. Nevertheless, I had no family of my own. I desired one. However, Life saw fit to keep one from me. Or, rather, I ALLOWED pride to keep me from believing God, from believing Life, from believing that others loved me, still. Flaws and all.
Each tried to convince me that I was enough. You matter, they said. Just because you are you. There is nothing you need to do. Nevertheless, I MUST keep trying, I said. I scrounged around, in this tattered heart of mine, desperately searching for valuables that I could give to God, that I could give to Life, that I could give to friends, that I could give to a family of my own. The only thing I found was love and words. I had not very much money. I didn’t own a home. I didn’t own a car. I had spent much of my life helping my mom and working to help take care of family and friends.
I didn’t take time for vacations. I didn’t rest much. I didn’t have time for movies or romance or…..wow, seems I had no time for much of anything, let alone building a life for myself. I had to work, to earn my keep. I had to work hard, always. I had to complain not, always. I had to give all I had, find more, give that, and be glad about it, always.
Years turned into decades. Decades turned my steps towards 50. 50 would find me searching, struggling, fighting to find a life of my own, with mom. Full circle…*sigh*. I need my mom. Need to tell her I don’t think I am going to make it. I imagine her telling me that I COULD make it. I could feel her entreating me to stand on God’s Word, to TRUST in His CHARACTER and His Deep and Abiding Love. For ME. Nevertheless, I told mom, I can’t do this without you. I am trying, mom. However, I fail more than I succeed. All that I have to show this life, mom, is my efforts, is my love, is my care. NONE of these seem sufficient, mom. NONE OF THESE!
Each day, I arose. Each day, I fought. Each day, I lost. At the end, of each day, I gathered my meager effort and love and presented it to God, to Life. I did so with head down. I could not bear to see disappointment, disgust, anger, fear or regret. They had to have these things in their eyes. I surely felt them in mine.
One morning, I arose. Tired, still. Angry, still. Disappointed, still. Afraid, still. Disgusted, still. Angry, still. Regretful, still. Nevertheless, I made up my mind to stand: on God’s Word. I told Life, I told God, I told me, I don’t have much. All that I have to give you, is me. However, I shall make it the best me that I can. I give all that I am and pray that will be enough. I leaned heavily on God’s CHARACTER and His Deep and Abiding Love, for me.
At the end of day, I gathered my meager effort and love and presented them to God, to Life. I did so, defiant, standing on God’s Word while desperately holding onto God’s CHARACTER and His Deep and Abiding Love, for me.
Rinse and repeat. Each morning, I arose. I fought. I gathered. I presented to God, to Life, to the enemy. Each evening, God, Life, and the enemy kept presenting their evidence, using NEVERTHELESS and HOWEVER to make their cases on either side of the win/loss ledger.
I would say: this is all that I have today, God. God, would say, ‘Nevertheless, this is plenty for Me. Keep going, My Child. I love you. I am here, for you. I am WITH you. You are not alone. NOTHING passes through your life that is not first approved, by Me. Even, the hard things. Yea, the hard things help in that they require you to set aside your pride, your fear, your worry, your doubts and causes you to seek Me, to rely heavily upon MY CHARACTER, to lean upon My Deep and Abiding Love for you. Keep going. the enemy would have you think I am not near. However, his words are the opposite of all that I am. For, I AM. Keep going.
I would say: this is all that I produced today, Life. Life, would say ‘Nevertheless, your all is ALL that God and Myself have ever asked of you. Notice I say ‘ask’. We ask to partner with you, through life. You were never meant to fight alone, to be alone. You were never meant to pay your way, to earn your keep. It was NEVER God’s choice, or My choice, for you to struggle to prove this in order for you to have that. Your life was always meant to be abundant. To be full. Nevertheless, the enemy, other voices, other things made their voices heard in order for you to give up on the awesome life created FOR you, long before you were born. Nevertheless, I, Life, created opportunities, called moments, and hid them in your days so that you might find some joy, peace, hope, and love for your life. I know you never understood why Life was forever kicking your hind end. However, these things were done to get you to fight, to get you to try, to persuade you to keep going. No matter what. No matter why. No matter who. Keep going. Keep standing on God’s Word, on His CHARACTER, and upon God’s Deep and Abiding Love, for you.
