Lightbulbs and Losses
WILDERNESS TO REDEMPTION
As you can image the lightbulb of loss doesn’t get exposed until you are in the dark. Lightbulbs and losses has come out of a pretty tough trek of personal loss. God began to take me straight to scripture to “right” my heart. Loss is a pretty dark place. I can tell you I am so looking forward to 2023 and in all transparency I am looking forward to rolling hard and fast out of 2022. We rolled into 2022 with a broken busted business from the F4 tornado that blew through Mayfield Ky in December 2021.Our business was so broken and busted to the point that we are just now close to wrapping up both buildings that were affected. It has been a pit season. It has been a loss season.
We have recently had a frozen tundra season of weather in our area and when my husband went back to work Monday, there had been a small fire. We really don’t know what happened but it could have been really bad. So basically in a span of 1 year, we have had a devastating tornado and a fire. So when I say we have had a season of loss.. that’s what I mean. This past year has also been a huge shift in our ministry as well. God has shaken us up like a snow globe where we’ve just have to wait for the dust to settle.
I was doing my personal Bible study recently and the word “loss” leapt off the page. It was not a study on loss but my Spirit bore witness with it. I began to look over the past 12 months and realized how deep the cloud of loss sat on our home. I am writing this teaching on December 31, 2022. As I thought about the new year rolling in soon, I did not want to carry the “losses” over into a new year. Spiritually speaking I don’t want to carry loss over into a new season!
I want to learn from the loss and not carry the loss over. I think that’s doable so the Lord started really doing some heavy heart work within me. I began to ask, how do you move forward when you’re still trying to process the loss?
When I taught this lesson it was January 1, 2023. It was great time to process this with friends! I’m no poster child for loss. Loss is common to man! It started in the garden as we all know. Loss comes packaged in many ways. Loss can be spiritual, financial, relational. I am sure the possibilities of “loss” are endless. As I sat with our 2022 losses, I didn’t want to carry them into a new “spiritual” year. You know I speak in one liners so here is a great way to say it!
I don’t want the weeds of 2022 to choke out the fruit of 2023!
I know I’m not the only one who has experienced loss this year. I want God to reframe what He is doing spiritually, personally, in our business lives and family life. I have to! I cannot as His child view life through a perpetual state of loss. I have to be frank and say it’s smothering as a child of God to live that way. I was not made to be engulfed by fear, uncertainty, mourning, regret and anger. I would like for us to look at our losses no matter what they are from a “redemptive mindset”. You may say, “I don’t understand”!
Before we go any further, let me make a disclaimer. I am an exterior processor. I am wordy! I am conversational. I have learned recently that I am not a bullet point teacher. I am a conversational relational teacher. So with that in mind, you will see me reference three words often: loss, reframe and redeeming. Hang tight and join the conversation!
All through scripture God seems to be “righting” or redeeming losses. If we get caught up in the season of loss, as I believe some of us have, we will never focus our eyes on the redemptive part of the seasons He allows and has called us to walk through. There is always a redemptive side to loss. Yes! You may be in the pit of loss and not be able to see it but with a jaunt through scripture or even your own story you will see there is always a redemptive side to loss. I have taught for years God never wastes a trial and the longer I walk with Him the more I believe it.
When I taught this I shared a little something from my past. It’s was a reframing reminder for my personal life. It represented loss but also redemption. What I passed around was a ring. It was a conglomeration of my mother and fathers wedding ring. It was made up of my father’s band and my mother’s little chip diamond “ette”. Again it represents loss but it also what God did in our family. I was given both their rings after their divorce and I had molded them into one. No their marriage was not restored but God restored their friendship before she died. We were able to be christian witness as a family before her death. The enemy stole a lot from us as a family but we stepped on his head pretty hard before my mom went home. Hear me say the loss did happen but God is always redeems things if we are looking. So I shared that little testimony about this past year and my parents ring to show you we all have seasons of loss.
