Note from Team LO: We are SO excited to bring you this month’s post from our LO Fam member, Karissa Thomas! If you want to be a part of this incredible community, the doors are currently open for everyone who purchases LIVE! Find out all the details HERE.
When life takes a turn in a difficult direction it is so easy for me to ask, “Why, God?”, and it’s not in a humble or curious way. Like when a two year relationship fell apart or when I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with my tummy. When I met and was dating the man I was convinced I was going to marry, but got heartbroken instead. Here’s the thing though, I tend to receive blessing as though there is no One to thank and complain as though there is some-One to blame.
I was raised in a Christian home and grew up in a country named Belize. There I dated a guy for two years. As we grew up we had life decisions to make. I wanted to move to my home state here in the U.S. as I was feeling led to by the Lord. He, however, did not and a relationship once so wonderful became so ugly and hurtful for both of us. We should’ve ended it sooner, but I was afraid to lose him. I moved in the end.
Within that same year my health took a turn. Anything and everything I ate made my tummy flare up in pain. I had to get allergy tests, figure out a diet change and lost weight. I became too anxious and insecure to go anywhere.
Also within that year, I began to date the sweetest man, who loves Jesus. He thought I was beautiful even after he knew about the bad choices and compromises I had made in my past. Amongst all my health issues, baggage and insecurities he still wanted me. “He’s the one!” I thought to myself, bragged about to all my friends, TOLD God. But that flower also faded after a few rushed months. We allowed sin to enter in and create a wedge between us and God. We were both too numb to correct the fact that we had removed ourselves from the foundation of true Love. And so, we watched what we had fade away…
I share all this to set the stage for a renewed perspective given to me by our Father. There is so much pain in these words and in between the lines, but I want to share this because I don’t want the hurt to be wasted. If Jesus uses this in only one person’s life it would all be worth it. Maybe that one person is you.
In the midst of all the hurt and confusion, God showed Himself faithful. Even when I didn’t feel it or see it He was working. He began redeeming my heart as I chose to walk through that loss with Him. It took six months, so many pep talks/counseling sessions with my sisters and brother, hundreds of tears shed, along with so many “Why, God?” moments. But I finally got it.
“Have you ever been on an airplane getting ready to take off on a rainy day? You would say it’s a dark cloudy day, right? But then the pilot takes off and he ascends over the clouds where you see that the sun is still shining. So, which one is it, a sunny day or a dark day? It’s both.” I heard my far away mentor, Lysa Terkeurst; say that and it immediately stuck to my heart.
The Father sees our pain, Jesus experienced our pain (even more so, I believe) and Spirit speaks our pain (Romans 8:26-27). We are fully known; fully loved by God. However, He can see the joy and purpose at the other side of the storm.
Our God is sovereign; all knowing, all powerful. I knew this, but didn’t understand it in its entirety; hence the “Why, God?” moments. What I come to clearly see is that I NEEDED to hurt. My heart needed to be broken and disappointed because I was only hurting myself and my person. God allowed sin to enter in because I thought I had it all under control and all figured out, but that was a lie from the enemy. Sin separates; and I needed to understand that.
I was ranting to Jesus one day at work, just about the whole situation. Basically having a “Why, God?” moment. He spoke to my heart so gently saying, “Kari, I gave you that for which you longed, but you allowed it to take your eyes off of me, off of the big picture; of keeping the main thing the main thing.” Whoa!
You see, sweet friend, my ex and I weren’t guarding our hearts and we certainly weren’t guarding each other’s. We took our focus off of Jesus. That’s not the right way to begin a life together and Abba saw that. So, Him allowing sin to enter in to separate us and hurt us was an act of mercy on His part. He protects us, His children, even when we can’t see or understand why.
As we sloooowly separated He was trying to show me in the midst of it that He is the only One who can fulfill all my expectations. I was searching for satisfaction in someone who could not give it to begin with; not like Jesus can. When we put that weight of expectation on a person, a human being, we’re bound to be disappointed. It drains out the joy in the relationship. Psalm 107:9 says, “He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.” When that fulfillment is found in Jesus it frees us up to enjoy the gift that person was to begin with.
The grass withers, the flower fades;
But the word of our God stands forever.
