Precepts & Life Preservers

Faith & The Big D

Your Struggle, His Instrument

 

Do you wonder what good is ever going to come of the trials you're in? He may choose to use it...

God’s been speaking to me a lot lately about how He can use my struggles with depression as an instrument of His voice.

Immediately, two things happened.

My brain did a complete inventory of all the things I could bring to the table that were way shinier and better than my ongoing battle with chronic D.

You know, in case He didn’t already know.

And second, I quickly and lamely replied, “Lord? My struggle hasn’t concluded yet. No healing to show for. No mind-bending progress. In fact, I’m still pretty broken some days.”

Funny how we make everything all about us. Which is the enemy’s intent for our hard circumstances in the first place. To take our focus off the One able to sustain us and already IS our victory.

None of this is about the struggle.

All of it is about His life-altering power to use it for His purpose and His glory.

And in case we’re tempted to cry out, “well, that’s not fair!”…..

It’s for our benefit.

Look close and see His hand imprinting across your journey in big ways and small.

Look close and see His hand imprinting across your journey in big ways and small. Click To Tweet

His magnificent love for us means He won’t waste a second weaving and orchestrating a better meaning to every hard journey, a better impact for every story written, and a redemption for every hard season that brought you low.

So that there is holy significance in the suffering.

So that there becomes a deliberate liberation from the “why me?”

So that we can testify that we were never left on our own, and that we can be intentional about where our Strength really lies.

And then decide to be the vessel of hope instead of the pit of despair.

So that we can be the instrument that connects others with that same I Am.

So that He can begin the same provision in them.

The other day I randomly picked up our landline as it rang at home. I usually let the answering machine get it since it’s rarely important if it’s not through my cell.

It’s important to note that I had literally just finished talking to God about all this during my quiet time with Him that day. I had found myself praying the words, “Lord, take all of me and make me an instrument of You, for Your kingdom. Make it all count for something bigger than myself, please.”

And then the phone rang.

And although I hardly ever answer the home phone, I picked up to a cheerful tech update from the company who hosts this very blog account.

And as their tech rep walked through some new updates they wanted to make sure I was aware of, she opened this blog site on her own screen, intent on understanding who she was connected with. And paused.

I won’t give you the details of our exact convo. But for some length we began to talk about depression. And faith. And how hard it was to watch someone dear to you go through their own battle. And what can we do, what should we know?

I spent the rest of the day praying for the tech rep and her loved one, asking God to keep sowing hope and strength into her own story somehow.

That small window of opportunity was God engineering the first chance that day to offer my story for His glory.

Had He been waiting all along for me to intentionally offer myself as His instrument? To get my eyes off the struggle and back onto the One who desires partnership with us, working in us and through us?

I think about accounts in the Bible where there was a holy significance to the suffering of His people. About how the dark would become a showcase for His Light. About how a battle would become the foundation for overwhelming and miraculous victory. About how He used the weary and weak to bring about undeniable provision of His love and glory.

Does He use the shiny things too? When we offer them back to Him, you bet! Does He also long for there to be testimonies of victory? Of course.

But a struggle gives us the chance to relate, to be real, to offer our experience as a gift for the hopeless and helpless to unwrap and receive and be built up by, through His will.

Your Struggle, His Instrument blog post by Christine Duncan

So, friends. With all the strength you have left, know that your struggle has not gone unnoticed by the Good Father.

And that it’s never just about us.

Whatever you’re navigating through right now will one day be a gift.

Whatever you're navigating through right now will one day be a gift. Click To Tweet

You’ll be a hand reaching out of the proverbial life raft to catch another ready to drown. And introduce to the Life Preserver.

You’ll be the one person who gets it.

Maybe the first safe place they’ve encountered on their own journey.

You’ll be an instrument of hope, of grace, of compassion, of true empathy, of restoration. Of God’s deep and all-encompassing love.

All because of your story of struggle. You’re given such a powerful way to be His instrument of life and hope.  He wastes nothing we go through, and is our shelter and refuge at the mention of His name.

Let’s lift our eyes, our hearts, and whatever we battle, and say, “Lord, make me an instrument of Your voice in some way today!”

****************************************************************************

Linking up with some encouraging ladies this week!
Come and see what’s happening at these linkups…

Brenda Bradford Ottinger at #ChasingCommunity
Jennifer Dukes Lee at #TellHisStory
Holley Gerth at #CoffeeForYourHeart
Holly Barrett at #TestimonyTuesday

18 Comments

  1. This is a beautiful post. I love your story of the conversation with the tech rep and how God can use our struggles to minister to others in such unexpected ways. It is so encouraging that God can still use us in the midst of our hard times and that he can even bring good things out of them. I also wrote about this today- it seems that often when I visit your blog we are thinking along the same lines!

    • Christine Duncan

      January 24, 2017 at 7:14 PM

      Oh, hurrying over to see your words, Lesley! That’s so cool when God brings the same theme to writers in communities online like that… makes me sit up and pay attention even more so! I’m praying that the gal on the phone will return the the blog on her own time, and continue the convo we started that morning. I’m praying that she signed off encouraged. 🙂
      Glad to have you stop by, praying you have a blessing-filled week!

  2. Beautiful how he rushes in and interrupts our daily routine and struggles with opportunities to impact others with the story – our’s and His. We’ve been in a series at our church called “Make Room”. A standout for me is this statement by our pastor – “The blessing is in the burden.” I thought of this, Christine, as I read your words on the struggle…and then, there comes the blessing. Love you and enjoyed this so much today!

    • Christine Duncan

      January 24, 2017 at 7:04 PM

      Oh, I love that quote by your Pastor, Karlene. It’s so true. God continues to prove how faithful He is, and how I have yet to figure out just how much more He will be! Always such a real blessing to connect with you, lady, sending hugs your way!!!

  3. Great post! I have struggled with seasons of depression too. I agree, reaching out to others as a life preserver is a way to pull up out of dark times. Praying for you!

    • Christine Duncan

      January 24, 2017 at 6:43 PM

      Sarah, so glad to meet you! It can be hard to see what He’s accomplishing in our struggles, but I love that His Word tells us just how invested in us He is at all times. Super thankful for the prayer, taking each day abiding fully in Him!

  4. Tweeted this a couple of times because I LOVE it, Christine. The Lord uses your words to uniquely reach my heart all the time. And your story. I love that you had that phone call and remember praying for the rep when you posted about it Facebook. So glad to hear the story again. And so grateful for you and points like how we make it all about us and about the struggle instead of all about Our Lord.

    Also– I’m on the launch team for this book, and don’t want to be salesy, but I just think this one will be precious to you Christine: Hope When It Hurts by Kristen Wetherell and Sarah Walton. : )

    • Christine Duncan

      January 25, 2017 at 12:47 PM

      So thankful for your prayers that day, Bethany, I pray we get to continue our conversation soon.
      And I appreciate your encouragement so much! Would love for you to message me the link to this book mentioned, even on FB… will definitely check it out! Hugs, friend!

  5. Christine the beauty of your words lies in the fact that you live healed, you write healed and always live Jesus higher than the big D. As a reader I come here and know my heart will be blessed and encouraged by your words of truth and healing. Even though our struggles are different you make it clear that His Word has the power to make us all well and He wants us all to live whole. So very glad to have met you here.

    • Christine Duncan

      January 25, 2017 at 12:38 PM

      Yes! I love your words…. living healed! Yes! I try to the best of my ability to allow the Risen One live in me, and therefore, His healing 🙂 Your beautiful words mean so much, Jeannie, hugs and thank yous!!! xxoo

  6. I haven’t visited you in too long and I’m trying really hard not to copy and paste EVERY part of this post. I’ll start here – yes! I hear you, I see you, I validate these words and wrap my arms around them. “So that we can testify that we were never left on our own, and that we can be intentional about where our Strength really lies” AND “You’ll be the one person who gets it. Maybe the first safe place they’ve encountered on their own journey.” God and I just had a conversation this morning about my words not needing a stamp of “approval” to be good, but simply to reach the one heart that needs them. Thank you for reminding me again what I too often forget. Treasure you, friend!

    • Christine Duncan

      January 25, 2017 at 12:43 PM

      Aw, you make me smile, girl. What have I done to be blessed with so many outstanding and encouraging women-of-God friends like yourself?! 🙂 I’m soooo glad this post is resonating. Thank you, Lord, for Your faithfulness to speak into our circumstances and remind us about how You work, one obedient word at a time to whoever might be listening! Love you, girlie!!! Hugs and blessings!!!

  7. Every part of this post is exquisite! Can’t wait to read more of your stuff…. so glad that you let your trials draw you closer to Him and His purposes for you <3

    • Christine Duncan

      January 26, 2017 at 12:58 PM

      Aw, thank you so much, Liz! Great to connect with you, your words make me smile today! Learning how to remain open to all His plans for every part of my journey!

  8. What a beautifully brave post, Christine. Love that God didn’t waste a minute, giving you immediate opportunity to make a difference in a life. And, isn’t this all about making a difference? Loved this, Christine and I like how you used so many versions of God’s name. — So glad you shared with #ChasingCommunity today. Look forward to connecting more with you! 🙂 ((hug))

    • Christine Duncan

      February 2, 2017 at 4:16 PM

      Sorry for my delayed reply, Brenda. My internet and my wordpress have been interesting for the last week let’s just say, lol. Am so glad we got to connect. You have a very gracious linkup, so many good words there! Glad to read your words above, He is magnificent in every area of our life, isn’t He?! 🙂

  9. Thank you for sharing. I am going throughsome sad times right now. Feeling lost, praying for guidance, then looking for ways to be grateful. I thought earlier today that maybe thus hard time is so I can help someone in the future. To come across this post out of all of the ones in my Pinterest feed is a sign to me that this is true. Thank you again for being brave and writing this!

    • Christine Duncan

      March 2, 2017 at 2:27 PM

      Tammy, I love that He used this post to speak encouragement and hope to your heart, wow. The wait to see what He’s going to do through us and in us and for our situation can be hard to endure, but when we cling to Him, and allow Him to cling to us, keeping us sheltered and safe, the Life Preserver sees us through. One day, your words will be a lifeline for someone, don’t ever doubt it! Thanks for being brave enough to leave this beautiful comment, praying that even now you’re finding strength today to keep going!

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