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  • Writer's pictureAmber Daniel

Grace for Hard seasons

[[ This blog post is a supplemental reading to the blog titled, "When & Where Should I Study the Bible?". These are 3 seasons of life when I have required the most grace (SO much grace) in the specific discipline of studying God’s word. [Spoiler alert: God has always proven faithful to never run out of grace for me.] Obviously there are other specific seasons of life that make having spending time in God’s word difficult, but this list is specific to my life experiences and are included for anyone who can relate. ]]

Postpartum: (For the sake of this conversation, we will use the term postpartum to refer to the first 6 months after welcoming a child into the family either through birth or adoption.) There is so much joy, excitement, love, opportunity to be in awe of the Creator of life, and overall peace to be felt in the season of life that follows bringing a new child into your family. At the same time, this is also a season of anxiety, sleepless-ness, hormonal imbalance, unmet expectations, poor communication skills, family tensions, overwhelming amounts of unwanted and conflicting points of view and advice. This season of life requires so much GRACE and that grace comes from KNOWING God. We have talked a lot on the blog about knowing God through His word (see post link) but in this season of life God has been so faithful to consistently reveal himself to me through other avenues and my heart is encouraged as long as I’m intentionally looking for those pictures of God’s glory and listening for His whispers of encouragement. Whether it is through my sisters in Christ lovingly serving my family, quiet moments of prayer during night time feedings, or sweet moments of worship that my heart experiences as I stare at and attempt to memorize all of the details of a new born child. God’s grace is sufficient for this season of life, and He is merciful to meet us in the moments that we may not have the energy to read or study the Bible but we can have a posture of worship in our heart. A verse that has carried me through these seasons:

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” - 2 Corinthians 12:9

Grief: The deepest season of grief that my heart has ever known was during the summer of 2018. I experienced a season of anger, confusion, grief, helplessness, and hurt all brought on by a tragic accident that turned our world upside down. I couldn’t see God’s goodness, I couldn’t relate to His truth, and honestly 2 months passed before I could even muster up the strength to open the pages of my bible again. That season changed me forever, it changed my relationship with God, and my understanding of scripture and even though I didn’t see it at the time, it was all for my good and for God’s glory. I believe that God was able to restore and rebuild my faith in a way that was stronger than ever before because in that season of ugly grief, I didn’t hide it from Him. I was angry with Him to his face, even though I wasn’t ready to hand over the burden of my grief at His feet, I wanted to hold onto it just a little longer than I probably should have, I was honest with Him in that decision and I remember praying things like, “God, I know you can take this from me but I just want to hold on to it.” Because of the specifics of the situation, for the first week after the incident, I had my 4 young children, plus my 2 godchildren in my home with me and I obviously didn’t want to outwardly grieve in front of them. I vividly remember during that time, realizing that I was in the van by myself and pulling over into a parking lot just to scream and cry and I knew that God was with me in those moments, in that mini-van. A verse that carried me through this season:

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit” - Psalm 34:18

Depression: A huge indicator of depression is a “loss of interest in activities once enjoyed.”* For me, when depression creeps in, one of the first activities that I lose interest in is studying the Bible. I can usually bring myself to read it but it is just a surface read. When I’m struggling with depression, I don’t have the mental energy to dive into God’s word over and over again. I don’t retain what I’m reading, and my interaction with the text is unemotional, unmoved, I don’t feel encouraged, and I end up just going through the motions. Depression isn’t something that everyone struggles with and for those of us that do, it is different for everyone so I’m only sharing this for those of you that can relate. While I know that depression is a mental health disorder, I am also very aware of a spiritual war that is raging for my soul. That biblical perspective, combined with strategies that I have learned through therapy and in my own experiences is how these strategies for “being in God’s word during a season of depression” were formed. In seasons of depression, I rely on the verses that I have strategically memorized or “written on my heart” to carry me out of the darkness, I listen to songs that sing God’s word and truth over me, and I pull out the “once-a-day” style devotions that include scripture and a small reflection written by someone else. During these seasons, I am also MORE selective of what I am allowing into my heart through what I’m looking at or listening to (ie. social media fasts, no secular music, or tv shows) because in these seasons I am not able to guard my heart as strongly as usual and therefore more vulnerable to believing lies from satan, or being brought down into a deeper state of depression by the darkness of this world. A verse that has carried me through these seasons:

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” - Psalm 23:4

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