When you’re between a rock and a hard place

Have you ever had your own words come back to haunt you? 

It happened to me this week. Not spoken ones, but those I’d written.

Just recently I wrote about how loneliness felt to me as a child.

Memories were stirred and feelings soon followed.

Several weeks ago, I wrote a poem about being set free. 

I felt led to post it on social media a few days ago.

Little did I know how my own words would seriously stir me.

Set me free




Set me free
I no longer want
to be ensnared
by the chains
 of my past or
held fast by fear
for the future.
Set me free
to fly uncaged
in the current 
of your grace
as I release
all that I am
and can be
into your
 loving embrace.
©JoyLenton2013


The next day I felt those chains wind tight. And I fought to draw air.

Being blind-sided by your past is a painful place to be in. Isn’t the past another country where my visa has expired? Maybe.

We can ignore it, except memories make a return inevitable. Revisiting the ruins. 

Now, vulnerable to feelings I’d forgotten, experiencing afresh pain slicing through me, wounded anew by words in my head, I cower.

No bravery here with a troubled mind returning to deep waters that could drown me.

Only….they won’t… if I know how to swim rather than sink under the weight of them.

I have a choice to make – stay stuck in the pain of the past or work through it and move forward.

Thankfully, I also have access to hope and courage beyond myself.


There is an Anchor for drowning souls. We cling to Him when all feels lost and we can barely keep our heads above water deafening in our ears.

I have this to cling to...I have a Saviour who sweat blood to purchase my freedom. I have hope rising phoenix bold from the ashes. I have strength sown in despair. 


When we’re between a rock and a hard place there is hope of seeing change when the Rock is Christ.

He provides shelter and protection when the storms of life hit and His steadfast strength gives us resilience to press through mountains of shame, pain, discouragement, disgrace, sickness and dis-ease of every kind.


Faith can move mountains. 

Not faith in my own small, wavering mustard seed faith, but faith in the One who can move mountains.

Yes, even this. No matter how high, how wide, how deep, how immovable it may seem.

The mountain mover stands ready on our behalf.

We have promises from the ever faithful One.

We have knowledge that pain does not last forever, joy comes in the morning and help is only a cry, a breath, a prayer away.

And healing from a painful past is a process, not a one way street with closed access. 

Some wounds may need lancing with the laser of His word. 

Some cuts may need the antiseptic of His grace, a salve to cleanse and soothe.

For we cannot emerge unscathed from those things which cut deep and wound the very fabric of our being, and God has to dig deeper still and rout out what will poison our system if left untreated.


How I have wished never to have been wounded as I was. And, how amazed I am, over and over again, at the way God is tenderly treating those wounds and binding up my broken heart.

My friend, His work takes time, patience and perseverance and we lose heart in the waiting, don’t we? Our greatest desire is for overnight transformation. 

But a mighty oak doesn’t grow strong overnight and we are called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendour ~Isaiah 61:3.

I know how long it can seem when change is so very slow in coming. 

I’ve felt so discouraged lately and needed every reminder I can get that healing work is taking place. But God never loses heart or hope in you and I becoming all we can be in Christ

All He asks of us (and how huge an ask it can feel) is that we allow Him to show us the painful places and fully co-operate with His work in us one tiny step at a time.


Even as we daily battle fear and struggle to see any progress.

Things are happening in the unseen realm that will become visible one day.

Friend, those mountains may resist, but they are moving inch by inch. And one day we will see the difference. Instead of looming large, our mountain will be a shadow in the distance.

Our journey of faith is wrought through testing, trial and suffering and made all the stronger by the overcoming of them.

One day, you and I truly will be set free and ‘fly uncaged in the current of (His) grace as we release all that (we are) and can be into (His) loving embrace’.


For now, we lean hard on the Rock and resist falling apart as He holds us together.

~~~~~~
What are you learning in the waiting process?


How do you overcome discouragement?


Let’s share our journey of faith together and encourage one another on the way. Don’t we all need that?
Please feel free to join in with the comments below.
This post is part of the Journey series that began here. 
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14 Comments

  1. Beautiful, Joy! I can so relate to my own words and messages coming back like that to me too. So glad that you shared this struggle with us. "The mountain mover stands ready on our behalf." AMEN!

    1. Amen indeed, Eileen. So glad I'm not the only one to experience having to eat my own words! It's strange how often God teaches us lessons even as we pen our thoughts to (hopefully) bless others with. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Dear sweet Joy
    My heart goes out to you, my friend. Praying that Pappa wil whisper His peace and hope into your heart. I think we have a tendency that makes us want to avod the working through the pain of the past. We want to fast forward ourselves into the Life of our Jesus. But that it just avoiding the unavoidable. Hang in there, Joy, God works wonders when we cling to Him through discouragement.
    Blessings XX
    Mia

    1. You speak such wisdom, Mia. I found myself nodding in agreement with this, "we have a tendency that makes us want to avoid working through the pain of the past. We want to fast forward ourselves into the Life of our Jesus". So true. And we tend to forget that His victory was wrought through pain and struggle. In the process of facing up to pain, dealing with it by God's grace and eventually coming out the other side, we grow, become refined and learn so much. Really appreciate your prayers, my friend, and send them your way too. Blessings. xx

  3. Very moving – and challenging, Joy. I find it easy to give up hope when a situation seems intractable. This week I've been drawn back to Hebrews 10: 35, which says something along the lines of "Do not throw away your confidence…you need to persevere". So I'll keep coming back to God, and trust that He will help me when life seems impossible. Thanks for sharing, Fiona.

    1. Fiona, those verses are highlighted and underlined in my bible! They're ones I need to return to time and time again. Perseverance can feel so painful when we desperately want a trial or cirumstance to end or change. Yet it is the very thing that enables Christ-like character to develop in us. As we "keep coming back to God" in faith and trust, then He will make possible what seems impossible. Thanks very much for sharing here. Bless you.

  4. Such a familiar theme! I've found in my own life that when I make a stand in faith (in whatever form), spiritual attack is usually not far behind. Stand firm, Joy, knowing that we have your back.

    1. Oh, that is so familiar, isn't it? We endeavour to move forward and see blessings in one area, then the enemy trips us up in another. Thank you for the reminder to stand firm and the knowledge that we are far from alone in our struggles. We can be strength and grace for one another as we all press through to the finishing line. Really appreciate your prayers, Adrianne.

  5. I had this very thing happen to me this morning as I was getting ready. I was mortified as I remembered a time past (before I knew Christ, and a better way to live)and revisited my words and behavior.

    Your words said how I felt: "Now, vulnerable to feelings I'd forgotten, experiencing afresh pain slicing through me, wounded anew by words in my head, I cower."

    Thank you for sharing this, and blessings to you.

    1. Jeanne, I am so thankful that God used my words to help you. It's a sadly common place to be in for many. To know we are together in the struggle and can support one another in prayer is a wonderful reassurance. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here. Praying for you to be at peace as you work through this and to have release and freedom in Christ. Blessings.

  6. Joy, this is such a hope-filled blog, thank you. Many moons ago I came across John Donne's Holy Sonnets xiv and those timeless words:

    'Batter my heart, three person'd God, for, you As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;'

    It was inspirational to me then and I remember it now in times of doubt or fear, which threaten to usurp confidence. Thank you for sharing your experience and words of encouragement.

    1. Thank you so much for seeing hope in a post stemming from a place of discouragement, yet one which God has taken in a positive direction. I am also a 'many moons ago' fan of John Donne and the Metaphysical poets! These lines are a great help and inspiration. Bless you for sharing them here.

Your words matter. I'd love to hear from you.