Welcome to The 2020 Spoonie Study! The Spoonie Study is a Bible study group intended for women with chronic illnesses who are over the age of 16.
Alright friends, if you couldn’t attend live that’s okay!
You can either continue reading for the written version of our discussion or watch the videos on IGTV! If the links below do not lead you to anything more than a blank screen on instagram you can click here or head to @officialcassiemnolin on instagram and all of these videos are in the IGTV 2020 Spoonie Study Series.
SPOONIE STUDY- INSTBTW CHP 7
Welcome Everyone! For those who does not know I am leading a Bible study for women with chronic illnesses, and each week we read a chapter, answer chapter questions, and do a life group meeting on zoom about the book It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way by Lysa Terkeurst. Please note that this blog post is essentially the written version of the live stream that took place and is also available on IGTV (links above.)
I remember when I first read this and I just wanted to yell NO! Why God!? How could you put her through all of this? Yet I’ve thought the same about myself in my own story. She says:
I’d just finished the previous chapter, and I absolutely believed with all my heart that there’s a promise and a process and the presence of God was in the midst of my life. But in that moment He felt distant and mysterious. I felt stunned. And then I felt okay. And then I felt stunned again.TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (pp. 110-111). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Q have you ever felt like that? Like you are so assured of His presence and you are moving forward and then life hits you again
I know I have. I recently went through an especially hard season, and there were points where things would happen and I couldn’t even cry, I was just stunned. Speechless. Even now in dealing with this pandemic we just put Foxy down, as a family we aren’t able to be all together, we know people that have been diagnosed with COVID. There’s a lot to deal with.
Then she starts to process a statement I think we have all been “encouraged” with: “God won’t give you more than you can handle” She says:
I kept thinking about that statement everyone loves to throw out in times like these: “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” But that’s not actually in the Bible. God does say He won’t allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear and that He always provides a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13). But that’s not the same as God not giving us more than we can handle.TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p. 111). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
God doesn’t expect us to handle this. He wants us to hand this over to Him. He doesn’t want us to rally more of our own strength. He wants us to rely solely on His strength. If we keep walking around, thinking that God won’t give us more than we can handle, we set ourselves up to be suspicious of God. We know we are facing things that are too much for us. We are bombarded with burdens. We are weighed down with wondering. And we are all trying to make sense of things that don’t make sense. Before we can move forward in a healthy way, we must first acknowledge the truth about our insufficiency.TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p. 112). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Q What is something you’re facing right now that you know you need to hand over to God?
This is such a loaded question that I could answer multiple ways, but right now I need to hand over my brokenness about Foxy being gone and just focus on being present and be grateful for the time we did have with her
I couldn’t escape my realities. I had to face them. I had to walk through them. But maybe if I changed my thinking I could trust God in the midst of them. Thinking about everything I didn’t know wasn’t getting me anywhere. So, I started listing things I did know. And the main thing I know? I know God is good. I didn’t know the details of God’s good plan, but I could make His goodness the starting place to renew my perspective.TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p. 113). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Q No matter what we are going through we have the choice to be more confident in God or less confident. How can you make the choice in your situation to have more confidence in the Lord and learn to truly rely on His strength?
I can read my Bible, pray, and worship even when I can’t feel His presence. I can choose to still seek Him and bring my brokenness to Him rather than depart from Him.
So now let me tell the story of all these recent events using God’s goodness as the central theme. Had things not blown up between Art and me last summer, I never would have hit the pause button on life to go get a mammogram. I would have waited. But because I had a mammogram at that exact time, the doctors caught a cancer that needed to be caught, I had every fighting chance to beat this cancer. You see we’re all living out a story, but then there’s the story we tell ourselves. We just need to make sure we’re telling ourselves is the right story. And the right story is, yes, God will give us more than we can handle. But He also has eventual good in mind. We see more and more unnecessary heartbreak. But God sees the exact pieces and parts that must be added right now to protect us, provide for us, and prepare us with more and more of His strength working through us. We don’t have to like it, but maybe knowing this can help us live through it.TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p. 114). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Q Using Lysa’s story as a model, where is God’s goodness threaded through?
Before we move to answer this question, I want to remind you that this doesn’t make your situation “better” or “worth it” and to answer you don’t have to be able to see everything. Think of small ways that He is moving. For me, I see God moving in this pandemic by allowing Jared and I to spend more time together and just laugh. There has been so much laughter here. We had 38 days with Foxy here, had Jared not been working from home we wouldn’t have been able to have her here and soak up that time with her. These are just a few examples of how God is moving right now even in this pandemic.
Then this is where the analogy of dust comes full circle in the most mind blowing way! She is talking with a couple ladies and she shares the dust revelation with them. They had something beautiful to add, and they started explaining how it’s important for a potter to add in some of the dust from broken projects and it is meticulous shattering:
But when shattered just right, the grog dust added to the new clay will enable the potter to form the clay into a larger and stronger vessel than ever before. And it can go through fires much hotter as well. Plus when glazed, these pieces end up having a much more beautiful, artistic look to them than they would have otherwise…. What if the clay made from all the other dust currently in my life could be strengthened by this newly added broken piece?TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p. 115). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Isaiah 45:9 says:
“Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making? Does your work say ‘the potter has no hands’?”
