When You’re Not Enough for What You Face {The Grove: Facing}

I am slowly emerging out of a season, a season that had me scraping bottom. I don’t know what you do when you hit bottom and find you have nothing left, but I turn deeply inward.

That’s my personality, and rather than fight how I’m wired, I had to embrace it, to let myself go inward as I slowly and tenderly turned over my empty cup to fill up again.  Naps and tea and reading and journaling have all been my restoration.

But that’s not the whole story.

Left on my own, I have to admit, I’d likely still be stuck scraping bottom. Sometimes it’s hard to sift through truth and lies when they swirl around in your head. When you’re at a low place, shame sneaks in like a storm. It tells you you’re not enough for what you’re facing. It tells you you’re the only one who can’t handle this. Do you know this storm I’m speaking of?

I think you have to speak it out, write it out, so someone else can see and be the Spirit’s voice to you.

And so I did. In a parking lot, and over late night steaming cups, and on the phone across the miles, and in texts, and now to you.  I’m pulling out of that deeply inward place to let others in. And oh, how the Spirit is speaking. The shame dissolves, the cup refills.

When what you’re facing feels too much for you to bear, then don’t. Don’t bear it alone. Let others in.

Because there are two dimensions of power when you share with others. You open yourself up to hear what the Spirit might say to you through someone else.  And you receive the gift of  “me too.” You find that you are not alone, and that breaks the shame in two.

If you need a place to share, this space is for you. We’re here to listen, to speak courage, to let you know you’re not alone.

Whatever you are facing, you are not alone.

Maybe you’re fresh on the field and you’ve hit the wall. This is not what you signed up for. You are not alone.

Maybe you’re grieving the loss of a little one. You are not alone.

Maybe you’re dealing with infidelity, not knowing where to turn. You are not alone.

Maybe depression has its grip on you. You are not alone.

Maybe you cannot handle one. more. transition. You are not alone.

Maybe you thought God would give you a husband by now, but hasn’t. And you long for one. You are not alone.

Maybe you’re wondering how to honor your aging parents when you live on the other side of the world. You are not alone.

Maybe the cost this life has on your children is more than you want to pay. You are not alone.

Maybe you’re yelling at your kids, because life just feels like too much. You are not alone. 

Maybe team conflict has left you reeling. You are not alone.

Maybe you’ve served and served and pushed through and now burnout warnings flash. You are not alone.

Maybe you don’t know if you should leave or stay. You are not alone.

Maybe you’ve returned and you’re blindsided by ALL THE EMOTIONS. You are not alone.

Whatever it is, there is hope, always hope. There is always the God who carries you. And here you’ll find a community that understands, a sisterhood who will hold you up in prayer, and perhaps be the Spirit’s voice to you.

Has anyone else been scraping bottom lately?

What are you facing right now?  

