write — journal — plan

Friction + Willingness + Pain= Usefulness & Healing

Daughter with sick mother The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.

-Confucius

A few years ago I was heavily involved at my local church. I was on the worship team, helped lead the women’s ministry, led a small group, etc. Then my mom entered the final stages of her fight with Alzheimer’s. Dad needed my help, and I needed to be there with them. So almost over night my life changed.

It was difficult. Difficult because I was caring for one of the most important women in my life, but she didn’t even know me. Difficult because my Dad needed an encourager and I was so sad it was hard to encourage. Difficult because it meant leaving my girls at home without their mom three days a week. Difficult because I loved to sing and serve. But mostly difficult because I believed God’s love for me was all wrapped up in how much I served at church. I felt grief stricken not only for my mom, but also for my identity and my place in God’s kingdom work.

There were many days during that time when I felt exactly like a gem under friction. I felt rough and bruised, nearly broken in two.

But there were moments of sweetness when God whispered comfort into my soul. Here’s my favorite:

I resigned from the worship team months before I started helping my dad, and this is how it happened. One Sunday I was helping lead worship when this unexplainable, horrible feeling came into the pit of my stomach. You know that feeling, the one you get when you are doing something wrong? It was as if God said, “this is NOT where you are supposed to be.”

I could barely sing. I felt like running off the platform. Instead I begged God, “Help me get through this service, and I will never get up here again unless I know without any doubt you’ve told me to.”

I left the stage that day and began a six month season of excruciatingly painful soul searching. Then…

My Dad needed me.

Fast forward a month, and I’m laying in bed at my parent’s house. As clearly as the day I was told not to sing anymore, God said, “this is why. This is why you’re not singing, because you never would have seen how you mon and dad needed help if you were still on the worship team. Because you weren’t busy, your eyes were more open.” Such peace! I cried because of the lightness in my heart and because I knew I was where God wanted me to be.

I’ve learned that it’s not how much I do inside the church that matters to God. It’s how closely I listen and follow. God’s love for me isn’t based on how much I do, but on who I am. I’m his daughter. I am loved. I am held. I am upheld when I’m weak, broken, hurting, grieving, sick, useless. I am loved because I am his.

SO ARE YOU!

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