Rescue and redemption are costly.
God intends for them to be inseparable although we often seek one without the other. I believe it’s why Jesus asked “what do you want me to do for you?” We think we need healing–He knows we need HOLY even more. He also knows
I ought to know… because I used to be…
I’ve been thinking about this for a while. Of the examples found throughout the Bible — two immediately come to mind.
There’s the fairly well-known account of the woman at the well. That woman, with a reputation as bad and long as the string of men trailing behind her, creeps through the heat of day to fetch water for her family and the man she’s shackin’ up with.
And Jesus is waiting for her.
So many wonderful moments grace this story and we’ve heard many of them taught before. But here’s what I want to know:
after meeting Jesus and her life was changed, after leaving her water pot and calling the entire village to come see the “man who told her all she had done and who had to be the Messiah!”, after Jesus stayed with them 2 days and many were saved… what happened on day three?
Did she marry?
Did her neighbors treat her differently?
Did they swap Pinterest boards and were her children invited to their birthday parties?
Did she go along with the women as they fetched water from the well that day?
Human nature tells me that possibly a certain level of loneliness remained present in her life. Some possibly couldn’t see her any other way. Of course, I really don’t know.
I do know there’s another story of healing and redemption — that crazy man, naked and raging at the tombs, after being healed and found dressed and in his right mind– even HE wanted to go with Jesus rather than go back home. Why? Because he knew his people might never fully see him now beyond the shadow of who he once was.
Honestly, this post isn’t where I’ d planned to go “next”. But God won’t let me walk away from this thought: if I’m to truly show myself to be “Jesus with skin on” then I must be willing to show my skin–the wounds, burns, scars–all of it. I need to continue this path of transparency and authenticity for His sake and glory, by showing my self and life to be what it truly is:
Y’all, I tried.
I envisioned what it might be like to be a mommy blogger, crafter of my nest and diva of delightful delicacies– from my kitchen to yours. I mean, I do all these things in my own way and I could easily share in those places. I can be light-hearted and funny too, darn it!
So, I pressed against God asking for some direction besides these deep, sometimes heavy places and well, He’s just impressing me back with peace and love that this is my obedience.
There are many…oh so many things I may eventually share here. Because I’ve watched with the eyes of my heart and I’m seeing we’re not all that different on the inside. Our “guts” are the same even if many other things are different. Inside we feel and need mostly the same things even if we don’t express or understand them the same way.
We need love. We need acceptance and I believe we spend most or part of our lives walking through the hazy “valley of the shadow of death”… quite often afraid….of something.
Eleanor Roosevelt is credited with saying, “a woman is like a teabag, you can’t tell how strong she is until she’s in hot water.” I guess that makes me strong in the sense I’ve been “steeping” most of my life. It hasn’t all been hell, but it’s sure been hot sometimes!
At one time, I’d be really upset for anyone to know the things I’ve been sharing in this space. Again, that’s a manifestation of fear… which is daily being perfectly cast out by the perfect love of Jesus Christ. Giving me very little reason to hide, shy away or…lie.
A few years back…before these epiphanies began dawning in rapid succession in my life, I walked in and out of a personal darkness. I wasn’t a horribly bad person…I just wasn’t wholly good, which makes me just like anyone else ,
I was also heavily involved in church, loving it and at the “top of my game” so to speak. I’ve talked about that before– my rise and fall and the “wilderness” training leading to now. We’d started a program –a good one called Celebrate Recovery and I was looped in to the leadership team to counsel women. As part of the training, everyone went through the book, participating and becoming familiar with the program for when “they” came.
You know, “they”: the broken, the addicts, the abused and the abusers. Those who needed help and we’d be the guides and walking them through to Jesus and healing.
I thought I was prepared.
See, I’d already done a lot of this sort of “work” in my life. Believing that understanding my past, the abuse and the resulting behaviors, was akin to the healing–if I could talk about it as if I was on the “outside” looking in, then it was because I’d dealt with it and was beyond it.
Wrong. I had no idea what sort of festering wounds lay beneath the surface of my superficially-healed scars. I honestly couldn’t look at my life and see the manifestations of a woman on the verge of self destruction. Denial and manipulation had become so much a part of my personality that it was nearly indistinguishable from any other character traits. What’s funny is, many of the people around me–in the church–behaved the same way. I thought I was ok.
I knew I had a problem but honestly didn’t know how to get help. Long ago I’d tried and met with so much discomfort on the other end that asking for help became more taboo than trying to hide it….when I could.
Although few could confess to my issue, Celebrate was a space where I was finally safe to speak it aloud:
I had an anger management problem.
In short..inside, I was one angry mutha.
It was an anger based in fear and frustration, rooted in abuse and abandonment stemming from a hard life filled with more questions than answers and very few people I could trust. I’d have “episodes”, now funny to my kids and husband, which cause me to cringe at the memory of my foot-stomping, door-slamming, screaming, frozen hot dog and fit pitching self.
Hormones, lack of help and bad hair days frustrated me to the point of spontaneous combustion, melting me into a heap leaving me feeling like there was no place to recover my dignity, my sanity… my reputation in the eyes of my family.
I was so ashamed.
It wasn’t easy to talk about it. I don’t mean to offend but, in some ways, I’d rather have confessed a substance or alcohol addiction, gambling, etc. There’s sympathy and programs, 10-steps and love, love, love. Lot’s of group hugs and understanding.
But just mention the phrase “anger problem” and I’d watch eyes shift towards the easiest route of escape…a backwards step and change in tone as if I’d lunge at any moment!
Of course, anger wasn’t the issue; it was a symptom of those deeper issues same as alcoholism, substance abuse, eating disorders, etc. The “guts” are the same.
Confession helped..but God healed. I sought the rescue which could only come after releasing myself completely to God without reservation and in that repentance, I was restored.
I still struggle occasionally with fear, anxiety and self-control. But my responses are so radically different that I can almost outwardly watch myself deal with an issue and be inwardly amazed at the same time by the difference.
I am a new creation, daily embracing the truth and
walking away from the enemy’s two BIG lies:
- Did God really say?
- It’s too late.
Where you imagine you misheard the truth of God’s love and healing promises and how they really do apply to your life, your heart and situation NOW. Or, if you make it past that one, you might be tempted to despair, believing it’s too late to make a difference in your life or relationships now. Ask the thief on the cross what that’s all about.
Because God really DID say and it’s NOT too late!
Y’all, God is restoring things on so many levels in my life and while the clock can’t be turned back, reset or paused– our God who powerfully exists OUTSIDE of time has wasted no time in mending the breaches of my fractured life.
I’ve just returned from a weekend spent with my engaged daughter who’s graduating soon. Already there are deep veins of new life flowing between us in ways neither of us imagined were possible. It’s so good!
So, I don’t know where you are in your journey. Maybe you’re caught between a rock and a hard place or “one step away from a bad decision”. Or one step too far.
It’s one step back too.
I’m saying…hold on. Talk it out. DO NOT BE AFRAID… Jesus is near and the healing is yours–one day at a time. Please don’t stand there alone– come inside and let’s talk.
While I wait, I’ll be checking out my Pinterest board for something fabulous to cook for dinner tonight and I’ve got some crafting to do for this upcoming wedding! Because you know, I’m fun like that. You are loved; don’t forget it.