Sunday, May 15, 2011

Hope

I don't even know where to start with this blog. God used several events yesterday to speak to me. The last few weeks I have felt distant from the Lord. I felt numb and like I didn't even know what to feel. I realized now that I was not wanting to deal with the situation with my brother. This is something I know I shouldn't do but I tend to push God away when I am hurting. I know I need Him desperately and I know that He is faithful but I think by "pushing" God away I won't have to deal with my pain, hurt, and situation. I haven't been spending much time in the Word or being as involved with Circles stuff including blogging because I did not want to deal with my situation and think about it. Instead of letting God heal me and be my strength,  I chose to live in feelings of emptiness and be numb to the world. The thing is this last few weeks I did not really realize that this is what I was doing until last night.

At Circles yesterday my eyes were opened to the talent of empathy. Doug, Lindsay, and I had a conversation about how empathy can be a really great talent but also can be harmful to yourself. A person with empathy tends to be compassionate and to feel the pain of others and take that upon themselves. However, it is really important that a person with empathy have a way to release those feelings so they don't bottle up inside. Doug was talking about how exercise or people with other talents can help point out to you to remember that those feelings are not always yours to take and you need to let it go. After I left Circles and was headed to a birthday party, I was reflecting on our conversation. I realized that I tend to want to take on the pain and emotions of my patients at work but also my family's. I spent the time in the car praying about giving over these feelings of needing to take on my family's hurts and pains as well as my own. I am not helping anyone by doing that. I was also praying that God would break the wall that was between us. I prayed " God I don't even know why I feel this way and why there is a wall between us. Please break the walls down and show me what they are. I don't want to feel this way anymore." 

I finally arrived at the birthday party and tried to be present with everyone even though I still felt numb and lacked joy. The night went on and about 10ish I announced that I needed to leave. My friend's mom who has survived breast cancer and is an amazing woman of God asked if she could pray for me before I left. I love this woman and her prayers and thought why not. She asked what I needed prayer for and if I minded sharing with the other women at the party. Again I thought why not. I told them how I feel like I am pushing God away but I know I need Him and I don't want to do that anymore. I shared how my family is struggling to deal with my brother's situation and how it is hindering my walk with God. Then they all laid hands on me and prayed for me, my family, and my brother. It was soo powerful! I couldn't stop crying. I just kept thinking about the fact that here my friend is giving up time from her party to pray for me and a bunch of women I don't even know care about me to pray. They prayed for God's love to surround me and I felt it through these women's love towards me. It was so cool because some of the words prayed over me were things that God has been showing me. One was to "be still and know that I am God."  My friend's mom pointed out that I have been keeping really busy in order not to deal with what is going on. She told me I need to make sure and set aside time for the Lord so that He can teach me and be my strength. She encouraged me to be consistent in reading the Bible. She shared how through her cancer she had to stay in the word because that needed to be her foundation and that was how God revealed truths and was her strength. Several of the women told me to put on the armor of God, let Him be my strength, don't let the pain divide my family, and that God will use this time of pain. I felt like God was using them to pour truth and love over me. My friend's mom also shared how as in the old testament the Israelites would place stone memorials marking where God had acted, God is creating memorial stones in my life. I recently had been reading in Joshua how they crossed the Jordan as the Lord parted it for them and they made a memorial of stones. God had been making memorial stones in my life in one from my brother being healed of cancer, getting me family through my grandparents death, and now with my other brother.
He definitely broke down walls for me. Walls of taking on my families pain, of business not allowing me to be still before the Lord, and of hopelessness. God restored my hope again for my brother and my family. I felt an overwhelming sense of God's love for me as He answered my prayer of breaking down the walls and how He used these women at a birthday party to minister to me. After they prayed for me, we then prayed for several other women and it allowed for a time of being open and vulnerable with each other even though we didn't know one another. It was so awesome to see the body of Christ come together in that way and have a common bond though Christ. :)

Abba I surrender and want to be near to You. Thank you for Your Faithfulness, Love, and Hope and that You don't give up on me. Thank you for restoring my hope. Use me and help me to be still before You. I love You!

8 comments:

  1. Wow, Ash! Thanks for the strong encouragement to lean IN when we walk into challenges and unchartered seasons.

    It is so cool to hear about community acting like THAT! - I'm so glad you got to experience the Body in such a powerful way. Now it's your turn to show others that (like you did in organizing sunrise service).

    A passage that came to mind was 2 Cor. 12:8-10
    Stoked for you:)

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  2. Ashley, this is so awesome! Your honesty and openness of how God is working in you and what He is showing you in so encouraging. I totally understand what you mean about feeling distant or numb to God. Reading this has encouraged me to push into Him even when its hard and it seems like it would be easier to run away from Him.


    Praying for you and your family!

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  3. Ashley, your prayer at the beginning of this post is so similar to how I was feeling last week. I felt a wall up between God and I and I didn't want it, yet I didn't know what to do about it. I'm so glad your walls between you and God were torn down. Praise God for Him always pursuing us in the most intricate and beautiful ways. I encourage you, as hard as it is to do, when you're feeling even the smallest walls being put up to talk to God about them and figure out what is causing them. It is so easy to just ignore God for a couple days or not be yourself in order to spare some time to feel numb (which is sometimes better than feeling bad, right? ugh haha.) You have such a heart after the Lord and your beauty and your loving heart just shines every time I see you. I would hate for the devil to think he can bring you down by not dealing with things with God right away. love you girl and p.s. I was talking to someone who knew you last night and he said you were one of the most amazing, Godly women he's even known. YAY! :)

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  4. wow ashley that is so awesome :) what an awesome picture of the body of Christ working together and it is so cool how those ladies just dropped everything and their little shindig to pray over you! loveee that :) it seems as though our human tendency when we're going through a difficult situation is to feel like our worries matter, and that somehow if we arent concerned or arent sad and kinda tripping out then we aren't doing what we ought to be doing and we're bad friends or sisters or brothers or whatever. but how opposite is it with God! it's so cool that our God wants to take all those things for us, and He wants us to know He's in control and that although there is nothing WE can do, there is nothing HE cant do. Your steadfast faith inspires me Ashley :) keep on trusting Him and seeking His love, its neverevereverending :))

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  5. I feel empathy definitely comes with its ups & downs. I easily take on the weight and emotions of others and forget to turn them over to the Lord. These items are not our burdens! Remember to pray to release them into His hands :) & I love the story. So good. Prayer is so powerful & I praise the Lord for bringing you to this situation.

    xoxo

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  6. oh, ashley, this is lovely. i find that as much as i push away help and vulnerability, eventually a group of people will surround me with sincere care and interest and, in that, i can no longer hold up the walls. i'm so glad you had this beautiful experience and that those women were faithful to you and God through their love.

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  7. Amazing. I totally just read that part in Joshua yesterday! haha. This is a really cool post though. Prayer can come in the most awesome of ways and it is always so encouraging when people who you have no clue of pray for exactly what you need. It just proves how real and powerful our God truly is! Definitely praying for you and as this is late I do not know if things have changed, but praying for you nevertheless.

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