Come share with us in the comments. Let’s lift each other in prayer and remind one another that we are not alone.

~~~

This is The Grove and we want to hear from you! You can link up your blog post, or share your practices, ponderings, wisdom, questions, ideas, and creative expressions with us in the comments below.

Here’s our Instagram collection from this week using #VelvetAshesFacing. You can add yours!

23 Comments

  1. Michele October 5, 2017

    I just arrived back in Asia after a summer in the US helping my family. I am not as excited to be here as I want to be. But I didn’t want to be there forever either. I’m feeling the effects of cumulative loss and trying to let myself grieve without getting swept under by it all. The feeling of not being really at home anywhere is sort of overriding gratefulness that I can call so many places home. Jetlag is not helpful for processing all this emotion. Thanks for this post and this space to share!

    1. Danielle Wheeler October 5, 2017

      “Cumulative loss,” now there’s a phrase for our lifestyle. The losses really do accumulate.

      You talk about not wanting to be swept under. I get that. There’s this fear that if I really let myself go down, I don’t know how deep or how long I’ll be down. But I’ve found that the longer I fight “going down” the longer I stay stuck near the bottom. I’ve found that to truly recover, I have to let go and go down. I think that’s what’s involved in truly grieving.

      The beauty is that when I allowed myself to be swept under, I found sweet intimacy in His arms that were waiting to catch me. That’s the the spiritual side. Practically, it looked like saying no to a lot of things for.about a week, being very gentle with myself and allowing myself space to be restored.

      That would be my gentle word to you.

      1. Michele October 6, 2017

        Thanks, Danielle- first just for getting what I mean by getting swept under, and second for your advice, which I will definitely try to follow! I came out to my living room this morning and saw my “There was the sound of a gentle whisper” print from the retreat and remembered how gently He dealt with me then and then got your response and was assured it’s okay to let go.

  2. Heath Mac October 5, 2017

    I love, love, love what the Lord has me doing amongst Indigenous deaf children in Panama. I am finally in a place that I may be able to confront long-standing issues that I have covered up in order to press on towards the higher goal. Just not sure how. I know the stakes are high. So much toxic thought and bad theology rolling around in head. No one to share it with. Help!

    1. Danielle Wheeler October 5, 2017

      That’s huge that you feel like your at a place where you’re ready to address these things. And that you recognize there’s toxic thought and bad theology happening. HUGE!

      Sounds like this may be the season to consider a life coach? Check out http://www.coachingmission.com

      Thanks for sharing. Prayers for your journey towards the wholeness he has for you and for me!

  3. Ruth Felt October 5, 2017

    Thank you for this Danielle! I just kept thinking, “yes, yes.” And I need to go back and read half of those links that I think would really apply. I am also *definitely* coming out of a scraping bottom year. (That sounds weird…maybe I’ve changed too many diapers lately). I am so glad to becoming back into this year in a much better place personally, but already the sicknesses are piling up and it makes me want to cry. I can’t face another year like that!! But as a dear friend reminded me, this is not last year. Even if we are sick all the time, we’ve learned a lot last year – about reaching out for health, about grace and provision and healing – deep healing in the midst of sickness. And already this year we have seen God’s provision, in a friend sharing leftovers (and realizing you have the kind of close friends here who don’t feel like they have to impress you but can say, “I have some extra leftovers, would that help?”)
    And amazingly in the form of AN AMERICAN PEDIATRICIAN who just moved 15 minutes away. What?? Could we have been given a better gift?

    1. Danielle Wheeler October 5, 2017

      Ok, I laughed out loud at the “bottom scraping”. Lots of diaper changing happening over here too, so maybe that was a subconscious thing! Ha!

      But seriously, I can so relate. Sickness hit us scary hard last year. Today we had to do a nebulizer treatment and just the sound of the machine brought back a rush of bad feelings/memories along with the fear of “not again!”

      But you’re so right, his provision is here. His grace carried us through and will continue to. He is the one who sustains!

      And I am doing a happy dance for you and your pediatrician “neighbor”!! Woohoo! What a gift!

  4. Elizabeth October 5, 2017

    Or maybe after several years overseas, you’re scraping the bottom of the bank barrel, and money’s tight. I sure hope I’m not alone on that count.

    1. Danielle Wheeler October 5, 2017

      Nope, not alone on that, Elizabeth. You would think that the longer you are overseas, the more effective you become, the more support you’d see come in? Somehow it doesn’t work like that…

      Finances are so stressful. Hugs and prayers, friend.

      1. Elizabeth October 6, 2017

        Definitely doesn’t work that way! In most careers, as you move forward, your salary will most likely increase. That can help keep pace with the generalized rising cost of living in your area and the increased financial needs of growing children (teen boys’ grocery bills anyone??) (while once upon a time I thought the cost of diapers was bad!!). It’s like a double whammy in this line of work.

        Other areas of our life are going well — ministry, relationships, etc. But this one is a real stressor.

        Thanks for the love, dear friend. I miss you! I’m hoping we can see each other next summer when we visit the States (after we somehow raise the cost of the airfare of course!).

        1. Danielle Wheeler October 6, 2017

          I miss you! And YES, must see you next summer!!

          My boys are only 5 and 7 and yet they are already astounding me with how much they can eat. I cannot even imagine the grocery bill when they are teens!! 😬

          I’m praying now that His provision will surprise you in delightful ways this next season. Hugs to you.

  5. Sarah Hilkemann October 6, 2017

    Danielle, thank you for sharing these words and encouragement! I needed to hear that I’m not alone this morning, more than I even realized. I’ve been listening to the voice that says I DO have to do this alone, that no one really cares and that I’m failing because who I am and what is in me isn’t good enough, it isn’t enough for this season and work. Thank you for being vulnerable (in your post and in your life) and reminding that I can do the same. 🙂

    1. Danielle Wheeler October 6, 2017

      Thanks you, Sarah. When I see the words “failing,” “alone,” and “not enough” it shouts of the enemy’s schemes to shame and derail. Pretty easy to spot in others. Somehow harder to identify when it’s my own shame storm. 😉

      Glad you found some encouragement in this. Praying the sound of His sweet truth rings clear on your heart today.

  6. Helen October 6, 2017