My little ring could be trigger or a reminder! I choose it to be a reminder of how God redeemed loss. We all have triggers! We all have representations of them that are tattooed on our hearts and that sometimes get stuck in our heads ! If we get stuck in those losses and not purposefully recounting the redemptive parts of our story, the losses can have generational ramifications to them.
I’m reminded how God instructed the Israelites to recount the goodness of God. He tells them multiple times in scripture to tell their children and their children’s children about His provision. I think most of us get stuck in the loss not the goodness of God. I want to plate a thought to you! I think often times we get stuck in what is simply a transition season for Christians. I have begun to see this personal season of loss has been a transition season. Loss is never supposed to be permanent For Christians, loss is a transition season to redemption. I never want to glaze past loss. Is the loss real? Must we mourn it? YES but God can reframe it when we see Him through Him. That’s what I want us to talk about!
Are we so focused on “the loss” that we miss the redemptive lessons in it
The scripture references for the “the loss lightbulb” are going to feel a lot like a Baptist church bible drill. Bible drills consisted of beginning with a closed Bible and the leader would call out of scripture and whoever found it first won! There will be several scriptures quoted today in quick succession!
Scripture holds multiple accounts of deep loss that God used to show His story of redemption. God is always “righting” loss! You will see that in today’s teaching! This blog is quite lengthy! Hang with me!
Let’s look at some passages that remind us that God redeems loss. We will see that the ditch of loss is not forever. God is always faithful even in loss. He is not MIA! He is often times allowing or even orchestrating loss to have an example to the world of His redemptive work in our lives.
THE PARABLE OF THE LOST COIN
Luke 15: 8-10
Here we have a woman who has lost a coin. It’s not a simple denarii! It is a coin from her dowery. This is great loss! She is frantic to find the lost coin. In these moments where the coin is lost, it’s sheer devastation. I am reminded sometimes we focus on the coin not the one who never lost it. He was never not aware of where the coin was. Sometimes we get so focused on the loss and not on the redeemer of all things.
THE WOMAN WHO HAD A LITTLE FLOUR AND OIL
I Kings 17:7-16
Here we have a widowed woman who has gone through all her food provisions. She literally has a little flour and a smidge of oil left for food. She is on an errand picking up sticks to build a fire to make her last cake for she and her son. She doesn’t have enough flour and oil to make a Duncan Hines size cake. No! She has enough for a cake the size of a biscuit.
Then God throws a cog in the story. He sends the prophet and the prophet understands the moment but asks that she make him one first. Are we sure he understood the direness of the moment? I think so! You know she had been watching the food supply lessen for months. But in the middle of the loss, she choose to be faithful and watch God use the loss for “righting” her story.I wonder if she not been faithful in loss, would she have experienced the redemptive part of her story where her provision never ran out?
I can apply this to my story. I focus on the little provision I see in my own life (the loss) and not the character of the one who has never left my cupboard bare.
Do we trust Him in loss?
Are we looking for the redemptive side of empty?
Are we continuing on in the middle of loss?
Are we being faithful in the middle of loss or is loss all we see?
God can reframe our loss to a redeeming moment! We have to look past the loss.
What can we say! Joseph has a life full of loss. He was sold into slavery, thrown in the pit, left for dead, lied on, manipulated and betrayed by family! He is the poster child for loss but God wasn’t finished with His story. Every loss He encountered was a moment on the timeline that God was orchestrating to tell His redemptive story.
Did you catch that?
God was forming a redemptive story through loss. Joseph still believes and is a messenger and is faithful where he is. These are goals right here folks! The loss set him up for a story of redemption.
I want to keep giving you synopsis after synopsis because I think we are like Joseph in the pit and that’s all we see. When we are mid story and shrouded by loss it’s hard to see that God is not finished yet. The loss is a fragment of our story. It is not the end. Sadly, we settle in to “loss” for years when it was simply a transition to telling His redemptive story through ours.
This has been a tough year but I refuse to call it a season of loss. God is giving me an opportunity to show Him mighty and strong. This is not a “loss” season! This is in fact a “righting” season.
