Perception. So subjective. So inacurate. So misleading.
My last post probably left you thinking I've gone off and hurled myself into some deep mountain crevasse. I'd love to be deep in the mountains right now, but not lying in a crumpled heap sprinkled with scree. Jesus doesn't like it when we take our life/death timing into our own hands. I promise you all, that's not an option for me. Ever. Hope does exist in this litterbox of a world. Faith is what carries us when we dig and dig and can't find it.
Anyway, God's been revealing things to me. Spooky, huh?
I haven't heard any voices in babbling streams or wind-tossed trees (yes, I have been hiking to get away from the 'noise' of Denver), but I have been reading words of truth. Everywhere I turn, I read/hear words that speak directly to my heart and situation. It's creeping me out.
The day after I wrote my last post, Beth Moore rocked my world even more. I even dialed my mom b/c lesson 5, week 5 seemed to have been written for me.
I thought the previous lesson on betrayal was enlightening. It helped me figure out what I was feeling. Lesson 5 blasted all the soil off the roots of my pain leaving them exposed. "Hearts broken by loss". I've lost a lot. So much, I didn't think anyone, anywhere could possibly understand. I've done hundreds of Bible studies, but not one has affected me in such a powerful way. Beth shares her losses. One after another, after another, after another. Like Job. Like me. No breathing room. In fact, she admits she's still healing from some of them!
Tears splashed onto the page smearing the vibrant orange highlighter marks. I found someone whose been on this road. Maybe even more painful than mine. She spoke to the raw places. She focused on the pains in my heart. She knows. She's experienced them. She's also allowed Jesus to do his thing. I've been mad at him. I've kept him at arm's distance.
By the end of the lesson I realized the TRUTH of my mental/spiritual bondage - I'm stuck in the grief cycle. I got hung up on anger years ago and never moved on. I've let circumstance feed the anger, fanning the flames higher and higher until they consumed me. Destroying me.
The scripture given was John 11:1-44. It's about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Take time and read it.
The freaky thing is, I've read this a gazillion times. Made popsicle stick mummies in Sunday School as a kid to play act, "Lazarus, come out!"
Never before had I focused on what Jesus did and said before he brought the poor man back to life.
Jesus knew his buddy was gonna die. He knew Mary and Martha would be beside themselves with grief. He knew they'd be horked off at him.
Jesus didn't keep his motives hidden. He was overt. Verse 4: This will be an occasion to show God's glory, Verse 15: You're about to be given new grounds for believing. (From the Message)
You see, it was about The Big Plan. Lazarus had to die. Mary and Martha had to grieve, so Jesus could perform the mother of all miracles - and foreshadow his own death and resurrection.
This is where Jesus identifies himself as the Resurrection and the Life. Without death, he can't resurrect.
Back to Beth. I'm just gonna throw some quotes out. They speak for themselves. Let them hit you as they hit me.
"Christ never allows the hearts of His own to be shattered without excellent reasons and eternal purposes."
"Any kind of 'death' is an invitation to resurrection life to the believer."
"Joy and effectiveness may seem to pause for a while as grief takes its course, but those who allow their broken hearts to be bound by Christ will experience them again."
"When our hearts have been shattered by loss, we hyyave an opportunity to welcome a supernatural power to our lives."
"Perhaps the most profound miracle of all is liing through something we thought would kill us. And not just living, but living abundantly and effectively - raised from living death to a new life."
"When our hearts are hemorrhaging with grief and loss, never forget that Christ binds and compresses it with a nail-scarred hand."
It hit me that my losses happened so Jesus could do his thing. I haven't let him. I've been mad. My losses/needs are great - beyond human repair. God knows that. I need to step away from the "poop" and let Jesus scoop it up with his scarred hands.
Beth wasn't the only one who honed in on my hurt over the weekend. Writer's Digest, had some quotes about perseverence. I've been seriously thinking about giving up on the whole writing thing.
"I know so many writers who are a hundred times better than me and have longer, greater ideas than mine, but they gave up; they stopped. The biggest talkent you can have is determination." Chuck Palahniuk Fight Club author
"The writers who succeed are the ones who refuse to buckle under the failures that are heaped upon them; who reject the notion that they aren't as mediocre as industry professionals say they are." Jodi Picoult, NYT Bestselling author
One more thing - on Sunday, a special music was done "Voice of Truth" by Casting Crowns. I've heard this song hundreds of times on the radio. For some reason, on Sunday, I felt I'd never heard the lyrics. Here are some below
Oh,what I would do
To have the kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I'm in
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown
Where Jesus is,
And he's holding out his hand
But the waves are calling out my name
and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
time and time again
"Boy, you'll never win,
you'll never win."
But the voice of truth tells me a different story
the voice of truth says "do not be afraid!"
and the voice of truth says "this is for my glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth
- Casting Crowns, Facing the Giants
For decades I've been listening to the wrong voice. I know that now. Really, really know it now. So, out of all the voices calling out to me I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth.