Life is a crazy, beautiful mess isn’t it? I have been fighting so long, pleading for God to help me make sense of my life. It doesn’t seem to mesh with any of my previous understandings of how the Bible says things work. I have tried and tried to do the right things, make the right choices and to seemingly no avail. My life has still been a mess.
I would read scriptures like Haggai 1:2-11 and I would think – that sounds exactly like my life!! Everything that the Lord is telling these people is a direct result of their lack of commitment to Him and building His temple sounds like what I am struggling with in my life. I spent months and months after reading that passage dissecting my life and looking for where I had let God down. I walked around feeling punished but not understanding why. If all these things going on in my life were a punishment or at the very least a side effect of my actions I never found out what it was I was doing wrong to deserve it.
Anyone who knows me personally knows I have had a pretty rough time of things the last 3 years. Husband divorced me for someone else, I lost everything I owned except my car which I still have to make payments on, at first I had a job that paid well but not on a regular basis – sometimes I wouldn’t work for a few months in a row but when I did work it was a lot – and then had a job that pays on a regular basis but not enough to really live on. I moved at least half a dozen times in the span of 2 years before moving in with a Russian atheist that I either really really liked or really really disliked – not sure which, the jury is still out on that one – sometimes I miss her! :-O Place got infested with mold and I had to move back in with my parents, I almost never have enough money to buy the things I need, (just for example I either slept on the floor or a very uncomfy couch for the first 2 years after my divorce until I found a mattress left out in the snow by a neighbor which I then slept on for a year *it’s ok you can be grossed out with me* >.< then when I finally had a little money to save it still took me a couple of months before I could buy a mattress for 160$). Most days I can’t seem to get my head above water and I almost never know what I am going to do next or even what I am supposed to be doing right now!
Through all that, I kept dissecting myself – where is the flaw? where is the fault? where is the deficit in my life that would be causing all of this? It didn’t help matters when I would come across a passage like the ones found in Matthew where it talks about how if you seek first the kingdom of God, He will give you the things you need. I would read that and slam my bible shut and cry – “GOD! What am I doing wrong?!? How am I failing you? I want so bad to please You, how can I be failing so miserably? Why does my life hurt so bad when I am trying so hard?!”
What I wasn’t taking into consideration is that, as cliché as it sounds, there are a lot of people out there waaaay more in need than I am. Not once in these last 3 years have I been homeless. Not once did I truly go hungry. Not once did I run out of gas in my car. My child always had more than enough clothes, shoes and toys. I had clothes to wear – who cares what they look like, they covered my skin. Sure I couldn’t always go everywhere I wanted or do everything I wanted but everything I needed was provided for me. I never even had to put E.v.e. in daycare! I have a job where I get to take my baby girl with me to work. How many single moms – or any mom for that matter – can say that? I was so busy looking at all the things I don’t have that I was ignoring the blessings I do receive.
I have felt so exhausted lately and I think it is from the massive amounts of energy I am spending fighting against how my life is right now. I keep fighting to make my life “better”, to move past this season of pain and trials not willing to accept that maybe I need all these troubles.
God is doing a good work in me and I can see it now. Thinking about it the last few days with a fresh perspective has helped me realize He is working hard to undo the damage of 15 years with out his saving grace plus another 8 years of choosing to run away from Him after knowing His love. I have a lot of scars and brokenness from my life. There are a lot of lies still swirling around in my mind acting like truths. There is a lot of hurt and fear gripping my heart. But like a tender lover, God is tying to gently strip away layer after layer of those hurts. I have been fighting Him, kicking and screaming!
I have this image in my head of me clinging tight to my filthy rags looking for any and all holes I need to patch, tares I need mend to make myself more worthy. I hold tight to all the hurts and lies and fear seeing it as “me” and feeling like it is the best I can ever have or be. I have to work with what I’ve got and do my best to keep myself held together. I don’t realize that God wants to completely remove those old garments and wash me and wrap me up in a robe of His love and beauty.
I am so focused on my own lack and so upset about the state that I am in that I don’t realize God is standing beside me trying to help me. I am so focused on my actions I don’t see His.
Every time He starts to pull off a lie or a fear that I am clothed in it hurts and I fight against it – my self-focused perspective causes me to think ”I must be doing something, or not doing something, and that is why I am hurting, that is why I am being punished, that is why this enemy is being allowed to harm me” and I fight and struggle to get away from the pain.
It isn’t that God wants to hurt me. He is being as gentle and tender as a lover, which is probably why it has taken me three years to even realize He has been working on me. He doesn’t want to hurt me just like I dont want to hurt my E.v.e. when I have to remove an old band-aid. I know that scrape needs some fresh air and to dry out and heal but she fights me with every ounce of strength she has. Keeping that old nasty band-aid feels a lot less painful than it does to have it pulled away.
The last couple days it has felt like He has wiped the mud out of my eyes. I suddenly see it is His hands on me. I can now see His intentions and with that revelation comes peace and submission. Remove those rags my love. Take these pains. Heal those wounds. It still hurts but a good hurt. A cleansing hurt. I can suddenly see the patches of clean fresh skin showing through – here is where I felt unworthy before but now I feel cherished. Here is where I used to keep my fear of rejection but now it is replaced with His acceptance of me. This spot used to be infected with self-hatred. It is still a little tender but well on its way to being healed as well.
I can now think back and see how each situation I have encountered – although hard, painful, and sometimes scary – has helped re-shape me. I have come out on the other end stronger and bolder and trusting the Lord even more than before. For example, I now know that no matter what God is going to provide at least what I need to survive and sometimes bless me with even more – I don’t have to do anything other than trust Him and He will come through for me.
I know it is probably going to take my whole life – however long that is – but I now understand that if I lay still and let the Lord do His work on me, if I let Him lead me through what ever trials and heartaches it takes for me to understand His truths, one day I will have all these filthy rags removed and I will be clean and pure and clothed in His white robe.
Love, thank you for letting me understand. Thank you for letting me see that it is Your healing hands that are upon me. Thank you for all the work you have already accomplished within me and all the work you still have planned for me. Thank you for clearing out the old lies and replacing them with the truth. Thank you for your tenderness. Help me to submit to your work and go peacefully about my life. Help me to remember that your plans are to prosper me not to harm me, even when those plans hurt a little or seem hard. Clean me up love. I’m yours.