A potsherd is a broken piece of pottery… a broken potsherd can lie on the ground and be nothing more than a constant reminder of brokenness. It can also be used to continue to scrape us and hurt us even more when kept in our hands. Or when placed in our Master’s hands, the Master Potter can be entrusted to take that potsherd, shatter it just right, and then use it in the remolding of me to make me stronger and more beautiful. When I understood this, I saw that in all my circumstances God was keeping me moldable while adding even more strength and beauty in the process… “take this, Lord, and shatter it just right, so I can be made stronger, more beautiful, and able to withstand fires as never before. I believe that You see things I cannot see. And you have eventual good in mind.” This perspective didn’t take away my cancer. But it did take away the feeling I had to figure this out on my own. It took the weight of it all out of my hands and helped me release it to God.TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p. 115-117). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Q What parts of this analogy can you embrace right now? Are there any parts you are resisting?
I can work to embrace letting go of those broken pieces so that they don’t keep hurting me, but it’s hard to think of giving Him something and asking Him to shatter it just right. No matter how necessary it is.
When we hit the place in our lives where we finally realize some things are truly more than we can handle, we will throw our hands up in surrender. And that surrender can happen in one of two ways. We might surrender to the enemy, giving in to those feelings that this isn’t fair, God isn’t there, and God isn’t good. Or, we can surrender to GOd. This kind of surrender isn’t giving in; it’s giving up! Giving up carrying the weight of all that’s too much for us to our God, who not only can carry it but use it for good. When we know the truth about the amazing things GOd can do with the dust and potsherds of life, we won’t surrender to the negative lies of the enemy. Instead, we will lift our hands to the Potter. It’s our choice whether we stay stuck in our hurt or get renewed in our hearts.TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p. 117). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Q How does Lysa’s explanation help you have a better view of surrender in your life circumstances?
No one ever wants to be labeled a quitter, but in this sense I LONG to be a quitter. I want to leave these weights at His feet and quit trying to fix something that I can’t.
In the book of Jeremiah, we find that the children of Israel were going to be carried into captivity by Babylon for seventy years. Think about how long seventy years is. If we had to go to prison today for seventy years, for most of us that would mean we’d probably die in captivity. Seventy years feels impossibly long, incredibly unfair, and horrible hard. It would seem like a lifetime of hardship without a lifeline of hope. Talk about longsuffering. Talk about feeling like no good things could ever come from this. Talk about needing God’s perspective like never before! But here’s what God told the people of Israel: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back from this place” (Jeremiah 29:10) This is the scene and the setting where we then get these glorious promises that I love to cling to: “For I know the plans I have for you… plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you.” (Jeremiah 29:11-14)TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p. 117). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Q What are some ways you can seek out hope in your period of longsuffering and seek God with your whole heart?
I can look for His goodness everywhere, and thank Him for things as I see them. I can remember these verses and focus on the fact that this longsuffering is long but not eternal.
When we seek God, we see God. We don’t see His physical form, but we see Him at work and can start to see more of what He sees. Trust grows. If our hearts are willing to trust Him, He will entrust to us more and more of His perspective. Matthew 5:8 teaches us, “blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” If we want to see Him in our circumstances and see His perspective, we must seek Him, His ways, and His Word.TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p. xx). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Q What is one perspective you have gained and want to use in your life and circumstances to seek God in the hurt?
I want to continue to look for Him and really work on checking my heart daily.
This seemingly impossible work of redemption is always possible with God. In other words, we need to remember the difference between news and truth. News comes at us to tell us what we are dealing with. Truth comes from God and then helps us process all we are dealing with. News and truth aren’t always one and the same… What the doctor gave me was news. Honest news based on test results and medical facts. But what I have access to is a truth that transcends news. The restoration that is impossible for a limitless God. Truth is what factors God into the equation.TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p. 121). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Q How can you separate truth from news?
We had an appointment a few years ago where a doctor bluntly told us that all my connective tissue is garbage. For my physical body that’s true, but God says I am fearfully and wonderfully made. My body’s genes do not change the fact that God made me and because of this fallen world that I would have defective collagen, but He still views me as beautifully made.
She finishes the chapter by saying:
One of the greatest comforts to me through all this has been knowing that somehow God will use it for good. And that God will be my possible in the midst of what can sometimes feel so impossible… Yes, He can handle all the things I know I can’t, and I trust Him to take my broken and make it beautiful.TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p. 123). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Here are some things to remember as we close:
-God doesn’t want us to rally more of our own strength. He wants us to rely solely on His strength
-If we keep walking around thinking that God won’t give us more than we can handle, we set ourselves up to be suspicious of God
-God is making something beautiful out of my life
-Surrendering to God isn’t giving in- it’s giving up! Giving up carrying the weight of all that’s too much for us to our God
-It’s our choice whether we stay stuck in our hurt or get renewed in our hearts
-God isn’t far off and distant. He’s closer than we often realize
-Is it news or truth?
The restoration that is impossible with man’s limitations is always possible for a limitless GodTerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p. 124). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Prayer from Lysa:
Father, I come to You today, a woman worn out from trying to do everything in my own strength. A woman ready to do everything in my own strength. A woman ready to accept Your invitation to surrender. Today I say that I give up. I give up carrying the weight of all that’s too much for me. Take this, Lord. Take all of this hard and all of this hurt and shatter it just right, so I can be made stronger, more beautiful, and able to withstand fires like never before. I trust Your love for me. I trust Your plans for me. And I trust You will use all of this for good. In Jesus’ name, amen