Trusting God when your heart hurts.

Here’s the truth: Life sucks sometimes.
When it hurts so bad that you can’t go on…
life keeps moving on.
~Ben Rector

This week has been hard.
Monday around noon, I felt this huge pressure in my heart. I fell on the floor and cried out “it hurts so bad!” to the Lord. Over and over again, with tears flowing out of my eyes.

Seven hours later, I listened with a heavy, confused heart as the relationship I’ve been so excited about came to a close. I instantly went into self-preservation mode and got defensive and tried to make sense of it.

and I drove home without tears.
and I fell asleep without tears.
But then I woke up and remembered, and I cried out to the Lord again. I prayed for grace – grace for him, that even in my confusion and hurt I wouldn’t look on him without grace… grace FROM him, that he would offer me the same… and grace for myself, to evaluate mistakes I’d made not through a lens of regret but of grace.

A few days later, I decided to go to Target. I walked upstairs to change my clothes, and then I suddenly remembered. I felt the pressure again and I fell on the floor again and cried. and I was reminded that I needed to trust God.

and I said, “I trust God, but I can still be so sad.”

One of my favorite blog posts I’ve ever written is called “When Christ Wasn’t There.” It talks about how Jesus INTENTIONALLY didn’t go to Mary & Martha when Lazarus died. Jesus kept his distance from his mourning friends. Not because he didn’t care, but because I think sometimes we need to really feel sad to remember that Christ is our Healer.

Trusting God when your heart hurts //

So these are the ways I’m trusting God even though my heart hurts:

  • Pray honestly.

    Listen, I’m not going to be able to truly pray right now that Ryan finds the girl of his dreams and gets married and lives happily ever after. I can’t pray that, because that’s a lie and we all know where liars go. But you know what I CAN pray? I can pray that he is always responsive to the Holy Spirit. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the motives of your prayers until you’ve been left with the truest prayer you can pray with your whole heart.

  • Cling to God’s promise to never leave.

    You know what I want to do with my hurting heart? I want to take it on a tour of all my friends and have all of my friends hug my hurting heart, give it a smooch and cover it with glitter. I want my friends to bear my burden with me. And there’s some reasonable expectation to that, but not at the caliber I need. I need Someone in my corner when my eyes pop open at 2 am and I remember suddenly that things have changed. and that Someone isn’t my friends who are probably sleeping. That Someone is God, who has been watching over me in the stillness of my room while I sleep. He is not scared of my sadness. He’s not going to get overwhelmed because of it and leave.

  • Cry.

    Scripture says that blessed are the poor in spirit and that God is close to the broken hearted. Tears are the economy of the broken-hearted kingdom, and I am making sure that every single one of them falls at the feet of my loving and compassionate God.

  • Let your friends hold your hands up.

    In Exodus 17:11&12, we read that in the battle against the Amalekites, as long as Moses held up his hand Israel would prevail, but eventually his hands grew weary. Aaron and Hur got him a rock to sit on and then Aaron and Hur each held up one of Moses’ hands so that his hands were steady for the rest of the day. Despite my trust in God and my certainty of his love for me, my hands keep getting tired. and I’ve been texting my friends in waves – two here and three a few hours later – because my hands and my heart keep getting weary and I need them to fill in the gap for me for a minute. They’re doing that with words of encouragement, with I love you’s and with declarations of prayer.

  • Avoid sin.

    Jesus said “in your anger, do not sin.” Don’t allow the tenderness of a hurting heart to be the soil for crippling sin. I am praying for grace and favor. I am refusing to speak unkind words, despite my confusion and hurt. Don’t. sin. Don’t let Satan get the glory of your broken heart. 

  • Encourage others.

    I know that today I am not the only person on the whole wide world whose heart is sad but surrendered. That’s why I’m writing this – I hope it finds someone else who is so very sad but is so very certain of a God who cares and hears. Sometimes it’s hard to be sad and full of joy at the same time, but from everything I’ve read in the Bible, it is hard but it is probably the best place to be because God is close by.

