Even in the Hurt

What. A. Year.

2020 was hard for a lot of families. I’m not downplaying it. We saw some heartbreak in our own family at the end of the year with the loss of my uncle from COVID. But, until that point, while there was a lot more “togetherness” than we bargained for, we were – for the most part – sort of just business as normal.

We saw hurt. We walked with friends through hard things. There were layoffs. But, we – on a personal, in our own household – were able to pummel forward.

Then, as the new year turned… things here changed.

Our friends lost their son tragically. We lost John’s grandmother. My aunt declined rapidly and was placed on hospice. At-home schooling hit a breaking point. Tensions rose as the “outside” came “inside.” Our normally-easy-going five-year-old threw a remote at our 75 inch tv in a fit of anger (ruined, by the way). Marriage felt more like work than it had for a long time. We longed to run away more than we maybe ever had in the past, just to find a respite from what the world felt like it was stacking up higher and higher. Suddenly, everything felt heavy… what others had experienced in 2020 hit home here in 2021.

I don’t know where you are today. But, I bet there’s some heavy that you weren’t necessarily expecting in your life. Maybe that heaviness started long before the chaos of 2020 when the world seemed to shift. Maybe you’re in our boat and it’s much more recent. Maybe you’re dreading decisions that loom around the corner. Maybe you’re in all out mourning. I don’t know what your personal brand of heavy is today, but friend, I feel you.

If you’re in this place… maybe you enter into God’s presence with a little more frustration than normal.

That’s where I found myself Sunday morning.

Because here’s the thing: as believers, we KNOW we aren’t alone. We KNOW there’s a purpose for every single part of every single day. We know that God uses EVERY good thing and EVERY hurt for his ultimate glory, whether we get to see or not. And yet, when we think about that (or at least when I do), it often leads to anger… because, who wants to feel the hurt? Who wants to recognize that – in reality – nothing is in our control?

I know I sure don’t.

And yet, Sunday morning, we wearily turned on the church service (that we are so grateful to be able to stream during this time, even while we deeply miss the fellowship of others). I had my guard up. “Lord. I know I need you. BUT, if your truth is going to pull me out of this place I’m in where I just want to be angry, I really don’t want to hear about it.”

Sound at all familiar?

Maybe it’s because it’s easier to be there for others in hurt, to “help” them confront when they’re not walking according to their calling, or when they’re facing a stumbling block. WE don’t want to be the ones who need the confrontation. We don’t want to be uncomfortable.

But that’s – maybe – one of the greatest things about our relationships with God. At least, that has been my experience in my walk. One of the ways I know without a doubt that the Lord is here, and that he is great – much greater than anything in the universe, especially myself – is that when I’m walking according to my own plan and my own desires, he always makes it known.

Sometimes it’s a deep discomfort. Sometimes it’s the words of another believer. Sometimes it’s outright in my face scriptural truth that reminds me that I’m not supposed to be comfortable or in control. Regardless, when I’m leaning on myself instead of on him, when I’m running toward trouble instead of in the other direction, he always makes it known, and it is never a comfortable experience.

On this particular Sunday, we sang Jon Guerra‘s “I Will Follow.” And honestly, I wanted to run out of the room.

Some of the lyrics:

When the sea is calm and all is right
When I feel Your favor flood my life
Even in the good, I’ll follow You
Even in the good, I’ll follow You

When the boat is tossed upon the waves
When I wonder if You’ll keep me safe
Even in the storms, I’ll follow You
Even in the storms, I’ll follow You

I believe everything that You say You are
I believe and I have seen Your unchanging heart
In the good things and in the hardest part
I believe and I will follow You
I believe and I will follow You

I wanted to run because I knew I was hanging on to hurt. I knew I was using it against those closest to me. And honestly, I didn’t want to let that go, because letting it go meant dropping walls and exposing vulnerabilities. It meant admitting where I had gone wrong. It meant that if I was to believe and follow, that I needed to course correct.

Course-correcting doesn’t mean the hurts will disappear. This life we are called to walk through is going to throw things our way that we’ll never see coming. This life is going to include times where others – even those closest to us – cause REAL and tangible hurt. It’s going to include struggles and it’s going to sometimes leave us grasping for thin air as we feel like we’re falling and falling and falling again.

And yet – we’re still called to more.

We’re called to hold onto the one that holds it all, no grasping required. We’re called to believe and follow and to let our guards down, even when there’s hurt right below them. Our God’s heart is unchanging. His plan is secure – even when it doesn’t make sense. His love is bigger than anything we can imagine.

All we need to do is lean in, listen, and trust. Even in the hurt. Even in the hardest parts. Even in the “out of control” moments. I know this is something I’m learning during this time, one painful admission at a time.

Where is God working on your heart and in your life today? What do you need to let go of? What’s your hard? Whatever it is, know that the Lord is near, he is good, and you’re not alone. Believe and follow, friend. Believe and follow.

One thought on “Even in the Hurt

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  1. Laura this was so well written. This year has been hard for all of us. It breaks my heart everytime I think of Joan. It is not right that she is so sick. I have lost so many friends in this year already. I am so worried about the direction that our county is going. I do not want my grandchildren and all my neices and nephews growing up in a socialist country. I want them to love our country and to be free. My heart seems to bleed more everyday. I trust that God is in control. He is my hope and my foundation. I know that He will always be there for me and ny family. Laura we do love you and your family.

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