Bold Steps in Uncertain Times

Footprints walking across the sand with ocean waves rolling in.
The world has turned upside down. Change has been sudden and traumatic.

Nothing feels familiar. We find ourselves navigating through a “cornerbend” on a steep mountain road. Visibility of what lies ahead is limited by a severe bend in the road. It’s more challenging than simply turning a corner and changing direction. It’s a disorienting curve that seems to go on without an end of sight. We’re forced to slow down and pay careful attention to staying in our lane. To do otherwise can bring dire consequences.  

When my son died in 2012, grief pushed me to the brink of what I could bear.

For many, the repercussions of the pandemic have pushed them to the edge.
Loss of a job. Loss of finances. Loss of future plans. Loss of control. Loss of community. 

Fear of the future can produce anxiety.
Frustration from losing control can lead to anger.
Futile thoughts can result in apathy.
Fixation on the pain in isolation can cause one to feel abandoned. 

After losing my son, I desperately wanted to set the story of my life straight. I didn’t sign up for this grief story, but I couldn’t fix what had been done. 

The reality of the Christian life is that God often writes the story of our lives with grief and loss we cannot resolve, so He alone receives the glory for rescuing us. 

If you are in Christ, you have a blessed story – not because of your unique experiences but because your story is included in God’s great story.

You can be confident that God wants to be the hero in your story. But your participation is required.

Psalms 50:15 “Honor me by trusting in me in your day of trouble. Cry aloud to me and I will be there to rescue you.”

Very often, God sends us a rescue through the empathy and compassion of ordinary people. Affectionately, I call these special people – Hope Heroes.

But each of us own responsibility in navigating our losses.

Over the past seven-plus years, I have come to firmly believe God invites us to take bold steps forward in uncertain times. Often there is only enough light for the next step. In faith, we take that step as we lead with our T.O.E.S.

I’m a simple girl with a need for uncomplicated ideas I can remember. Perhaps this acronym will be helpful for you to recall as well. 

T- THANKFUL TRUST
How is it possible to cultivate a heart of thankful trust in God amidst chaos and loss?

1. Worship – Don’t let what’s wrong with our world keep you from worshiping what’s true and good about God. Express through song and prayer your choice to trust Him, and thank Him in advance for what He will do for you. 

2. Marinate in God’s word to keep your heart tender. Choose one verse of God’s many promises. Turn it over and over in your mind as you memorize it and declare it out loud.      
Psalms 92:2 “This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust Him.”

O – OBEY
Faith isn’t measured by our knowledge; it’s measured by our obedience. 

Grieving losses is a growth opportunity to obey God even when we don’t understand His plans.Obeying God, affirming our trust in Him and choosing not to let fear dictate our decisions will be rewarded. Many others will see our obedience of trusting the Lord as a sign pointing to the source of our hope – Jesus Christ.  

E- ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE
“Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.” Proverbs 4:23

There is no heartache you can experience that Jesus doesn’t understand and will one day make right. When we have a biblical understanding about eternity, today’s losses can shake us, but they can’t break our spirit. Our minds are better equipped to make good decisions when we have an eternal perspective. Our current situation is not permanent. The best is yet to come! 

S- SERVING OTHERS
Maybe it’s just me, but my losses can cause me to feel like a failure. How can I possibly serve others when my heart is hurting and I feel insecure? 

God reminds us that we are not destined for the sidelines. Grief has not disqualified us from usefulness.

As we participate, our Heavenly Father promises to recycle our pain for His good purpose. Let’s not rush past this amazing invitation. 

The smallest act of serving others with compassion is better than kind intentions.Take notice of someone who is hurting and offer an encouraging word. Sharing hope is heroic.

Mail a card. Sent a text. Make a call. Unlike the COVID-19 virus, let’s choose to make empathy and compassion contagious. 

The bravest among us are the brokenhearted who choose to lean into hope, take a step forward and lead with their T.O.E.S.

Are you ready?

I think your days ahead are just about to get better!

Cheering you on,

Shirley


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Shirley Thiessen

Shirley Thiessen

Author and speaker helping you bring hope to broken, grieving hearts.

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