This verse jumped out at me with a whole new meaning experientially. Everything once so beautiful and enjoyable in this life ultimately fades. Think about it. For me, my health was once in great shape, my relationships crumbled. All these gifts withered away, but the word of our God stood fast & ALWAYS will. Jesus is the word made flesh (John 1:1). Jesus, our Savior (2 Sam. 22:3), Best friend (Proverbs 18:24), Bridegroom (Rev. 19:7), never leaves, never grows weary of us, nor will He ever push us away. Jesus never fails (Jesus/God is Love – 1 Cor. 13:8).
Until you get your relationship with God right you won’t be able to get a relationship with another person right. You see, I still had old wounds that I tried to patch up but didn’t let Father fully heal before entering into my last relationship. I was insecure and hurting, but refused to recognize it because of the excitement of that new relationship. And I guess I believed that somehow that person would heal that brokenness inside me; yet another expectation.
I wanted to be fully loved, but for that to be possible I needed to be fully known. How could I be if I myself couldn’t identify the brokenness inside me? I wasn’t my healthy, confident self. I could laugh & have fun, but I was still hiding; and I never even knew it…
Hindsight is twenty-twenty though, so I didn’t get it till six months ago when He led me to write out my testimony timeline to share on my small Instagram platform. Everything has purpose. We serve an intentional God. The purpose for me going through so much was to get to this perspective. I feel like the blind man, “Now I see!” But it required walking through the pain, with Jesus.
There is a saying, “Time heals all wounds.” No, time does not heal, Jesus heals. Time may fog memories and blur emotions but it does not heal. Because if a person walks in the room and your heart drops and you feel fear or bitterness when you see them or when you hear their name brought up then time did not heal. There is no easy way to walk through it, but my friend, do not let the opportunity to grow closer to Jesus be wasted; the testimony, a chance to experience His mercy, and faithfulness and love once again. Although for that to happen we need to go there. We need to speak out the shame and the lies so that Abba can cover it with His truth. Like Job in Job 19. He was basically saying, “This doesn’t make sense.” (“Why, God” moment) However, he concluded in hope by pretty much stating that, “This does have a happy ending – in the end I will see Him face to face.” Not only do we get to see Jesus face to face in heaven, but we get to seek and find His face in the midst of the healing (Jeremiah 29:13).
At the beginning of this season, I found myself sitting on the bathroom floor having another “Why, God” moment. I had just finished showering, and I was trying not to think when something inside me broke. Everything I had bottled up came out all at once. I fell to the floor in weakness, hugging my towel, crying my eyes out; so confused, so covered in shame. How much more known by Father could I ever be? I say all this for you to understand that that was my bottom that season. But as I listened to my playlist Highlands by Hillsong came on. Jesus used those beautiful words to comfort my heart. And there is where He met me, when I finally let go of control (Highlands will forever hold a sweet place in my heart).
It was in that moment that Holy Spirit directed me to LO. I found myself reading Redeemed. I thought to myself, “Wow, she is so brave to be so vulnerable like that.” And I was thankful that she was that brave because Jesus met me there in the midst of her words. He gave me His peace and reminded me of how loved I am by Love Himself. And in order to fully love someone else I needed to first truly love Him and receive His love. No matter how unworthy I felt.
I have never had so much peace and joy, hope and love in my life since I chose to surrender all of my past, present and future to Him. Now I see that it wasn’t her bravery, it was Jesus in her. God knew that this one person would need to read that and I’m thankful for her obedience. I never thought I’d be writing all this down to be sent in as well. I am honored to be His broken vessel.
My heart agrees with David’s words in Psalms 30:8-12 [MSG]
I called out to You, God;
I laid my case before You… [Pleading]
“So listen! And be kind!
Help me out of this!”
You did it: You changed wild lament into
You ripped off my black mourning band
And decked me with wildflowers.
I’m about to burst with song;
I can’t keep quiet about You.
God, my God,
I can’t thank You enough.
“My heart was saying, ‘Lord, take away this longing or give me that for which I long,’ The Lord was answering, ‘I must first teach you to long for something better [; something deeper].’” -Elizabeth Elliot.
P.S. I still struggle with giving up control; letting go and letting God (walking by faith).
I still have “Why, God?” moments, but He is faithful to quickly remind me of Romans 8:28 & 2 Cor. 12:9-10. I don’t think I’ll entirely get it down till heaven.
Karissa Thomas is 22 and has the best of both worlds; born in Southern Oregon and raised in Belize. She works at her home church, loves sharing Jesus in her newly found passion of writing, snuggling with her pup, Oso, and spending quality time with her friends.