Where am I going, and why am I in this hand basket?

I totally swiped this title from my friend, Melanie. She makes me laugh a lot. I thought this was really funny, and quite telling, too.

Do you ever feel that way? Ever feel like things are just going to heck in a hand basket? Try as you might to stop it, you can’t. I have. It was just over a year ago when my carefully carved out life began to unravel. Disappointing job loss turned into a cross-country move, which turned out to be one major booboo, which led to more unemployment, and yet another move. All within six months!

I knew things were headed downhill fast, and I was paralyzed to stop it. I had a house in another state I could not sell. I had no job, and my husband had no job. We signed a lease on a house that we had no way to pay for, and we had four kids depending on us for their wellbeing. To say relationships were stressed would be a reasonable statement.

So what does one do when one finds herself in a hand basket to… um… heck? One obvious answer would be to totally freak out. I did try that for a while, but I found it did not slow my descent at all. It probably only sped things up a bit.

Looking back, I wish I could say that my first response was to dig in, lean into Christ, and trust God. My sister-in-law would say, instead, that I had a total “come apart”. That’s a completely Southern expression for a melt down.

In spite of my unmitigated lack of faith, God met me and cared for me through a great friend. She invited my family to attend church with her family. In all honesty, I didn’t want to go. I partially blamed church for the mess we were in, but we went anyway. When it came time to worship, I felt nothing. Zero. Except for maybe utter abandonment. I could not even bring myself to sing. The words of the songs meant little to me. They even angered me a bit. I had never felt farther from God in my life.

After church one Wednesday night, crying, I told my friend that I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t worship. She cried with me, and prayed with me right there in our seats after church. I will never forget that. She didn’t offer me a sermon on faith. She cried and prayed.

Things didn’t get immediately better. It did take a while to climb out of that basket. I got a job, and then another job. A few months later, my husband got a job, too. And then he got a better one… as of three months ago, he is now on staff at the very church we visited with my friend!

We’ve been a year in this church now. It has taken a while, but it feels like home there. I still cry at church, but now they are tears of joy for who God is and how much he loves me. God was faithful to me when all I could do was come apart. God worked in my life in lots of ways. We had messed up a great deal of things that He had to make right again. It didn’t all happen overnight, but it did happen.

This next bit is completely free of charge…

The single best thing that we did during that time
was get to involved in a life-giving church.

I’ve been in life sucking churches and they pretty much make life…. well… suck. All the fighting, disagreeing, and inward focus. I’m tired just thinking about them now. The life God pours into life-giving churches is phenomenal. If you choose your church based on all the programs it has to offer you… honestly… it’s probably a life sucking church.

Look around for a church that offers you a chance to give your life away. For it’s in giving your life away that you truly receive the life you are looking for. Churches today toss about words like

“real” “relevant” and “authentic”

But few really are.

Church should be about who you can be rather than what you should do. For it’s when you discover who you are in Christ that life truly begins.

I climbed out of that nasty basket a while ago. If you find you are in that hand basket now, my advice is to seek the help of a caring, praying, crying friend. (A friend that will cry with you is a friend indeed!) Then find yourself a great life-giving church, turn it all over to Christ, and trust Him with the result. And give it some time. He’s got a plan, and He is fully capable.

After all, come aparts really don’t work…

3 thoughts on “Where am I going, and why am I in this hand basket?

  1. Thank you for the encouragement I really needed it.  The last 8 months tomorrow have been the most challenging of my life.  I do have a good friend and mentor that will pray with me and for me but she won’t cry with me because she believes (as I do) that God works all things together……Romans 8:28-30.  Now that I have my Oklahoma home church family and my Southern family I feel like God might have done the right thing.  I just need to focus on God and what He wants for me.I’ll see you in May.

  2. freaking out must be something nurses are good at! I had a “come apart” myself about 6 yrs. ago and in some ways I’m still crawling out of that hand basket, but I’m making good progress. The first thing I did after my meltdown was to leave a life-sucking church. I wish I could say that I went running to find a life-giving church, but like you, I thought the church contributed to my misery in a lot of ways. I was very angry with God for a very long time. I’m now in a life-giving church, and the purpose of this post is to say to your readers that, ” Yes, Stacy is right. Pray that God will lead you to a good place and then LISTEN to Him when he tells you where to go. God wants us in a community with other believers.  Only God can snatch us up out of the hand basket, but I believe he uses his church to help with the pulling.

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