I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[a] and
not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
write a book, I would have laughed. I’ve always loved to write, but had left
that far behind me, as study (three university degrees: an inherited thirst for
learning from my mother!!), teaching high school English and then motherhood
consumed my mind and energy. But in the summer of 2014, I felt compelled to
pick it up again and the words just poured out, often taking me where I least
expected or intended to go.
in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah
to brain cancer, helping to take care of her as she suffered immensely in her
final weeks on earth.
hardened layer that allowed me to “survive” the busy days of teaching and
motherhood. I lunged back into life to avoid the emotions beneath, falling back
into my coping mechanism of the prior twenty years.
heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?
God had other plans and writing was the instrument He’d use to open my heart
like never before, birthing a book I’d never have set out to write myself.
masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good
things he planned for us long ago.
pages of this book and say that what was meant to harm me is being used by God
to bring more and more beautiful blessings.
perhaps many of you reading here, my story traverses much suffering first. Love
Embraced records this journey, both of suffering and incredible blessing.
for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it
about that many people[a] should be kept alive, as they are today.
grief through caregiver Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and into traumatic and
repressed childhood memories.
of my past, the more and more I discover myself both falling and leaning into
His loving, safe and unburdening arms.
strangely become the catalyst for a deepening trust, as God begins to open my
eyes to just how wide, deep and high His Love truly is for us, as He proves that
nothing, absolutely nothing can separate us from it.
I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present
nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all
creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our
you a little glimpse into this tension in the mingling of love and pain:
I ran with renewed energy and joy at the opportunity of scaling the numerous
hills that I once dreaded, I was encouraged to look back at my journey into
God’s loving embrace. What I saw was a journey that mirrored my experiences of
I started out running, those same hills I now met with energy and joy, were met
with utter despair. I looked ahead and felt my heart drop and my body slump, as
my steady breaths multiplied into a heaving splutter. I looked at my husband
beside me and internally thought and may have even uttered aloud: “Are you
trying to kill me?”
suffering, when the repressed memories of my mother’s last days crept to the
surface. My mind, emotions and body responded in a similar way, with my anger
also being directed at the One walking beside me: Jesus.
running, each time the Lord has guided me back to the same painful hills, I
have found the One beside me encouraging and spurring me on to face what I was
sure I could not face. And in facing what I dared not face before, the fear,
the pain, the grief and the tension are slowly being forced to the surface.
Brick by brick, the numbing wall around my heart is being broken down.
Now, what trauma as a child taught me to suppress and hide, is slowly, but
surely being brought out into the light. And in being exposed to the Light of
God, the anger that has worked so hard to suppress the hurt beneath is
dissolving into a puddle of tears.
from the wrath of God and others, are being eroded in the tearing down of this
numbing wall. So, just as I can now run the hilly dunes with renewed energy and
joyful anticipation because of the years of learning to face what I never dared
face before, encouraged and supported by the one beside me, so now I can look
forward to the hilly path of life before me because I know the Lord will use
each steep incline before me to tear down more of the wall that is keeping me
from His full embrace of Light. For it is written:
5: 13 (NIV)
But everything exposed by the light becomes visible-
-and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.
choosing to fill your life with activity, leaving no time to truly think or
feel, or numbing an ache of rejection, or constantly feel like you can never be
“good enough”, then I’d love to encourage you to read the love letter God wrote
to me through the pages of this book.
And know that if you do take this plunge, I have been praying for you, that God would infuse the words you read with His mighty Spirit, drawing you ever nearer, so that He might pour His Love into the hidden depths of your aching, doubting and yearning heart.
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!
Smit is a
Kiwi-Dutch Mum currently living in the Netherlands with her Dutch husband and
dual citizen girls (3 and 6 years old). She has been sharing her journey of
faith on her blog, Joy OfThe Spirit Within, since October, 2015. On January 29, 2016, (in)courage featured a guest post of hers, The Gift of Presence.
needed, after her mother died of cancer in April, 2014. This leaning led to the
publication of her book, Love Embraced: A Journey in and through Suffering, the
story of God’s relentless pursuit of her heart, as Anna was encouraged to share
God’s great Love with a wider audience.
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