She called me this morning half in tears, having one of those days when everything you touch seems to break and everywhere you look is one more thing that isn’t turning out right. Somehow, when you are trying your best as a woman, days like this carry an edge of blame, feel like a personal label that you are not good enough or capable enough. Or maybe it’s the gnawing worry way down deep that this is not just a random morning of mishap, but the way you really are living your life. Regardless, it’s enough to make a woman wonder.
We talked about how we can’t control the circumstances that come into our lives, and how some of them are due to our choices, but a great many are unpredictable and uncontrollable. And what matters most is not the experiences themselves but how we respond to them, what we learn from them, and how we move on. In Christ the future always offers a fresh start, wisdom for those who seek it, a clean slate of forgiveness– the power to change. I am never stuck where I am in the moment when “it is God who works in [me] to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13)
It reminded me of what we were talking about last night in small group, all those precious women around the table sharing their stories with brimming eyes, how God is working through every experience of our lives, putting together the puzzle pieces to make the picture He has in mind for us. Nothing wasted. Nothing ruined beyond hope. Nothing too dark or lost that it cannot be shaped by His hands and fit into the big picture of our lives. As He promised the prophet: “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten….” (Joel 2:25) Even when the work of years has been stripped bare and ravaged beyond recognition, He promises new growth in the future, says death is not forever. There is nothing He cannot use for His purposes, if we allow Him to shape both the experiences and us through them.
Funny how we look at other women sitting in the pews and assume their lives are simpler, easier than ours, or at least they must be better at coping with it. Easy to see only the outsides shown in public and sometimes we miss entirely the story of their becoming, what brought them to this place, what hidden sorrows they carry. That’s what small groups are for, to take the time to listen and find out you are not alone. And if God can work in those women’s lives to bring help and hope and healing, then it gets a little easier to trust Him to work in our own circumstances, even the ones that might still be too difficult to talk about.
Lord, this day again we offer every little thing up to You, to use for Your purposes. This day we choose once more to follow You in obedience, one step at a time. We recognize that You are the Master Craftsman and we will trust You to shape our experiences for our good and Your glory. Amen.
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28