Midweek Push: Believest Thou Are Comforted

Wednesday, March 05, 2014


For the Month of March, we’re embarking on a Midweek Push Interview Series and we’re taking a look at comfort in God during our seasons of grief and loss. Today, we’re discussing comfort on the couch with Jen Mabe.

Jen is a spirit-filled child of God who was going through the motions of life until she encountered the love of Jesus.  This is when life came alive and she has never been the same since.  She is a professional recruiter in Washington, DC and currently serves with an international non-profit that seeks to rescue victims from violent oppression.

Jen enjoys hiking, rock climbing, worshiping God, heart to heart conversations with friends and traveling to new places.

Jen hopes to live a life of purpose that centers around loving God and loving people well.

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SWAP: How have you experienced loss or grief? 

Jen: I have experienced loss in my life from the death of loved ones, to the loss of a job, to the shattering of hopes and dreams.  The most significant loss I experienced was being abandoned by my husband and the subsequent death of my marriage.  I have never experienced something more devastating, life altering and painful.  Losing my husband meant I lost my family, my security, my dreams and my identity as wife.  Though the marriage had been declining and I knew he was leaving, when my husband walked out the door, I found no comfort.  I felt as if needles were pricking every part of my body and nothing could soothe the pain.  I was undone.  I surrendered to the Lord and gave myself over to the grief.  There was no way around it.  I was utterly broken.

SWAP: C.S. Lewis stated “No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear.” ― Can you relate? 

Jen: When I lost loved ones to death, I didn't feel fear in the grieving process. However, when I lost my husband, I did feel that indescribable fear.  The fear came from feeling like nothing would ever be the same again, that I would never smile again or laugh again.  I believed that this marriage was my one chance for happiness and that I was robbed of the opportunity to have a family in this life.  I was terrified about being labeled as divorced, ruined, used goods and broken.  I felt like a piece of garbage that had been carelessly thrown into the landfill, totally unlovable and unvalued.
Like fear, the grief caused my body to be tense and even my chest felt constricted.  Grief consumed my energy and left me panting for breath.  I felt like part of me had died.

SWAP: What inspires you to show up even when you are fearful and/or uncertain?

Jen: I knew that life was more than just marriage and about being a wife.  I was a daughter, sister, friend, coworker, and a child of God.  I knew I had to show up for life because I had commitments and I knew there was purpose for my life.  I heard this nugget years ago when I was listening to Joyce Meyer on the radio.  One day as I was driving to work I heard her define courage not as the absence of fear, but feeling afraid and doing it anyway.  I have clung to that definition and it has given me the ability to press forward even when I feel afraid.  I know that even when I try, even if I fail, that I am courageous in pressing forward and that gives me strength.

SWAP: Your spirituality is clearly an important part of your journey. In what ways, have your spiritual beliefs helped you cope with loss?

Jen: When my husband became emotionally abusive and began turning to other things and people to satisfy his emptiness, I reached out to find a church.  I knew I needed help and was hundreds of miles away from family.  I found a church and poured my heart out week after week as my soul was being crushed at home.  These older and wiser women came around me and held me up when I couldn't stand.  They spoke God's word to me and professed His truth from the scriptures.  I had never heard this way of speaking before and never saw the Word of God in action.  I never knew that the Word was alive until that point.

Day after day, I poured my heart out in prayer and Jesus began to reveal Himself to me.  I continued to pray for my husband and for our marriage.  I joined other women who were praying for their marriages too.  We contended in prayer every week for several years.  It was during this time, as my husband was pursuing things outside the marriage, that God became the One who met my needs. I saw Jesus and I fell in love with this Savior who mourned with me, loved me unconditionally and lavished me with rich blessings.  I never knew a love so rich, pure and constant.

The love that God poured into me allowed me to find my identity in Him.  My worth came from my identity in Christ and I was no longer defined by the harsh words spoken by my husband.  The most remarkable words I ever heard from God came after my husband left.  The words abandoned and rejected would play in my mind and every time I would hear God speak the words "No, you are rescued.  No, you are redeemed".  Those words blew my mind.  He never failed to speak that truth to me over the months and years that followed.  I now praise God for rescuing me from the destructive relationship I was in.  I praise God for redeeming me as His beloved and setting my feet on the Truth.  I now worship Him with such adoration for ministering to my every need during those darkest of days.  He is so worthy to be praised for His goodness to us!

SWAP: How would you describe comfort?

