Thursday, July 1, 2010

Healing in Hurting Times

by Tamela Ward

The unemployment rate is at a 25-year high, hovering at 9.5%. Everyone knows someone that is touched by these difficult times. What happens when it hits your home? Who do you put your faith in? How do you support your family?

In my home, it hit my husband, David, before the recession. It was exactly 18 years from the date he began his career with a Fortune 500 shipping company, which happened to be his 37th birthday. It was also my first day back at work after having our third miracle child born three months prior. Little did I know that when I took that call from my husband, our lives would change forever.

Chills still run through my body when I recall his words, “I’m headed home. They just let me go.” My immediate response, “I’ll meet you at the house.” Thankfully, God gave me wisdom to say little and listen a lot. I knew God would see us through this change. We stood in the kitchen of our home bewildered with the shocking news. Questions raced through our minds like cars around a NASCAR track: How long could we make it financially? How will we explain to our friends and family? Who do we tell first?

During this difficult time, God gave me several things to do that have ended up being lifelong strategies for drawing closer.

Daily devotion – “Experiencing God Day by Day” by Henry T. and Richard Blackaby ministered to us, and is now a gift my husband gives to others in times of need. The tattered and unglued book is a treasured reminder of how God spoke to us and carried us through this time.
Words of encouragement –My aunt and I were attending a Christian women’s conference and in the slide show, the message “David, Trust in me. I am in control” caught my eye. Strangely, my aunt doesn’t recall seeing it at all. That’s because God cared enough to speak to me personally that day. Immediately, I knew those words were for me to share with my husband. Daily these words remind us that God is in control and that “nothing pleases God without faith.”
Praise – Find a prayer closet for praise. Turn on your local Christian radio station. God will send songs your way that minister to your needs. Find a quiet place where you can sing at the top of your lungs. My treadmill is often a refuge where I sing praises and release stress. My family knows I don’t want to be disturbed when the door is shut. All they can hear is the hum of the treadmill and the wailing of my seemingly a cappella tunes.
Church – Attend church. Emotions can be so raw that you dread the thought of attending church and telling your story repeatedly to friends. Don’t let Satan use that to overwhelm you. Let the love and concern of your church family heal your wounds.
Tithe –If you are a two income family, Satan will try to convince you that you need every penny. He is the master deceiver. Tithing is one of the best gifts you can give during difficult times. Tithe on whatever is coming your way and you will be blessed. You can’t out give God.
Focus – Keep your eyes on Jesus. There will be times that you feel so alone. You are not alone. God will never leave you nor forsake you. Your hopes will brighten when you think you have found the perfect new job, and suddenly the emotional roller coaster plummets you to the darkness of rejection. Know that God has a plan – the perfect plan for His will.

Find Comfort in Scripture

Scriptures float throughout my belongings and are saved to my desktop; scriptures that I repeat to myself and to my husband. Insert your loved one’s name into the scripture to remind them that our God is personal. Over and over His Word was and still is like healing salve to our hurts. There will be times that you feel at such a loss for what to do. Pull out the scriptures and read them. Feed yourself and your family extra doses of spiritual food. There is nothing more nourishing than the richness of His Word. Here are two of my favorites:

“Lord, when doubts fill my mind, when my heart is in turmoil, quiet me and give me renewed hope and cheer.” Psalm 94:19

“You can never please God without faith, without depending on him. Anyone who wants to come to God must believe that there is a God and that he rewards those who sincerely look for him.” Hebrews 11:6

Was this an easy time? No. Did God see us through it? Yes. Are we stronger and closer in Christ? Absolutely. One of the vivid memories from this time is when I called my Pastor to ask him to call my husband. He said to me, “You both have heard all your life what to do and how to live in faith. Now you have to do it.”

We all go through times that stretch our faith when we need healing for our hurt. What has you hurting today? Where do you place your faith? Who will you turn to? Have faith in Christ and know that nothing pleases Him more.

Tamela Ward is a nationally certified counselor at a local elementary school. She has been happily married to David for 21 years. David and Tamela live in South Carolina with their three miracle children. After David lost his job, God led him to start their own company which God has blessed beyond their dreams.