Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What's your Safety Net?

(Warning, I might bleed on the paper today.)

What’s your safety net?

In the past three and a half years, I’ve lost about every one of mine. A steady income, jobs, savings, retirement accounts, friends, family members, church family, pride, dreams, hope, confidence and more. Some losses are of my own doing; most a direct effect from the poor economy.

Yes, I was a good Christian. I attended church faithfully, prayed, read my Bible, and tithed. I thanked God for everything I enjoyed. I might have even patted myself on the back a few times because my faith was so strong.

Look at me. I owned a Christian bookstore. I wrote Christian articles. I sent my daughter to a Christian college. I witnessed to people in the grocery line. You know the list. You probably have your own.

But as the losses piled up, and I had more in common with Job than I wanted, my faith wavered. Took a huge hit. I cried a lot. I got angry. Friends began to avoid me. I hopped around churches. And I prayed for someone to reach out and set my life right again.

Three and a half years later: that someone hasn’t come.

Because He was already there.

I needed to learn how to trust God even during the bad times. The times when life doesn’t feel worth living anymore. The times when I wake up and wonder why on earth am I still breathing? The times when the ache and pain of my losses weigh me down so that I can’t see anything good in the beyond.

My safety nets were full of holes.

I don’t know when I will ever have a normal life again. But God does and it isn’t my place to second guess His timing. If ever.

I might even need to endure more losses—my home, my health, my entire future. I hope not. I pray not.

So why write all this? Not an upbeat post, I know. Remember the warning?

I wrote it because maybe someone out there is depending on those same safety nets as I did. It’s easy when life is good. It’s easy to think we’ll always have work, money in the bank, a career, friends and family to support us. A person to bail us out when we can’t see straight.

I thought so too. But I was wrong.

Jesus is teaching me otherwise. Today, I’m hanging on to Him a little bit tighter. Are you?


T. Powell Coltrin said...

I can't get through one day without hanging onto God. I am very needy, but he likes that. :)
Life is stinking hard. Keep in your mind that scripture says that we'll walk through fire, but not be burned, pass through the waters and not be drowned (Isaiah 43:2 - my paraphrase). We are being perfected for his Kingdom and that's why sometimes...it hurts.

AND look how strong you have become.


Anonymous said...

That's the problem with safety nets. They're all full of holes.

Thanks for the reminder to hang on tightly to Jesus. I needed it this week. :)

Diane said...

Great post. I keep wanting to hold on to my net, but what's the point.... it is mangled and useless. Looking to Him! :O)

Kenda Turner said...

What an honest, and powerful, testimony, Terri. Thanks for sharing. Our prayers are with you for showers of God's mercies and blessings to come. And He is faithful.

I like to say, the end of the story hasn't been written yet. Our situation isn't nearly as difficult as yours, but it does involve our son's relocation to a new job--in Europe. That means our 9-month old grandson will be even farther away. We know we're supposed to be excited for them, and we are, but we are trusting God to help them, and us, in the adjustment.

Wishing you the best...

Unknown said...

So true Terri...wow! We hesitate to write the stuff that's hard to hear, but when we don't write about it, I think we underestimate our readers.

I do think that part of the human condition is having safety nets full of holes, but learning to recognize it takes some practice.

Hugs to you today,

Robin Lambright said...

As I read this post I immediately thought of this verse:

Habakkuk 3:17-18

17 Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

How many times did I focus on this scripture when things in my household were in upheaval, financial issues, job losses, teenage rebellion, cancer...your perspective is so wonderful and exactly where it needs to be.

We get in to sticky territory when we look to things of this world to hold on to!

The Lord's pruning shears are sharp and painful, but at times it is a necessary process. An un-pruned garden will never yield a bountiful crop!


Joanne Sher said...

What a fabulous post, Terri. I feel like I've been there too. Super reminder.

Jan Cline said...

No one likes walking the tight-rope with an invisible net. Sometimes it's only when we fall that we realize it's still there - He is still there, and has been all along. I think it takes a lifetime to learn to trust the invisible.

Karen Lange said...

It is interesting how He leads us through and teaches us. Not always easy, though. :) I've had some safety nets dissolve in the past year, and events that make me feel like the floor is shifting under my feet. But you're right, Jesus is there to hold us up and carry us through.

Great Grandma Lin said...

