I see you, my dear friend in an unexpected season.
Maybe you're single longer than you ever anticipated.
Maybe your marriage is much harder than you planned for.
Maybe you didn't know you'd be disappointed month after month, finding out once again that pregnancy has eluded you.
Maybe you didn't get what you hoped you'd always get, and now you don't know how you're supposed to live without it.
Maybe someone close to you has gone too quickly, and the pain you bear each day only intensifies how little you expected life to go the way it has.
Oh my friend, my heart aches with you. I listen to your bravery as you share these tender places with me. As you do the near impossible work of putting crushed dreams, disappointed hopes, and unwanted pain into words. You stop, your words screeching to a halt as you choke up and look away. You hope to gather yourself at the realization of how deep you feel this ache.
You've walked through seasons where your schedule was fuller, and these desires drifted to the back of your mind as you busied yourself. You've tried the route of numbing yourself with activity and entertainment. You've engaged both positive thinking and cynicism, each hardening you with a bitterness that seeps into every area of your life. But when you're alone, when you can't sleep, when you get really quiet, the power of these desires threatens to overwhelm you and take you captive.
You're not sure how to go about your normal life carrying around this painful desire. Everywhere you look, you have to remember that your life is not what you hoped it would be. Engagement parties. Pregnancy announcements. Couples' smiling on dates. Weekends. Target. Church. People without intending digging their fingers into wounds too sensitive for light conversation. Why are you still single? Why doesn't your spouse join you? How long are you two waiting to have kids?
There's only so many times you can answer these God-questions before you burst.
But questions from the outside aren't nearly as haunting as the ones that arise from within. Why does God seem to love her more than me? Why can't I have this one thing? Why would God keep this from me? What's wrong with me?
Temptation grows thick, and you start to view yourself through the lens of your lack. Your identity forms around a hollow hope, and you cave into the lies that say you must not deserve this good thing, that your God is holding out on you, that your life will never be full. Not only are you left empty, but your loneliness and shame isolate you with a profound sense of unworthiness.
And perhaps the most agonizing part of all is when you come before God. The exposure of your heart before Him feels volatile, and if you find any courage to form words, you sink deeper into your helpless state. You bend into the growing distance between your God and yourself, preferring the silence over the words you never wished to say.
Oh friend, my heart aches. Though I may not know the degree of your suffering, I pray you'll allow me the privilege of ministering to you. Though I may even have what you want, I pray you don't see me as "other" than you. I pray that you'd receive me as your sister, enduring my own road marked with particular suffering to place me in fellowship with Jesus.
And if you feel that even the tiniest glimpse of you has been seen through the outpouring of these words, know that my gaze is one of compassion. One of longing to be let in to the place you feel outcasted. That I may serve you and love you the best way I know how—as a vessel of the ministry of Jesus.
I pray you'll acknowledge how desperate you really are for healing and hope, and that the walls of skepticism and envy and hardness will crumble. That you'll look up one more time from the darkness and see a dawn of light from the Word of God.
This is a collection of Scriptures that I believe will transform and reshape you in your unexpected season. That will be the avenue through which you receive the ministry of God Himself.
His ministry is one that brings from prison those who sit in darkness. Who deals tenderly with even the weakest of faiths. Who absorbs the cost of our sin against Him that we might know for certain that we are honored in His sight, loved beyond measure (Isaiah 42-43).
Because when we receive the ministry of Christ, He makes room for us to re-root our identity deep in Him, the safest place to endure any unexpected season we could ever face.