For Christmas, sweet roomie gave me Savor, a 365 day Devotional written by one of my favorites, Shauna Niequist, author of other favorites like Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life.
One of the devotions from last week hit me right between the eyes. Its title?
Shauna says that bittersweet is “changing the way I live, unraveling and re-weaving the way I understand life. Bittersweet is the idea that in all things there is both something broken and something beautiful, that there is a moment of lightness on even the darkest of nights, a shadow of hope in every heartbreak, and that rejoicing is no less rich even when it contains a splinter of sadness. ‘It’s the practice of believing that we really do need both the bitter and the sweet, and that a life of nothing but sweetness rots both your teeth and your soul. Bitter is what makes us strong, what forces us to push through, what helps us earn the lines on our faces and the calluses on our hands. Sweet is nice enough, but bittersweet is beautiful, nuanced, full of depth and complexity. Bittersweet is courageous, gutsy, audacious, earthy.”
So, this is the work that He has me doing now.
When life is sweet, so sweet that you can’t help but keep a perpetual smile on your face at all times, say a heartfelt thank you. Celebrate! Praise Him!
Praising Him with the celebration of a sweet friend’s wedding ceremony. She has found the one whom her heart loves! And he loves her in turn, pledging to care for her all the days of his life.
Celebrating achievements in work. Being thankful for the unexpected blessings & opportunities He gives in all seasons.
Taking strength and encouragement from those that personally stretch me and mold me in this role and the next.
When life is bitter, and the tears flow as freely as the smiles, still say a heartfelt thank you. Say thank you and grow from it. Grow out of it. For, it is in these moments, that we are stretched, challenged, polished, and perfected in His holiness and character.
Singing praise as I sit on the pew of yet another family funeral. He gives and takes away, but my heart will choose to say, blessed be His name! It’s a choice we make to let God be God.
Raising hands amidst the tears thanking Him for being enough and sustaining our spirit even as your heart breaks sitting alone on a sofa on a Saturday night. Your heart cries, “where is he?”, “will I ever meet him?”, but He stands over you and showers you in His love. You are the bride of Christ.
When fumbling in a season of loss, of in a season of lost-direction, in a time of hopelessness, lift your eyes to the hills, for it is there your help comes.
We must simply make room for Him, even in the bitter part of this life, trusting His love and goodness always.
Holiness abounds should we only choose to look for it.
He is here and He is good.
“…sometimes the happiest ending isn’t the one you keep longing for, but something you absolutely cannot see from where you are.”
― Shauna Niequist,
“Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” – Job 2:10