April 1, 2011

Not one word

           The last year of my life has been quite turbulent with a divorce, two moves, a new church home, loss of several friends and a decision for my son to drop out of a traditional high school to obtain his GED. Fortunately, I can say that this hasn’t been the roughest year of my life, emotionally, but unfortunately, it has been spiritually.
I’ve been angry at God, repeating to anyone who’d listen, “I’ve followed God, sacrificed for Him, done all the right things; tithed, pre-marital counseling, not moving in with husband until marriage, regularly attended church, you name it and I’ve done it by the book.” As I write this I can clearly see the problem of my self-righteous attitude, but during those spiritual arguments with God I didn’t see it so clearly.
I was the problem. I did this, I did that and I expected only good things in return for my sacrifices, but I wasn’t sacrificing for God, I was being self-righteous. I became so angry that I started to lose sight of God and thought that my sacrifices didn’t make a difference in the Kingdom. So I slowly began to give way to sin with my words, actions and thoughts…things I said I’d never do again, and what happened was I became the person I was before knowing Christ 10 years prior. Then I was not only angry at God, but at myself. One day in the depth of my anger and sin, I got a nudge from the Holy Spirit for a very specific prayer:
“Lord, I need a sane, confidential, non-judgmental, real, strong, standing on Christ’s rock, prayer warrior that will lovingly come alongside me and gently pull me out of this pit.”
It was a mere two days later that I came across Psalm 40:2 (the Message) that reads ‘He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire, He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.’ I bawled like an infant craving its mother’s milk, only I was craving my Father’s touch.
          God was telling me that HE is the one who can help me- not me, not a husband, not a friend, not a stranger, but He’ll be the one always by my side, even when I’m sitting foolishly in a pit or covered in mud, dirt and sins. He lovingly comes along, bends one knee and reaches down with that big, steady, firm, soft hand and places it in mine. He stops for a few seconds waiting until I make eye contact with Him, as He’s still holding my hand in His. When I look into his eyes I feel love, forgiveness and no condemnation to the point that I’m sobbing so hard I have no energy to help myself out of the muddy pit, but God slowly and gently lifts me up as I’m still weeping, in an effort to release all my shame and guilt. He stands me on the ground yet doesn’t let go of my hand, instead takes his other hand and steadies my shoulder as I continue to cry. He quietly stands there with me; one hand in mine, the other on my shoulder, just patiently allowing me to let it all out. He doesn’t say a word and He doesn’t look away, as if He has no other place to be, He doesn’t seem to mind the length of time it takes for me compose myself, as if all time has stood still…..for me.
As the sobbing subsided, He takes one hand off my shoulder, never letting go of my hand and we take one step together. I’m a little wobbly, but He squeezes my hand a little tighter for comfort and assurance. I look into His eyes again and I see the same love, gentleness and forgiveness, but this time instead of my guilt and shame taking over, I feel the love, forgiveness and freedom. I feel a little more confident. We take another step together, this time I’m not so wobbly. Then another step and another, after we begin a slow, steady pace I no longer see Him standing next to me, but I certainly still feel His presence. At this point I realize that I’m not dirty anymore; the mud has been removed, not even any stains on my skin or clothing. I also realize that He didn’t have to help me, but He chose to and even more profound….without a word. Not one word was spoken between Him and I, but so much was said.
Each day I’m still relying on Him to steady my walk on His path, so I don’t fall in anymore pits. My life is still turbulent, my heart is still hurting, I still get self-righteous, I’m still human, but the way God spoke to me through one verse leaves me speechless and feeling loved- no matter what I’ve done. He lifted me out…..set my feet….steadied me.
She Speaks is an upcoming conference that connects the hearts of women to the heart of our Father.
To find out more about the conference itself, visit http://shespeaksconference.com/
To find out about an exciting opportunity to receive a scholarship to attend, visit http://www.aholyexperience.com/2011/03/how-christians-create-art-she-speaks-scholarship/

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