Are we hidden in the darkness or set free in the Light?

May 24, 2016

Okay, so I knew moving to a new city where we didn't really know anyone was going to be hard. I knew it was going to be a lot of change. What I didn't know was how hard it was going to be to really live a life that we've wanted and felt called to live. 


No one told me when you move to a big city where the cost of living is outrageous and seeing many of your friends back home buying houses or having super cute decor or looking "good" on social media would make me some jealous. Honestly, sometimes I'm just jealous of the fact life looks so comfortable. I'll stop and think..."Man, it would have been so much easier to stay in Arkansas, I would have a good job, I would have an established community, I wouldn't have to push myself as much everyday just to get to know people, we could have had a much nicer apartment and have more than one drawer in our kitchen, we would have been close to family so when melt downs come we have family to lean on, life would just be easier." 


Now to ponder. This is not what I asked for. This so called "easy" life is not what I was called to. And Facebook and Instagram are just all the "good" we want people to see and not the reality of life's hardships that shape us into the people we are made to be. It's easy to be jealous of everything that looks "good" and "happy" and easy to forget that there is more than what meets the eye. 


Since I have shared my story I have been impacted deeply by those who have reached out to me. Many of which I thought had "good" lives. They seemed to have smiles on their faces. They are the ones we never expect to be struggling so deeply. My heart began to just ache. I hurt for those who have experienced and are experiencing such a deep pain. But honestly, there is part of me that is angry. There is a part that is like WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME!?!?! Why did I have to feel like I was the only one? Why are there so many out there that have to feel like they are the only one? It hit me like a wave of bricks. We want the world, our friends, our coworkers, those around us to think we have it all together. To think we're strong. To think we've figured out this messy crazy thing called life. We don't want to admit we're the Davids that royally screwed up because of our selfishness, or the Peter's that blatantly rejected Jesus, or the Pauls that persecuted the followers of Jesus before we met him. 


So I am compelled. Because now I know we can not be silent. In the depths of the pain, I pulled away. I allowed shame and embarrassment control my life, but now as I am working through the depths of my thoughts and pain I can not be silent. I can not hide what is a real disease and I can not be fake. Life is DAMN hard. Stop just say "It's okay." If it's not, ADMIT IT! Be REAL!!! And this is not just for me, but for everyone. Life is painful and our ONLY HOPE is found in JESUS. 


Stop sugar coating it for your kids or your colleagues, for the believers you do life with or those who don't know Jesus, so it looks like your life is so much better. Let US stop comparing our lives and reflect on the promise of God. Shouldn't the church be the SAFEST place to share our burdens? Shouldn't the church be the body of Christ and support those around them? Can't we as the church be AUTHENTIC to those around us, in all circles of life?


Words cannot express how God has burdened my heart. They are not adequate words to tell you how my eyes have been opened and how my heart groans for love and truth. My heart hurts for those who are walking in seasons of utter darkness and pain and feel so alone. My heart hurts for the man who just found out his sister died in an accident just after he and his wife moved to Miami. I know I have been the one to say "I'm okay" or "there's nothing to complain about." Don't get me wrong, we are blessed! Rusty and I are content. Our needs are met and God is taking care of us. But I also want people to know that I am weak, but my God is strong. I want God's redemption to be my story, not my self-sufficiency. I want the world to know that "when I am weak, then I am strong". It is God in me that provides hope and satisfaction, but man do I need help to remember that and humility to admit that I'm not always okay. Admit that I screw up. Those who don't know Jesus will not experience the depths of his love through us if they can't see the redemption he has brought us through his love and our sinfulness. 


So this is my charge. I am calling us out. Let us go and share our stories, let us share the GREATEST STORY OF ALL, GOD'S STORY OF GRACE AND REDEMPTION FOR THE WORLD!!! Be real. Be authentic. Be vulnerable. Don't you know that God has a purpose for you? He wants to use you for his glory. Are we letting him or just staying silent, depending on ourselves to be sufficient? We are in DESPERATE NEED, NEED OF SAVING. We are in DESPERATE NEED of GRACE and LOVE. WE NEED HELP. We NEED a SAVIOR. We can not do this life on our own, so why don't we unite together and PROCLAIM the REDEMPTION of GOD? Proclaim LOUDLY our DESPERATION for HIM. Why do we sit silently of our past or our darkness? Why don't we SING ALOUD how our GOD can and has brought us through? Or why don't we share so that we can get help? Is our pride really that big that we can't admit this life is hard? Do we really have to look that good, that we can't admit we can't do this life on our own? Is so hard to admit we need help? It's hard. Yes, but it's needed. We are in need, no matter how culture defines our lives or our success, there is more to life that than world, we still need more, the world needs a Savior, the world needs God. And guess what? He wants us. He loves us. He cares for us. 



2 Corinthians 12:9-11

9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Jo ButlerComment