A few years ago, I had a sudden awareness that I did not believe God was good. I had heard He was good, and I saw Him be good to other people. I believed Him to be good, but not for me. I was living from a severely damaged place and had functioned there for over 25 years.
My heart was broken by the ending of a relationship that I had placed too much hope in, and I found myself at a crossroads. In the past, in times like these, I would become defeated, believing that it would never work out for me. Whether I admitted it to myself or not, I had chosen to believe that God didn’t love me as much as everyone else who was married, or everyone else who had babies, or everyone else who came from happy homes. I believed the lie that God was not good to me.
The Holy Spirit was so kind to me at this time. I began to remember some key truths from scripture. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is [eternally changeless, always] the same yesterday and today and forever” (AMP). I began to think on this verse and came to realize that if He was good to Moses by leading Him to save the Israelites, if He was good to Ruth by redeeming her from a broken land, if He was good to Joseph through all his calamity, then He was good to me in my heartbreak. If God truly was changeless, then He was good to me even in the most painful times.
Instead of being angry that my heart was broken, I began to declare His goodness over me. This didn’t change the pain that I was feeling, but I began to learn how to change my mind. This was not easy. I grew up with no real emotional grounding. I was a highly emotional artist who was often tossed back and forth by the immenseness of her feelings. I had habits of self-pity and self-depreciation. It wasn’t uncommon to find me crying myself to sleep, wondering why my life was so horrible. I would dwell in those negative thoughts over and over, almost brooding on them. (If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m the same personality type as Sylvia Plath and Edgar Alan Poe). So you can imagine the downward spiral I would let myself fall into.
Thankfully, though, at this time, something shifted inside me. I know it was the Holy Spirit, and I decided that I was tired of that way of thinking. But more than that, I turned to the truth of what He says.
Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing” (NIV). The Lord gave me this verse right before the relationship broke apart, and I remember leaning into His love to quiet my heart. I kept pressing into it, I would read the Bible and journal, I worshiped for hours and hours, I played Kim Walker-Smith way too loudly for an apartment building, and I sang from the deepest place in my being. I let my soul cry out with her words. I learned to join into words like,
“You breathe Your life into my lungs; You bring to life these dry bones. You call me one of Your own. In my heart, You’ve made Your home. I’m coming alive!”
“You are the Miracle-Maker. You heal me, God. I can feel Your healing fire, running down my brow. I wouldn’t trade another lifetime for how I feel right now.”
“I’m waiting here for my life to change; when the waters stir, You can rearrange me. Just one touch is all I need. I’ve come to find the hand of the miracle man.”
“Holy Spirit, rest in this place. Teach us how to be one with You. I yield my heart to You. I yield my heart to You. You’re my King.”
(Still, Believe album by Kim Walker-Smith)
By joining in with someone else’s faith, with someone else’s words, I spoke them over myself, and I began to change. I began to realize the power of speaking life and truth over myself. In the face of my biggest heartbreak, I turned to Jesus and His healing love to change me. I began to believe the words of truth in these songs. I let the words take root and grow stronger in my heart. I began to believe them. I began to declare, with great gusto, His goodness over my life.
For nearly six months after the breakup, I still saw the guy. We were in ministry together and every time I knew I would see him, I would tell myself, “God’s goodness is with me in this.” Every time that I would cry because the pain was so loud, I would say, “God, You are good, and You are good to me now.” Even when all my emotions were telling me that being dumped and having to face that heartbreak over and over again, week after week surely couldn’t be God’s goodness for me, I would stand (and sometimes stomp) with eyes shut tightly and teeth clenched in frustration and say, “HE IS GOOD TO ME! This is His goodness towards me!” Of course, I cried out for mercy, and I cried out for Him to lead my life away from that ministry because it felt too hard to handle, but He didn’t. The longer I stayed, and the more I cried out to Him and declared His goodness over me, the stronger I got.
If God is always in a posture of goodness towards us, then we will find that goodness in whatever situations we are facing. I had to help my mind understand that “good” didn’t mean happy, or easy, or painless. God’s definition of good meant something different than mine, and He began opening my eyes. His goodness towards me wasn’t about whether my circumstances were good. It was about His presence within them, and His presence with us is always good. James 1:2-4 began to make more sense to me.
Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing. (AMP)
Hard times are hard. They break you. They shake you. They drag you through the mud and leave you breathless, in pain, and confused. The miracle happens when we let those hard times lead us to the heart of our Father, when we begin to look for the goodness of our Father there in all the rubble. Then, those hard times become beautiful times. Now, years later, I am married and a mother, and I am able to look back on this season with great joy in my heart. The depth of my heartbreak and yearning led me into such deep intimacy with the Father. It was one of the most amazing times of my life.
Featured Image by Katherine Hanlon