The Savior and our Heavenly Father are both there for us and the only safety nets to be trusted. When we understand that life is a school with tests, it makes it a little more understandable. Easy doesn't produce growth but strength and comfort are always available from above. When we feel our souls for gratitude for all we do enjoy and have, it makes it easier.

Cheryl Klarich said...

My prayers are with you.

Terri, if this is tacky please forgive me, but you make a really good character. Could you turn her into fiction? It's the kind of story I'd love to read. And I'm believing for a really happy ending!

Hang on, you're not alone.

Candyland said...

I needed this today. Thank you.

Sarah Forgrave said...

Great post, Terri. I'm living this truth day by day right now. Thanks for the reminder.

Anonymous said...

Powerful testimony Terri. My current bible study is on how God is Able to go beyond, and even more beyond what we dream. Believing in the word and trusting He is good, and always working on our behalf, many times beyond our understanding, is not always easy when our circumstances are hard! God is using you for a special purpose, one of them reminding all of us that God is our safety net. Thank you.

Yolanda said...


I think this is your best writing YET!

I so could relate and this is compelling me (us) to grab a little tighter onto the hand that is holding mine (ours), HIS HAND.

With love,

Tana said...

Thank God for Jesus is all I have to say. I have nothing besides him that could possibly give me what I need. Great post Terri!

Rachna Chhabria said...

Lovely post, Terri, it reminds us to be thankful for what we have. Safety nets like any other nets have too many holes.

I am sure good times are around the corner for you. I am waiting to say I told you, when you give me loads of good news soon. Hugs.

Susan R. Mills said...

Great and powerful post! Thanks, Terri.

Susan said...

Hello Terri...I could identify 100%with your post today...have been there, done that, don't really want to do it again. ha!

It's easy to have strong faith when things are good, when all is in order and is right in our own, individual worlds. But when the world around us is crashing in, when everything is dark and gloomy with very little prospect of changing, that's when faith REALLY gets tested.

I like to believe firmly, and I do , that it is darkest just before the coming of the "sun" or should we make that "Son?"

He does not let us languish forever...it's for an extended period of time...so we can learn to depend on Him and Him alone.

He's a strict disciplinarian. In utmost humility, I like to say I think I've learned. Today, despite what it going on around me, most of the time I am peaceful and accepting. MOST of the time, not all.

Take care and thanks for a great , thought-provoking post. Just keep on keeping on and your life will turn the bend in the road and you will be so flooded with sunshine you will almost not be able to see. Susan

Anonymous said...

My safety net has always been God. As you well know, all the other things you mention here can crash on us. Yes, we have to go through the "necessary" trials. How we go through them is the test of our faith.

Unknown said...

Tough post and SO true! It always catches me by surprise when something is taken away from me and I have a knee-jerk reaction -makes me realize that I often put my security in things (bank account, health, etc.) and need to shift my focus back to God. I appreciate your transparency in this post, Terri! God bless you for your faithfulness to cling to Him throughout the difficult times! Hugs!!:)

Unknown said...

Tough post and SO true! It always catches me by surprise when something is taken away from me and I have a knee-jerk reaction -makes me realize that I often put my security in things (bank account, health, etc.) and need to shift my focus back to God. I appreciate your transparency in this post, Terri! God bless you for your faithfulness to cling to Him throughout the difficult times! Hugs!!:)

Rhonda Schrock said...

You'd better believe it, I am. I have to.

Our pastor assures that that "glory always follows suffering." So it's never for nothing. God blessed Job's end more than his beginning, so is there hope for you (and me)? Oh, is there ever!

Hugging your neck, girl,


Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Beautiful, beautiful post! I have my safety nets as well. Thanks so much for the reminder. I need to rely on my nets less and God more.


Kara said...

What a terrific reminder! It is easy when things are going good to take it all for granted. I know I have.
I've often thought God doeesn't want us to have safety nets, just Him. Total faith in Him, the kind where you close your eyes and fall backwards into His arms:)

Jessica R. Patch said...

This post touched my heart. I thought of Peter throwing the net over the side of the boat, when he'd tried before, but this time Jesus was in the boat. Jesus was his safety net, guaranteeing that Peter would indeed be provided for and beyond his imagination. Praying the same for you today.

Nancy said...

This was a wonderful, powerful, strong and compelling post. And you have become strong and true in your seeming weakness. That's because you are relying on your true safety net. I believe when all has been shaken, you will still be standing. My heart's wish is that God will turn your fortunes around, just as He did with Job.

