Last night I read a story from an old children’s Bible. It was about Elijah the Prophet running from Jezebel. The pages showed a slightly yellowed image of a winged angel bending over Elijah as he lay weary on hard ground, a meal of bread and water set near and waiting. The story quotes Elijah from I Kings 19 when he says “It is enough! Now, LORD. . .”
Oh how I felt those words in my own soul. My eyes blurred and I struggled to finish the line.
“It is enough! Now, LORD, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” (vs. 4)
There’s a burning ache in my heart that never leaves me. I am grieving.There have been too many losses and disappointments in too little time. Like Elijah, I want to give up, yet at the same time I desperately need God to use me, to make all this loss and struggle have purpose. “Oh God, I can bear all this if it leads to helping others know You. I can take it if I can somehow see You in it.”
That’s been my plea with God for more than two years now. But the light at the end of the tunnel is still dark. Several years ago I put my career on hold to follow God’s call to ministry. Our family has left multiple homes and cashed out 401Ks and given up all security to serve the Lord in full-time ministry. And now my husband’s promising career as a pastor is in the toilet, and he’s applying his vast theological knowledge as a car salesman at the local dealership.
I swallowed hard as the tears spilled. I took a deep breath and continued aloud:
Then as he lay and slept, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” . . . So he ate and drank, and lay down again. (vs. 5-6)
I connect with Elijah’s disoriented exhaustion. Like him, my husband and I have “been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts.” (vs. 10) All we’ve tried to do is serve you, Lord. What is going on? But sometimes God gives us what we need, not what we want. Elijah wanted to die. The struggle was too great. But God did not answer his prayer. Instead He silently saw to Elijah’s needs. Bread, water, rest.
I paused. I saw a shadow of the Holy Eucharist in the faded loaf on that page. I saw the rest, the passage of time, and the watchful care of God reflected in that white-winged image. The story went on to tell of a journey that led to greater ministry. But I only stared at the picture, stuck there with Elijah in that lonely, hard place of exhaustion and frustration and silent ministration.
Slowly I felt peace take root amidst the burning in my heart. I may lay weary on hard ground in my frustration and God’s silence. But my God is bent over me, strengthening me with the bread of His Word and the water of His Spirit, and offering rest “under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1). Bread, water, rest. It may not be what I want right now, but it must be what I need for the journey ahead.
So I will eat, and drink, and lay my life down again with thanksgiving. There is more yet to come.
Be strong in The Lord. Your story is inspiring and will bless many others!
You both are so strong and have FAITH that others can only dream of. God is working through you always, and all ways. We miss you and your family at St. Albans. You are published! That is awesome…hoping your words reach those who need to hear them.
I love your story. I admire your strength and your faith. Praying for better days ahead for you and your family. You have inspired me! Obrigado
Laura Brown says
May we all eat, drink and rest to lay down again, in HIS presence.
Paulette Sackett says
Thanks for your words of encouragement, friends! God is so very good, and already there’s another page to this story . . . 🙂 Paulette
Your story is so much my story that you woud never believe. Just last week I cried out to Him as Jesus did as He hung on the cross and said “Why hast Thou forsaken me!” I felt like He had just turned His back on me and had totally cast me off. I gave up and lied down to die and then in His still small voice He came and shared with me the depth of what He was doing in my life. “You have to fall into the ground and die or you will stand alone” He says, “but if you die then you will bear much fruit.” Like Jesus, it has pleased God to bruise me and if I can be still He will work out His purposes through me. My sister, despite the shame carry the cross because there comes a time when you will exchange it for a crown. He has chosen you that you should bear fruit and that your fruit should remain. I thank God for you, this is the real christianity – Being formed in the furnace of affliction, so that Christ in you is the hope of Glory!
Paula McLane Jennings says
What an awesome post. I have been struggling the past few years also. First in search of my Godly purpose and then just as I discovered it an onslaught of all sorts of health problems hit me one after the other. I have never seen as many doctors and specialists in my life. They are finding things wrong but not able to find causes or treatments for one thing only lead to them discovering another ailment. My car broke down several weeks ago. My mechanic is the father of a friend of my son. He came as always and rescued me but has not been able to as yet get to the root of the problem with the car and get it fixed but he and his wife have graciously loaned me their mini-van. The horn does not work. It has been a real lesson in patience for me as I hit the horn and no sound emerges and I realize just how often I lack patience. I think this season of my life is preparing me by teaching me patience and waiting on the Lord wil; it is His time. I learned when I longed for children that they would not come until it was His time…and then it was perfect. This will be too. I am sure our wonderful God is preparing you and your husband for something too. Just keep the faith and know He is with you and has a plan for you. The Evil one may be causing delays to it but in the end we know our Lord triumphs over all!
Patty Muich says
As I read your post my mind started to drift a bit when you said your husband was selling cars. Who knows how he will touch and change people’s lives with God’s word? He may not have a building to go to every Sunday but he is still blessed with a huge congregation! 🙂
My mom loved the Lord. During a period of her life she went out to bars with a girlfriend. I asked her, “How can you say that you are a Christian and then go out and party?”
She pointed out to me that I did not know how God would use her to touch those that would never go to church.
I will pray for you and your husband….