Bless His heart! If we didn’t know God called him a man after His own heart we would have written Him off years ago! David has lots of loss for lots of reasons. We will get to those later but David is a hot mess but loved by God. Man oh man I can relate to that!!!!
Let’s do a quick run through on David. He seems to be the least of his brothers. When time comes to anoint a king, David is on the backside of no where! He is a simple shepherd. No one thinks he would ever be chosen. He is living a “loser” life in the minds of others already.
He sleeps with Bathsheba… loss
Has her husband killed…loss
Gets Bathsheba pregnant…loss
The child dies because of David’s sin….loss
Hides in caves from His enemies….loss
And yet His entire story emits redemption!
Had he been stuck in any of these “loss” seasons, he would have never gotten up and we would have missed How God “righted” or redeemed His story.
Our story as His children are to tell His story even through loss.
WE MUST CONTINUE TO GET UP AND TRANSITION FROM LOSS TO GOD REDEEMING HIS STORY THROUGH IT.
A orphaned jewish child…A nobody, taken in by her uncle…
Had she been stuck in her loss season she perhaps would have never thought herself usable enough to be used to free her people.This is where we lose it. Flesh is geared for fear. Faith looks way past what it sees. God gets to plate us in a season of loss and us by faith and knowing who He is trust the season and that He is using it to tell His!
ABRAHAM OFFERING UP ISAAC
God asks him to offer his son up as a sacrifice. He obeyed knowing God would provide. I love how the scripture reads. Abraham is confident on what God has told Him. He is to go offer his son up as a sacrifice! He is also a man who knows the character of God. Scripture tells us he says he and his son will go offer the sacrifice and they both will return. Had he gotten stuck in the impossible request of God, he would have not seen the miraculous provision that waiting for him in the middle of that thicket! Some of us don’t want to be obedient in the hard or the season of loss. Perhaps because we don’t believe redemption awaits!! Has He proven Himself faithful enough that we will trust Him to walk into the season of loss knowing He is working His redeeming story woven into ours.
I want you to see that God is the God of Redeeming loss in each of these stories.
He is redeeming lost time.
He is redeeming lost relationships.
He redeems lost things.
He redeems lost security.
He is redeeming lost ministry focus.
He redeems lost focus.
Will we continue to mourn the loss or move on? Is there health in both.. yes! The “move through” is as important as the recognizing the loss.
This is where the enemy works. He works in the transition! When we’ve yet to see the flicker of “redemption, this is where we get derailed! Can we mourn the loss without being derailed by it? We can run like David or Jonah or we can dive head first into the next season knowing that God has set the course way before we ever entered this season of loss. Jehovah God is not a God of loss but of redeeming what was lost.
Does He use loss to set things straight?
Does He use loss to tell His story?
Does He use loss to shake the world?
Yes He does and we get to be a part of that through the lens of knowing who He is!
REASONS FOR LOSS
There are many kinds of loss I listed earlier but for all types of reasons. Sometimes loss is from consequences of sin (ours or others). God sends loss or what we think is lost to realign our purpose. This one stings me right now if I’m being quite honest. God sends loss to shift us into more and sometimes into less! Sometimes loss comes to mature us. That’s humbling to think about when we wanted a certain course for our lives and He choses to chart a different course Trusting that loss has purpose is key for our maturing, correcting and direction.
So how do we get through the loss when we can’t not seeing the redeeming side of the struggle? We do it by knowing His character. All of us need that lightbulb moment! Lightbulbs have filaments where the jolt is carried through to make the lightbulb illuminate. Knowing the character of our God is the filament that gets us through the thin line between loss and seeing His redemptive work in it.
WE LIVE BY FAITH AND NOT BY SIGHT
2 corinthians 5:7
Focusing on His redemption of all things shows Him we see Him as faithful and restores our hope! Faith and knowing His character is the life blood to surviving and resting in loss. Often times I struggle spiritually when God lines up a season of loss for me. I run the same process over and over! God sets me up for a season of hardship or loss and I get about 2-3 weeks into the “woe is me” malarky, I get angry and down in the mouth….. THEN God rights me with jabs to my faith! God has one liners if you didn’t know! He correct me with them and does so fairly often. Recently during a trek through loss, God wanted to reframe it. He gently whispered, “don’t you know me by now? I’m orchestrating things you would have never foreseen, jumped into, walked away from or ever been able to even fathom. I’ve chosen you and I’m using your life to show mine.. …because you are mine…and the avenue I have chosen is loss.” Sometimes God says a mouthful!
