“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” James 3:13 (NIV)
For all of their lives, my children have known a secret. When circumstances fall apart, there is a safe place. Their mom’s arms. More than a hug, this place beats with the gentle rhythm of a heart that feels what they feel. So they bring what they can’t bear to experience alone into this place. And we reconnect.
So, when my daughter crawled into my arms at 3 a.m. several years ago, I knew. Trouble had found its way into her heart. A boy, whom she thought would handle her heart gently, didn’t. Her crush, crushed her.
She felt it all so deeply. And while I could see it was all for the best, I hurt for her with her split-open heart, because she’s mine — my girl who couldn’t sleep, so she slipped into my bed to be near the rhythmic heartbeat she’s known since she was conceived.
And in the quiet middle of the night, I held her. I brushed her long brown hair off her tear-streaked face. I kissed the wet salt on her cheeks. And I whispered, “I love you.”
And she knew I was safe. Her safe place to run and find when the world got wild and cruel and heartbreakingly mean.
The next morning, she showed me the source of her middle-of-the-night anguish: a text message from him. His words were from a heart entangled with immaturity and his own sources of hurt. He wasn’t a bad person. He was young. And sometimes young means incapable of handling situations the right way.
I understand that. Age has given me that gift. But my young girl did not understand. She took the words like daggers to the heart. And cried.
She handed me the phone.
“Help me reply.”
There we sat in the midst of poached eggs and toast crumbs, talking together, thinking together, replying together.
Together is a really good word. Together is what we need when we hit tough patches in life.
No matter what hard place we find ourselves in, feeling alone can make us vulnerable to bad decisions. Hard places can so easily make us want to default to our feelings rather than to wisdom as our guide. That’s not the best time to make a decision. Especially not alone.
I suspect if you’re in a tough place, it probably feels more significant than a teenage heartbreak. I understand. I’ve been there. And I’ll probably be there again. And when we’re there, we have to be honest that we’re not in the place to make big decisions right then. Maybe we’re not even in the place to make decisions on simple requests from others.
This doesn’t make you bad or incapable. It makes you smart. Smart enough to know to pause and take extra time when life takes on extenuating circumstances that are hard.
In this pause from decisions, go to your safe place. When the world beats you down, open up your Bible. Let His sentences finish yours. Let truth walk before you like a guide on a dark path.
And also go to someone in your sphere of influence whom you know is wise. How do we know whom to go to? The Bible makes it clear: “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom” (James 3:13).
Yes, let these wise people help you. Stand on top of their wisdom when you feel shaky with your own. When we can rise up on the wisdom of others and get a new view of our situations, our next steps seem a little clearer.
Father, thank You for the help You surround me with — not only in Your Word, but also with the people You place in my life. Give me the wisdom to reach out for help when I need it. And make me aware of those around me who are hurting and could use Your hope. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
I’m surprised by how far I’ve come.
Two years of healing. Two years of focusing on my own health. Two years of learning how to sit in the quiet with myself and be OK. Two years of believing God for good even when things felt not good at all. Two years of going home to an empty house and counting the...
Thank you for the reminders you give to look to God and to go to our trusted wise friend who listens with a caring heart. This also reminds me to be that quiet caring person when they need to talk 💕
Love this devotion today. Thank you, friend, for such wise words.
I just finished your book, “It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way”. When I ordered it, I didn’t realize how much I needed it. As a life-long Christian, it has almost felt taboo to label an experience, especially connected to other believers, a “disappointment”. I’m a pastor’s wife (8 years) that has struggled to find her footing in the church under (real or perceived) scrutiny and wanting to be secure in that role. (There’s no job description and everyone seems to have a different rule book, go figure.) I’ve also taught kindergarten for the past 21 years, am a mom of a teenage son, and have other various roles of mentoring/coaching both professionally and spiritually. All that to say, I know my plate is full, but also very blessed. So to admit I’m “disappointed” with the excruciating feeling of wanting more from my marriage, feeling like the sandy balance of life slips through my fingers, and fighting repeated battles like a cartoon running in place…I’m tired. I know I can say my faith is secure. God has proven Himself God more times that I can count. It just happens to be one of those “pit” times in my life that I wish I would hurry up and find out what He wants me to know IN the pit so I can get OUT of the pit. In the process of reading your book, I have been trying to honestly identify what the Spirit is showing me; I know I’m not all the way there yet. I look forward with hope and the power of YET in the knowledge God is faithful. Thank you for being so transparent, but in grounding each spiritual truth in scripture! It is the difference between a heart-wrenching story and a growth experience guided by our Father’s hand. Again, thank you for allowing others to grow and heal “together” with you.
This touches me a great deal. God thank you for speaking to me in particular. Thank you lysa
Dearest Lysa. This is so beautiful and so true. My children have found themselves in that safe place a lot, literally or figuratively. I haven’t talked to you in a very long time, but as always, it’s so good to see God at work in incredible ways in your life. You and your words continue to be such an inspiration.
You, Lysa, are a light in my darkness. When my own circumstances fell apart, and MY gentle, safe place split my heart wide open, I stopped being able to be the comforting place for my children (20-somethings still need their mom’s arms to be a place of refuge). You’re right, it’s NOT supposed to be this way. I believe God placed you in my life to help me through this, but I also hope and pray that He lets you know just how much strength and hope you have given me.
I am so grateful God is using you at this very moment as His words, through you, is exactly what I needed.
Thank you and God bless…..Lori
You have changed my life completely and my love for Jesus. I have been going through a lot in my life right now and reading your book has given me strength to move forward. God literally put your book in my hands when I most needed it.
A great reminder that we always need to spend time with our creator. Thank you.