Life’s Bumpy Roads

How many times have we hit a bump in the road called life? Sometimes the bumps are little almost unnoticeable, maybe even annoying. We drive on without another thought to it. A small change we can manage on our own. But what about those bumps that knock us all the way over to the opposite side of the road, going the wrong direction during rush hour?

My husband and I found ourselves in that very situation two and a half years ago. It was a normal Sunday evening. We had our traditional “Nazarene naps” followed by something quick and easy for dinner. We had just settled in for a night of TV when that bump in the road knocked us onto the other lane.

They called it a massive bleeding stroke. It was one of the more violent ones that they had ever seen. My husband’s life changed in a split second and ultimately it claimed his life. When this happened, my husband and I were very active in the church. We were involved in almost every ministry and were considered respected leaders in the church. Yet, my heart was far away from it. I played church better than anyone, all the while becoming more and more bitter towards a God I never knew and a life I hated.

It’s amazing to me how easily I was able to brush aside my relationship with God. As if He was simply a friend I didn’t really need anymore.

until I did…

Out of sheer desperation I started making all kinds of deals with God, like He was a genie in a bottle. I always thought that was stupid, and yet here I am doing the very thing I said I’d never do. I’ll be a “real” Christian this time. I’ll read my bible more often and I’ll even say a few prayers, just bring my husband home to me. How naive I was.

Several months had passed and though I held on to the hope that my husband would come home to me, his body slowly shut down. My husband held on for eight months. It was a long good bye but he fought the good fight and it was time to move on. All the while this garden of despair I had worked so hard to nurture and maintain was slowly wilting away. Something different was starting to grow inside of me. Kindness replaced bitterness, peace replaced anger and joy replaced resentment.

How did this happen? Usually when we face a life changing crisis our instinct is to turn away from God. Perhaps even blame Him for what went wrong in our life. Certainly, Job’s wife could attest to that. I honestly can’t tell you why I didn’t go down that well-travelled road. Maybe it was the prayers of my family and friends, the prayers of a mom who never gave up. Whatever the reason, when I found myself on my knees, I found myself looking up.

This road that I am now travelling on is full of bumps, detours, and wrong ways. I often have to stop and remind myself of my destination. I get lost, turned around, sidetracked, you name it… Yet, my mom often reminds me that in my moments of confusion or sadness through the tears and the sorrow, all I have to do is look up. So here I am looking up because through the tears and the sorrow, I have learned that He is my rock and my fortress, my God in whom I will trust, and surely He will deliver me.

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalms 73:26

Broken Things

There’s a song by Matthew West called “Broken Things.” I find myself absentmindedly humming it throughout the day. It gets stuck in my head on repeat, but I don’t seem to mind. On occasion when I do sing the words rather than hum the tune, I’m almost dumbstruck by the simplicity of them…
“Oh but I heard a whisper
As Heaven bent down
Said, “Child, don’t you know that the first will be last and the last get a crown”
Now I’m just a beggar in the presence of a King
I wish I could bring so much more
But if it’s true You use broken things
Then here I am Lord, I’m all Yours.”

The second to last line, ”but if it’s true You use broken things…” gets me every time. I can hardly sing those words without tearing up. Why on earth would He use broken things? And me, the most broken of them all.

Sometimes, I’m taken back by how little I’ve accomplished in my 41 years of life. Most people by this age would have the “American Dream.” A home, a family, successful careers, some type of fulfillment that they can look back on and show the world they’ve “made it.” At 41, I struggle to think of all the things I have to show the world.

Yet, He uses broken things…

I often think of Joseph. How he was discarded and abandoned by his own family, left in a hole to fend for himself. Yet, God used those opportunities to make Joseph flourish. He took a broken thing, Joseph and made him into something. I think of Samson, a mighty man of God with feats of strength unknown to mankind! He rose so high, and fell so low. Yet, He uses broken things…and with his last breath did more for God and his people, than he did in his entire life.

Obviously, I’m not expecting to hit my prime the moment I leave this earth, but I know He uses broken things. And while I may not have hit my stride just yet, I know it’s around the corner. I feel like God uses the ones who the world has discarded, mocked and ridiculed…not because He feels sorry for the broken things, but because His mercy and love know no bounds. It shows the world that inside each broken thing, there’s a gem waiting to come out.

“All the misfit heroes You chose
Tell me there’s hope for sinners like me.”


6 Responses to “In the Valleys”

  1. Ruth Chatham says:

    I love this blog. Very well written and it moved me.

  2. Shelly says:

    I think God uses the broken things to show He loves and works with everyone. Not just those that have it all together and through the broken things His power, healing and love are seen more clearly. Love ya!

  3. LaVerne says:

    And His use of “broken things” shows His power. Gal. 2:20. You are living proof of His power.

  4. Bonnie says:

    It’s amazing how God takes the pain in our lives and turns it into understanding and personal relationship with Him. You go, Diana!

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