My life has been tipped upside down. There are traces of the life I had hoped to have, but it looks nothing like I have imagined. Life has been hard. Between struggling in my relationship with Mark, there has been chronic sickness and my rebellious self to get through. It feels as if we have tackled Goliath, stood in the fiery furnace, faced Egyptians, built an ark and faced an angry king all at one time. God has kept us on our feet and continued to walk us through the dark path we are walking on. The only time our path has light is when we have stuck close to Jesus’ side. When we have attempted it on our own, our path instantly went dark, and my heart was plagued by anger and bitterness. Every time we have strayed from our path and thought we were lost, Jesus has found us and made our paths straight again.
I often have an image in my head. I am standing at a crossroads there are only two roads to choose from, and instead of walking on one, I sit down and do nothing. One path walks towards Christ and the other away from him. In my Christianese mind, I had chosen to sit down because I didn’t like either of my options. What I did was choose my own way.
Perhaps I was in the grieving process, and it is all part of being in the refining process. Whatever it was, I was angry and bitter. Angry because Mark is sick. Angry because it means we may lose our home, he doesn’t have the energy to play with our kids, work a normal w-2 full-time position, chores like mowing and shoveling often get put on my shoulders. I do not have a hard time mentally dealing with his illness. I have a hard time with all of the daily tasks that still have to be done because he is sick.
My world is out of my control, and I do not like it one bit. I stomp my small foot and raise my fist shouting I have worked my bottom off, and it is still not enough. I have strived to love my family, and it is still not enough. When all is said and done, I am not enough. Nope, I’m not. This is the exact painful place my Abba wants me to be. This place of pain, embarrassment, shame, and ick.
I am bubbly, happy, naturally my family and friend’s ally, encourager, and problem solver. It brings me joy to see a problem then roll up my sleeves and jump right on in to tackle the issue. I love watching other’s lives be a little easier because of something Jesus was able to do through me.
Over this last year an angry, bitter, fouled mouth, and a nasty woman was put in my place. I was a person not even I want to get to know. It grieves my heart to say I had lost my compassion and I hate the angry thoughts that surfaced from my heart. Scripture says hope deferred makes the heart sick and in my case, my hope caused putrid, disgusting, poopy toilet water kind of nastiness.
The heat of the furnace has finally turned up, and God is going for purity because he loves me too much to leave me as I am. He is a kind father and knows how to whisper to my stubborn, angry, toddler heart. He knows it hurts so badly. He also knows I could choose to walk away from him. This is a choice he has lovingly given to me. He won’t beg me, but he will ask over and over and over again. He will always come and find me, sit down beside me and ask.
Music shapes my thinking and emotions. It is a powerful, helpful, encouraging weapon, but it can also be a destructive weapon. It will flood me with peace, joy, love or it will dig up anger, bitterness, jealousy and a whole host of other foul sewer water junk.
I recently heard a song Lost Boy by Ruth B., and I loved it. I listened to it over and over trying to digest the lyrics. I wondered why I was mesmerized by it.
“I am a lost boy from Neverland
Usually hanging out with Peter Pan
And when we’re bored we play in the woods
Always on the run from Captain Hook
Run, run lost boy, they say to me
Away from all of reality
Neverland is home to lost boys like me
And lost boys like me are free”
As I was listening and singing along. I began to ponder those last lyrics. “Neverland is home to lost boys (or girls in my case) And lost boys like me are free. I’m free because I put up walls and say nothing will hurt me. I lash out first, so I am not hurt first. It’s easier to prevent a fire than put one out. Then I heard a small voice in my head, the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to my soul. The Holy Spirit said, but you’re not lost. You don’t have to run. Stop running and be still.
I was startled when the Holy Spirit reminded me that I am not lost. It was as if someone flicked me when I had been daydreaming but I should have been paying attention. It took a little bit for me to absorb this truth. Then it warmed my soul slowly like when the sun comes up at the break of dawn. Hope rises as the sun sheds light on the earth. I am not lost, I am found. I am a new creation. I have a hope and a future. I have a God who is always faithful and always fighting for me.
In my quiet times I soak up this truth, but then I step out into the world as a wife, mom, daughter, friend, co-worker and have to interact with a hurting world. How does one not instantly grow bitter and foul-hearted? One day I was praying while driving around town. I was asking the Lord to give me joy. One of the things God brought to my mind was how Jesus stuck to his core. It did not matter what someone said to him, did to him, or what others did. He focused on what was his to do and kept at it, no matter what. My favorite old saying came to mind. I found it in a thrift store for $1.99. It says “Choose Joy.”
In the middle of life, when I step away from my quiet time and I have to interact with a crazy world. I remember I am not lost. God knows where I am. When I lose my way, he will always come and find me and redirect my steps. He will dust me off, and I will again continue to take baby steps. After all, even baby steps keep me going forward.