Tag Archives: hurt

Oh My Stars!

In the book of Amos, the prophet Amos was hanging out with the cowboys of the day, the herdmen of Tekoa, when God began to create the book we know as Amos in his soul. It was a word of judgement again and again for Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, Moab, Judah and Israel. God had had enough of their false idols, wicked sacrifices and jaded religion. It was a “come to Jesus” moment for them all and Amos was the bearer of the bad news. I sometimes feel like an Amos. My brokenness for the church leads me into a tirade on more than one occasion with the platform of this blog or the ear of friend who just happened to call on a bad day. I had one such day Saturday.

I want the world to see Jesus. I want them to see the Jesus that I know. He is a righteous judge that looks on the depravity of man with a willingness to love us anyway, forgive us and convict us of the errors of our ways, and then patiently wait while we slowly make our way in His direction. He is rejected over and over and yet at the first turn towards Him, His arms are open wide for us to fall into. Oh my goodness I stand in awe! Or I should say, “Oh my stars, I stand in awe!” Because that’s what Amos said.

Amos had just ran down a list of everyone who had turned their back to God. I had a list like that on Saturday at an event that wasn’t supported by our local churches. I was hurt for those who had set up the event, I was hurt for the little preacher that preached like he was preaching to 1,000, and I was most hurt for God who certainly deserved better. So this blog is for any servant of God who’s ever been let down. Amos went through his list as God instructed, he said… judgment’s coming. But then he turned his eyes to the skies in chapter 5, verse 8:

Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name:

Amos took his mind off the earth and the issue surrounding himself and turned his thoughts toward the Almighty God. He stood in awe of God! As a herdman he had stood beneath the stars and adored their Creator. Orion is a group of stars that appeared in the winter and is a sign of bad weather. Amos stood amazed at the wondrous works of God through the climate to make the rain come and go and the seasons change and the blessings that came from it all.

One of my favorite songs in my repertoire of music right now is an Elevation Worship song called, “There is a Cloud.” It’s from the book of Kings, chapter 18, verse 44 and speaks of a cloud the size of a man’s hand that turned into a massive rain. Amos had tuned out the of the trouble of the day and was tuned into the Maker of the sea and the controller of the clouds and he knew that if man would just turn to back to God, all the trials that were coming upon God’s people could be turned into a blessing. If only they’d realize and acknowledge Who God was. The Creator of all could take those storms and turn them into an abundant harvest.

How true that is for America? If only the churches of today, who’ve gotten so caught up in the world would fall back in love with God, and stand in awe of His ability, what would He do with us? If our priorities would get back in line, would He pour down the rain upon our churches that would draw a thirsty lost world into the doors of the church? I believe He would! And I’m seeking Him that made those seven stars, Jesus Christ, Lord of all, is His name.

Now… the church needs to show up.

What to do when they don’t understand

meet shari

At the onset of salvation God had me in a place where the word of God took preeminence in the decisions of the church, our conversations, basically life in general. We talked about the Word of God over breakfast, lunch or dinner and when sermons were preached the message was very, very personal to me. Sometimes too personal. It was as if someone had whispered in that preacher’s ear the very words I needed to hear. Over time I learned that it was spiritual discernment and that God had not actually told the preacher my sins in detail but that God would lay a message upon his heart that was needful in my life for that place in time. There were occasions that I also allowed the flesh to read more into it than necessary. God’s pretty basic with His conversations. Now, He could be far more intellectual than the brightest of men, after all He created conversation. But usually God speaks to the souls of men in a manner befitting a kindergartner. You cannot say that you do not understand what He meant. He broke it down. You can ignore it, but you can’t un-hear it.

God still works like that with me. The word of God takes preeminence in my life be it in the spoken, written or sung word. There’s a message for my soul specifically. I look for it and I long for it because I need to feel the presence of God in my life.  When I miss it, it frustrates me. So this morning I set out to determine a circumstance in my life that has me more than a little frustrated. And as always, God is faithful.

At this time in my life, I’m feeling very misunderstood. And for a person who wears her heart on her sleeve and communicates through the spoken and written word, being misunderstood hurts my heart. Because I feel that I am an oracle of God. (1 Peter 4:11)

If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

So I determined in myself this morning to get to the bottom of this with God, and so I awoke and began to search scripture for what God’s message to me would be concerning the matter at hand. By that search I ended up in the book of Ecclesiastes, written by Solomon, the wisest of all men, and who certainly had his share of life illustrations.

