Lying on the Bottom

I took four years off after high school to try to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. And I spent most of the four years working minimum wage jobs doing everything from working in a meat packing plant (where I lasted one day and nearly decided to become a vegetarian) to working in a succession of clerical positions.

That last clerical position I held before going back to college was at a lawn and landscaping company. I worked there during the summer, and because the days were long and we were open from pre-dawn to just after dark, the other secretary and I had to split the hours between us. She – a native Panamanian who spoke fluent Spanish – worked from pre-dawn until early afternoon. And I – a gringa with four years of high school Spanish (making straight A’s does not make one fluent) – worked from mid-morning until dark. And using sign language, butchered Spanglish, and smiles, I translated for the late crews of Hispanic workers.

Honestly, the language barrier wasn’t much of a barrier. These young men liked me and were extremely respectful and protective of me. They would bring me fresh-picked fruit or flowers in the mornings. And once, pooled their money to take me to lunch. And once brought me a bright pink stuffed bunny, which now – funny enough – graces the console of my Daddy’s big ol’ pick-up truck. But then came the day – right before closing time – that Julio came in the back door with an urgent tone to his voice. The only part of what he said that I understood were the highly-accented English words, “string trimmer.”  Then, he pulled his gloves off and all I saw was the blood. Our comptroller turned white and began to faint, then fled, telling me to take care of it. And I – with only basic first aid training and no practical experience – attempted to do that. I took Julio to the sink and with him gripping my shoulder (he left bruises) and gritting his teeth, I began to try to clean his wound.

The biggest problem with helping Julio wasn’t the language barrier. As his crew filtered into the room to watch, between him and them and my understanding of basic Spanish, I figured out that what had happened was that Julio had, much earlier in the day, caught his finger in the string trimmer. But wanting to keep on schedule and get all of his assignments done, he had simply put gloves on over the wound, and kept working. And so, by the time he got to me and we got to the sink, it was a bloody mess. And my biggest problem was that there was so much blood, sweat, and dirt, that I couldn’t see to figure out where to start to fix the problem. Eventually, once I’d gotten out as much dirt as I could, I simply had to bandage it as well as I could and give him instructions to keep it clean and come back to get it re-bandaged in the morning.

In his book, The Fire of Delayed Answers, Bob Sorge says, “When God brings distress, pain, affliction, and suffering into our lives, He does so for a purpose. He wants to enlarge our hearts. But our hearts are resistant to change. In order for the enlargement to be complete, the period of pain must be long enough in duration to complete the work. We don’t know how long that is, only God does.”

Can I just tell you that when you’re lying on the bottom of a pit, flat on your back, with your breath knocked out of you, it’s real hard to see to figure out where to start to fix the problem. And I suppose it’s also only right that I admit to you that that’s exactly the position I’ve been in lately. So, the further I got into this chapter, the more I wished that there was something beautiful or encouraging or uplifting that I could tell you right now instead of the truth.

Right now, my heart is pretty sore. I recognize that God is doing surgery on me, and yes, I also admit that I’m resistant to change. Change is scary. Even good change. And so I tried and tried to not change. But God, in His intimate and gentle and persistent persuasiveness, is ushering me yet further and further into change. And in the midst of it, I buckled and I broke and I fell to where I found myself lying on the bottom of the pit, flat on my back, out of breath, thinking, “God, is there any way that I can just not wake up tomorrow?” And God said no.

Right now, I feel like I’m looking at a dirty, bloody mess, not knowing where to start to fix the problem. The good news is that God knows where to start. And He knows who to send to help. And He knows how to give me the strength to keep getting up out of the dirt. And when I get back to where I can see the light, I’m going to have the heart that he wants me to have.

This post is part of a weekly book discussion that we are having on Bob Sorge’s book, The Fire of Delayed Answers. You don’t have to read the book to stick around and chat! But if you have written a response to this week’s chapter, please feel free to link it up at the widget, then go by my co-facilitator, Jason Stasyszen’s place, and see what he has to say.

About Sarah Salter


  1. You will come through this.. or what do some people say.. this too shall pass….Not exactly have walked in your Moccasins, but you always seem to land the right way in them… Yes I believe you will have that heart too.. Love ya..

  2. Sarah Salter says:

    Barbara, my Mama says that — “This, too, shall pass.” And y’all are right! 🙂

  3. Doloresd Reynolds says:

    Sarah, this morning I somewhat have some of the same feeling. Mother went home at high noon yesterday.
    All my life I had a support system. It was mother and daddy when I went through the divorce and then after daddy died she was my main support system.
    Tonight I feel like a little lost girl and I have no direction. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so alone although I have sons and family to try to fill in the gap.
    It’s not mother. Now, in my mind I’m asking myself…..what do I do next? No job and I can no longer take care of her. I feel like the air has been knocked out of me.
    I’ll be praying for you. Remember, there was a time you could walk down into my office or I yours and spill our heart thoughts. Tiime has a way of changing things.

  4. Sharon Gillette says:

    Sarah, I know the feeling, been there a few times. Sit up and look around for ways to climb out of that pit; start thinking and keep praying! You are an inspiration to so many others, let that work for yourself as well. Always keep in mind that God is using you to help others, and most of the time you might not even know what God accomplishes through you.

