Following Jesus When Our World is Turned Upside Down

Following Jesus When Our World is Turned Upside Down | Gospel Girls

Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed;
save me and I will be saved,
for you are the one I praise.
– Jeremiah 17:14 (NIV)

Last week I wrote about following Jesus when the path doesn’t lead where we expected it to. But what about when following Jesus means allowing our whole world to be turned upside down?

Five years ago I was diagnosed with three not-so-fun diseases at one time. When I was much younger a bug, or maybe it was actually a whole army of bugs, had bitten me and passed on pretty much every bad thing it was able to pass on. For more years than we can actually be sure of, I was doing a semi decent job of acting like everything was OK on the outside while my body was slowly dying on the inside. By the time I was diagnosed, I was in a world of pain.

If you asked me back then how I felt about the whole thing, I would have turned into a sobbing mess and told you this is not what I signed up for! I didn’t want a disease let alone three diseases that doctors were still trying to figure out. But if you asked me now, I’d tell you that I’m so grateful that God was with me through the hardest journey of my life and that Jesus literally never left my side.

In fact, over the next several years Jesus carved a path through the wilderness, leading me not just from illness to better health but from old life to new life. Sometimes that path felt like a yellow brick road, sometimes it felt like stepping stones through a raging river, and other times seeing the next step felt about as clear as digging for pebbles at the bottom of the ocean. A very, very deep ocean. But through it all, Jesus was there. Even when it felt like I was all alone. And just like hindsight is always 20/20, I could only see it all when I was though the woods.

For years I’ve thought about that life altering journey that took me from following my own path to following God’s path, and how I couldn’t know it then but it was like breathing oxygen after decades in a stuffy room. A lot of that path was about abiding, being faithful in the small things day in and day out, turning away from the world’s ways and choosing a better thing He set before me, even when I didn’t want to or it seemed like it was too much to ask.

Since being better I’ve accidentally and sometimes not so accidentally strayed from this path a handful of times, and it’s never long before I’m back in hot water and realize I’ve made the wrong choice. Each time I start to wander too far away, He gently calls me back. And whenever I respond He picks me up, dusts me off, puts me back on solid ground, and steadies me as I walk along. Never leaving my side.

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the Lord.
– Psalm 40:1-3 (NLT)

The path God carved out for me included changing the way I ate and the way I took care of myself, working through unhealthy emotions that I’d held on to for far too long, giving up things that weren’t good for me, and drawing closer to Him in my daily life. But everyone’s paths might be different. Recently God pointed me back to the path He’d led me down and asked me to get back on it, and I’m going to be recapping what walking that path looked like for me five years ago and what it’s looking like now.

What about you guys? Has God ever carved a path for you to follow by giving you a whole new perspective on something or asking you to do something you never thought you’d do before? Have you ever had to walk through an experience that turned your world upside down?

Linking up with Bonnie Gray’s always incredible Faith Jam at Faith Barista and the wonderful Imperfect Prose community at Emily Wierenga’s blog.

Original photo of Chickadee At The Suet by John Witherspoon

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13 comments

  1. Hi Kim, I just found your blog from a comment you posted at the Truth in Weakness blogspot. And I am loving your posts. After reading this one, the About Us page, and the post on “Crummy Days”, I feel like I am reading things I wrote. In response to your answer on this post, my walk with God was turned upside down, too, through a series of trials. It was difficult, emotionally exhausting, and broke me in ways I needed to be broken. But ultimately, they helped me learn to rest in God’s love like I never could before. I wrote all about them at sweetlybrokengirl.blogspot.com. Feel free to pop over. Take care and God bless this ministry and your families. – Heather K

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    1. Hi Heather! Thanks for stopping by and it’s so nice to “meet” you. I think you just put the whole experience of following Jesus when our worlds are turned upside down perfectly in a nutshell. I’m totally nodding my head at everything you say. I will definitely stop by and visit your blog. I can’t comment on blogspot blogs from the device I’m on now, but I’ll be by later today to read more! 🙂

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  2. I enjoyed reading about your walk. You know why? All of us have a story, even if we keep it to ourselves. Like you, I write about my walk and my stumbles. It makes me stronger and lends strength to other believers. We all stray, but as we grow in our faith, we run, “top-speed,” back to His path. It’s not always an easy path, but it is a path filled with love and compassion. Simply put, “He keeps us.” Found you on Faith Barista!

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  3. Death is never something I deal all that well with and I’ve been following a story of a baby with a fatal disease from my city and when the baby passed this week it struck me how death is phenomenally harder when it’s a child or infant. I think the path he’s taking me down is: trust me, not matter what, even through this hard, hard thing.

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    1. Court, I’m right there with you… It’s something I struggle with as well, even though I know that eternity with Him is so much better than this world. It’s heartbreaking to hear about anyone suffering. And yes, that’s such an important path He’s leading us all down… trusting Him no matter what. I’m trying to walk that one, too. Thank you for stopping by!

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  4. beautiful. holy space you’re sharing. I feel so honored to have a seat beside you, as you recount your journey from five years ago. May you feel the freedom to follow the current of the Holy Spirit, as He whispers thoughts and words to you… knowing we are with you and the greatest of all, Jesus Himself is lovingly smiling into you. Thanks for sharing this in the Faith Jam!

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    1. Thank you, Bonnie! Your prompt last week caused me to reflect on how Jesus has asked me to follow Him. And since then it’s opened the door to an entire outline of things I want to remember and praise Him for. Thank you for sharing your journey with us, too. There’s so much of it I relate to from my own walk through illness just a few years ago and the path I’m on now.

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  5. Just now stopping by from IP last week and I’m so touched by your testimony here. I can’t imagine walking through such pain from something that happened so long ago but then there is redemption. So thankful for redemption in all things. You share Him well.

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    1. Shelly, thank you for stopping by! I’m behind on visiting for IP as well, but I am really enjoying your blog. The Sabbath pieces are speaking to me a lot where I am right now. Thank you for sharing, and I look forward to reading more from you!

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  6. Dear Kim
    I truly relate to every single thing our Pappa God took you through to draw you closer and closer into His life. I suffer from Fm/CFS and can truly say that although it is not nice to have a chronic illness, I know that without it, I would not have learned to trust our Pappa completely! I am concerned that if He heals me completely, I might just start trusting myself again. So, I am joyfully ill, considering it a gift from His hand of wisdom.
    Much love and thank you for your visit to my place.
    Mia

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