Monday, April 16, 2012

The Terrible Awful

If you've had the pleasure of reading The Help, you have already been captured by the title of my post. You either smiled a little smile, laughed out loud, or said a big, "EEEUUUWWW!!!". I pick the big "EEEUUUWWW!!!".

For those of you who have never read the book, let me just tell you that "The Terrible Awful" was something that was unspeakable. It was terrible. It was truly awful. Enough said. You'll just have to get a copy and discover it for yourself. 

Unspeakable. Unutterable. Inexpressible.  Terrible. Awful. THE Terrible Awful.

I had a Terrible Awful of my own. It was a recurring thought, made of words that I would never speak aloud. It belonged to me and me alone. I think that I was really duped into thinking that if I never let my lips utter the words out loud, even God wouldn't know. It was that terrible. It was that awful. The funny thing is that He knew it all along. Imagine that! And He wanted it out in the open. 

I had been doing a study on the life of David, specifically asking the Lord to give me a heart like His. I was asking for a heart transplant, and I got more than I bargained for. Each day, God would reveal another something about my heart that He wanted to change. He was in my closets, rattling skeletons, and blowing on cobwebs. He wasn't going to stop until He got every last bit of me, and merciful Savior that He is, the day arrived when it was time to deal with The Terrible Awful.

There is not one living, breathing human being that could have ever convinced me to utter that thought out loud. No one, no matter how much I loved them, or they loved me. No one close to me. No one. Not a one. But God...

He set me up. 

The perfect day, brought the perfect quiet time, the perfect bible passage, the perfect subject matter. With tears rolling down my cheeks, I spoke the unspeakable. Out loud. 

I didn't die. Bolts of lightening didn't come down from Heaven. I turned my face upward and said, "There! I said it! It's The Terrible Awful! I am so, so sorry!"  

Now, I've never heard the audible voice of God before, but as clear as I could hear His voice in my spirit, He told me that my Terrible Awful was a lie. That I had been believing that lie for years. That freedom was mine that very day. 

What is your "Terrible Awful?"

It may be something you've done. It may be something beyond your control that was done to you. Maybe, like me, your mind is entertaining lies sent straight from the pits of hell to torment you, and make you believe that you can never be free. God may want to tell you today that you've been believing a lie. Maybe it's something from your past that you can never imagine speaking out loud. Perhaps you are neck deep in a pit of sin. Just because you don't speak it, don't think that God doesn't know. He wants to shine His light into your darkness and set you free.

In Psalm 32, David poured out his heart to God over his sins of adultery and murder. Here the context is David's sin; it may or may not be sin in your case. You know what it is.  See if his words resonate with you at all when you think about that unspeakable thing in your own life:

"When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord" -- and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him. You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance." (Psalm 32: 3-7 NIV)   

Know that there is no safer place to be, precious friend, than in the presence of Jesus. He is right there, right now. He wants to set you free. No matter how unspeakable, unutterable, or inexpressible your own Terrible Awful is. His nail-scarred hands are holding out forgiveness, healing, and tender mercy. He is ready to tend to you, right where you are.

When the last word of your Terrible Awful leaves your lips, Christ will open His mouth and begin to sing you a beautiful song of deliverance. 

Sing along, sweet child, sing along!      




  1. Donna, you have such a gift of teaching. Thank you for this.

  2. How the enemy keeps us in prison with those lies...telling us we all have a terrible awful...but thanks be to God He comes to redeem it all. I the help. blessings to you.

  3. this grace. the freedom. it's scandalous isn't it? i have to remind myself of this every day.

  4. Donna, thank you for walking us through the path to freedom in Him. He is not limited by our sin, he overcomes it! There is nothing terrible or awful enough to overcome him! What an encouraging word for today. Thank you!

  5. such glorious victory in this post! thank you friend. xo

  6. I love the way you address a trick of the enemy in this. Why do we allow him to convince us that God doesn't know our terrible awful if we don't speak it? Thank you for this.

  7. Powerful. Praying He can show me how to deal with my terrible awful. Thank you for writing this.

  8. oh that is the perfect scripture for this...and thank you for the encouragement in it...that which we keep silent will eat us alive...i was working with a boy today that is just on the cusp of letting some of it out...thank you.

  9. Confession is good for the soul. When I speak things out loud, my perspective changes drastically. Thanks for this, enjoyed your thoughts. And I loved the book and the movie btw.