Mitzie….I’m asking you to be willing to lose what you love so that I can give you what you need.
But I need my family God. Everyone in my family. I don’t want to lose anyone. Don’t you know how much I need them God?
Yes, dear one. I know that is what you believe to be true. But don’t you know I always want better than you can even imagine for yourself? You do not know my plan. I am keeping you hidden from that plan so that you will not lose sight of Me.
Are you saying that you are going to take people I love from me then? I feel like I’m always the one that you ask to let go of things. I don’t understand. Why can’t you ask someone else? Can’t you accomplish the same thing with someone else?
Love, all I am asking of you is that you be willing to let go of what you hold on to so tightly. I need you to trust me completely. That no matter what the outcome is, you will know that it was for your best. I am more concerned with saving lives than I am with comfort. I will go to any lengths to show one single person my great love for them. You know this….you have experienced my great love first hand. I desire that none should be lost.
God this is not fair. I am tired of hurting. I’m doing everything I can to be obedient to what you ask of me. But you keep asking for more. Do I ever get a break? Will I ever get to rest?
I know you are tired. I know you are weary. I know that anger and frustration well up inside of you sometimes…And yet you still keep choosing to look at me. Do you know what that does to my heart? Every time that you fix your eyes on me, moves me. I am undone by your refusal to be overtaken by your pain and circumstance. Please keep going with me. I long to give you more than you can ever ask or imagine. You will know and understand all of this when it is over. It will not last forever. Please hold on. Hold on to Me.
I’m trying God. I’ll keep trying….I trust You.
Maybe I’m opening up a can of “religious” worms when I say this, but what if failure isn’t really failure at all? What if it is a word that we humans have put on things to put them in a box, to give them definition? Please don’t misunderstand me. I am talking about emotional, relational, spiritual things. Choosing to rob a bank is still probably a pretty major failure.
Let me explain. God has asked something of me in this season. To be still. To trust. To be quiet. To lean. Yesterday I was not still. And I definitely was not quiet. I felt attacked and so I jumped in with both feet and followed people into their storms. I even threw some of my own lightening in there for effect. I was raging inside. But a couple of hours later I felt horrible….like I had completely failed. Like God had asked just one thing of me and because I had messed up so badly, I had ruined everything He is trying to do (even though I have no idea what that is).
This morning I woke up feeling sad. Like there was no hope. That I had failed God so He was not going to do whatever great thing He is trying to do in my life. Then some things that my sister and some friends said to me sparked a different thought. The first was this….
“Ok – just take a deep breath. Fall seven times, stand up eight. You can take responsibility for your part, apologize, repent, push DELETE….Breathe and let HIM comfort your heart. It’s ok – we all make mistakes – He knows – we are not meant to be perfect….going low is beautiful to Him – letting our weakness be our offering – beautiful to Him.” ~BJ~
What? Beautiful to Him? My weakness really is beautiful to Him?
“Perfection is not a requirement, nor is it even attainable in the human form. God only asked that we strive for Him and when we trip, that we keep going. Those trip ups are opportunities to see weaknesses and to grow from them. It’s what you do with them that makes them a success or failure.” ~LB~
It’s what I do with them that makes it beautiful to Him or not! We must make mistakes to grow. If we do not, we will never get anywhere. Making a mistake does not distract God from His plan at all! It’s all part of it! If His desire is to see us grow more intimate with Him and we choose to do that in the middle of our mistakes, then His ultimate plan can be fulfilled. Am I challenging anyone’s thought process with this? It certainly has been rolling around inside of me all day! I have to say it again. My mistakes may just be part of the big plan after all! But God is moved by my response when I choose to say yes to Him despite myself. You see, I used to turn away from God when I messed up. Afraid (there’s that fear thing again) that He would not want to look at me. Afraid He was ashamed of me because of my “failure”. Yet now I ask the question, Why would he be ashamed of me if this was all part of His plan in the beginning? If He knows me better than I know myself, doesn’t He know what I struggle with and doesn’t He want to put opportunity in front of me to grow up and out of those struggles? I’m pretty positive that He does. Can you relate?
I had a meltdown at 2 am this morning. There’s no other way to put it. It was messy. Ugly. I was tired from a busy weekend and my grandson didn’t want to sleep and it all came crashing down. I cried. For an hour. The feelings were so powerful. The nerve endings of my emotions lit fire and consumed me. In that moment I was undone, I was lost. My very skin hurt. It was so tangible that it felt like this would never end. But It will. Nothing lasts forever.
What on earth is helpful or hopeful about what I’m saying? Well first, I’m totally human. And that’s okay. It’s not wrong to be human. This is the path that God has given me to walk but some days I feel like I’m in a prison. A prison of pain. That no matter what I do, I cannot escape. But that’s not it at all. It is not a prison of pain. It is the narrow path. There is movement forward if I choose it. But only I can choose it. He’s not putting walls around me and locking the door. He’s asking me to set my eyes on Him and walk blindly forward even when it’s dark and I cannot see. And I cannot see. At all. I am completely blind. None of my senses are telling me what to do. There is no sight. There is no sound. There is no touch. It is so scary that sometimes I am afraid. So afraid that I melt down. So afraid that I run away from Him. What He is asking of me is hard. He is not fixing my circumstances. At least where I can see. And I don’t know what the eventual “fix” is that will bring all of this to a resolution. The only definite thing that He has shown me is that I need to trust Him. His answer and His resolution will be perfect. Even if His “perfect” and my “perfect” are not the same. His way is always better than mine and fear is a liar. Fear is a LIAR. So I run back to him. Because away from Him is way too scary and the fear becomes real and the fire burns. Next to Him I will not be burned.
