It was a Wednesday.
It was my worst day.
It was the worst day.
The kind that doesn’t come with a manual on how to survive, the kind that people don’t write blog posts about, because most people don’t endure this kind of bad day.
Which has made me feel terribly alone, almost all of the time.
And like I’m stuck in a life that isn’t mine, that I didn’t ask for, and that (if I’m being honest) I really don’t want.
New beginnings are hard. And when life throws you one of those curve balls – one of those gut-wrenching, “I didn’t sign up for this” kind of curve balls, it can be really hard to view new beginnings as good things.
Because new beginnings really just trigger the memory of why you have had to come to this new beginning – and why things couldn’t stay as they were.
It can be really easy to feel down. And sometimes that’s even okay. After all, we can’t deal with our grief if we don’t acknowledge it.
The most miserable thing about grief, in my opinion, is that it comes in waves. Everything can be just fine, then out of nowhere, the grief hits again.
That’s where I’ve been…hangin’ out with my grief.
Hi, my name is Rebekah and I have grief. And sometimes it’s easier to pick up the grief and hang on to that because it’s familiar, because I know how to deal with it.
This week I watched “Do You Believe“. I was particularly challenged by a few lines that talked about not letting other things become our identity – whether it’s loss, grief, financial status, whatever it might be in your life. Rather, as Christians, our identity needs to be “child of God”.
That can be so hard to live out on a daily basis. Exercising our faith is tough. I struggle with the “I didn’t sign up for this” mindset and so it’s hard to accept some of the things that have happened to me / around me and not feel “down for the count” (if that makes any sense).
Feeling our emotions is a good thing – even a healthy thing. However, we also have to remember that God is the one who gave us those emotions in the first place. And so even in the midst of whatever we are feeling – anywhere on the spectrum from extreme joy to extreme pain – we are still a child of God because those feelings, those emotions, were given to us by God.
That hasn’t always been enough for me.
(I’m just being honest…and a little blunt because I’m realizing that maybe I’m not the only one who struggles with this.)
So how do you keep on going when you’re struggling through all of your feelings? Especially when it’s feelings of hurt, caused by someone else.
And how in the world can God use us, broken as we may be?
A couple weeks ago, I encountered a man in a store. He was wearing a US Marines hat. Another gentleman commented on his hat and thanked him for his service. He shared a few tidbits of his time overseas and the number of years he served (30 years in the USMC).
He seemed to shy away from the thanks and kind words that were spoken to him.
I’ve seen these kinds of interactions before. Thanks are given for service provided. The one who has served may nod or might say something like, “It was an honor.”
This man said something I’ve not heard anyone else say – at least not that I can remember.
“I’d do it all over again.”
I’m not sure what the others in the store took away from hearing those words. I thought it was a nice sentiment.
Today, though, something different occurred to me.
When that man,
whose name I don’t know and who does not know my name,
stood there having lived through 30 years of some of the toughest things imaginable,
and said he would do it all again,
what he was really saying was that
my life – and your life – is still worth fighting for, no matter what.
This man’s service to the United States probably ended at least 20 years ago, which means that his service started before I was even born.
Whatever his reasons were for enlisting in the first place, or for staying in the Marines for 30 years, had absolutely nothing to do with me because I wasn’t born.
Yet today, if he had it to do again, he would.
And I think that’s because he realizes that there is something to be lost in life if we don’t fight to keep it.
Maybe it’s our freedom, maybe it’s the pursuit of happiness, maybe it’s just the possibility of being all we can be. Maybe it’s something different for each of us.
Whatever it is, he’s willing to stand up and protect our right to that freedom.
And that’s when it hit me:
This man would willingly fight for my life, and for yours, to protect our freedoms. In fact, he already has fought for us.
HAS THE WAY I’VE LIVED
BEEN WORTHY OF HIS EFFORTS?
HAVE I LIVED IN SUCH A WAY THAT WOULD
HONOR HIS CHOICE TO WILLINGLY PROTECT ME?
It’s the same with the Lord.
He sent His Son for our lives.
He willingly sent His Son not just to fight for us, not just to protect us, but to die in our place.
Does the way I live honor that choice?
Can I be honest? Can I be really honest?
The answer to that question is a simple, painful “No.”
I don’t have to like what has happened to me. I don’t have to feel okay about it – I really don’t.
But when it detracts from how I should be living my life? That’s where the problem comes in.
The pain is okay. Jesus endured pain. The Father endured pain.
The tears are okay. Even Jesus wept.
The decision to rest and try to find healing and rejuvenation is also okay. Jesus often went away from the crowds.
But the taking up that grief as my identity? Nope. That’s not okay.
That’s exactly why Jesus came – so that my identity no longer has to be
He knew, even before going to the cross, how each of us would respond to His free gift of salvation. He put us each at a specific time and place in history, on purpose.
I don’t know why I’m here today, and I don’t know why you’re here. But I know it’s not by accident. I know it’s part of a grand design.
We matter – here, today, right now. God’s put us here to benefit someone else’s journey, and for God’s glory.
If I’m living encumbered by all the tough stuff, and not trying to move on…
If I’m so wrapped up in my own issues and struggles that I forget I’m here for a purpose…
then am I telling God that His fighting for me was in vain?
Would I tell that Marine that I didn’t need his protection? No way!
And so I shouldn’t treat Jesus as though His protection is not needed.
I decided instead, to take that challenge myself.
These are the words I’ve needed to be reminded of tonight.
Someone willingly fought for me. Is the life I’m living worth it?
When I stand before Jesus one day, having lived out my appointed days on this earth, will I say that I did all I could do, that I did my best, or will I wish I could have done more?
Will I have done all I could to minister to the people God has put in my life? If the people I have crossed paths with were to pass before me, one at a time, could I say that I’ve done all I could to be worthwhile in their lives?
Would I be able to look them in the eye as they pass into Heaven and said, “I’d do it all again”?
That’s how I want to live my life – with a sense that these earthly struggles are just that: earthly. temporal.
We have heaven to look forward to. And I hope that these days, these pains, these struggles, would be worth it because of who I can minister to, and who can minister to me.
At the end of it all, I hope I can say that I would do it again.
I’m not sure what you’re dealing with today, but there are people out there who would willingly put themselves in harm’s way for you.
Jesus did. He put Himself on the cross as a covering for your sins.
Are you living worthy of that?
If not, what needs to change?
For me, it’s my perceived identity. I need to pick up the “child of God” sign and wear that. It covers all the others: grief-stricken, feeling shamed, fearful… The only one I need to choose, to believe, is “Child of God”.