When we’re in a season of challenge, it can be hard to see the growth that’s taking place under the surface.

Winters of discontent, discouragement, depression and despair leave us feeling barren, lifeless and empty.

It’s particularly hard when giving encouragement to others is our default mode. 

And we wonder how we can sit weighed down when we want to rise free to bless, not stir around in the mess and mire of our own little world.

My heart and soul sit heavy as stone while I type these words. Maybe you’re there too?

So close to being petrified as rock, immovable from the shifting sands beneath our feet.

It feels like there’s not a single part of life escaping the onslaught, a battering, a bruising, a crushing and refining.

When all that can be shaken is being shaken, what next?

Do we rock with it, dig toes in deep resisting, fight our corner, cling to familiar, holler and cry, hide in the corner, or something else?

I’ve tried them all and I’m finding the only safe place to be in the eye of this storm is in the shelter of Christ the Rock. Yes, even as it rages around us we can be held fast.

When God is digging deep into everything we hold dear, then we have to dig deeper still into His mercy and grace.

We need to find a way to rejoice. Not in the circumstances themselves, but in His keeping power throughout it all, His covering, His equipping to be strong while faith stretches long and tight.

When all crashes around our ears, we can seek to speak out faith-filled words such as, “yet I will rejoice in the Lord. I will be joyful in God my Saviour” ~ Habakkuk 3:18

Even when there seems precious little to be glad for or rejoice about, we can rejoice that the joy of the Lord is our strength always.

And be thankful that the things we feel are tearing us apart are also:breaking off our selfishness, rooting out our stubborn resistance, revealing our fallenness and unwise behaviour,showing us how far we’ve moved away from God, giving us opportunity to hear His voice calling out in the wilderness, and making us dependent on Him as He uses everything we go through to shape us into becoming more like Christ.

Somehow, this is where we are encouraged and strengthened to move forward again. Encouraged too by sharing with others, receiving prayer, support and blessing to keep us going through the trials and help lift us out of the pit again.

In time, as we begin to turn away from our manifold problems and turn to the One who is sovereign over all, we can eventually reach a point where we recognise, “The Lord God is my strength, my personal bravery and my invincible army. He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk {not to stand in terror, but to walk} and make {spiritual} progress upon my high places {of trouble, suffering, or responsibility}.” ~ Habakkuk 3:19

As a woman who leans more naturally to seeing (or at least wanting to see) the positive through the pain and pressures of life, and prefers to encourage others than need it herself, I am also learning a necessary humbling lesson of allowing others to minister to me too when I am struggling.

Somehow, we lessen the impact of the body of Christ building up and supporting one another if we cling too stubbornly to our independence. When one suffers we all suffer to one degree or another and are strengthened by helping each other to keep on keeping on.

And it’s a sign of strength, not weakness, to admit we need help. It’s one step nearer to receiving it too.

I have some insight into why this is a particularly challenging time for me as I face physical, emotional and relational problems; and I know that much of it has no quick-fix solution. Sometimes we don’t see why we go through things and enlightenment may not come but we may simply need to trust God’s way with us.

Despite not knowing everything, I am truly thankful for God’s sustaining power in my weakness and the way He speaks comfort, healing and reassurance through the love in action of those who care and support me.

My hope and prayer is that you recognise where you are situated and act accordingly.

May the weak be encouraged by the strong and neither of us feel alone or unsupported.

If you can, encourage and strengthen others. 

If you need to, lean harder upon God and allow others to minister to you. 

Joining here with the Missional Women Faith-filled Friday blog link-up.
You are very welcome and warmly invited to join in as we share issues of life and faith to encourage one another.