You might be wondering why in the world a blog that is geared towards ministering to women around the world about Jesus Christ, would start off with a post about how the author wanted to give up on women’s ministry altogether. But you see, there is a reason that I decided to start this blog, and as much as I would love to say that the desire to do so came during a season of being completely on fire for Christ and an extremely strong urge to share the gospel with everybody that I came in contact with….it didn’t. The desire actually came during a season of severe depression. So severe that the thought of no longer existing in this life, was growing stronger and stronger each and every day.
A very common reaction to difficult situations is to tuck tail and run the other direction. At least, for me it is. I have my moments where I am perfectly fine with confronting a difficult issue, but 9 times out of 10, I just want to move on and not deal with the struggle. And when I’ve been in an extremely difficult season of suffering for a long time, the desire to run becomes very strong. Which is where I recently found myself.
First of all, I am in an unequally yoked marriage. I didn’t become a true believer in Christ until shortly after my husband and I got married. However, he does not know Christ. And the extremely difficult truth for me to live with day in and day out is that he may never come to know Christ. Only God knows whether or not his heart will ever be changed.
While marriage is a very difficult journey, even between two believers, it’s even more difficult whenever you desire to have a marriage that is Christ centered on both sides, but it’s not. I have been battling depression from struggles within my marriage for a couple of years now. I used to look forward to Sunday mornings with my church family, because that was the one time, each week, that I was surrounded by my brothers and sisters in Christ. The ones who were bearing my burdens with me. Praying with me. For me. For my husband. For us. Crying with me. Laughing with me. Constantly pointing me back to the gospel each and every time that I wanted to give up.
But, in what seemed like the blink of an eye, my church family started going through an extremely difficult season. One that we are still going through. One that I pray each and every day, will come to an end and that relationships will be restored. Faith will be restored. Love will abound. Hearts will be healed.
It started with the resignation of our Senior Pastor, and has snowballed from there. God has since been shining light on hidden sin issues amongst our members, and it has been quite a mess, to say the least. Division is abounding amongst my church family, and I often feel like I am just standing in the middle of a room full of humans that I truly love beyond anything that words can describe, while they seem to be ripping each other apart emotionally, verbally, etc. And just when I thought that things couldn’t get much worse, they did. Dear brothers and sisters have decided that they are no longer going to be in attendance, others are severely, emotionally distraught. I feel like the only thing that I can do, is to sit quietly and watch the spiritual carnage continue to grow. I still have no words. I can’t wrap my mind around what is happening. My heart is so broken. Which led to me becoming extremely discouraged. So, I woke up on Wednesday morning and emailed our Associate Pastor with my impulsive resignation as our church’s Women’s Ministry Team Leader. I had reached a point that I simply wanted to give up. I didn’t want to continue to try to lead women in an environment that seemed to be completely falling apart around me. I just wanted to step back, and not feel like I had any responsibility anymore. Typing these words out makes me realize how selfish I was being. But thankfully, shortly after I hit the “send” button on my email, God started to do a work in my heart.
My email was a bit vague, and I included that I was struggling with balancing home, work, church, etc. That I needed to take some things off of my plate, and being the women’s ministry team leader seemed like an easy one to remove. So, our Associate Pastor and our Church Administrator both responded to my email and said that they would be praying for me and to let them know if there was anything else that they could do to help me through this season. But God knew that I wasn’t completely honest in my email. That I didn’t reveal my struggles with all that was going on in our church, and how I was utterly discouraged and ready to just wash my hands of it all. That is when the Holy Spirit started working within me.
I was out of state at a work conference. It was my last day there. While I was learning about managing a drug and alcohol program for my company, I was also contemplating whether or not I had made the right decision earlier that morning when I sent the email. Was I being selfish? Was I choosing the right thing to remove from my overflowing plate of busy? Had I lost my desire for women’s ministry? Or was I simply just burned out?
I mulled over these thoughts for the rest of the day. The next morning, I sent another email to our Associate Pastor, going into detail about what I was struggling with. I’m so glad that I did. He was so encouraging, understanding and even shared some of his own struggles with me. He also encouraged me to continue to lead women’s ministry in our church. Especially since my desire for women’s ministry hadn’t actually gone away, but rather was being suffocated by the stress of everything else that I was dealing with in life.
Where do we turn when we find ourselves in a season of suffering? Do we turn to ourselves? Or do we turn to our Father in Heaven? Do we lean on our own understanding? Or do we trust in His sovereign plan? Do we fall into the lies of the enemy that tell us that we are supposed to do what makes us happy and that we should follow our hearts? Or do we remember that every season, every situation, every circumstance whether ideal or not, is for our good and God’s glory? Do we remember that this life is NOT meant to be our best life now, but rather the fact that it is very temporary and our best life is eternity with Christ in Heaven?
Sisters, suffering is real. Very real. It is not ideal. It is extremely hard to live through in the flesh. But we are not alone. God does not forsake us. He does not leave us. He is with us every single step of the way. He knows what the future holds. He is already there. While we may not understand in the flesh, we know that we can trust in His sovereignty to guide us and love us, regardless of how utterly imperfect and messy we are. We need to remember that our work is not for us. It is for Him. It should be done out of obedience to God’s word. From a heart that is satisfied in Him and Him alone.
I don’t have it all figured out, and I know that I never will. But thankfully, I trust in a God who is the alpha and the omega. The beginning, and the end. He knows all, sees all, hears all, is all. We need to truly let go of our control issues, our despair, our self reliance and let God truly be God.