Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Sunlight Breaking Through


A month has gone by since a large part of my world at the time came crashing down around me . . . a month that began with the most intense pain and grief that I have ever experienced . . . and a month of seeing God work intimately in my life in deeper more powerful ways than I ever have before.

I do not want to go into the first very hard weeks, save for touching on one thing . . . there were some times during that initial deep pain and grief, and as the tears streamed down my face, I thought of the days and weeks looming ahead of me . . . how would I bear this and make it through?

During these times, my family would hold me close, let me cry, give wise counsel, remind me to trust in our faithful God . . . and I remember Leah specifically gently telling me, "you don't have to think about next month, or next week, or even tomorrow, God is just asking you to go through this one moment right now."

And so with my loving, faithful God and Father, my wonderful family helping, supporting, and loving me more than I could ever describe in words, and my dear church family and dear friends (such as you all) caring and praying, I went through moment by moment by moment . . . and moments stretched into days, and days into weeks, and weeks into over a month.

I went from not just knowing and clinging to the truths that God was near to me, the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18), that He would see me through and heal my heart, that He would work this for good some way in my life (Romans 8:28), and much more . . . to feeling and seeing and beginning to realize it in my life.



It has been amazing to see how God has used things and people to touch and help my heart just when I needed it. One example (of many) was not long after all of this first began, a link came across my Facebook newsfeed to a new booklet tract called Remaining Hopeful Through It All.

The title immediately caught my eye, and I went and read it . . . and printed it out . . . and read it again and again and again over the coming weeks. (If any of you are going through hard times, I so encourage you to read this and its beautiful compilation of Scriptures!)


How wonderful God's Word is! At times when my heart would be struggling so much, just reading through the many beautiful truths and promises would strengthen and encourage me. These dog-eared printed pages have become a treasure to me.

An older woman that I know whose family has experienced very intense hardship and heartache, also recommended to me a book called When the Hurt Runs Deep, which has already been a great blessing and help to my heart (though not all of it is applicable.) The author, who has been through very deep pain and hurt herself (much more-so than I), writes in such a loving, caring way, yet communicates the power of God's truth in such an inspiring and helpful way, too.


Near the beginning of all of this, a number of songs and Scriptures were ones that I sang and read more times than I can count. One song, You are My All in All, has been a mainstay for me this past month. When I first was singing it, sometimes it was hard to get out the words as the tears flowed . . . yet time passed, and God continued healing and working in my life.

I remember the day I was walking up our driveway, the sun was shining in the bright blue sky, and flowers were blooming all around, as I sang this song to the Lord. At that moment, His peace and love flooded my heart deeply, and I remember stopping, lifting my eyes and hands upward to my Lord, and singing this song again from the very depths of my heart.

You are my strength when I am weak,
You are the treasure that I seek,
You are my all in all.
Seeking you as a precious jewel,
Lord to give up I'd be a fool,
You are my all in all.

Jesus, Lamb of God
Worthy is Your name.
Jesus, Lamb of God
Worthy is Your name.

Taking my sin, my cross, my shame,
Rising again, I praise Your name,
You are my all in all.
When I fall down You lift me up
When I am dry You fill my cup,
You are my all in all.

Jesus, Lamb of God
Worthy is Your name.
Jesus, Lamb of God
Worthy is Your name.

He who knows intimately and exactly not only the depths of the pain and hurt that were in my heart and what still remains, but He also knows all the details and what all caused it . . . He who has experienced suffering and rejection to much greater depths than I have and who can "sympathize" with me . . .

"For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:15-16.)

. . . this glorious Savior of mine has been doing exactly as the above song (and verses from Hebrews) says . . . He has been my strength when I have none . . . He has given peace, when what was happening was so painful and confusing . . . He fills me when I am empty and dry . . . He lifts me up when I fall . . . He has been and is giving me His mercy and grace in my time of need . . . He is my treasure, my Savior, my Lord, my loving Father, my Shepherd.

Yes, there is still quite a ways to go in healing, and I am so looking forward to the day when the actual physical pain and heaviness in my heart are no longer there and when the tears are no longer lurking under the surface waiting for a memory, or a thought, or a question, to cause them to spill over.