I would say: I gave my all, you stupid enemy, in spite of everything. I held up my head, despite your attempts to make me feel small. I took my small beginnings, gave them to God, and watched Him turn them into my present, and my future. the enemy said ‘you are a fool. You believe fool’s gold. You will never live your dreams, you will never have a voice that matters. You will never be seen, heard or loved. You will spend an eternity seeking these things. Nevertheless, I tell the stupid one, I know YOUR end. you hid yourself in lies, in the voices of others, and yes, even in me. However, I can do ALL things, through Christ who loves me. I may never have a family of my own. Nevertheless, I shall continue to love others, to the best of my ability and shall give them ALL of me, ALL the days of my life. I may never see a house on the ocean, I may never get to write, for a living. I may never see the desires of my heart. However, I serve at God’s Pleasure, at Life’s pleasure. I love this world, and all the souls within it and will spend the rest of my days encouraging folks to keep on going, to keep on trying, to keep on loving, to keep on seeking. I shall spend the rest of my days STANDING on God’s Word, leaning heavily upon HIS CHARACTER, not your lies. I shall always and ever rest in God’s Deep and Abiding Love, for me. FOR ME! HA!
I won’t lie to you. It took weeks of standing, falling, weeping, standing, falling, raging, standing, falling, rising for life to begin to take hold. This may seem ridiculous and hard to believe, but, I began to rejoice, in the hard moments. I no longer ran from the hard moments, from the terrifying moments, from the unbearable moments. Each of these moments, as difficult as they were, gave me another opportunity to stand, to declare God’s Awesome CHARACTER and shout, to the world, to Life, and, yea, to the foolish enemy, that My God loves me. GOD LOVES ME! God does NOT rejoice over my suffering. He is WITH me. In EVERY moment. Even the hard ones. Especially, the hard moments.
When I received an awful text that this one had died, God was with me. When I was so sick I could barely make it, to the bathroom, let alone to work, God was with me. When I received the unbearable news that the friend I had prayed so earnestly for, had died, God was with me. When work was so hard and I messed up more than I seemed to fix, God was with me. When I lost the battle to leave my bed and begin the day, God was with me. When the losses grew so large, and too many and spilled over into the next day, God was with me.
You would think this would be a glorious end to this tale. I had vanquished pride. I had told worry, fear and doubt where to go and told them all NEVER to return. I was free of them. Every time I chose to stand on God’s Word, each time I leaned heavily upon God’s CHARACTER, every moment I fell gratefully onto God’s Deep and Abiding Love, for me, God removed a chain, tore down a barrier, kicked down a wall. Until, one day, there was ONLY He. He was My Protector. He was My Covering. He was My Help. He was My Provider. He was My Healer. He was My Deliverer. He was My Father.
He became My Father. Rather, I finally allowed Him to BE My Father. Before, I would push Him away. As a Father. I was fully capable of being His servant. He longed to be My Dad. He yearned for me to be His Daughter. He wanted to sweep me up, into His Arms. He wanted me to mess with His Crown. He wanted me to climb on His Neck and hang there, laughing with Him and allowing Him to love me.
FINALLY! I was free. I was loved. I walked in love with not one ounce of worry, fear or doubt to cloud my days and hound my nights. Yes, I still had rough times, to get through. Nevertheless, God was with me. I was still physically fighting chronic things. However, all the promises of God are yes and amen.
Que the music. Show a lovely scene of me galloping through fields, of clover, with God, when…..
What in the fresh hell!?! A project I dearly love was suddenly taken away. It had taken a decade to conceive and help bring into fruition. Snatched, without warning. A friend I held dear, decided they no longer wanted to hold dear to me and told me they were no longer my friend. A job I had worked a decade to have was snatched away. With no warning. I would be moved to something new, something foreign. I received a text with the most awful thing I have EVER read in a text. I mean ever. More than one family friend had passed away from Covid, still others lives were hanging, in the balance, also from Covid. ALL of these things happened in the matter of three weeks time.
