Praise the LORD, I tell myself with my whole heart, I will praise His holy name…never forget the good things He does for me. He forgives all my sins…surrounds me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things…For His unfailing love…is…great… Psalm 103
So much ungratefulness and distrust and anger and selfish desire…so much self-focus. Forgive me for not using my eyes, heart, mind, hands, voice, and life to honor and worship You and to show You to others. Forgive me for being so self-absorbed, so hungry for my own acknowledgement – my own fulfillment, my own dreams, that I turned blind eyes and deaf ears and hard heart to You. You, Who open blind eyes, open deaf ears, and soften hard hearts in Your hands, do so in me. Let’s get to know each other again. Let’s have fun, smile, laugh, sing, dance, and enjoy life! I haven’t enjoyed life for fear I would forget others’ pain and suffering. So, instead of knowing joy and peace and offering joy and peace, I have sat down in my self-proclaimed pit, claiming my life was all wrong – too much or not enough, never right – and I have not lived free or offered freedom. Instead I have invited others to sit in prison with me, claiming that was the more righteous way.
Forgive me, friends – the girl friends and guys friends, the stay-at-home moms and dads, the working-in-the-United States-husbands and wives, the friends and family who have lived in life suburbia their entire lives and those friends and family who are just starting out like me…Forgive me for calling what you do (what I do) less, not “high” enough in God’s eyes, not spiritual enough. Forgive me for shaking my faux pious finger in your face (and in mine) and shouting and sobbing and moping around, shaking my head and saying over and over and over and over (yep…) again how little you (and I) are doing for the Kingdom because you (and I) are living in a house with four solid walls and a ceiling, because you (and I) are not walking out our doors and seeing the physically dying lying outside our doors, because you (and I) have not been asked to sell all and go to some country or continent overseas, because you (and I) are able to have a choice of grocery stores and clothing stores and shoe stores and fast food restaurants, because you (and I) can take our children out for ice cream and buy them new clothes and give them their own beds… Any other person in another country would look at what I’m able to do and they would see…BLESSING…and me, I have called it “not of God.” Surely He wouldn’t want us to have so much or do so much or show love through another box of outrageously priced Legos. Surely we should all take the martyrs position and that of a monk and nun and denounce anything that seems to please too much because too much pleasure is surely a sin! Surely! Surely? Surely NOT!
For the stay-in-the-country-you-are-in everybodys – those who You, God, have called to live in the house they are in, on the street they are now, in the nation they are remaining in…for all of us who have been asked to “go” to Jerusalem, I pray for them, me, us. May we find You here! May we know Your favor…here! May we no longer let the enemy cause us to think what we’re doing is worthless and not good enough. May we know that the same Jesus Who took some to Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth, also kept some in Jerusalem. Praise You God! Better is one day where You want us than a thousand other good places You haven’t asked or told us to go!
Assure us where we are that love has no borders – we do not have to cross a time zone or a date line to share Your love. Peace is never over there; You are always right where Your children are! The Christian missionary doesn’t look better or do better because she/he can cross oceans and see physical pain and death every day. Every missionary needs Your eyes to truly see the hurting, the broken, the needy. The need is here, there, and everywhere. Don’t allow us to be short-sighted. You never have been!
This week I wrestled hard with post-pardum hormones, mental depression, emotional anger, and a slew of other “whatevers.” In the end, no matter how the hormones or lack of sleep came into play, the real core issue lay in how I view God.
(If we leave anything outside our house at night, it’s always vulnerable. Someone can easily come and steal or destroy it. When we leave our lives outside of God’s will, the enemy has easy access to come and do what he does…steal, kill, and destroy. God’s way is life in abundance. The problem that most of us have is that we’ve believed the lie; in other words, the enemy has already come in and stolen, killed, and destroyed our belief in the goodness and trustworthiness of God. Just like our ancestor Eve, we have begun to doubt God’s love for us. (Genesis 3:1-7)
What are some doubts you have toward God and the life He offers you? 1T4X Workbook)
See that question right up there? Yeah, want to know how I had to answer it…if I was going to be honest?
“That it’s not as good as my idea(s); that He’s going to punish me for making the wrong choice – that if I (we) make the wrong choice now, He won’t be gracious enough to get us back on track…as retribution.”
So, in response to my true belief system (because I know all the right spiritual, God answers…I know these thoughts do not hold up to what the Bible proves of God…I say what I believe often but fail to really trust my belief system when it’s time to get down to it and live) I let darkness creep over me, creep in me, and pour out of me. A week of doubts and frustrations and accusations and angry outbursts and pure meanness ensued. I responded to the goodness I have with all the darkness in me. I could literally feel the dark and the fire.
And then yesterday, I began to breathe…ever so slightly, only to mess up again and go to bed craving His nearness so much I had to stay up later than everyone else just to read His Word…to hear His voice. And then today, I began to sing and smile…only to let some remaining dross spew out on someone I love and respect very much…tears and a cloak of darkness awaited me. But this afternoon, I am still standing, moving, and hoping. Praying I will let my Father have all of my affection and that I will trust all of His.
No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can remove it. I can make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you as white as wool. If you will only obey me and let me help you then you will have plenty…But if you keep turning away and refusing to listen, you will be destroyed by your enemies…I will melt you down and skim off your slag. I will remove all your impurities…Because the LORD is just and righteous, the repentant people of Jerusalem will be redeemed.
Isaiah 1:18-20, 25, 27 NLT
I don’t think it was God’s will for me to make those choices, to choose to yield to the dark even if it did mean being refined. I think even then I could have chosen to respond differently. But I do think what was His will, and always will be His will, is His grace when I made those choices. Yes. Grace is ALWAYS His will.