Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Arms of God

Aah!  It is 10:30 a.m. and I don't have any of the 3 really, really want to do today things done yet.  You may be wondering why if I have 3 things to do I'm writing a blog post, but notice I didn't say I have 3 have to do things to do; one of the things on my want to do list is to write a blog post.  I have actually done a few have to do things and had a few phone calls...3 4 in fact.  But I haven't been able to get to my want to dos.  Oh, and I just remembered another have to do.

Okay, this sounds like I feel entitled to have time for my want to dos.  That isn't what I mean.  I realize caring for my family and commitment to others comes before my "hobbies."  It is just that God gave me such a big hug yesterday I want to share, but I'm not sure I have time to explain it clearly.  It wasn't a physical or circumstantial blessing like finally getting our homestudy approved; it was a heart hug...and those are difficult to put into words.

Let us go back a little.  About a month ago several things happened at once that really threw me for a loop...the main one I discussed on the blog being the need for me to have a psychological exam in order to get my homestudy approved.  By Saturday I felt so oppressed with circumstances that I told God that while I believe I am on this earth to be pruned, He must not love me at all as I wasn't being pruned so much as thrown through the meat grinder.  I also asked Him to give me something to sooth my aching heart and I almost immediately got an e-mail from on on-line friend that was clearly an answer to that prayer...but I was still aching.

Anyway, I spent the next few weeks praying and reading my Bible and crying and trying to find a psychologist to give me the required test.  Even though it was taking a while to get an appointment part of me knew I was still feeling pretty tenderized and was thankful for the delay.  When it was time to take the test I was feeling prepared.  Not my strongest, but not raw either.  

Then I spent four hours with the psychologist.  

And I told him I did not feel worthless, that I don't struggle with my self-esteem, that I am not fragile or weak.  I even told him that the test results didn't represent me at all unless I was completely delusional (which got self-deprecating put into the report...better than delusional, I guess.)  

And I left feeling that if I wasn't delusional than I was lying because I was doubting everything about myself, felt worthless, and fragile...I don't remember ever feeling so fragile--like the next problem could break me--not even the weekend 8 years ago when the car broke for good, Oak's grandfather died, and I miscarried all within 48 hours.  (At that time God sustained me in a way that is a story in it's own and that could have only come from my Heavenly Father.)

Anyway, I turned to prayer and reading my Bible...I knew healing could only come from Jesus...and whining to everyone I saw about my psychological test, even random strangers.  About a week and a half ago a few different friends said some things that hit the heart of the matter and reminded me of what I have said before--my identity comes from Christ.  And the healing started.

Who am I am has not changed...flaws and all.  Circumstances that bother me are not approved homestudy yet and no school for Huckleberry, etc.  But I started clinging to the truth again and the lies that were agitating me started to fade away.  The shredding in my heart started to heal and it became less and less tender until about a week ago, I discovered I didn't feel fragile anymore.  I felt I could topple back in easily but I once again felt like I could say with confidence I do not have low self-esteem and I am not weak.

So that is the back story...and you can see why I thought this would take time!  It is now 5:00 Thursday, I have 1 1/2 of my other want to do things done and several more have tos done plus a few more phone calls...including the one that says Huckleberry goes back to school tomorrow, yeah!

Anyway, this week I was feeling stronger again.  I knew it was a gift from God and that I was once again resting in the assurance of His love and forgiveness.  Taking pictures, peaceful family time, lunch with ladies planning the spring women's retreat, and the first week back at MOPS also played a part, but all of those were gifts from God.  Then Wednesday was the start of my fall Bible study class and this semester we are studying Jeremiah.  I was looking forward to class because I love the teacher, the people in the class, and hearing God's voice in the scriptures...though I was a little nervous about Jeremiah.  It is not an easy read.

But God blew my socks off.  We only looked at chapter 1, but so much of it spoke directly to me about this last month.  It was one of those times again where the word of God poured onto my heart like molasses and sealed up the cracks.

Chapter 1 of Jeremiah is an intimate conversation between God and Jeremiah, but it felt like God was talking to me.  

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.  And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations."  Jeremiah 1:5

Okay, I think it is a stretch to claim God has appointed me as a prophet to the nations, but He knew me, He consecrated me, He created me for a purpose.  (You too, but my blog is about me.)  One of the things a friend said that put me back on the right track was I had to be me (not excusing sin) and this verse says God knew who that me was going to be, even when I was just an itsy bitty tiny zygote.  Doesn't that idea just feel like a healing stroke on your soul?

But wait there's more!  The next thing isn't actually in Jeremiah but we looked at it in class.

"How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel fo the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.  He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season And it leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers."  Pslams 1:1-3

We talked about being deeply rooted in the word, so deep that when the storms come we are not uprooted.  But that is what I felt like, as if my tree had toppled in the storm and my roots were exposed, vulnerable to every type of attack and damage, but my tree did not die.  My roots were deep and still attached to the soil.  God stood my tree back up and reburied my roots, cutting away the damage, and soothing each hurt as He replanted me.  My relationship with Jesus, my deep roots, and my seeking solace in the Bible is part of what made that possible, but it is also something He did because He loves me. 

And He made a promise: I am planted by streams of water; I will yield fruit in my season; my leaves will not wither; and I will prosper in whatever I do.  Do you claim that promise for yourself?  With God as our gardener how can we not flourish? (And yes proper gardening does require pruning.)

I don't think I am conveying how soothing this was to my soul, how much I had started to doubt God's love for me, and how this word picture was necessary for me to bask in His love again.  I do not mean to imply that I spent the last month feeling unloved or rejected by God...that would not be accurate.  I said all the right things and clung to my beliefs.  I cried out to God knowing He is the one who heals the brokenhearted and binds their wounds.  But fragile, I felt oh so fragile.

And that brings us to the last hug from God on Wednesday.  The truth is, I am fragile.  I have been damaged by my own sin and the sin of others...ever since I was born.  I am not strong.  I cannot be strong on my own.  I cannot live more like Christ on my own.  I cannot deflect the arrows of life that seek to harm me...


"Now behold, I have made you today as a fortified city and as a pillar of iron and as walls of bronze against the whole land, to the kings of Judah, to its princes, to its priests and to the people of the land.  They will fight against you, but they will not overcome you, for I am with you to deliver you."

God is who makes me strong.  He has a plan for my life and will give me the strength I need to accomplish it.  I don't have enemies that are trying to fight against least not people...but the circumstances that stress me, the negative thoughts that threaten to overwhelm me, and the temptations I cannot withstand--they will fight against me, but they will not overcome me, for God is with me and will deliver me.

How can I not be confident?

1 comment:

No Greater Love said...

Wow! That is absolutely beautiful! God is so faithful...and so loving...and all of the trials you have gone through this past month truly have planted you even deeper in your identity in the Lord, even though at times it felt like they were doing the exact opposite.

You ARE that tree planted by streams of living water...and now that the pruning season is over, the fruitful season is upon you! (until the next pruning season at least...but let's not think about that now.)

I am so glad you took the time to write this post! It is so encouraging.

:) Mer