Knowing God is Enough In The Hard Places of Life
God is Enough
During a recent visit to Hong Kong my husband Joel and I attended an English-speaking Chinese church where two years prior we had spent a short season of ministry.
As we walked through the church doors, we immediately felt welcomed by the love of this sweet assembly of Chinese believers.
One particularly welcoming friend was Ruth. As I write this I can still hear the lilt of joy in her voice and feel the warm embrace of Ruth’s hug. It was this Sunday that I would begin to hear the beginning of Ruth’s story. Later I would email her and begin to connect-the-dots of a small part of Ruth’s life and on-going legacy.
Ruth had been raised in a Christian home and was brought to church at a very young age.
In the eighth grade, Ruth committed herself to Jesus. Later her university years would take her to Washington and afterwards back to Hong Kong to work at a local TV station. Along with her work at TVB, she became a disc jockey for Hong Kong Commercial Radio.
During her time with Commercial Radio, Ruth was asked to participate in singing for an album that the radio station was producing. In doing so, her songs became hits and landed her in signing with a record label.
“Singing has always been a way for expressing myself, so I never made it a career. Instead it has always been a major interest.” Ruth states.
After some years of working in the radio field, Ruth Chen was called to help a Christian organization; Association of Christian Musicians (ACM). It was ACM’s desire that Ruth help them to start, promote, sing and produce contemporary Cantonese Christian songs that would later became some of the most popular songs for local churches and fellowships.
At this time in Ruth’s life, anyone would say that she had it all! Yet deep inside for Ruth, she found that something was lacking. As she faced a season of depression she knew that something was missing in her life.
She had Christ in her life; but she was still left wanting more – to feel fulfilled, validated and satisfied.
Is God enough?
It was during this time that Ruth felt God asking her, “Am I not enough for you?”
It was in answering this probing spiritual question that Ruth was able to find consolation and peace from her depression. Today Ruth praises God that He healed her of this dark season of depression.
After the birth of her son, Ruth wanted to work from home. Using her musical gifting she began to teach singing from her home studio. God richly blessed this career as many famous singers both locally, and throughout Asia came to Ruth for training. She continues this career even today.
Another difficult season came unannounced in Ruth’s life when in 2006 she was faced with the hard diagnosis of breast cancer. As she courageously went through all the usual treatments of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, she felt that God’s love was so tangible towards her.
The Immensity of God’s Love
The immensity of God’s love caused Ruth to do what she does best, write and sing of God’s greatness! Ruth released a gospel album entitle; Recovered, which gives hope to those struggling through physical pain. The release of Recovered, opened new doors for Ruth to travel to different countries to share her testimony both verbally and musically.
During her years of travel, Ruth came to the realization that there is an invisible illness that needs special attention. To her, this illness is even worse than cancer. She notes that this illness is deeply evident even within the local church and because of this she released her second album, Embrace, dedicated to all who are facing the emotional struggle of depression.
Ruth continues to tour and share her spoken testimony and songs wherever God directs her.
The songs from her album Embrace, were written from Ruth’s personal experience to let people know that recovery from depression is a long, difficult process; but there is always hope from God.
The Voice of Authenticity
During the Sunday morning service that we recently attended, Ruth shared with vulnerable authenticity of her struggles with depression and then sang Today I Can’t Get Up, from her Album Embrace.
As I listened to the delicate, rich beauty of Ruth’s voice my heart identified and resonated deeply with her message; as I too have gone through seasons of dark depression.
Recently I had been personally pondering the very same question that Ruth felt God was challenging her heart with. “Am I not enough for you?”
After the service I shared with Ruth that I had lived on the other end of the continuum. I had not grown up as a celebrity or a star. My giftedness was not front-lined, and I often stood in the shadows. Yet I too longed, for the praise and applause of those around me. I yearned for someone to look my way and see something of value and worth in me, but I kept coming up with a deep sense of lack and longing.
It made me realize that it doesn’t matter what side of the ocean we come from. As women we will continually find ourselves lacking if we do not allow God to ask us this one deeply pointed question; “Am I not enough for you?”
Ruth and I are two different women, coming from two different walks of life, yet we both long to be enough. But Christ is not asking that we find our value in ourselves, in others praise, or in what we do; but in Him alone.
Is Christ enough to fill the void in your heart? A heart filled with longing. A heart that yearns to be thought of as someone of value and worth? Are His words enough? Words that call you His Beloved Daughter. Precious. The apple of His eye. Chosen. Adopted. Redeemed.
Loved in the Broken Places of Life
These are all words of belonging. Words that show that Christ has sought us out and He wants us, and loves us unconditionally. Christ comes toward us, even in the broken, shattered places of our lives, and He looks at us with His tender eyes filled with love. A love that does not need to be earned; because Christ’s love is free, full and satisfying.
As we step out and learn to know ourselves, we will begin to discover that none of this is about us. Knowing ourselves is all about growing in closer intimacy with Jesus Christ. Through our relationship with Jesus Christ we will learn to embrace the person He has created us to be.
Jesus Christ looks at us with eyes of love. Because of the depth of His love for us, He laid down His life freely for us.
As women we can live out of our true design with freedom; because Jesus Christ created us with value, purpose and uniquely Different by His Design.
All of this was done so that our lives would reflect His radiant glory to the world around us!
- Are there areas in your life that you have felt that God was not been enough for you? Stop right now and ask God to be all that you need in these difficult areas of your life.
- As you continue to learn to know your unique God-designed self, what is one way that you can grow in deeper intimacy with God this week?
God, you are the light of the world. Help me to remember this when I feel like I am walking in a very dark place of discouragement, despair and depression.
Teach me to put my trust in You so that I will not fear these times of darkness and confusion.
God, help me not to mask what I feel but enable me to call on you when I feel troubled. I know that you will always rescue me. Help me to cast all my anxieties upon you God, knowing that you care deeply for me.
God, thank you that you go before me and will always be with me. You will never leave or forsake me. I do not need to be afraid or discouraged. You will always deliver me from all my troubles. Amen
*The above prayer is taken from the following scriptures. (John 8:12; John 12:36; Psalm 50:15; Deuteronomy 31:8; 1 Peter 5:6-7; Psalm 43:17)
“I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.”
Psalm 40:1-3 (NLT)
*submitted with permission from Ruth Chen’s album Embrace
Today I can’t get up
I cannot get out of bed today
Today, I can’t see the light
I’ve been swallowed up by that dark pit
I can’t see You today
I’ve lost all my strength
Happiness has forsaken me
Where are You?
I’ve lost my strength to find You
Have you forgotten me?
I don’t like myself
I don’t want even want to breathe
Where are You?
I cannot get out of bed today
I still can’t see the light today
But the dark pit did not swallowed me whole
I can feel Your presence today
You have begun to give me strength
Despair has left me
You are right here with me
You have not given up on me
You have never forgotten me
I can’t run from you
You live inside of me
We will never separate
You are the only One for me
All I can do is to depend on You
Linda Jane Dingeldein: Different by Design celebrates the women at Hong Kongs Flower Market who arrange and showcase works of fragrant beauty.