I was texting a friend a couple of days ago, as she was facing some devastating problems in her extended family.  In fact, the issues were piling up like a stack of hotcakes…one after another.  She was feeling smothered and heartbroken, and breathless.

I know this.  I have walked this.  I am walking this.  In fact, some sadness that I am experiencing might never go away completely while I am alive.  Just typing this is painful.  Who doesn’t like happy Hallmark Channel endings?  They are easy and sweet and unoffensive.

But every now and then I like a hot dose of reality, albeit in a movie or television show or great book.  Please allow me to partake of the sadness, the grit, the real, the pain of this world with a possibility of redemption through it rather than out of it. (This, by the way, describes the entire Bible!)

Isn’t this part of life?  God gives, and God takes away.  If I am continually attempting to band-aid and heal every broken heart and crushed spirit and human sin, I will do more harm than good.  Sometimes it is better to sit in my pain for a moment, to let the pain wash over me and just let it stand.  If I am doing wrong, then I need to stop, consider my attitude, and apologize.  But pain and hurt also happen because of others’ issues and I cannot, and should not, fix them.

I had a friend once who often spoke about the necessity of accountability, and loving confrontation.  We were friends for years, when I noticed a shift from sisterhood to jealousy over a tiny issue.  This tiny spark manifested itself slowly before snowballing into anger and eruption.  After years of knowing I had her permission to speak truth into her life, I finally did, firmly and gently.  The silence was deafening, and the walls flew up.  They are still there to this day.

I share this, because, as a pastor’s wife, I see this playing out all over the place.  Women living in fear of accountability, and gossip becoming the norm, albeit under disguise of prayer requests.  It is frustrating, but I keep circling back to my own heart.  I am prone to the same things that my former friend is now doing.  If we all took care of our own hearts, kept short accounts, admitted wrongdoing, and moved on in peace, with an unoffendable spirit, would we not have a more influential life?

These are my thoughts today.  Our family is in a new season of ministry, and I am thankful for some of the challenges we are facing.  It is actually causing me to dig deeper in prayer and trust.  Practicing these spiritual disciplines gives way to relying on God and living with that tension of weakness and God’s strength and endurance.

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