Leslie McCarthy says
Without boring you with all the details, my husband who holds an MBA has been out of steady work for over 6 years, like your husband, taking anything he can to have some income. This Bible passage is one of my favorites for all the reasons you wrote about. But at end of day, I know the Lord loves us, has a purpose and faithfully supplies our needs….incredulously. Hang tough, God bless you in the trenches. ♥
Christine Enockson says
Your bare souled honesty is why women come to InCourage… We r humbled and pointed toward Him alone. To God alone be praise. I thank you for being honest… And allowing your wounds to be healed through His grace and our prayers.
Kendra Roehl says
Beautiful Paulette, thank you for sharing honestly of your story. So often people want to talk about things they’ve gone through, after the fact, and that is good, but often it is nice to hear from others as they’re walking through it. It is encouraging to know as we face our own struggles that God is with us, as he is with those around us. Thanks again.
Holley Gerth says
Keep writing, sister. We need your voice.
The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue,
to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.
Angela Mix says
I am inspired by your strong faith in the Lord. It is encouraging to see how you continue to trust Him even through the difficult times. I know God is using these trials to prepare you for the future. He is already using you on this website to reach many people with your story. I appreciate the reminder you gave…God gives us what we need not always what we want. Also, He is always with us! I just read Psalm 91 this morning and was comforted by His promises to be my refuge if I only love Him and trust Him. Now being reminded again through your post today I know God is using you to speak to me too =) I can rest in Him and trust Him to take care of me and my family!
Becky Stepp says
Bless your heart! I have been where you are writing from. So weary. Ready to throw in the towel. I suffer from chronic pain due to back problems. No end in sight. I know The Lord has called me to minister to others with chronic pain. At every turn there is a road block. Increased pain. Another procedure. New meds to try. All of this leaving me too tired or hurting to pursue my calling. Why Jesus? Why, when we are really trying to serve you? I believe the enemy turns up the heat on us so we will not be able to serve others in the name of The Lord. I don’t know why God allows this, but our only option is to wait on Him, trust Him, believe His Word, and when we don’t have the strength to do anything else-we just stand! I am praying for you and your husband right now. May you be strong in The Lord. May He use you to make a difference for the Kingdom. May you be content no matter the circumstances. May He bless and keep you and give you His peace!
Kristy Byers says
I have so been there. I have been in ministry for over 30 years. As a single woman, it has not always been easy. I loved this statement, “sometimes God gives us what we need, not what we want”. Amen to that!!!! My I trust that He always knows what I need. Especially if it is more important to God that what I want.
You so ministered to my heart today.
My parents have been in ministry my whole life and we’ve seen our fair share of hurt. Praying for you…appreciate you…and know God IS using you in the midst of this. As a sweet lady told me Sunday evening: “Suffering brings maturity.” Much love to you and your sweet family.
LOVE THIS!!! God has brought me too to Elijah this week…beautifully written my friend, just lovely!
This post, it spoke to a place of deep need in my heart. Beautifully written.
I know that my situation in no way compares to yours but I am a recent college graduate trying to navigate my way the world and as much as I know that God is faithful and will never give me more than I can bear, sometimes I get very discouraged. Yet, reading your post, gave me comfort knowing that I am not the only Christian woman who gets discouraged. It also gave me hope and reassurance that trusting God’s plan is the best thing to do.
I pray that God continues to use you to spread his message and I pray that he continues to protect, guide and strengthen you and your family as you go through this time of testing.
In my reading today I was reminded of James 5:11 which says “As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”
Let us “count it all joy when we are encompassed by manifold trials”.
Peace, Love and Blessings to you.
Beth Williams says
Prayers for everyone here! God heal them and give them just what they need to be a Godly Christian woman.
Often times in my life I have prayed for specific things–only to be told to rest, and wait (learn patience). I find that when I wait on Him He gives me the best of His storehouse. More than I could ever imagine.
Oft when wanting to give up and quit as things are getting busy and frazzled, I find that all I need is rest and tranquility away from the hustle and bustle. More of Him and less of this world.
Thank you for this much needed perspective! Don’t we all need it! Thank the Lord for bread, water, and rest!! All seasons are needed aren’t they? Again, thank you for such a great encouragement!
I admire the strength and faith that you and your husband have! You have inspired me! Thank you for such a wonderful post! Prayers going up for you and your family!
Jennifer "InfertilityMom" Saake says
So beautiful. I love the word pictures you have used to illustrate God giving what we not, not always what we want. Last year, I too was in an “Enough, Lord!” place and wanting to die. I can’t see the other side of darkness fully yet, but glimmers of Light are starting to break through. You are so right about the reminder that there is more yet to come. Praise God!
Karla Herbert says
What a wonderful, heartfelt reminder that we are not alone in our struggles. Once God calls us into ministry we can go from being totally sold out on Him to questioning Him as to what on earth is going on when things seem to fail. Yet it’s in the “failing” that He draws us even closer to Him and restores that which was lost. Your family is in my prayers. May God restore you and your husband’s ministry back to full swing and may you reach those who need Jesus in their lives. God bless you!
Don’t know whether this post will encourage you, but I read it recently and thought of it as I read yours:
Beautiful Paulette. So often we speak out once we have made it through, once we have our victory. But it is our affirmation of faith in the midst of the storm that is so critical, and so encouraging as others walk the path.