Saturday, April 05, 2008


In ministry (and life in faith, and life in general), mountaintop moments are generally followed by valleys of struggle. This week has been a difficult one. Not crappy week difficult, but losing sleep and feeling nauseous difficult. I know that God is seeing me through this, because I can see all of the grace in my life. I am surrounded by people who are smarter than me and willing to advise me. I have the benefit of experience that has proven helpful. I serve a wonderful group of kids and a loving group of parents. I have people to call when I'm melting down.

There are moments, though, where the weight of empathy gets to be too much. I always think about my counseling textbook defining empathy as experiencing another person's feelings as if they were one's own, but without losing the "as if" quality. I think I lose the "as if" quality sometimes. There is so much pain in the world that it can be overwhelming. If more people knew how much their friends and neighbors were carrying around or living with, we might have a more compassionate world.

Meanwhile I am totally aware that it is by the grace of God I am able to navigate these situations with some amount of... non-failure. God really is good, even when sucky things happen.

And though the pain is an ocean
Tossing us around, around, around
You have calmed greater waters
Higher mountains have come down

I will sing of Your mercy
That leads me through valleys of sorrow
To rivers of joy

- Jars of Clay

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