Have you heard the song, Blessings, on the radio? You know, the one that goes:
…We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things
‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise
I’ll never forget the first time I really heard the words of this song. I’m sure it’d been on the radio before, but while my life was pretty good I didn’t think much about the words. Then, one day soon after life fell apart, Blessings came on the radio as I drove down the road. I remember how the tears fell as I listened. You know, the truth was I didn’t cry because I could sing this song from my heart. I sobbed because I wanted to yell and scream, to fling an adult-sized fit right there in the driver’s seat. I didn’t want this trial (still don’t for that matter) and I didn’t want the blessings that might come with it either!
As the raw-ness fades, I find myself singing along with Blessings, though still often I have to turn my head or put on my sunglasses so my children won’t see my tears as I drive. The truth is, God is blessing me through my trials. Nearly two years later, that is easier to see. I have to admit I’m still not happy about it. But…
What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise
Considering the way this song by Laura Story touches my heart, when the opportunity came to review a new book by Laura called When God Doesn’t Fix It: Lessons you never wanted to learn, Truths you cant live without I knew I had to read it.
Let me tell you, this was a brew a cup of coffee and turn off the world kind of read. Thank goodness for chicken nuggets in the freezer, or my family would not have eaten dinner the night I started (and finished) the book. I literally read until 3 am because I could not put it down.
While I read (devoured) the book over a week ago, it’s taken me this long to sit down to write my review. If you read this book in the middle of trail, as I did, you will find it equally encouraging and challenging. While it is a quick, engaging read the parts that really challenged me took a week to work through. All week, I found myself picking the book up, flipping to dog-eared and underlined pages to re-read paragraphs and pages.
I had no idea that the artist who sang Blessings, also wrote it, experienced it… lives it still. I see an artist on stage singing and think they must have life all together. Yet, Laura watched as the dreams for her life, her marriage, her family shattered with her husband’s life changing diagnosis. Nothing was the same after, was God still good? The book chronicles her ongoing journey through the twists and turns in her life. She shares her faith journey and her prayers- both the answered ones, and the ones that weren’t answered as she hoped.
I’ve used the words ‘broken but blessed’ to describe my situation for the past two years. That’s the theme of When God Doesn’t Fix It. God takes a broken life and its shattered dreams and does extraordinary things in the midst of it, even when (especially when) the blessings given aren’t the blessings we wanted.
One point really driven home for me, was that I don’t have to be on the other side of my trials for God to use me. So often it feels like I can’t do anything in the middle of being such a mess. God can’t use my testimony until I’m on the other side, right? Until life is ‘fixed’. Laura reminded me that most people are in the middle of what God’s doing in their lives. I don’t need a radical miracle that fixes everything to proclaim God’s goodness and His work. Sharing my struggles even when I’m a mess can help others. And that’s good, because like Laura, I doubt that I will ever claim life ‘fixed.’
Lately many people have asked when I’ll share more personal stuff on the blog again. The truth is, it’s just so hard. Mostly because I am a mess. I most definitely have NOTHING all together. I feel ill-equipped to give advice in any matter. I think that’s what I am meant to take away from Laura’s book- my trial is an opportunity to trust God even when my life looks nothing like I dreamed or hoped; even when I’m a huge mess. It’s okay to be devastated at the way life turned out while still noticing (and sharing) the blessings that God has brought in the situation. It’s also okay to share the mess!
“But would you be willing to sign up for the broken in your life, if you knew your brokenness would bring glory to God and enable you to learn to trust him in everything?”
Truthfully, I’m not there yet. I wonder if I’ll ever be there. But, until then I’m going to have courage to share all the ways God is using my trials to teach me about Him. I’ll strive to keep seeing the blessings in spite of the brokeness.
If your life has taken a turn you don’t understand and didn’t want, pick up When God Doesn’t Fix It by Laura Story and get ready to learn how to trust God even in the mess.
Big thanks to Family Christian for sending When God Doesn’t Fix It for this review, and for providing the giveaway below!
This sweepstakes is open to US residents over the age of 18.
It starts right now and ends November 2nd, 2015 at 11:59 pm EST.