And I know those days are coming . . . for God is continuing to bring me through this process of healing and is restoring to me joy and peace. He is reminding me of all that He has so richly blessed me with and has shown me that He has been and will continue to carry me all the way through this.

I can see the sunlight shining at the end of this dark tunnel, and I am continuing on toward that light as it grows brighter.


Last week while waiting for my Mom in town, I was reading the Bible on my phone and read through Philippians. What a wonderful book this is for the hurting heart!

So many things spoke to me, one of which was this powerful and very encouraging verse . . .

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13.)

Yet the passage that spoke the greatest to my heart at this time was this . . .

". . . forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13b-14; verses 7-11 are wonderful, too!)

After reading it, I stopped . . . read it again . . . and felt God speaking strongly and clearly to my heart . . . "forgetting what lies behind . . . reaching forward to what lies ahead." This is what God is calling me to do . . . to work towards leaving behind and letting go of the past and all that happened (and the pain, the hurt, etc.) and to press on to the future and things He has for me.

He has blessed me so richly with much to fill my life . . .

. . . my very dear and precious family (whom I am so very thankful for!) . . .

. . . my wonderful church (who I am also so thankful for!) . . .

. . . so many dear friends . . .

. . . volunteering at the therapeutic riding center (which began again in March and has been wonderful! And it's been therapeutic for me, too) . . .

. . . my growing business, being a weekly vendor at the large summer farmers market for the first time, and beginning to develop relationships with the many other vendors . . .

. . . the nursing home and special friends there . . .

. . . daily life here at home . . .

. . . and much more . . . and who knows what He has right around the corner . . . .


With all of this said, I want to thank you all once again so much for your love, support, care and prayers . . . I cannot express how much God has used you in my life and how much you all have helped, encouraged, and blessed me through this (and your continued prayers are still appreciated.)

And now . . . back to 'regular' blogging again!


(All the Scripture verses on the photos are some of the ones that have been an especial help and encouragement to my heart through all of this.)

36 comments:

  1. Hello Sarah,

    Thank you for the update. Hearing that our Lord is providing you with comfort, peace and an eye toward the future is an answer to my prayers. I will continue to lift you up to our Lord as you continue this journey.

    In Him,
    Mrs.B

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    1. You're welcome, Mrs. B. :) And thank you so much for your sweet comment . . . and for your continued prayers. I so appreciate them!

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  2. Bless you Sarah. You will remain, as always, in my prayers! You're an inspiration to all that know you! Love you so much! Miss Lila

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    1. Thank you so much, Miss Lila, for your sweet words! And I greatly appreciate your prayers . . . thank you so much for them. Love you, too!

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  3. I'm glad to read this Sarah! I've been praying for you this whole time and will continue to. Thank you for sharing what the Lord has been doing in you. Much love to you ~ Tabitha

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    1. Thank you so much for your prayers for me, Tabitha! I know they have made (and are making) a difference . . . even just knowing how many are uplifting me in prayer is a help.

      You're welcome for sharing, and thank you for your kind comment! Love to you as well.

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  4. I continue to keep you in my prayers, Sarah. I can attest to the fact that the Lord can bring amazing things to pass, can heal broken hearts in time. One day in the future He may use you and your experience to give comfort to someone else going through similar hurts.

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    1. Thank you so much for your continued prayers, Elizabeth, and also all that you shared. It was a blessing and encouragement to my heart. I do hope that if opportunity comes someday, somehow, that this experience will indeed be able to be used to comfort and help another . . . many have done the same for me, like yourself :), and I know what a help and encouragement it is!

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  5. thewarmfireplaceApril 06, 2016

    God bless you, keeping you in close prayer, what an inspiration you are.
    Sue

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    1. Thank you so much, Sue, for your sweet comment! And for your prayers for me . . . I so appreciate them.

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  6. Hugs and love. Thank you for sharing your strategies and coping skills. You are such a blessing.