Yet, this time I lost it all and had nothing to hide behind. God had allowed Life and others, and the enemy, to help Him strip me of all pride, fear, worry and doubt. In their place, I had Him. I could rest. I could have joy. KNOWING that after having lost it all, I would gladly lose it all over again, KNOWING that in losing, everything, I had gained EVERYTHING. I gained me. I gained purpose. I gained a Father. My Father. What more could I ask for or need?
Today, I can boldly say, though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. In real talk, that means no matter how, no matter who, no matter how hard, no matter how long, no matter how lonely, no matter how painful, no matter how embarrassing, no matter how lonely, no matter, whatever, I shall ever STAND upon God’s Word, leaning upon His CHARACTER, and receiving God’s Deep and Abiding Love, for me.
I find my words have come, to an end. Much more to say. Too much sad to say them. In writing, every word had to be lived all over again…*sigh*….it was impossible the first time. Heartbreaking, this time. Broken, open, and free, I say these words to you:
1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 King James Version (KJV) 3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
The ONLY thing standing between you and true love is YOU. The ONLY thing standing in between you and your dreams is YOU. The ONLY thing standing between you and peace, love, joy, healing, deliverance and all that you need is YOU.
What a humbling thing: to realize I had kept me from my home on the ocean, from being married, from possibly having kids, from pursuing a rewarding career. I allowed pride, doubt, worry, fear and all manner of foolishness to keep me from standing, to keep me from giving 100, to keep me. Yea, I kept myself in a prison, of my own making. Having been freed, I turn to you and ask: how long will you stay there, silently, within the prison of your own making? How long, will you hide: from yourself, from God, from those whom you love and from those who love you, from life?
You can remain hidden. God will love you, still. He will grieve, and will love you, still. In your hiding. You CAN be free, you know? You CAN be healed. You CAN love. You CAN experience joy. You CAN have all the peace you want. You CAN live a victorious, hilarious, joyous and abundant life.
How? By allowing God to be Your Nevertheless. By letting Him be Your However. There will ALWAYS be battles to fight, hearts to love, wars to win. There will ever be voices which will seek to get you to doubt, to worry, to regret, to fear. Nevertheless, God’s Word, His CHARACTER, and His Deep and Abiding Love will ALWAYS be there, for YOU. the enemy will ALWAYS work to convince you that you will never make it, that you surely can’t take it. However, Your Father, God, is there to BE Your Father, if you will but allow Him to be.
I pray that you stand. I stand with you. I pray that you choose to lean upon Dad’s CHARACTER, upon The Father’s Deep and Abiding Love, for YOU. I pray healing, in our heart. I pray grace, for your soul. I pray peace, for your spirit. I pray courage, that you may face yourself, that you may face your fears, that you may face your pride, that you may face your worry, that you may face your doubts and that you emerge, victorious. When you get knocked down, I pray you rise, again.
I wait for you. I wait with you. On the other side, of your victory. You are writing your story, even as you read these words. Yes, you are already writing your tale of victory. It is YOUR turn, now. These pages, called your life, are blank and awaiting to see what you will fill your pages with. It took me 50 years to work all the pride, worry, fear and doubt from my story. I absolutely REFUSE to waste another page, another day, another thought on worry, regret, or fear. They can ALL kick rocks. I stand.
Arise, beloved. It is time.
standing for you until you can stand for yourself and with me as we wait for others,
His servant and yours. I serve at His pleasure and yours. If these words, have moved you, please comment. Don’t hide. Others need YOUR courage. They are ready to come forth, they are ready to be healed, they are ready to be loved. Some, just need the comfort of a crowd. Lord, bid them come. We are here. We are waiting. Come…
P.S. The writer in me cringes at all the typos left behind, all the grammatical errors, all the….egads. Yet, I leave them. As a sign that I am not perfect, nor does Dad want me to be. He likes it when I color outside the lines….;)