Jen: Comfort is being in the presence of God.  There is no safer place than in the will of God.  I love to picture myself lying against the chest of Jesus, wrapped in His strong and gentle arms.  Comfort is when He abides with me when the grief seems unbearable.  Comfort comes from knowing the Word of God and realizing that we are just in the middle of the story, that an end to suffering is coming and that He will redeem all that was lost.

SWAP: What Bible verses are helpful for you as you seek God's comfort? 

Jen: These verses spoke to me so strongly during my grief:

Psalm 147:3 “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and saves those whose spirits have been crushed.”
Isaiah 54 the whole thing!
Psalm 25:16 “Turn to me Lord and be merciful to me, for I am lonely and weak.”
Psalm 68:6 “God places the lonely in families; sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.”
Psalm 6:6-9 This one is about the groaning and tears of grief and how God hears us and accepts our prayers.
Psalm 119:50 “My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.”
Psalm 56:8 “You number my wanderings; put my tears in Your bottle.” [How amazing that God bottles our tears! They MATTER to Him!]

SWAP: Any closing statements of advice that you want to offer to those who have/are experiencing loss or grieving?

Jen: A dear friend said to me in the thick of my devastation, "this will not last forever."  I clung to those words of hope, knowing that there are seasons in life and that God would not leave me in that place of brokenness.  God sent His Son to reconcile us to Himself.  He is, by His very nature, a Healer, a Redeemer, a Savior, a Restorer, a Rewarder and He came that we would have life and life abundantly.  2 Corinthians 3:17 says, "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”  God will not leave you where you are. He came to set you free.  Abide in His presence as much as you can because this is where freedom, joy and hope are found.  He will bring beauty from the ashes of our life if we surrender to His help.  God is the greatest Healer and the most extravagant Lover.  Let Him love and heal you.

I would also include, WORSHIP.  We are created to worship God and I believe that when we worship, we are changed and healed.  Every week I would go to church and just get lost in the worship.  Tears would often stream from my eyes because the pain was so intense, but as I worshiped, it was like God was doing surgery on my heart.  Every week He healed layer after layer and after some time, I realized that I was different.  He was changing me from the inside out. Keep worshiping.  Keep declaring who He is.  Don't ever stop and He will faithfully meet you right where you are in brokenness, anger, pain, confusion and all. It is hard to sing and be depressed at the same time.

***

Jen, we’ve really appreciated this interview! We feel like you’ve gone beyond the superficial and answered some really helpful questions for our readers. Thank you for yielding your time for our Believest Thou Are Comforted series!


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4 comments

  1. WOW! I had a lot of the same feelings after my divorce and I am so thankful that I had a wonderully supportive family and church family. I had 4 children and my husband left on my youngest sons birthday who was also going the chemo treatments for Leukemia at the time. Jeremiah 29:11 was one that I clung to and with my kids I just kept reminding myself of Ephesians 6:4. There were so many scriptures that just spoke to me during that time that I can't even list them all but some of them Jen listed above. Things I learned were that Jesus loves me beyond my own comprehension and is never any further than the end of my outstretched hand, I learned that Jesus uses people to help you even when you don't know it, I learned that with Jesus I have the strength to do things I never thought possible and I learned forgiveness. I just want to say thank you for your blog post they are so uplifting and encouraging.

    Love ya,
    Stachia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stachia,

      It's amazing how God intertwines our stories so that we can relate to one another! What you have shared today is a message of trials being turned to triumph, mess being turned into a message, and hurt being turned into healing. We are encouraged by your faith in God through all you have experienced. You stood firm on the foundation of God and your family unit actually was strengthened though what seemed like devastation. You are so right, Jesus loves you beyond comprehension! We are thankful you felt we were worthy enough to hear your story. Many who come across this blog will be encouraged and heal through your testimony!

      We are glad you are growing through SWAP!

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  2. Stachia, thank you for your comment, which a testimony in and of itself! I am amazed at what you have been through…what God has seen you and your children through. I love sharing my story, not because there is anything pretty about it, but only because of God's awesome power! I pray for continued peace, healing and restoration for you.

    Very thankful for SWAP and all the women out there living with purpose. Love. Jen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jen,

      We are grateful for your faith in God and entrusting us with your powerful testimony! As members of ONE body, we unite with you and share in your victory. Satan couldn't keep you because God already had you! Thanks for finding us worthy enough to hold your testimony sacred! We are forever grateful for your contribution!

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