  5. Recently I was praying that God would increase my dependence upon Him. As I was praying I realized that the primary way He can do that with stubborn ole me is to put me in a desperate place where I recognize He is my only source of strength, ability, and salvation.

    I then had to decide whether or not to actually pray the prayer. I had to decide whether or not I would freely enter into this process in order to grow and mature in Him.

    I’m still praying for an increase of my dependence upon Him…

    But knowing the struggle is part of the process does not make it any less fierce. Even so, I find comfort in knowing God is at work in me.

    May God’s comfort envelope you in your struggle. Even though there is pain and hurt, may you know His peace and healing. May you always remember that you are not alone.

  6. Totally know what you mean. I can’t put my finger on it, but for a while now, I’ve felt lost. Can’t figure out what the issue is or how to fix it, but I try to keep moving as best I can. And yeah, truth–even spoken in love– can hurt a whole lot. I think sometimes I want encouragement without facing the truth, but then it’s not real encouragement. It’s false and sets me up for great disappointment. It doesn’t produce faith because faith looks square at the circumstances and situations and declares God’s will and heart in the midst of it. I want true encouragement and I want to be a true encourager. Thanks Sarah. Excellent analogy too.

  7. I loved this post. AFter reading, I just had to sit here and let it process. It reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend where she mentioned that we go through “trials” in order to prepare us for our role in the Kingdom of God. Well, it may be just me, but that comment freaked me out in a way. I remember wondering what in the world will I be expected to do one day that I have to go through what I’m going through right now. I going to admit that Faith is tough for me sometimes. True, it gets easier as I mature as a christian, but it’s never comfortable.

  8. How does that go again? Oh yeah – lean not on your own understanding. 🙂

    One step at a time, lean on others while you walk, and God will ultimately reveal to you that which you need to see, and to know. Both of our histories tell of a lot of pain – but if I relied strictly on my own viewpoint on what happened and why I know I would miss out on a lot.

    Love you, sister!

  9. Sarah Salter says:

    Dee, I heard about Miss Lessie and I’m so sorry for your loss! I know that if I were in your position, I would feel lost, too. But just remember, God has a purpose for you, and has ALWAYS had a purpose for you. And He is not done with you! Just give yourself the time you need to mourn, to heal, and to find out what His next steps are in His plan. The loss is still VERY fresh. You don’t have to have all of the answers today. And Dee, I know I’m a little further away than I was when we were in Falcon, but I’m always here! You are SO LOVED! ((HUGS))

  10. Sarah Salter says:

    Thanks, Sharon! I know that you’re right. Your encouragement has always been a big help to me. I appreciate you so much!

  11. Sarah Salter says:

    Dusty, thank you for sharing! Thank you also for your encouragement and your prayers. I’m beginning to learn how and where to ask for help. And I’m getting it. For years, I lived under the impression that if I couldn’t handle all of my problems and burdens alone that I was an inferior Christian. And what I’m learning is that God never expected us to go through this journey alone. He called us to bear each other’s burdens, to confess our faults to one another and pray for one another and be healed. Needing support doesn’t make me inferior — it makes me human! Thanks again, Dusty!

  12. Sarah Salter says:

    Jason, as far as I’m concerned, you are a true encourager. Great thoughts! Thanks for sharing them! 🙂

  13. Sarah Salter says:

    Vicky, I think that for me, looking at it that I’m being prepared for some huge, monumental God-task, is overwhelming. I need to just take it in bite-sized pieces and say, “Okay, today, God wants to sit with me and talk with me.” And “Today, God wants me to talk to my friend who is going through this thing.” And “Today, God wants me to be an encourager at work.” In other words, ONE DAY is all I can deal with at one time. And honestly, sometimes, it’s ONE MINUTE!

    I love you like a play-cousin, Vicky! ((HUGS))

  14. Sarah Salter says:

    Rick, WHAT understanding? LOL! Some days, I have no understanding upon which to lean. You know… those days when I’m just standing up on the roof of the carport, flailing, and wondering how the HECK I’m going to get down!

    I TOTALLY agree that it’s not wise to rely strictly on one’s own perspective of their pain. I know that when I do that, my perspective gets skewed and then the emotions begin to take over. The anger builds or the hurt or the shame. I’m thankful that God lets me look at my life through others’ lenses sometimes, to get back on track. 🙂

  15. I”m down in the dirt with you, sister.
    for the past few years I’ve felt broken. With each break I think there’s nothing left to break or surrender…but God shows me there is always more.
    Some days I feel as if I might completely shatter- like humpty dumpty.
    Then other days there’s an excitement building inside, because I know God has brought me to this place for a reason.
    I found comfort in Sorges’ book when he said (can’t remember the chapter as I’ve read ahead) that God has never brought someone to a trial and left them there. He always brings them out of it.
    God will bring you out of the dirt. Hang in there. God know’s how far to stretch us both, to make us more usable for HIS kingdom than for our own.

  16. Sarah Salter says:

    Thanks, TC! 🙂

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