In retrospect, my most painful life experiences are the ones most valuable to me today. I don’t want to relive one day of the trials, but it was time well spent. Not only did I learn that God is unfailing in His presence and care, but living through the toughest times prepared me to serve God by serving others.
A big part of serving others is serving other women, something I didn’t feel capable of doing well. But God wastes nothing.
“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness” – Psalm 30:11
I’m not a warm, fuzzy mamma type. I didn’t have my own children and never met a maternal dynamo until I was middle-aged. It was like meeting a unicorn, a mythical being you heard about but didn’t believe existed. I’m a problem-solver. A trainer. A hands-on-let’s-fix-it kind of girl.
God Always Has a Reason
By God’s grace I learned that He never pelts you with stones, permits pain, or challenges you to walk through dark times without purpose.
The purpose of God’s lesson is never pain. Power-lifting isn’t about pain, but it’s part of the drill. Childbirth isn’t about pain, it’s about new life.
When I ask, “How can I help?”, I mean, is there something I can help you do, to change? Can I provide information, suggestions, perspective, simplicity, options, or something to ponder? I’m not good at wrapping someone up in love only to leave them in a bad place. I’ve been in bad places. I didn’t want to stay and don’t wish that for anyone else.
No one ever wrapped this little red-haired girl in a bear hug. Learning to hug with body and heart wasn’t a lesson from childhood. But I learned it anyway. God wastes nothing.
Love is defined by experience
Love is a weird concept. It’s one of those things we define by our experience. I didn’t learn love from a person. Or people. I learned it in the dust of lonely childhood surrounded by God’s critters.
I learned from the King himself. But even when I thought I was alone, I wasn’t. God repays. Anything God repairs is stronger than before it broke. The love I didn’t have as a child is a pittance compared to the bounty God blesses me with today.
Maybe I never worry because I know there’s a blessing in everything. I’ve been in some rotten places and come out smelling like roses. Once we reach a certain age we’re accountable for our choices, so I’m not blame-free. And yet, I’m the poster-child of “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”
No matter where you are, His grace is sufficient for you. There’s still hope, even if you walked into the pit on purpose.
God is faithful and He wastes nothing.
Every one of my dark moments was pulled from its hiding place, polished with a Spirit-infused cloth, and shared with someone on the edge of despair. My message today is that the most brilliant Light you can imagine waits at the edge of your darkness. His name is Jesus.
Christian Women of a “Certain Age” Called to Serve
Part of His faithfulness is equipping others to come alongside women who are still up to their chins in bad times. We know. We’ve been there. And there’s hope. Women being pulled down by the world need to know that they don’t have to stay where they are. No matter how tiny, change is possible. God isn’t ready to snuff out worldly evil quite yet. That’s still coming, but in the meantime, we’re His army, peace corps, and witnesses.
I expect you’re already serving on the front lines of spiritual battle. Using your faith and certainty in the goodness and power of God to help others move from their place of suffering.
The Author of Transformation and Purpose
Maybe you’re one of those mythical creatures someone besides me never met – a woman who hugs with mind, body, spirit, and soul. If you are, I love you even if I’ve never met you. Women like you are few and far between. We’re not all called or gifted in that way, but even a glimpse of a unicorn is enough to confirm that they’re real.
If you’re more action-specific, like I am, I love you too. God made you purposefully, not as a Mini-Me of someone else. The reason for your history may be His plan for what’s next. Even if poor choices were entirely your own, God is the author of transformation. He can use everything for good.
Some gifts aren’t wrapped in pretty paper with curled ribbons. Some leave scars. Scars of blessing. Our blessed Savior lived through worse than any of us. He died a death we won’t experience. His glorified body reflects scars in His hands, feet, and side. Consider the result!
Scars don’t have to be reminders of bad times, but promises of so much more. Because God wastes nothing.
How do you use your scars to help others?