I am glad to be on this journey with you and to share these words with you. My heart behind this blog is to shine light and beauty on the hard places in our lives – a spark of deep connection, which happens life-on-life, and a mix of casual conversations, which happens virtually – all, while living life in the middle.
What do I mean with life in the middle?
Simply put, our life here on earth is temporary. We’re just passing through. Earth is not our home. When you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as your only Savior and Lord, heaven is our home. We’re simply pilgrims here.
I don’t know what you are going through or where this blog is finding itself in your life, but I do know what it is like to walk through wilderness moments and seasons that stretch out long and barren, wondering if it will ever change. I know what it is like to walk through the deepest pain and to just feel like everything is broken and unfixable so it seems.
More than anything, I want the words you find on here be an encouragement to you wherever you are and whatever you are currently walking through. I am an imperfect person trying to lighten the burdens of others along the way with lessons that I have learned in my own life.
I am not an expert in overcoming the hard moments of life and of walking through pain. But I have lived my own journey thus far and I am thankful for the beauty that God is writing in my life and the eyes that He has given me to see the light even in the thick of darkness, or the peace in the middle of a howling storm.
Why this blog?
When I started blogging in 2007, it was more like an outlet for me to process the spirals of my thoughts. It was first a private online diary, then it became a published platform to a few of my friends. Since then, I’ve noticed that some friendly online neighbors have stopped by to weigh in on my perspectives. I decided to retire or delete some of my personal rants on here. They were evidence of my folly, false agreements and thoughts of entitlements.
This blog today is my way of shedding some light and breathing a little life in the dark, dry and aching places of your soul. I hope to encourage you to never stop believing God not just in God, to push you to keep growing no matter how uncomfortable – all growth are uncomfortable, anyway – and to urge you to make wiser decisions even if it pains you to do so.
I am praying for you as you read these words and that God will speak deeply to your heart wherever you are at. Please know this – you are not alone in this journey.
God has been putting in my heart to speak life to those who have been beaten up by life and circumstances beyond them and to show them that Jesus is truly present with us even in the thick of it and especially when we feel Him the farthest.
I think this is a result of living my own life in the middle – between birth and heaven – different seasons where God breaks my heart wide open so that I submit and surrender. My life from a very early age was shaped by pain and losses – poverty, family crisis, death, betrayal and more losses than a young woman could imagine and while my past doesn’t define me, it has helped shape the person I’ve grown up to become.
Life in the Middle
My personal relationship with God has been shaken many times over – my Mama’s passing away on February 14, 1995 – completely unexpected, just three years after I got born again, I was nineteen then. Then comes the betrayal by some people who were suppose to be my friends, then a little after that, brutal accusations by people who were suppose to be my ‘church family’. Then, the many things in between.
It wasn’t until in 2011 that my relationship with God received the greatest blow. My father had been the single most important person in my life. God took me through the dredges of the deepest grief, for the one person that is the only reason why I try harder to survive. I lost Papa, just like that.
I can say that God broke me and somehow gave me the courage to sit in that brokenness and meet Him in the darkness. He ministered to my heart by showing me just how present He is in the darkness even when I doubted His goodness. Even when I doubted that He has plans to prosper me and not to harm me. Even when I didn’t and sometimes still doesn’t understand the works of His hands, I will continue to trust His heart.
Broken lives are beautiful
So this is my heart and why I believe that the most beautiful lives are the ones that are willing to become broken, willing to lay all the pieces of themselves before their Savior and Lord Jesus, trusting that He can redeem every single one of those broken moments. He will redeem the jagged fragments and put them back together into a tapestry, a decoupage, a collage where He weaves His story—not like how they were before, but into something new and even more glorious to behold.
On the solid anvil, the metal remains allowing the toolmaker to remove the scars, repair the cracks, refill the voids, and purge the impurities. And with time, a change occurs: what was dull becomes sharpened, what was crooked becomes straight, what was weak becomes strong, and what was useless becomes valuable. (Max Lucado)
I really believe that there is beauty in every broken thing. We can be broken yet still be beautiful because God becomes the strongest when we are at our weakest. His Presence attends to our weakness.
And if we are pay more attention to the brokenness that comes, we grow stronger and our roots go deeper. We become more steady and stable, not because of our circumstances, but because of our Lord. We are ultimately anchored in the nurture of God our Father, the love of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the companionship of the Holy Spirit.
Beauty in the broken
If you find yourself in a place where friends are leaving, lovers are abandoning and people are dying, when you lose your job, when there is sickness, or any form of lack, leaving you feeling rejected and abandoned you begin to wonder if God is really present – I write to you. This space is for you. No, He has not abandoned you. His silence doesn’t mean His absence. Lean closer. Give Him your ache. Surrender your pain. He is there.
If you have wounds that seem to not go away, pain that doesn’t stop and scars that do not heal – I write to you. This space is for you. He may not heal you the way you want Him to but He heals just the same. The pain may be loud, but He is around. He never promised that all will be comfortable, but He promised He will never leave. He did not leave. He never left. He may seem far, but trust Him when He said He is near to the brokenhearted.
I am writing to the de-spirited, the brokenhearted, the angry, the guilty, the shameful, the wandering, the fearful, the scarred, the wounded, the misinformed, the un-informed.
It is in those moments when we think we are at our wit’s end – tossed to and fro upon the waves, torn apart completely, or the hammer slams and pounds, the air fills with smoke, melted down, formless, undone, doubting Him yet still looking to Him as Lord – that beauty is being made.
Call it your dark night of the soul, your wilderness wandering, or your own life behind the mountain, but when we allow God to break us so that He can build us back up again— this is when our broken life becomes a beautiful life, the unsteady becomes the anchored life.
So, let us walk together further down this road and find company in each other’s encouragement and may our eyes be opened to the beauty being made along the way and to the God that uses everything—even the worst moments—for good and for His glory.
Know that beautiful things happen when God says it’s time. And look closely to who HE is more than what He does.
Let’s keep anchored in Him.
Here’s what you can do next:
- If you find yourself struggling, find someone who can be your “safe place”. Acknowledge the struggle in the presence of someone safe.
- If you find that you don’t have a pressing struggle, then be a safe place for someone. Check in with someone today.
- If you think you need professional help in your concerns such as a therapist or counselor, or someone to walk with you in your growth such as a spiritual director, email me iman (at) emmylouiman (dot) com and I will forward a list of Christian counselors, psychotherapists and spiritual directors. There is no shame in seeking professional help.