Knowing who He is should be the “righter” of our faith to repel us from falling into a loss mentality.
Do we always understand the loss? No.
Is He still faithful in the loss? Yes
He knows our steps!
…even in the wilderness
…even in the dungeons
…even in your mis-steps
…even in your mistreatments
…even in severe distresses like Job!
True faith is laying the loss at His feet! Laying it there while not knowing how He will redeem it but remembering He always does. Lay it at his feet with weeping! I”m don’t joyfully sign up for the unknown but He is writing a much more beautiful story than I could ever pen.
SEEING LOSS THROUGH PAST PROVISION
God is all about timing even in loss especially in loss. It must have its perfect work but when he shines the light on it… move on. I love how the Israelites are told so many times to recall and remember how God brought them out of Egypt. They were told to recite His provision to their children and their children children. I wanna do that! God has allowed each of us to walk through our own “red sea” moments. Red Sea moments teach us, show us, lead us to maturity. Loss sharpens my trust skills and they teach my hands to war! They soften my heart while scuffing my knees in dependance upon Him. This is what He does! This is how He works!
When trouble comes because of sin, ours or others..
When calamity hits the world…
When God shifts our world because He needs us to move…
WE HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT THIS IS WHAT HE HAS ALLOWED….
To show His redemption…
To move us closer……
To show us a unique part of Himself…
We must have faith in the loss because HE IS ALWAYS FAITHFUL. Trusting Him in the empty is our joy. We are blessed to call out to Him in the loss. We are blessed to call out to Him in the middle of “the empty”!
This is who He is!
We ARE CALLED OUT TO LIVE A LIFE OF REDEMPTION NOT MOURNING LOSSES FOREVER.
I’m a living breathing example of redemption! So are you! God has “righted” so much in our lives. We must remember His faithful character when the walls are closing in. We can quote the scriptures but let’s walk the walk. Sometimes I’m reminded we have head knowledge of scripture but fail in personal application when loss hits us.
BE JOYFUL IN HOPE, PATIENT IN AFFLICTION AND FAITHFUL IN PRAYER.
Some of us have anger built up at others and at God because of “loss seasons”. We are definitely not a patient people. Can I be the bearer of tough news? The bottom line is God ordered our steps. Whether you are a Job who is sinless other than questioning His sovereignty, or whether you are someone who is petrified because God has has allowed loss in the form of provisions running low. God is still orchestrating your steps for His redemption to be shown through your life. Whether you are a Jonah and the loss is because you ran from Him or you are a Joseph and God has chosen loss to walk through a loss season for the betterment of others, God is writing your story to tell His. Perhaps you’re an Abraham and God has asked you to lay down the most precious thing to you. Rest in knowing He trusts you with the loss. What a powerful statement. Sometimes we see Gods trust in us more when we see He trusts us with loss.
Nothing is hidden from Him nor does anything happen without his consent. What if God sovereignly has allowed you to be sifted like wheat? That’s a sobering thought! For a Christian, loss is simply a transition season to redemption.
I have no doubt I can see the things we’ve been through this year that include an F4 tornado, church move and the fire that God is getting us unattached to things so we can and would be more fully focused on Him. Could I perceive it the morning after the tornado when we walked into seeing the roof of our business opened up giving access to the sky after? No! But I see it now! I’m a people pleaser I have no doubt in my mind He is using this season of no ministry affiliation to crucify the “gotta fit” girl in me. The spiritual lightbulbs of redemption are going off. He is “correcting me” and “righting” my story through loss. I see it! The lightbulbs are flickering like a lighting system that’s been dormant for way too long.
