Category Archives: Change

“That Really Stinks. I’m Sorry.”

baseballSometimes, life knocks us down. Throws us a curveball or a punch…whatever metaphor you want to choose.

Maybe it’s a breakup you didn’t see coming. Or a dream that’s been crushed. Devastating news you’re weren’t expecting.

When those things happen, it’s important to grieve and feel the fullness of it. When I’m sad and angry, I’m not looking for someone to tell me God has a plan and that “all things work together for good for those who love God.”

I know those things. Deep in my heart, I do. I even wrote many of those things in my book for single women. Honestly, I love Romans 8:28 and know it to be true, and there is a time for sharing it. But in the midst of my anger and sadness, I want to hear something else…

“That really stinks. I’m sorry.” Period.

I’m not looking for someone to fix it. I’m looking for a friend who is okay with not having the answers, one who just stands beside me in the messiness of the situation.

I recall being single and camping out emotionally in some really dark places. Not understanding God’s plan and maybe not really caring at that moment. Just hurting.

If you know someone who is in a bad place, or someone who just received news that turned the world upside down, be that friend who simply says,

“That really stinks. I’m sorry.”   tweet-this_button

And then listen. Maybe tell them you’ll be praying. Unless that friend looks at you and says, “What do you think?”, then just listen.

If you’re hurting today, if you’re the one who got knocked to the ground with some bad news, I’m so sorry. Sometimes, life really stinks. (See what I did there?).

How can I pray for you? Please leave me a comment or email me (allison [at] allisonflexer [dot] com) and let me know. It would be an honor to lift up your name in prayer.

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Photo credit: FreeImages

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Filed under Change, God, Single Woman Book, Singleness, Surviving the Dark Places, Truth Lies and the Single Woman, Who is God?

Shine a Light on Slavery Day – April 9

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Filed under Change, Community, Faith, Missions, Nashville, Photos, Surviving the Dark Places, Who is God?

Beauty from Ashes

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.
Isaiah 61:1-3 (NIV)

These verses have popped up in my life way too often to be a coincidence. Over the past few years, God has specifically pointed me to the verse about giving beauty for ashes (see bold lines above).

When I first read these verses, I only focused on the beauty. I truly believe God takes our ashes and turns them into something beautiful. I accepted this promise from God, and I kept waiting for the transformation.

Eventually, I realized the process is not quite as glamorous as it sounds. You see, in order to transform them, God must first make the ashes . . . by burning away those parts of us that aren’t like him.

See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. Isaiah 48:10 (NIV)

This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, “They are my people,” and they will say, “The Lord is our God.” Zechariah 13:9 (NIV)

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:6-7 (NIV)

If we’re followers of God, I believe he’s constantly refining us through fire and making ashes. I take great comfort in the certainty Elisabeth Elliot finds in this process:

Of one thing I am perfectly sure: God’s story never ends with ashes.
Elisabeth Elliot, These Strange Ashes

It never ends with ashes. If there are still ashes, God isn’t done yet. He is creating beauty along the way.

I’m finally starting to see some of the beauty, but it’s nothing like I expected. In many ways, it’s so much better. God is the Beautiful One, and he’s making me more like him.

Content Copyright 2012. Allison K. Flexer @ Anointed With Grace.
Photo: stock.xchng. Quotes and Design by Allison K. Flexer.

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Filed under Change, Faith, God, Surviving the Dark Places, Waiting, Who is God?

Serenity

Many people associate the “Serenity Prayer” with recovery programs, mainly Alcoholics Anonymous. I propose if we’re truly honest, many of us would realize we’re “-aholics” of some variety—workaholics, controlaholics, moneyaholics, shopaholics, sexaholics, etc. There are even websites now dedicated to “iPhoneaholics” (I fear I am quickly becoming one!)

At times, most of us cling to something other than God to numb the pain. No matter what we’re holding onto, I have found that saying the Serenity Prayer is a great way to refocus on God and what’s truly important. It’s a good reminder that we must surrender those things we can’t change or control. Peace is found in the present moment, not the past or the future.

A prayer written by Reinhold Niebuhr, commonly known as the Serenity Prayer:

God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Amen.

Content Copyright 2012. Allison K. Flexer @ Anointed With Grace.
Photo taken by Allison K. Flexer in Monterosso al Mare, Italy.

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Filed under Change, Faith, Fear, God, Surviving the Dark Places, Who is God?