Because I’m of a passionate nature when it comes to personal and spiritual matters, frustration can run a close second to anger. I can get in the flesh and allow Satan to fill my mind full of notions that have no bearing in truth, but they sound good. Notions in respect to opinions. So I want to get anger out of the way first and foremost and so I landed on Ecclesiastes 7:9

Be Not Hasty

Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.

And so I stopped there. Obviously that was it. I just need to stop jumping to conclusions. Perhaps I was reading more into the situation than was there. And as I was about to shut the book on it, I heard God say… “I’m not through, keep reading.” I think God likes a three point sermon too. And so I continued on.

Be not High-minded

I don’t know what would ever give me the idea that I’ve arrived when it comes to understanding God’s ways, but for some reason I always think that I should. I’m just silly enough to think that God and I are so tight that He’ll let me in on what He’s doing in life, mine and everyone else’s. I know… that’s ridiculous. But in reality I’m clueless. And its why I turn to His word, looking for the “in” that lets me be in the “know” with God. So I continued to read.

10 Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.

11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun.

God’s so funny. I had been focusing a lot recently on what I considered to be better days. And God reminded me it’s not good to rest on my laurels. Yes, those were amazing times, but wouldn’t it be sad if that was it. God still has so much more to do, and though wisdom from the past is a great inheritance to have, there’s profit in looking to the future. That’s a good word for anyone!

And so I thought I’d better continue to see what else God had to say to me this morning concerning the hurt in my heart.

Be Not Heavy Hearted

21 Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee:

22 For oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others.

23 All this have I proved by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me.

And there it was. My conclusion to God’s three point sermon to me this morning. It only matters what God thinks. All the words that are spoken about me or to me are of naught, if God’s blessing isn’t on them. People hurt people. That’s life. Mine and everyone else’s.

So Praise God! I will continue being the “me” God created me to be. If King Solomon the wisest of all couldn’t figure out men, I’d be pretty foolish to think that I could. And though I’m no one in the eyes of the world, in God’s world I was appreciated enough to die for. That’s a reason to shout, and to praise and think outside the box that the world loves to put God in. Amen? I think so. Amen!

What to eat when you’re hurting

what to eatHave you ever wondered which hurts worst: Saying something you wish you’d never said or saying nothing and wishing you had? It’s tough. And it’s one of the millions of problems God understands. Now if only I could understand.

When you’re a talker, and I am, silence isn’t necessarily golden. I can feel the Spirit of God welling up in my soul trying to overpower the words that are working their way up from my gut. I need to say it! And God says “That’ll leave a mark Shari.” And I reply… “Just a small one God.” And He responds… “You can only see the surface, I see down deep… that little mark you thought your words would leave will go clear to the bone.

And so I shush. But the words pool and pool and pool until they flood out my mouth like tsunami that just hit the beach of a small island! I hate it! I regret it. But it’s too late… and so God begins putting the shores back of the relationship that I cut myself off from because I’d had enough. I’d been hurt one too many times.

In Matthew 18:21, Peter asked the Lord how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? To which Jesus replied, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

I taught this lesson on Wednesday night to my youth. It was timely in my life… but that’s how God works. If you’re a teacher of the gospel you understand. God never allows you to point a finger at anyone and say “You should do this!” without three pointing back at you saying, “So should you!”

I spoke a while back on the subject of hurt in the ministry.  I was shocked at the widespread sentiment of almost everyone there. Many thanked me and said the message was for them, then asked prayer for their issue. I think some wanted me to pray that God would cast coals of fire on their enemies head, but that’s not how God works. I know, I’ve prayed that prayer a time or two. If you’re honest you likely have too.

So what does one do when they’ve been hurt? At least for a while… shush; followed by calming the waters.  No tsunamis! You need to sit in the recliner with a cup of coffee and banana and talk to Jesus. Well, that’s how I did it.

It’s said to be an old Cherokee tale, but whosoever it is, it is wise and it is biblical:

***

One evening, an elderly Cherokee brave told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said, “my son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is good. It is joy, peace love, hope serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”

The grandson though about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “the one that you feed.

***

 Our words have great power. The spoken and the unspoken. Although we may never say aloud many of the things we think, the thought process still feeds our spirit. And like the tsunami that got its start down deep on the ocean floor, the things in the pit of our stomach that causes us anger and resentment are what we feed upon. If we continually think negative thoughts about issues and people it will eventually erupt and likely cause a broad path of damage.

The coffee and banana were good… the Words of God, were great! Feed on those.

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Dancing through Deception

One of my recent women’s conferences was on the subject of hurt in the ministry. Oh my… did that strike a chord! It caused me to ponder just how deep a wound that was in the body of believers; and if you’ve been a part of a church for any time at all you’ve likely worn the badges of Christianity on your own vest. I’ve seen people proudly display their badges of hurt and I’ve seen others who kept them tucked away from view yet still the pain and anguish of unsettled hurt was transparent. I’ve often written on here that I am the queen of the “I’m Fine Theory.” I’m not saying it’s always healthy reasoning, but it’s how I cope. But what does the Bible say about hurt when it comes from those in the congregation of the Lord?

I certainly make no claims that today’s post will fix the issue, it’s a blog, not a book… although following this conference, I’m inclined to write it. Because that wound in the body of Christ is deep and wide and worst of all infectious.

Today’s post is for the purpose of encouraging you in the moment, and somedays that’s all we need to make it through.

Can I have this dance?

Serving the Lord in any capacity be it a paid staff position, volunteer or voluntold is akin to a dance. Somedays you dance with grace and other day you do the two step. I’m pretty sure I’ve clogged a time or two for the cause of Christ!

The Waltz

One of the most beautiful dances of all time and makes the heart swoon when the lady and her lord glide across the floor in sheer elegance, gazing longingly into each other’s eyes. My early days of salvation bore a resemblance to that grace. I loved the church (still do by the way) but at that time everything with every one of God’s people was beauty and grace. I was in such awe of the goodness of God that I didn’t take the time to dwell on anything negative. Even the negative had a positive side because I knew God would fix it! (I still believe that.) But then the band played a different tune…

The Two Step

The timing of the dance is key! Quick, quick, slow, slow, quick, quick, slow, slow. And so it is how some progress in the ministry. And then there’s the whole “stepping backwards” thing when one is moving forward and another backwards; and should the timing get off someone’s toes will get stepped on and other folks on the floor get knocked down. Now I know that good Baptist girls don’t dance, so this is all metaphorically speaking of course. (Insert smile here) That two step got me in a serious straight a few years down the line in the ministry and more than my toes got stepped on. Someone clogged on my heart. And I was one of the lead dancers on the floor where all eyes were on me, waiting to see if I would miss stepped or keep on dancing. So I put on my prettiest boots and just kept on…  I was “fine.” On the outside.

On the inside I was one hot mess, but I did eventually make it through with valuable life lessons. I received my first certificate of completion in the school of deception.

So what’s my advice if you’re facing that today? Make a change.

You may have to change the music, change the dance or the venue all together.

The word deceive is derived from the Latin word , decipere, meaning to catch, ensnare or cheat. The deception of a friend is the hardest on the heart and can trap us in that place. We never believe that we’ll be forsaken by someone we care about, and when it happens it casts a dim light over relationships in general. Trust becomes harder and harder and advice seems to become more abundant. It’s in that place that change needs to occur.

Change the music

People’s advice is readily available and often wrong. Take caution on where you seek counsel. Satan is more than happy to fill your mind full of negative thoughts about those who hurt you and anyone else in your life that might hurt you. My hurt stopped when God sent a friend in whom I could confide.

Proverbs 27:9

Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.

Satan will sing a song that will ensnare you in unnecessary pain for a very long time. Yes, betrayal hurts, but you can move on by changing the music. Find a Christian friend that will encourage healing and stop talking about the hurt.

Change the dance

Change the direction of your steps. You’ve got to put a new plan of action in place. Your previous actions caused hurt, so let’s make a new plan; one that has you in a new direction. Another major factor in me getting through the hurt I experience was that I always had a new project that kept my mind occupied on new and exciting things.

Luke 5:37

And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish.

I love that scripture. It reminds me that hanging on to old things will often damage the new things. Sometimes we need a fresh start (new wine)! The old bottle is just going to leave a bad taste in your mouth… move on!

I’m several years on the other side of that hurtful time, and still yet today Satan will sting my heart with a reminder. I’m not saying it’s easy… I’m saying it’s necessary if you want to dance in the harmony of the life God wants for you.

Dance on sweet friends!

Digging for the Truth

chick pondering

Oh the irony! Or should I say iron. (See Job 28) I had just spoken at a retreat on getting past the hurts of the ministry and then WHAM! Somebody hurt me. What? That ain’t right!… well I should have been wearing a helmet, because that’s life.

So Friday morning, I got up and prayed and prayed and ask God to get me through this. My second conference of the week was in one more day and I didn’t want to go in with this baggage on my shoulder for fear I’d drop it on the platform and hurt someone myself. So God parked me in Job. That’ll fix ya! Talk about a man that experienced hurt and kept going.