I began to ask God questions! “God, what do you want me to know about reframing a loss you’ve allowed?”Here is what I heard. Mourn! Ask questions! Trust Me! Recount what you know about Me.
THIS IS KEY!
We must build our faith up even when the lens is clouded by hurt and transition!
Without faith it is impossible to please God. Does that apply to loss? Yes it does! Faith even in the middle of deadly loss? Yes even there! His character tells me He is always working! He never sleeps or slumbers. He sees it all! Without faith we are a wearied people indeed.
Has this year been hard? Yes.
Have we seen the complete plan of what He is doing?
Do we have a complete picture of why He seems to be quiet in the season of loss?
No I don’t but I take Him at His world that He is working all things for Kingdom purpose.
Will it be easy? No! Kingdom work is rarely easy neither is the heart work it takes to walk in it.
So as we go forward are their things to lay down? Yes
Having to know the plan is one of the things I need to lay down! (aka recovering planner)
Do I see He is maturing me? Yes! It required spiritually kicking and screaming but yes!
Our will is to trust His hand. ……We have a world to reach.
It’s time for His children to weep before Him then get up and start shining in the midst of our own personal loss! In our personal losses, we forget that we are still a beacon on a hill.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5: 14-16
We get to reframe the loss. We see loss through sovereignty alone. When the bottom falls out then God shines brightly!
SO….HOW DO WE GET PAST IT?
We acknowledge we are stuck in mourning the loss and we remind ourselves of His character! There may be some questions we need to ask Him in prayer to get more clarity.
Here are a few that came to mind for myself. Perhaps they fit the bill for you as well.
Has the loss come from disobedience? I need to ask Him so I know next time!
Has the loss come to sharpen me? I need to ask Him so I know next time!
Has the loss come to hone my trust skills? I need to ask Him so I know next time!
Has the loss come so I can be an example of His redemptive story? I need to ask Him so I know next time!
Has the loss come to mature me? I need to ask Him so I know next time.
Has my mourning poisoned the good areas of my life? I need to ask Him so I can heal.
Is the loss season exposing golden calfs in my life? I need to ask Him so I know to melt them down.
What can I learn from the loss?
Does the loss have a place of foundation in my life?
What can I apply about the character of God in relationship to the loss?
Ask Him what you need to learn from the season of loss because none of us are supposed to live in a season of loss forever!
We can’t continue to walk around dazed. I encourage you to healthily move in faith as you mourn.
So I’m going to ask you to spiritually lay your loss out there to God! Lay it bear today! Have you forgotten His redeeming character?
He is stirring that hard ground up in all of us! Hard ground will never be able to nurture new growth. Has loss hardened us? Hardened hearts aren’t looking for redemption. Loss always leads to redemption. Even in your loss God will use to tell His story of redemption…but it takes trust! Don’t try to figure out what God is doing. Recognize the mourning as healing and move forward. I have found mourning too long without trusting His character has led to greater loss in my own life. Loss can produce more fruit for the Kingdom if I allow God to plow up my hard heart. Trust the loss season! He always repays the losses. Knowing His character has to trump what you see!!!! Mourn while you move forward. Don’t sweep mourning under the rug but chart your mourning course through trusting His character. He is faithful!
Remember that my friends!
We see the walls of loss but He sees the redemptive course He has plotted for your life. Don’t get stuck in the chapter titled, “loss”! The redemption chapter is coming!
So as we end this teaching I pray you have been moved to take a look into your heart! I know this teaching is just an outpouring of what I am learning as I walk with Him. I’ve been too tied to loss and the yesterdays that didn’t make sense. The loss seasons I would have never chosen but God did! I’ve been like Lots wife! I’ve been looking back and tripping as I try to walk forward. I want to quote a sweet friend! She said “you can’t waller in yesterday and enter tomorrow”. Thank you Heather for simple yet profound words. Walk on dear friends! Walk on knowing God saw it all! Walk on knowing He is working a beautiful plan of redemption and “righting” your story. You just can’t see it yet! This is who He is. This is the beautiful character of God!
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