“I feel sorry for Joe; he has to go home with you.”
How is it that words spoken nearly 25 years ago can press into your spirit anew when you least expect them?
What had I missed? Had I said something wrong? Been annoying?
As far as I’d known, it was a carefree holiday meal at my parents house.
Frayed and loosely-knit, we weren’t a family who gathered often, so I’d enjoyed the time to catch up with everyone that night.
As the evening was winding down and we were saying our goodbyes—there they were.
The words that spilled so effortlessly from my mother’s lips—landing so heavily within my psyche.
Interesting how words can catch you off-guard yet feel so familiar, all at once.
Unlikeable, unlovable, not enough, unwanted, unneeded, unworthy, disgraced. All familiar sentiments that cried within my spirit.
They weren’t bad people, my parents. They worked hard, put a roof over my head, food in my belly and shoes on my feet.
And, more than anything, I’ll always be grateful to them for taking my eight-year-old-self to the little southern church where I met the Lord of my life.
But, every so often, sharply-spoken words of yesteryear creep through the rusty back door of my psyche and plop themselves down on the sofa as if they belong.
And silly me—I sit with them awhile. In the shame. The unworthiness. The hurt.
My favorite phrase in all of Christian life—But God.
Friends, I don’t know that we’ll ever outlive the whys or the wishing-away of hard things.
But, what I do know is that God harvests barren fields. Tweet This
That lack of belonging left an emptiness in me—creating space for compassion. They say, “it takes one to know one,” and I believe that.
My spirit recognizes the one who believes she’s not enough—the sister who needs to know she belongs.
And friends, if all that went before made space for this in me—then amen to it.
What about you? Are there any “But God” moments you’ve been able to find the amen in?
We’re not quick to wish for it, but pain abounds in this world, doesn’t it?
Recycling the broken, resurrecting the barren, restoring the restless—how sweet the grace of knowing—He’s the God of the pain and the glory. Tweet This
Pain begets Purpose—
the beautifully-messy, hard-won testimony of a “But God” life.
Friends, next week we welcome Jill Savage to the table for Part 2 of the “But God” series. I know her words will bless, and to get the party started–I’m sharing a copy of her latest book No More Perfect Marriages today. Yay!
To enter, share a “But God” moment, or prayer request, or anything else on your heart today. (Randomly-selected winner announced next week.)
AND!! We’ll have two other wonderful giveaways to go along with Jill’s post next week! I can’t wait to share my friend Jill with you. I know she’ll bless us all, so be sure to join us next week for some wise words and fun gifts.
And, one last little giveaway today. This is one of the coloring pages I had made for my subscribers. It’s so perfect for this series, I wanted you all to have it. Please feel free to download and enjoy it. Thank you for joining me in this series—and for joining me in this beautifully broken thing called life. Because ministry is always more fun with friends.
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Thank you for bringing your dish to the table–May your ministry of words find community here.
This linkup is closed now, but we’ll meet you back here next Thursday for another #ChasingCommunity!
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
It does take one to know one. I do so love your compassionate heart. You have a tender spirit that just radiates God’s love. So glad God made our paths to cross. Also, thanks for the coloring page…sending it a friend who is laid up after surgery. “But, God” Amen! Perfect timing!
Love and blessings,
Bev @ Walking Well With God recently posted…Why My Heart Bleeds The Way It Does
Oh, Brenda… I too have been blessed with pockets from pain and holes from hurt that made room for God to fill me with better things. Your compassion is clearly evident in all you do! Many blessings! XO
Liz recently posted…Word Nerd Wednesday – Proselyte
Brenda, we have all had moments like that. How they can sting. But God! Now I want to throw confetti. 🙂
KellyRBaker recently posted…Thriving in Grace and Joy
Sherry Stahl says
I have so many BUT GOD experiences in my life. So much of life on this earth brings pain BUT GOD turns it around and does bring purpose, when we let Him! So glad you’ve LET HIM heal you and use everything for His glory.
Praying God expands the reach of your writing so it can inspire more people.
Be Blessed & Refreshed
Sherry Stahl recently posted…Are You Living Life on the Fly?
Michele Morin says
I tweeted that amazing truth about God harvesting barren fields. I think that’s part of everyone’s testimony, and what a great God He is!
Michele Morin recently posted…Die Before You Die (Till We Have Faces Discussion Group — Conclusion)
Becky Hastings says
I love how God is so much bigger than anything we experience here. How he can come in and rescue and resurrect and breathe life into all those places (even if they seem small).
I know that UN feeling well, too well. Grateful God won’t leave us in that place.
Becky Hastings recently posted…How I Went Back To Church, Part I
Brenda, I love the picture you paint here of how painful words can be, but how good our God is to help us through it. But God is becoming one of my favorite phrases, too, because it’s such a good description of how He works in our lives.
Leslie recently posted…Top 12 Things I’ve Learned this Winter
Lois Flowers says
“Pain begets purpose.” I love this, Brenda. And your “but God” perspective is really powerful. Once this truly sinks in, it’s amazing the difference it can make, isn’t it? I’m so sorry for those hurtful words that were spoken to you, but I praise God for the way He is redeeming your pain! 🙂
Joanne Viola says
Brenda, it is amazing how words said long ago can pop up now and then bringing a fresh pain. I am so grateful our God can bring healing so that we can remember the words and see His glory. Coming here each Thurs. each week is a breath of fresh air. May God bless you and continue to grow this community!
Joanne Viola recently posted…Encourage Me
Dori P says
I am new to your blog. I found it on Twitter. I’m always interested to learn how other women view their relationship with the Lord in connection with His written word. It is clear that your heart is compassionate towards others who’ve experienced rejection and who’ve accepted a sense of themselves that they may feel doesn’t measure up.
My question to myself when I’m feeling this way is “what/who am I trying to measure up to?” Of course, women are notorious for comparing themselves to other women. Facebaook is the worse for perpetuating that feeling that “every other mom/woman is doing life better than me.” I’m no longer on Facebook for that reason.
In any case, I wanted to ask you if you would clarify a point in your post. You say that “God harvests barren fields.” Would you kindly point me to a biblical reference to support what you are saying here? I’m not sure I understand what you mean. Certainly, the Lord draws near to the brokenhearted and sets the captive free as David reminds us in Psalm 34:18. When people are hurting they want relief from their pain. I find that sharing the message of the Cross with them brings most comfort. This world is not our home, right? Knowing that Jesus lived, was crucified, and rose from the dead, that He took on the punishment that we rightly deserved for the forgiveness of our sin, that salvation by faith is a free gift from God, and that eternity is in my heart strengthens me through hardships in my life.
When you feel low in spirit how does the Lord Jesus comfort you?
Thanks so much for allowing me an opportunity to share my thoughts with your community.
With much sincerity and love for Jesus,
Kristi Woods says
Brenda, it’s always a joy to link with you, and I often find myself in awe of your generosity and creativity. For real. Here’s my favorite from today’s post: Pain begets Purpose—the beautifully-messy, hard-won testimony of a “But God” life.
“but God…” I agree. My favorite.
But God – one of my favorite phrases and so many experiences to correlate this. I’ll share I see how God has kept my children and I can only say what? “But God!!!”
nylse recently posted…Deborah’s Cast of Characters – the 4th Judge
Dawn Boyer says
That coloring page is absolutely AWESOME Brenda! 🙂 And friend you need to spend some time reading Isaiah 54, you have written something I have been studying for ages with that… rescue, redeem, restore… it is all in there. And it is all His story of love over us.
I tend to remember the hurtful words a little too often, too, but God is reminding me that we need to focus only on His Words, His promises, His wisdom, His hope. But God. They are two of my favorite words, too. I love that you love them , too.
Dawn Boyer recently posted…A Lent Life and the #GraceMoments Link Up
Crystal Storms says
Brenda, it amazes me how words from long ago can catch us off guard, knocking us down, making us feel not enough. But I love that those hurtful words open our hearts for compassion to others. ((Hugs)) to you, sweet friend.
Crystal Storms recently posted…How To Race to the End – #HeartEncouragement
Lisa/Syncopated Mama says
Beautiful reminder, Brenda! I hope this first week of March is treating you well!
Lisa/Syncopated Mama recently posted…10 Ways to Make Nursery Rhymes More Fun!
I agree, “But God…” are two of the most amazing words. I love how he can take our pain and give it purpose by using it to develop empathy and compassion in us for others who have similar struggles.
Lesley recently posted…How Much Bread Do You Have?
Maree Dee says
Brenda – I love your post. But God…… Oh, my I have too many of those encounters to list.
It is so strange how words can take us back. How the sting can bring up old wound or thoughts.
You are an amazing gifted person that speaks volumes to me.
Maree Dee recently posted…Are You Judgmental?
But God… beautiful and comforting words. Even when everything is painful and hard, God can use it.
Julie recently posted…This is the Most Powerful Way Keeping God First
Sue Donaldson says
hi brenda – a great post. sad and real how a word not fitly spoken settles in our dark places and stays too long, no matter how unwelcome. i missed the link this week – on the road (is it only open a day or am I off a week? wouldn’t surprise me!) please pray for me tonight and the next couple days as I speak at a women’s retreat starting at 7:30 Pacific time this evening. I’ve done this series many times, but need God and His spirit each time. And tired from the travels. So thanks! off and driving …
Sue Donaldson recently posted…Feast on Friday: French Dip Beef Sandwiches
Darcy Hicks says
Ouch! How words can impact our lives in so many ways. And you are right, But God. His words are the ones we need to treasure. I love that you have taken the painful things and made them beautiful words of your own, for His glory. Hope you are well, friend! Blessings! xoxo
Darcy Hicks recently posted…New Seasons
Betsy de Cruz says
Hey there, Brenda! I can so relate to how someone else’s words can haunt us! One day recently I accidentally blurted out to my daughter, “You are selfish!” And I was SO sorry later. I couldn’t erase my words, and they hurt her deeply. Oh BUT GOD. Things are usually great between us, but I pray that He’ll take the sting out of my occasional mistakes! But God. He transforms.
Betsy de Cruz recently posted…When You Need a More Creative Way to Pray
Nicole Kauffman says
So much encouragement here, Brenda! I also struggle with some very similar painful words that echo in my soul at the most uninvited times. But I love the encouragement and the outlook that you provide here. Thank you for sharing 🙂
Nicole Kauffman recently posted…How to Fight Selfishness in Marriage
Belonging is a theme in my life too, though for different meanings yet all rooted in family. While those times leave scars, the pain dulls and God transforms them into empathy and compassion. As you said, pain begets purpose. I’ve never heard it said like that but I can say, yes, when we allow God to use our pain, it surely does. Thanks for sharing so openly.
Debby recently posted…Everyone worships something
Lux G. says
Every pain has a purpose with God.
Lux G. recently posted…Man And Music: Interview With Soulful Artist Billy D. Johnson
Donna Reidland says
Those sticky words that cling to us! It makes me wonder which of my words have had that effect. But God … who is more than our hurts and more than our mistakes! Thanks for this sweet reminder!
Donna Reidland recently posted…“Could you be acting ‘dumb as an ox’?” March 17