    I read this and thought, ” no you do not understand, I am alone!” I returned home from China because of health issues and I am so alone! I am living with my daughter, but she’s got a life….I do not! The first Sunday back people told me that they are happy to have me back….then they carried on living…I can not! I try and find jobs but what I used to do is for people under 50 …. when you are under 50 you still have a life….I am over 50. I try and find some music students to teach from home….it seems to me every one is too busy at this stage to make time for music…I ask God what will be the next step but He gives no light for a step forward…..so I sit….alone…..and wait…..

    1. Danielle Wheeler October 6, 2017

      Helen, my heart aches to read this. I’m so sorry for the loneliness you are experiencing. I know every person’s experience is unique, but that feeling of being adrift after re-entry is a common thread that I’ve experienced too. And yeah, so painful when people are warm and friendly at first, but then fail to actually make time and space in their lives for you.

      How long have you been back? Have you been able to do any debriefing? That’s been huge in my own re-entry journey.

      Praying for you now, that His presence surround you in this time of waiting.

      1. Helen October 6, 2017

        I have been back for nearly two months now and no there has been no debriefing…no sharing….nothing….I look at photos and wish I could share….maybe someone could find a few seconds in their bussy lives

        1. Kathy Vaughan October 18, 2017

          Helen, I’m praying for you today. I spent 18 months “at home”, waiting to return to Uganda, and I experienced some of what you are experiencing now. I understand what it’s like when your children have their own lives – because they surely do, and that’s not bad! For me it helped me to realize that I raised them to be independent, I wanted them to be independent, and it’s that very independence that allowed me to pursue this work in another part of the world. Being independent means that they will build their lives and make friends and have families and work at jobs and make commitments and accept responsibilities. They have made a life, and it is good, and it is full – and now I don’t have as much of a place in it as I used to have. I found that being thankful that they have rich, full (if maybe too busy!) lives, apart from me, helped me to not take it personally when their busy lives didn’t always include me. I’m guessing there might be older people in your church family who have so much to offer, and who do have time – time that isn’t filled with all those things any more, time when maybe they are lonely or open for companionship. They might love to listen and share your pictures and who knows, become your dear friends. I also hope you might find some resource for processing your transition and all the losses you are feeling, and your uncertainty about your future. Praying for you in this transition time, as you grieve what you have lost and try to find what God has in store for your future, that you will find hope and comfort in Him, and find Him to be enough.

  7. Katie October 6, 2017

    My husband and i were just fully sent out and prayed out of a church in Florida to be Ms in the UK. After leaving our home church where my hubby worked in the M/outreach department, sent in the visas, did the fundraising deal, selling the car, leaving the apartment and half our possessions, home group, and our ministries…, my husband’s visa was denied twice. I just went for 2 months to England and started without him for a program cancelled one month after being there. No students signed up! I just came back to the States to be with my other half as we pray about what to do. What happened? I feel devastated, I feel loss and grief, severe disappointment. I feel so low. Struggling with heavy sadness as we hunker down in a spare bedroom at his parents in Chicagoland. We could use prayer for this situation – thank you!!!

    1. Danielle Wheeler October 6, 2017

      Oh, Katie! It must feel like you’ve had the wind knocked out of you… So confusing and gut-wrenching!! Praying for you and your husband now.

      A year and a half ago I was at a place where I cried out, “God, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!”
      And now, I can actually look back and say, “oh, thank you, thank you, thank you.”

      I believe you’ll get there too. But, oh the journey is hard! Prayers for you as you hunker down, process, and wait… Keep us posted? We’re here to be a safe place to process the grief and confusion.

  8. Jennifer Ott October 7, 2017

    Yes. Thank you for this, and for not minimizing losses. I don’t want to complain when God has shown up again and again, but some things do make me feel alone! My kids…the cost to them has been more than I ever thought. The isolation is so hard. And while God provides for our finances every month, it’s always ‘just enough’. And all the team changes and transitions lately. Sigh.

  9. Ellie October 9, 2017

    I want to add one to your lovely, helpful and inclusive list Danielle:
    “Maybe you’re facing the fact that your families aren’t, have never been, and are very unlikely to ever be, supportive, loving or kind” and that it’s just so hard and painful when others have these good enough (not perfect, but loving) relationships – people who send them things/visit/love their kids and you’re never going to have that.

    I read on a re-entry board that sometimes overseas work is enabled because people *don’t* have strong family ties that made me think I’m not the only one. But the number of times I have wished for that support, and people assume you have it, the “secret” grief because this is something others don’t understand..And now we’re “back home” the gaps are more obvious as others live close(ish) to their parents and other family and have support and we wouldn’t have that even if we lived next door to ours. The waves of shame and awkwardness. (Bring a grandparent to school day – what do we say to our kids? How to be honest/loving/wise?)

    Trusting that God is sufficient. Trusting that He knows and has promised he will never abandon us. Clinging on to this..

    “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
    and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
    Though she may forget,
    I will not forget you!” (Isaiah 49:15 )

  10. T October 10, 2017

    When I was scrolling quickly thru the title pic, I read, “Whatever you are facing, you are not ENOUGH” instead of “you are not alone”. May this become our anthem? I am not enough, not nearly enough, but He is. I’m so thankful to have read your words and not be alone in the tough things I’m going thru and feeling. But, my false reading is also true. We’re not enough, and our Loving Father doesn’t expect us to be enough. Just as I wouldn’t expect a young child to be able to fend for himself in traffic, or meal prep or anything hard. Our Father doesn’t expect me to push through, but just to ask for Him to take care of these things and say thank you. I’m not enough to sort thru my own emotions or sin struggles or fears. I’m not enough to host our little fellowship, or even keep hoping for the fulfillment of His promises. I hope to be learning what it means more to be doing things in His strength…we use this phrase a lot, but what does it really mean? Perhaps being at the end of our ropes is the only place to get it.

  11. Monica December 11, 2017

    And this post is why I LOVE Velvet Ashes…. authenticity, vulnerability, grace, and encouragement. Thank you so much!

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