I’ve been clinging to a few songs this week, and I decided to share a few of them with you. The first is a beautiful arrangement by my friend Phil Laeger of an old hymn called “I’m In His Hands,” and the second is a song we’ve sung with the kids before, “He Knows My Name.” I’ve spent a lot of time sitting at the piano singing these songs, so I thought I’d share that with all of you. <3

I'm In His Hands //


Linking up with Good Morning Mondays,

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April 10, 2015
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  • I love this. Such a great reminder that we need to hurt in our lives in order to really see how Christ heals. I’m sorry you are hurting, but I’m so glad that you have a Savior to lean on! <3

    • thanks jayme! it’s definitely hard. and the hurt is deep, but not deeper than the love of Christ… which is what is getting me through <3

  • Juliann Evans

    I absolutely love the “we need to really feel sad to remember that Christ is our healer.” It’s so true. I’m in a similarish situation and I was just talking with the Lord yesterday about trusting in Him but still feeling sad and how that’s ok. I think a lot of times we forget it’s ok to feel. We know we need to choose joy and trust in God and that tends to make us think we can’t feel sad, or hurt, or whatever. But that’s not the truth. Thanks for sharing part of your story, it was encouraging to me!

    • oh amen!!! it’s totally okay to feel. i think the fruits of the spirit – love, joy, peace, etc… aren’t feelings. they’re not things you FEEL, they are TRUTH that you KNOW, DESPITE what you feel, you know? feel free to shoot me an e-mail ANYTIME if you want to talk. <3

  • Emily Grace

    Beautiful! I love you, soul sister. Keep playing, praying, and singing those songs. Thinking of you constantly! <3

    • i love you i love you i love you <3

  • i love that you pointed out we can trust in God AND still be sad. that is so true & something that a lot of people don’t get! when thomas was losing his job & we were going through that… people would ask me about it and i would just start crying from all of the stress & a few personal things. and i would constantly hear “you just need to trust God… He is faithful” and i know they probably meant well… but it made it seem like they were saying i didn’t trust God. which i did… but it was still scary… mostly because i knew that God is faithful but that doesn’t mean that Thomas would necessarily get a job right away… God would still be faithful even if Thomas was out of work for a year… and that is scary so it is okay to just be scared!

    i have got to stop writing such long comments…. but what i’m saying is you are allowed to be sad & cry through trusting God! 🙂

    • yes – GOD IS STILL FAITHFUL! even if we don’t see the results we want or think we need or that we desire. GOD IS STILL FAITHFUL! <3

  • Lindsey Smallwood

    Stephanie – good for you for being BRAVE and going to exactly the right place when it hurts. Hard work, so so hard. Thanks for sharing your good reminders.

    I found you on The Peony Project, would love for you to pop over to and say hi. I have a post up today about dissapointment and plans changing and God’s faithfulness, a different story from ours, but the same too and I hope it will encourage you.


    • <3 thank you lindsey. i'm trying to remember that it's a beautiful thing to be honest and vulnerable, especially right now when i feel as if it's the very last thing i'd ever want to do in my whole entire life.

  • Laura

    One of my first thoughts was ‘yes! Exactly!’ I am coming out of a time of sadness and frustration (due to health problems) and the only reason I am doing better lately is because I have been leaning on Him more and getting into His word! I normally don’t leave links to my blog in comments like this, but one post is about having hope even in these hard times of life.

    • laura – THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing! i’m going to check out that blog post. we definitely need to encourage each other in our hurts because satan is just waiting to pounce and to exploit our tender bits, you know? <3

      • Laura

        That I know too well lately! How gracious is our loving Father, to surround us with His love – and that is what I’m clinging to today!

  • Donna Parkinson

    I miss seeing/hearing you worship… So beautiful.

    • thanks donna <3 i was thinking of making videos more often.

  • I like that you said that you are determined not to say mean things out of your anger. Based on this post, it seems like the guy did something hurtful that required an ended relationship, and I am so sorry if that was the case. But I am so glad you are trying to remain godly towards him.
    I found you through Simple Moments Stick (and I am in the Peony Project).
    My blog is-

    • ahhhh sorry it took me FOREVER to respond!!! it’s so crazy to look back and think of how far God has brought me already, and i know he’s going to continue to seek out every last ounce of hurt i might be carrying around and redeem the heck out of it. <3

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  • so glad you back-linked this into your dead ends post–this video is BEAUTIFUL. your voice is so pretty and i love the piano. what a worship leader!!

    • AHHH thanks julie <3 playing/singing is what i do when i'm at my wits end and i love when i'm able to share it, which isn't usually often… though now i get to do it every sunday which is awesome.

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  • Angel

    I can’t thank you enough..words can’t describe my pain…I know God loves me but I just want to scream, “Why Lord???” Thank you for your openess and transparency!

    • <3 <3 <3 i hope it gets better for you, angel. it took awhile but it got much better for me. <3 <3 <3