(my blogs are written on an iPad, without spell check)
I remember going home the weekend after I was raped in college.
My best friend from highschool came to visit and I went home with her after her visit. Understandably I'm sure, I wasn't a good host that weekend. The car ride home I just sat in the passenger seat, atop the pillow under my traumatized buttocks, and slept. I slept the majority of the ride home, causing her to miss our exit and having to take a longer route home. She was a trooper, though, and never complained.
Getting home to my mom, was the medicine I thought I needed. At that time in my life, I relied very heavily on my mom for everything. I called her at any moment, at any hour, to assist in whatever crisis I was facing while away at college. After being raped and sodomized, being with her was all I wanted; I craved her embrace. I craved her words. I craved her love.
I did not, however, crave our God. I did not crave an embrace from Him.
Truth be told, at that time, an embrace from Him was the last thing I wanted because I truly believed that he was punishing me for my past sins.
Have you ever felt this way, friend; as if God was punishing you for something you had done in your past? Let me be a voice of truth--He is most assuredly not punishing you. I cannot say that you are not walking through a terrible consequence of sin (on a world level, not your particular sin), but I can assure you more than anything that He loves you and His embrace will be enough strength to walk you through whatever you're facing or have faced.
When I got home that weekend, and saw my mom, I thought I had everything I needed. I didn't look to God. I didn't look inside; I simply looked to my mom to heal me. I'm not sure what I thought exactly that she would do, but I know that I thought she had some thing she would say that would make me feel all better.
And, the words that the enemy wanted me to hear, the words that I longed to hear from my mom, were spoken by her, and every person after my rape. My family, who we lived with at the time, went out of their way to try and encourage me while I was home, and this particular statement was used many times.
Have you ever walked through a difficult season, and had people encourage you with this statement, "It's okay, God won't give you more than you can handle"?
I have. I have used it. I have felt it. I have prayed it.
I believed it very much after I was raped in college.
"God will not give you more than you can handle, Ashley. You can handle this. Think of all you've already been through. You got this. Come on. Just push through with God and you can do it."
Now, let me say, all of those words are really good. I know they are well intentioned. I know the heart that speaks them because I too have spoken them and felt so strongly about them.
But, I think maybe we have the wrong idea of what this life is supposed to be like. I think we're all doing just what the enemy wants and trying to handle things on our own because we think "we must be able to handle this because God has given it to me".
There is no way God equips anyone with the ability to get through a rape or sodomy on their own. There is no way God equips anyone with the ability to get over any traumatic event such as rape on their own.
That's wrong. God gives us things not because WE can handle them, but because we CANNOT HANDLE THEM.
What happens when we cannot handle something? We either try harder, breaking ourselves typically in the process. We look to someone else to motivate us, or to someone else to simply do it for us if we can't. And I think we often pray, "Oh God, why can't I handle this?"
How often are we actually saying, "I cannot handle this at all, I need God to handle this"?
I defintely did not say it all of those years ago. I believed when I would be told that God would not give me more than I could handle, that I was somehow expected to be able to handle the situation simply because God had allowed it in my life.
What a lie from the enemy if we really think about it.
He wants us thinking that God only gives us what we can handle. He wants us thinking that we can handle all of the things given to us and that if we just perservere we will be able to handle everything without trouble.
Of course he wants us thinking this. Because, once we fail, and believe me, we will fail when we try on our own strength to get through anything, we don't go to God because we have this idea that He is the one who has given us just what we can handle. We simply have to be able to handle it.
My rape wasn't the only time this statement was spoken to me. It's still spoken to me every time I admit a bad day, or a depressive moment. There's always the, "You'll be okay, remember, God doesn't give us more than we can handle."
This statement was most recently spoken to me after a loved one tried to commit suicide. Our family was reeling; our family was traumatized; our family was breaking. And there was this anger towards my family member, "God doesn't give us more than we can handle, why can't she handle life".
God showed me the error in my thinking when I walked through that season a few months ago.
After their attempt, I realized how badly we can be broken, sometimes by Him to bring us to Him (that's for another blog for sure) and how much we think we can handle our life all on our own.
We are SO WRONG.
I was so wrong my entire life. He defintely gives us more than we can handle. He absolutely allows us to walk through treacherous storms that are meant to break us down to our very core--HIM. He is our core.
He is our foundation.
I'm glad He broke me down to that foundation and gave me more than I could handle; because now I get to rebuild on solid ground--Him.
What do you think of this statement, friend? Do you think God gives us only what we can handle, or do you think we are given far more than we can, in an attempt to draw us to His strength as opposed to our own?