This semester I was privileged to take a “Spiritual Direction” class. As I wrapped up my final yesterday morning I began to think about the work God has recently done and is doing in my life. Then, today I woke up with these amazing lyrics swirling around in my head: I hear the Savior say, “Thy strength indeed is small; child of weakness, watch and pray, find in Me thine all in all.” Needless to say… I was encouraged. This evening I went to church and was reminded again of the blessings that come when I am finding full satisfation in my relationship with Jesus. I was reminded of the new life of the Spirit that comes when we place our trust in Jesus Christ. Ah, I am refreshed. Yet, I cannot move forward with finals without sharing a “tid-bit” of what God has done in my life the last number of months. I am sure I will continue to mull over this year once this week concludes… and I know that my thoughts are a tad muddled… but here they are for what it’s worth:
“We love because he first loved us.” ~ 1 John 4:19
“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you,and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” ~ Ezekiel 36:25-27
“Keep your heart with all viligance, for from it flow the springs of life.” ~ Prov. 4:23
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey… I have always loved that precious old hymn. However, the past nine months or so have been quite difficult for me and these wisdom-packed lyrics have not been easy for me to live out. Healing is always challenging. I can honestly say I would not be able to face some of the hidden places within my heart without the warm, gentle, loving, tender touch of the Father’s hand in mine, leading, guiding and comforting me along the way.
The dissonance between my heart and my flesh is almost too much to bear some days. A part of me so badly desires to forever be at the feet of my Father, embracing Him, worshipping Him, enjoying Him fully and freely. However, there are other times I want to flee in fear, I want to hide in shame and build up walls until I can “get things figured out” and “cleaned up.” Perhaps if I look like Christ, act like Him, make decisions that I think would be pleasing to Him and others I will discover the ability to love and be loved again. I am afraid of pain, rejection and heartbreak. Brick, by brick I build my fortress. Foolish choice, after foolish choice leads me into isolation. More than a mystery… never to be truly discovered. Artificially protected I convince myself I am safe and nothing or no one can hurt me now. With a smile on my face and the best of intentions I try to go out and continue loving others. As I go through the motions I think I may have convinced the world that I am fine. But the struggle comes in convincing my own heart of this distorted lie.
Joy fades and silence ensues. It’s too quiet. I must converse with someone who cares deeply and sort this out. Hesitantly I ask, “God are you still there?” Of course I know He is… but my fear causes me to again retreat to the wall. Returning to the wall around my heart I see that the cement on the bricks has set. I want to be loved… but the wall is too much for me now. Feeling hopeless and ashamed I decide instead to add a few more bricks. I am tired, lonely and guilty.
“Break me Lord. I need You. I am desperate for You my God! Forgive me Lord,” I cry. “Here is my pain, rejection and heartbreak. Would you heal me? I may have built this wall but I cannot tear it down alone,” I plea.
Patiently and lovingly God meets me with grace… time after time. I am forgiven. He begins to deliver, restore and reconcile. I am healing. It’s slow and painful process. It’s going to take time, I know. But as long as He is near I am willing. Trusting, obeying, walking, trusting, obeying, walking… Christ brings with Him peace, joy and hope everlasting. When I walk with Him I experience Him. However, my past still comes back to haunt me from time to time. Opening myself up to loving again is scary… terrifying really. “Not again Lord,” I beg. “Can I go there with you again Lord? I’ve been here before. Will you help me trust You this time?” I wonder. I am afraid of where my heart may lead me. I am afraid of what others might do with my heart. Yet, I want to love and be loved. Stepping out in faith, retreating back in fear, stepping out in faith, retreating back in fear… I am exhausted! “God this pattern is no way to live. And certainly no way to love. Help me trust you with my heart. Will you lead my heart? Will you help me trust others as I trust you with my heart God? Help me. I want to know what it looks like to love you with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength. I want to know what it looks like to love others the way you love me so selflessly,” I pray.
Trusting and obeying, trusting and obeying… this becomes my new pattern in life. “God this is the life you have designed me for. And the only way I can truly love. Thank you for protecting my heart. Praise you for guiding my heart. Thank you for giving me opportunity to learn what it means to love and be loved. May you be glorified in our love for You and for one another Lord!” I proclaim.
Although I am still in the midst of this journey… I am encouraged because Jesus loves me and reminds me of this every day!
Jesus loves me this I know. For the bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong. They are (I am) weak, but He is strong…