Sally Wessely said...

There is so much I want to say about this post. Mainly, I wonder why God has trusted some to suffer deeply. You know, why me? Why you? Why those of us who thought our faith was pretty set?

Losing my daughter to suicide literally shock every foundation in my life. Thankfully, I knew deeper than any other truth in my life, that God is sovereign. His sovereignty over my life is what has gotten me through.

Faith at some point became foundational because every other foundation of belief about life itself was shattered on that day when I lost that which I fear most: the life of my daughter.

Grace became my reality. Grace is more than a safety net. Grace is God assuring me that He is sovereign, and He is in control.

Sally Wessely said...

I also wanted to say that I am praying for you. God wants us to be real, to be authentic. He is using you because you are honest in your walk of faith.

Stand in there...as we are admonished in Hebrews. Put on the full armor and stand.

Julie Musil said...

Terri, I appreciate this raw and honest post. God really is my safety net, too. It's hard to say why He allows certain losses. I think I know what's best for me, but God teaches me otherwise. It's not always easy to be still and listen, but all we can do is our best.

I love how we're all connected like this, sharing these highs and lows. I'm sending hugs and prayers your way.

Nicole said...

You really shared your heart with this post. Did you ever imagine that you would one day go through something like this? I can definitely understand your discouragement. Sometimes you wonder why these things happen...but then again we have to trust God don't we? When things like this happen it shakes the foundation of everything that we have come to believe, like paying tithes, witnessing, being active in the church is all going to save us from this financial and material loss, a storm that we hope to recover from. Your post is an eye opener for me in many ways. Clinging to God is the only way to make it through this life. Thanks for sharing such a personal post.

Jessica Nelson said...

Oooh, I truly hope I'm trusting him! Great point about nets being full of holes.

kathy taylor said...

I understand the depth of multiple losses, losing my career, my ability to speak, financial security, my health. One good thing is that I could talk to Jesus without uttering a word. I had my family's support and I also had a network of individuals who supported me. I had counseled them regarding living with pain, and they came forward to help me. Sometimes we get stripped down to nothing. It makes me even more aware that I am nothing without the Lord.

Lisa Jordan said...

It's through those holes that we need to trust him the most.

I remember driving home and talking to God and asking him not to have Hubby lose another job. After all, God knew the turmoil we experienced the first time. He wouldn't want us to go through that again.

Well, in January 2009, Hubby lost his job. God used that time to provide new opportunities for Hubby. He went back to school and earned his degree. When our finances tightened even more this year, God provided.

My total surrender of my safety net was so necessary for Him to open incredible doors of opportunity for me. Yesterday was a double blessing--Hubby was hired for a new job & I signed my first book contract. God is so good, even when our faith is weak.

Kathleen said...

It seems to be a recurring lesson for me: If all we have is the Lord, it's enough.

I've been to the school of losses myself. They're rugged, but oh do they produce a precious peace when at last they've had their way in our hearts.

What a blessings to share your journey.


KelliGirl said...

Your honest and vulnerable words touch my heart. I wish I lived nearer and we could sit over a cup of coffee and chat.

"These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." --1 Peter 1:7

Jesus is revealed through you!

Blessings and prayers, my friend,

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Like you, I've come to realize that Jesus is the only One who is there for me all the time. Like you, I've also had seasons of waiting for the rescue from others... that phone call, visit, etc. That hasn't happened for me at my new address; still and yet, I see so many other ways that God has provided for me and shouted his blessed "Hello, I'm here!" from above.

Just last night, all I wanted to do was to fall into bed and be quiet so that I could be ministered to most effectively by the loving heart of my Father.

He didn't fail to show up. I pray you sense his loving "net" this day as you move through this long season of trust.


Deb Shucka said...

I think it's when all of our own security disappears that we're the most vulnerable and open to relying on the one true source of everything. In these two months since Kathleen's death, I've never felt more held or loved by God, sometimes through other people and sometimes through his voice directly to my heart.

I appreciate the courage it took for you to write this and your wonderful honesty.

Patti said...

It's good to know that that safety next is always there.

Angela Ackerman said...

I think that we are challenged to see what we are made of. And for me at least, whenever it seems that I can't take anything else on, something always seems to change and a new path opens, or something blocking my efforts gives a little, letting me go forward.