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” Isaiah 43: 1b-3a
Do you look around you and see suffering everywhere? What do you do when you see it? Do you get in the trenches with those who are suffering and pray or do you crawl away and pray it doesn’t touch you? Do you look beyond the agony and find the purpose? Sometimes its hard to see anything but the pain. I know. I’ve experienced my fair share. It’s easy to focus on how much it hurts and how we just want to not feel that way anymore. It’s time to shift our thinking to another possibility.
I read a devotional this morning (http://www.intouch.org/magazine/daily-devotion#.VBr8dvldV8E) that shook my thought process. Then it became the topic of conversation in a group message I have with some dear friends who get in the trenches with me. It was about sifting. How Peter was not ready to take over when Jesus left and so he was sifted in preparation. It is so hard to look past the suffering and see that there is always a reason, a purpose. There IS. God is not just about allowing people to experience pain for pains sake. He wants us to experience more of Him, to grow in faith, to grow in love, to get prepared.
So here is the personal nature of God. After all of this conversation, a woman walked into my office in obvious pain. She had hurt etched all over her face. I asked if she was okay. She was not. She poured herself out. I poured back. We sat here in my place of work and cried while she let me minister to her and love on her. She needed God to show up today and He did. He used another woman in pain to be the heart of Jesus. He didn’t need someone who had it all figured out. He needed someone who was in the middle of it to crawl into the trench with her. So I did.
I challenge you. Crawl in with someone who needs a personal touch from the Lord. Be bold. Be vulnerable. Be real. Be Jesus. Not tomorrow. Not next month. Right now.
Circumstances in my life, at first glance, do not scream of joy and thankfulness. They are hard, ugly, messy. It’s ok though…Aren’t we all a little ugly and messy? We just hide it better at certain times in our life than others. I don’t want to hide anymore. I want to live out loud. Whether it’s pain or victory, chaos or peace, I will be real. True. Authentic.
I have had unexplainable peace the last couple of days. It has just permeated me and blanketed my thoughts. There is no answer other than Jesus. My family is struggling, my oldest son is about to deploy to an unknown location; all things that normally paralyze me. But something is different. He is growing me. He is strengthening me. He is expanding my faith.
God is so personal. He is literally sending me something or someone several times a day to point my mind and heart to Him. He is holding me in His arms and I can feel it. It’s a warmth. It’s a calm. It’s a knowing that I don’t have to struggle anymore. I don’t have to strive to “feel better”. I don’t have to fix the problems. All I need to do now is rest. And look to His face. He has it all solved. I may not see it yet, but the solution has already been accomplished, whatever it may be.
So I am grateful. Grateful for a God that is becoming more of a best friend than I ever could have imagined. Grateful that I can let go of control and be okay. Grateful that I am growing. Even grateful for the struggle. I would not have this peace if there was no trial. I would not be growing if there were no problems. There is ugly and messy, but HE MAKES BEAUTIFUL THINGS OUT OF DUST. In that I have joy and thankfulness. In that I have peace.
Today I lay myself bare. I am a flawed human being. We all are. I hang onto things thinking that I have some kind of control over them but I don’t. Circumstances are swirling around my life right now that are making that abundantly clear. The details may seem important, but they are not. What I am going through is hard. The hardest thing I think I’ve ever known. But there is a point to it all. I know there is. There is nothing that God will not do for just one soul. He will allow everything to be stripped away and broken in order that His great love is known. Every direction I turn, every path I take brings more stripping and pain. In reading this, please do not feel sorry for me. Do not be angry that the hard things are happening. Instead take another look. See that what God is doing is beautiful. It is forcing me to make minute by minute choices to trust Him and not what I see all around me. It is forcing me to be still where I have been chaotic. It is forcing me to be silent where I have been incessantly vocal. It is forcing me to have hope where I have seen only the impossible. I want circumstances to come into line with my plan, with my desire, with what I think is best for ME. I am giving that up. I am learning to put my full and complete hope in what God has planned, no matter what that looks like.
I am also coming to terms with the fact, that even in learning all of these things, pain still exists. It does not just disappear because I am trusting or hoping or being still. It is there. It is raw. I feel shredded. I feel abandoned. I feel forgotten. But I choose not to BELIEVE that I am abandoned or forgotten. For He sees me. He knows my name. He calls me His. He cares about the things I care about. He is near to the brokenhearted. He delights in me right where I am at. His name is my strong tower and I run into that tower. Nothing can get to me when I choose to stay IN His tower. Think about that for a minute. Picture that in your mind. When I run to His tower I am fully protected. NOTHING can harm me. NOTHING. There is peace in His tower. When I am in His tower I take my hands off of everything that I am trying to control. I cannot control AND live in His tower at the same time. Just as nothing can get to me, I cannot keep my hands on outside things. I cannot hold chains of control around those circumstances anymore. I let go. But don’t get me wrong, it is hard to stay in the tower. I am so human. My “need” to have the magical words to change a situation is still there. So I step outside sometimes. I try to take control again. Then I have to choose again, to align my heart and spirit with the fact that God can take care of it better than I can. And so I let go. Over and over and over again.
I have walked the road of bitterness. It left me with a stomach full of pills and a stay at the mental hospital. I will not go back there. God, in His kindness, chose to heal me and I treasure and protect that healing. I will always choose forgiveness. Of God, of others, of myself. There are people who think I am crazy. Who think that I have every right to be angry, to be spiteful. And in the eyes of the world, maybe I do, but I choose differently. God has forgiven me more than I could ever keep track of. I will never turn my back on that. I will forgive much. Every. Single. Time. No matter the offense. I choose Jesus. No matter what comes at me, I choose Jesus. I CHOOSE JESUS!