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    1. Thank you so much for that, Suze . . . and you're welcome for sharing. (((hugs))) and love back

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  7. Dearest Sarah,
    Your faith in God is a shining witness to His unfailing love and goodness. May He continue to guide, strengthen, heal, protect and bless you today and throughout all your days. When we trust in Him for today, for now, for this moment, He is faithful. Whenever thoughts of a future I had not planned or sought threaten to overwhelm me, I too remember that The Great I Am is with us right here and right now.
    May you continue to be blessed as you are a blessing to so many. May you continue to find the myriad blessings God has in store for you each day.
    With love from Ireland,
    Anne
    xx

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    1. Thank you so much, Anne, for your very encouraging and sweet comment . . . it touched my heart deeply and was an encouragement to me.

      God's unfailing love and goodness is amazing . . . even if at times it's not always easy to see or feel, it is always, [i]always[/i] there in abundance. I, too, have been reminding myself as well that God is right here with me, right now. How comforting that is!

      Thank you again so much for all you shared . . . Love to you!

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  8. 2 Corinthians 1 v 3-4.
    May God bless you,
    Anne
    xx

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    1. Thank you so much for these beautiful verses, too . . . so very thankful for our "God of all comfort who comforts us in all our afflictions . . . ."

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  9. Beautiful and encouraging post! This past year hasn't been easy for me. Two days after giving birth, I almost died, and then 2 months later I almost died again from a D&C that ended up being an emergency hysterectomy. My dream of having a large family was traumatically taken without any warning. I have been struggling a lot, so your post today gave me hope and encouragement. I am hoping to read the book you recommended by Kay Arthur. Thanks so much for sharing something so personal and sensivtive with your blog readers! Continued prayers for the Lord to heal your hurting heart! ~Sarah

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    1. O Sarah, I am so sorry for the trials and struggles you have had to go through this past year! How hard that would be to lose your dream of a large family . . . yet what a blessing to have your precious little one that the Lord did bless you with. I am sure it will make you cherish him/her even more!

      I do hope the book by Kay Arthur will be a blessing to you. It continues to be for me. I am underlining as I go so I can keep going back and re-reading those parts that are an especial help to my heart. (I do want to mention a little 'disclaimer' that I do not agree with all that is in the book, such as some theological things. Just wanted to share that before you read. :)

      You're welcome for the post . . . and thank you for opening your heart and sharing what you did. I am glad that the post could be a blessing to you!

      Thank you so much for your continued prayers for me . . . I so appreciate them. I will be praying for you as well!

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  10. What a beautiful and inspiring testimony, Sarah! As I read this post I was so blessed to see how God is bringing you through this painful time. He is so good! I have thought of you every day since I read your previous post, and continue to pray for comfort and healing. "All in All" has always been one of my favorite songs. I loved how you shared the comfort it brought you. I am sure your testimony will be a blessing to many. May the Lord bless and keep you!!

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    1. Your sweet and encouraging comment touched my heart, Sarah, and meant a lot to me . . . thank you! God is indeed so good. Thank you so much also for your continued prayers for me. I really appreciate them.

      How wonderful that "All in All" is one of your favorite songs as well. It is beautiful!

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  11. This brought tears to my eyes, Sarah. What the Lord is doing in you through this extreme pain and sorrow...is beautiful. I see now that the many other smaller trials, struggles, and heartaches God has allowed in the past have grown and strengthened you so that you could come through THIS trial being purified instead of destroyed.
    Much love in the Lord,
    Karen

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    1. O Karen . . . reading your comment brought tears to my own eyes and greatly touched my heart . . . thank you so much for all you shared and the encouragement you gave. Much love to you!

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  12. Sarah, I just wish I could give you a big hug.

    Those verses in Philippians have often been a big help to me too, and the one from 1 Peter 5 as well. Thanks for the reminder.

    Thank you as always for sharing, I appreciate it so much.

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    1. Dear Rena . . . thank you so much! As the saying goes, it is the thought that counts. :)

      You're welcome for sharing . . . and thank you again for the great blessing and encouragement you have been to me through this both with what you have written and your prayers!

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  13. Sarah...Thank you for this heartfelt update. There are times in life when the best thing one can do is crawl into the lap of our Heavenly Father, and just let Him hold us through the pain. Even at age 53, I still need that sometimes!

    One other song that has spoken to me in times of great stress and pain has been "Just Be Held" by Casting Crowns. This verse, and the chorus, are especially applicable...

    "If your eyes are on the storm,
    You'll wonder if I love you still,
    But if your eyes are on the cross,
    You'll know I always have and I always will.
    And not a tear is wasted,
    In time, you'll understand,
    I'm painting beauty with the ashes,
    Your life is in My hands,

    So when you're on your knees and answers seem so far away,
    You're not alone, stop holding on and just be held
    Your world's not falling apart, it's falling into place,
    I'm on the throne, stop holding on and just be held,
    Just be held.

    -- Betsy

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    1. Thank you so much, Betsy, for your continued care and for all that you shared and the song.

      What a good reminder to keep our eyes fixed on the cross and Jesus, and not the storm. It reminds me of Peter . . . he could walk on the water until he removed his gaze from His Savior and looked at the storm and crashing waves around him.

      And it is indeed a comfort to know that even though I cannot see or understand the 'why', I know that God sees my tears (and keeps/records them all!) and I can rest in my loving Father knowing that He is and has been "painting beauty with the ashes."

      Thank you again so much!

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  14. Sarah,I continue to keep you in my prayers and have thought of you so much since your last post. I can attest to the fact that the Lord can heal broken hearts in time as I've walked that path. One day in the future He may use you and your experience to give comfort to someone else going through similar hurts as he did me. I praise Him for He is faithful and has just what we need to get through. I love the song "You are My All in All", and so many of the Scripture verses you quoted are very dear to me. Thank you for sharing with us and know you will be in my prayers and heart. God is good....lean on Him!!!

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    1. Thank you so much, Linda, for your continued prayers for me! I so appreciate them. And thank you so much also for the encouragement you gave and your own beautiful testimony of God's healing in your heart with your hurts. He is indeed so good and faithful.

      You're welcome for sharing . . . and it made me smile to hear that the song and many of the Scripture verses are ones dear to you as well. They have continued to grow increasingly dear to me over the last weeks!

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  15. Dear Sarah, 'All in All' is a favorite of mine too. This is such a sweet post and a blessing to me. "forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead" ~ I need to keep that verse in mind too. I'm continuing to pray for you ~ you are such an inspiration. God bless, Hugs, Anne♥

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    1. I am so glad that the post could be a blessing to you, Mrs. Anne. (((hugs))) And thank you so much for your sweet comment and continued prayers . . . they mean so much to me and I so appreciate them!

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  16. I'm so glad to hear that some healing is coming to you, gradually, Sarah.
    It's a long road...but you will get there. I have been thinking of you.
    May God bless you :)
    Everything on the farm looks so healthy and full of life! I love Aurora and Sienna, they're beautiful matronly ladies!

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    1. Thank you so much, Alex. It is indeed a long road . . . though as you shared, yes, I will get there. :) Thank you for that encouragement!

      Aww, thanks for your comment about our farm and Aurora and Sierra! It's going to be fun to share photos of them once their kids are here.

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  17. Oh, this is beautiful, Sarah. My heart aches with you but I am also blessed and rejoicing knowing that you are "lifting your eyes to the hills ..." and looking to Jesus.

    I'm going through a different heart ache and your recommendations are very appreciated. I haven't had many sorrows so I am new and am struggling with how to handle them.

    I know we've written about this before but I would still love to meet you (since we are so close). We are also still looking for a church to fellowship with and I would love to visit your family's group. I've often looked at the website but keep chickening out! :) Maybe we could exchange emails or numbers and connect? :)

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  18. Thank you so much, Frannie, for your sweet comment and all that you shared! It blessed my heart to read. Again, I am so sorry for the heartache you yourself are going through . . . I am praying for you. (((hugs)))

    Yes! I would love to meet you, and we would love to have you join us! As you know already, an e-mail was sent your way. :) Looking forward to hopefully meeting you soon!

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  19. To learn thanksgiving for God's love in eternal life.

    Thanks for sharing :)

    Immanuel

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    1. And what a wonderful thing to be thankful for!

      You're welcome for sharing.

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Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)