Best wishes to you and big hugs!

Linda Glaz said...

Amen, sister. Just remember who holds all the answers, even if they are more times than not,
"No." Errgh, the hardest answer to get.

Janet, said...

He is always there. When there were only one set of footprints in the sand that is when he was carrying you. God Bless. He will never burden us with more than we can handle.

Jeanette Levellie said...

Wow. I got goosebumps when I read, "Because He was already there."

I believe God will restore to you all the devil has stolen, Terri. And use you--as He is now--to encourage others in their losses.

You inspire me.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Terri -

You're a lot stronger than you think you are. You will come through this season.

I'm not looking for safety nets, but have my feet planted on the Solid Rock, Christ Jesus. Over the past eight years, I've learned He's the only stability I have.

Susan :)

EFT Manual said...

Nicely said! Many thanks!

Rawai Guesthouse said...

God is always there in times of fear and despair.

Carol Riggs said...

What a great--and honest--post! Thanks for sharing this. Yep, we often use our blessings to make us feel secure, and when those go--whoops! God is the only thing/Being who doesn't change. It's so great He's stable! And faithful.

Jolene Perry said...

My husband and I have had several experiences that make us grateful all the time for what we have, and I think it takes falling down sometimes for us to be lifted up to our full potential.

Pranavam Ravikumar said...

Its amazing.. I enjoyed and benefitted a lot from your post!

Georgiana Daniels said...

Oh wow--definitely a meaty post! I can identify. Sometimes it means getting used to a new normal. Sometimes I do cling to Jesus tighter, and sometimes I pull away (sad, but true.)

Arlee Bird said...

Excellent message. I too have lost many of those same things. But I lost them before and God's always guided me back to something better or at least adequate. But in reality I guess I never really "lost" any of these things because they weren't really mine to begin with. Everything's a learning opportuniy and it's up to us to take advantage of that.

Tossing It Out and the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2011

Michelle DeRusha said...

I so appreciate your honesty here -- yours is a real story, complete with grit, disappointment, dashed dreams, lost hope. I think, despite how difficult it is to read the truth, that this is a story we all need to hear and recognize. Because until we do recognize it, we won't truly believe in and rest in the One True thing

Diane Marie Shaw said...

Terri, I'm sorry to hear you have gone through so much.
I'm also thankful that you have found that the only true safety net is Jesus.

Jillian Kent said...

I hear your heart, Terri. Me too. Everytime my Bible study comes around to Job again, I say, I think I'll skip that week.:) God has taught me so much and allowed me to wrestle with Him. He's a very good daddy. My writing and my writing friends and work friends and hubby keep me going. I dont' know if we'll ever recoup many personal and financial losses related to my oldests mental illness and developmental disability. It's a long road, but if we lean on Him we can at least get through the day. He's all we really have. Praying for you and all good things for you.

Linda O'Connell said...

I just read this wonderful quote by Maya Angelou's mother, "There isn't anyhwere that God isn't."

Anonymous said...

Sounds familiar...well I guess I too, will have to stop waiting.

Vickie said...

Such a heartfelt post Terri. When we've come to the place that He is all we have, then we find that HE is all we need.
Don't let the enemy steal anymore from you. Walk in the authority that is rightfully yours in Jesus name and take it back.

Have a blessed day!!

Margo Berendsen said...

Thank you for sharing. What makes me so sad is that the part when you're going through a hard time, and people start AVOIDING you. Not all of them, of course. Some of them preach at you like Job's friends.

But this part makes me spring with joy:
"Because He was already there" - oh, amen!

Lisa Petrarca said...

I stumbled across your blog and I'm glad I did! I too have struggled and continue to struggle, but I have learned to trust in the Lord more and more, through each difficulty.

I sometimes think He truly allows these times to teach us to rely on HIM, not things, status, homes, money...but Him. Getting to really know Him, so that when our time comes He doesn't say, "Depart from Me for I never knew you."


Trisha said...

Wow! You've said it for us all. Most Christians today can truly say the same kinds of things. But, when we look unto the hills from whence cometh our help, He's been there all the time.
May God Bless you, in all you do.

Unknown said...

Thank you for your honesty. I felt the humility in your words reach up from the screen into my heart. This is my life. I lost alot as well. I call it prunning. Like you Jesus is all that I have to hold onto to and that's the greatest safety net ever. All I need is Him. Like you that is what I learnt.