Will Grahahm & The Jesus Chick! 🙂 His sermon title… “Open Your Big Stinkin’ Mouth!” I think I can do that 😀

Well here I am on the other side of those two conferences. Both blessed events. The first event was the Southern Baptist Pastor’s Conference where I spoke to the wives. At the same conference with Billy Graham’s grandson, Will Graham. How awesome was that! (see the goofy looking selfie) On the weekend of Billy Graham’s 97th birthday. I’d venture a guess in his 97 years Billy has experienced more than a few hurts in the ministry.

The second conference was in Franklin Furnace, Ohio and to say that Heaven came down and touched my soul wouldn’t begin to describe the weekend. Woman after woman came and told me words of encouragement of how I’d touched them. No one is ever as shocked as I am when God uses me in such a way.

Storms and hurts come. But Glory to God! they are not forever. And I know this because of digging in God’s Precious Word, for His Precious Promises and truth.

Job 28:20

Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding?

Reading through this chapter caused me smile. Great big. God’s wisdom always amazes me because mine is so limited. And yet I have but to ask and He provides. But it doesn’t stop there. Just as Job said, wisdom is buried like riches in ground, and if you want it, you’re going to have to work for it.

God doesn’t throw precious jewels above ground for us to stumble upon and gain wealth. If you want those riches you’re going to have to dig for them. Well… the same holds true for the riches of the wisdom of God. While it’s wonderful hear from God through preaching and teaching, God wants us to spend time in His word so that he can direct our paths.

Sunday morning’s the launching point! I’m ready to be in my own church with my own people and hear my own preacher. But I am so glad that this morning I have my own God! The Creator of Heaven and earth who put precious jewels in the Word of God that guide me to the answers that I need. Hurts come and go, troubles and trials come and go, but God is our Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, Healer of the broken spirit.

Job 28

Read it  for yourself!

Feeling Hurt or Betrayed… this post is for you!

God's favOne of my greatest defeats in life is the heartache of betrayal by friends and family. It takes me forever and a day to get past what happened and get on with life as God’s design intended and I have a feeling I’m not alone. If a stranger speaks ill of you or does you harm you can shrug that off for you are no better or worse without them in your life. But if someone for whom you have invested love, energy and time betrays you; it’s as if a piece of your very heart has been torn asunder. There is no salve that will heal it, nor bandage that can conceal it. Everybody in your circle knows that you’ve been hurt, which for me is worse than the hurt sometimes. Because then I not only have to deal with the pain inflicted by the person who hurt me, but the shame I feel around those who know that I was betrayed. It’s a double whammy kind of day.

It’s been a little while since I have been in that position, but as I read across 2 Samuel 19 this morning the times that it occurred came flooding back into my mind as if someone had opened a gate.  I can still find myself wallowing in the pain like I’ve stepped in mucky miry clay in my favorite shoes; ruining the shoes and causing me to slip and fall back into that despair I felt when it originally happened. What I fail to understand in times like these is that I’ve not only gotten myself stuck in the mud but those around me are being splattered as well as I stomp and kick my way back to dry ground. Even the unsaved know the scripture about turning the other cheek in Matthew 5:39. They may not be able to quote it but they know it’s supposed to be a Christian characteristic that practically every Christian fails.

In 2 Samuel 19, David has just won the battle, but in the process his son Absalom is killed. He’s been betrayed by friends and family. He’s mourning not only the loss of a child but the agony of his son’s betrayal. Joab, the commander of his army has to have a heart to heart about his role as leader and the effect his mourning is having on his nation. They feel they’ve done something wrong by killing his enemy. David sent the whole nation running into their tents like thieves; as if they’d done wrong for doing right. He does make amends and in the process makes a statement that every child of God should know.

After the battle, Shimei, who had been on the opposing team comes to David in great remorse for his behavior begging forgiveness. Abishai, David’s comrade and nephew (his mom was Zeruiah) tells David to forget Shimei’s apology and put him to death because he had “cursed the Lord’s anointed.” Oh how many times I have all but ask God to kill those who have betrayed me. I didn’t want God to kill’em but if He’d have maimed them I’d have been okay with that. But David answers him in royal style and forgiveness.

2nd Samuel 19:22

And David said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah, that ye should this day be adversaries unto me? shall there any man be put to death this day in Israel? for do not I know that I am this day king over Israel?

To country quote that for myself … “The battle is over, the damage is done and I’m still God’s favorite.”

That’ll put a shout on you! That’s how you victoriously get past the hurt. Regardless of what someone has done, or what the end result is, they cannot remove you from your station in life that God has given you. If we’re wallowing in pain, we’ve stepped down from our position. That’s an awesome word for someone today… Me for one!