Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Be careful what you wish for.

It was 2005 and I had been hood winked into attending a Beth Moore conference with my best friend. I had no idea who she was and her speaking style quickly had me zoning out.  But there I sat attempting to hear what God was saying to me through the noise.  By the end of the conference I knew that God wanted me to write a book and I was going to be a speaker like Beth Moore.  I was excited and a little fearful, but like the baby Christian I was, I charged ahead full steam.  I told everyone I knew in a vain attempt for accountability, and went home to start.  I pulled out a fresh journal, poised my pen, and nothing came out.  Day after day I would try until I just gave up.  I put the journal on the shelf and walked away.  Had I heard God wrong?

Fast forward to 2 months ago, when my pastor approached me about sharing some of my story during service.  I tentatively said yes.  With seven years under my belt of walking with God I knew opportunities like this didn’t come without pain.  But I trusted God and began to pray about what I would say.

But the series got delayed.  Phew, I just missed that bullet.  I stopped thinking about it altogether.  Until two weeks ago when my pastor approached me again.  This time I jumped at the chance.  I was in a place where I was ready to blast my church full of married couples with how hard it is to be single.  “Yeah, bring it on” I thought.  Then I opened his email and read through the list of questions he wanted me to ponder.  I was confused, they were all about change and contentment.  WHAT!!  I got hoodwinked again! 

When we sat down to talk about the questions he quickly brought up India.  My heart skipped a beat, I did not like where this was going.  I But I chose to step where the Spirit was leading.  I took about 5 minutes to sketch out some ideas, thinking I would just wing it on Sunday,  but my pastor wanted me to script it. 

I started to write, and the bottom of my world fell out.  My patterns punched me in the gut; the changing cities, states, jobs, homes, boyfriends, and friends.  My running away was why I was never happy with where I am.  Somewhere along the way I decided God wasn’t enough, so I searched for that thing, person, or place that would. 

As he gently revealed the truth to me I felt that gut wrenching self hatred and tried to turn from Him.  Instead I choose to just lay at the foot of the cross.  I begged and pleaded that He would change my mind.  I couldn’t possibly show my mess to my WHOLE church.  He whispered "but it is such a beautiful mess".

In the midst of dealing with this God hit me with a double whammy, my biggest fear; rejection.  Or in other words, my desperate need for approval from anyone but God.  I was sure my congregation would hear the truth and reject me and my mess.  Once again, I begged and pleaded that He wouldn’t make me do this, He just whispered "but what a beautiful mess"   He then reminded me of that day back in 2005, and I groaned. 

That day I had agreed to His dream merely for the acceptance I would receive from others.  Oh the accolade Beth must hear!  She must be happy.  But that wasn’t God’s dream, He intended for me to stand in front of my church family, with my raw open gaping wound, and show them what I am discovering about contentment.

I didn't want to.  But I took that stage Sunday and God was glorified through my beautiful mess.  And the only thing that mattered in that moment was that I am His Beloved.

Follow the link below if you want to hear what I had to say. (It is the 6/17 sermon and I start talking about 20:30.  Though the whole sermon is wonderful!)

Friday, June 15, 2012

The beast

I have struggled with depression for a long time, coming in and out of it repeatedly.  I try desperately to explain it to those who don’t know to no avail.  After surfacing from my last bought this mental image came to mind. 

“I see it rolling over the hills.  The storm is brewing on the horizon.  I brace myself the storm engulfs me in its dark murky mists.  In fear I cry out for God to deliver me.  Silence echoes as I loose my focus on the Light.  I cry out to friends for help, we do battle, we pray, I seek God’s face and slowly the light begins to return.  I stand believing this onslaught is over;  but the clouds never left.  I feel lighter and believe the war is over, the beast has fallen.

But he waits, lulling me to sleep with his light gray clouds.  As each day passes the clouds grow darker, but I have lost my focus so I don’t see.  The lies start slowly and I easily brush them off, but their weight presses more and more on my heart each day.  I ignore its presence, confident my focus is clear.

He grabs me, sinking his talons into the fat of my back.  Panicking I struggle, but I have let him get to close.  I attempt to regain my focus to find the light, but the lies overtake me.  He pushes me into the pit, taking his first bite out my hope.  He returns daily and feasts lavishly on my hope, until I no longer remember truth.  In the dark, I couldn’t focus if I wanted.  Hopelessness and self pity become my nourishment.  I have lost my will to survive.  The beast laughs as he leaves me to rot in the pit, nothing left of me for him to eat.  Those who love me surround the pit but  nothing reaches my ears.  The light begins to descend the pit and I hide out of desperation, believing He will never accept me.  As the light reaches my eyes, truth begins to beat from my heart and my eyes begin to clear.  The light pushes me out of the pit and deposits me on safe ground.  I rejoice I have found my focus once again, and I can clearly see the Light.  I have survived, but I can feel the beast; lurking, planning and waiting.  He knows all it takes is one day.”