"If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy
But I don't have love, I'm nothing but a creaking of a rusty gate.
If I speak God's word with power, revealing His mysteries
And making everything plain as day
And if I say to a mountain jump and it jumps
But I don't love, I'm nothing.
If I give all I own to the poor
Or if I even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr
But I don't have love, I've gotten nowhere.
No matter what we say, no matter what we believe, no matter what we do. . .
We're bankrupt without love." (1 Cor. 13 - song: "The Proof of Your love.")
The three older boys are working hard this summer mowing lawns and odd jobs for whoever will let them. The little girls are busy coloring here at the table and I'm going to take this chance. I don't expect it will last long and so here goes. . . to write.
I find hope somehow in writing during this time in my life - hope, because days and nights mesh all together and all the snippets of God speaking get scrambled and I wonder, "I'm I moving forward or just staying still?"
And then it all kind of starts making sense as I write and I see what God is teaching me more clearly and I am challenged to LIVE what I know and not just collect it as knowledge that I am accountable to do something with -- but don't.
This past month it has become very clear to me that I need healing. That sounds kinda weird and pretty weak to type but I think recognizing my need is the first step to doing something about it. I've known it, known that there was emotional healing that needed to take place, but going about making it happen -- the time needed for that to take place? The extra energy?
How to? How to find that time, how to make the tears come that I know I needed to get out.
I'm not an emotional person, I'm not a crier. I'm not proud of that, it's just fact. I don't cry in movies, sad times, even when I wish I could shed a tear of compassion for another. I feel it on the inside but it seems to just remain bottled up there. Or just disappear.
I'm not sure if I was born that way or evolved into stoic-ness over time. Maybe I attached some sort of weakness to tears without realizing it. Truth is I just haven't seen purpose in them. More than that, I couldn't make them come even if I wanted the tears to fall.
I know, Jesus wept.
I've even asked God, "Help me weep. I need the release." I'm sure there have been times where others needed me to weep with them too, but I couldn't. About the only time I seemed to get close to dealing with this sort of emotion was in worship or with a song that just hit me right at my heart in the middle of the chaos around me. Typically while driving with the radio on. Bad time to get blurry eyed and so I quickly deal with those tears.
Somehow shove them back in.
Not that I want to develop into a basket case, but rather I am beginning to think that there could be something healing - something for me that is needed - in tears. Maybe even a flood of them. Though frequent tears might be better than a sudden dam breaking.
This past month God was gracious to allow partial cracks in the dam through some surprising contacts in my life. He uses the unexpected sometimes and all I can say is that I am very grateful. It revealed to me my further need for healing from past relationships in my life that have been complex.
That was a nice word to use: "complex."
Anyway. . .
Forgiveness had taken place in my heart, but I wrestled still with what God was calling me to do to be the proof of His love in my life . . . how do you show love in relationships where they don't feel loved unless you do things the way they want? How do you love in relationships where uniformity is the basis of what they feel is love and unity is based on that uniformity?
This past month God has made it clearer to me then ever before. What I felt as freedom in the past few years has developed into further freedom in my spirit, and confidence in the path He has led.
I have given in all too often to thinking what others think I should do or how I should act in certain situations is what I am to follow. I was reminded this past month that christianity is not a spectator sport. Nope, that is not the intent of christianity and it goes both ways - I'm not to be a spectator and I should not live shamed by other spectators.
It's basic, but excitingly I was shown once again that my life is in Him, what He says, how He views me.
Seems that is what this blog all began with and it is somewhat of a broken record by now. But that's okay. Maybe it's my theme. Maybe my whole life long I will fight to make Him my life. Everyday, starting again, making that decision to follow Him. I am content to take on that battle. I hope I never give up that fight. I'm sure if I ever think I've arrived then I have lost the battle all together. Losing sight of my need for Him would be my loss.
I find hope that the battle that I fight I've not given up fighting. Forgiveness and love are not defined by the ones demanding that I give it, they are defined by God's Word - and the Holy Spirit really is capable of guiding and leading and directing. . . freeing. Full healing for me has taken longer I think than maybe what it could have been and I believe it is because I have allowed others dictate to me what healing looks like.
This might not make a bit of sense to anyone who reads this but it makes sense to me. I'm encouraged with where God has led this past month. Wrestling is good. It's part of seeking and it's part of relationship, to understanding. Questioning God and others is not a bad thing - one might think, "Well, of course not. . ." But then you don't understand from where I've come or from whom I've been associated with in my life and why I would have ever thought questioning things was wrong.
All of this could almost be summed up simply in, "...The truth shall set you free..."
I am reminded that God uses those who recognize weakness, combined with a pure heart, motivated out of repentance and love for God.
I want to be used of Him - it's not the well, the strong, the "perfect" He came for. I don't want to fit in that category. Not that I remain in my weaknesses, but that out of His mercy I will have eyes to see so I can go to Him with my need and grow and be changed for His glory.
God takes the ordinary. Not superstars. The broken. Not the spiritually all "put together." The imperfect. Not showcase families, not showcase marriages. The real folks. Not the secret keepers who look shiny on the outside.
I'm quite certain that attempting to live a life that appears like the spiritual superstar is exhausting. Empty. Outward display with private turmoil. The truth of the underneath may never come to light in the public eye, but God is all that matters and what He knows, so. . . we reap. The gospel is not just words, or a lifestyle we want others to believe we live.
We live in a world where everyone has been marred, spoiled. Everyone stained by sin and there is nothing in this world that can remove sin from us but the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We cannot just put that on. It is a gift given to those who fully repent no matter the cost, flee secretive lives (for real when no one but God is around) and believe in God.
Rabbit trail writing happenin' here. . . somehow though each sentence connects for me.
I keep rethinking on something I wrote earlier because it's a huge thing I've lived through in many different elements of life: unity and uniformity. The teaching pastor at church brought this up Sunday and it was like I just got hung up on these words and couldn't let them go.
These words apply to just about all relationships. For example --
Ever been with someone and felt united? Ever been in a relationship (or church or group or family) where unity was based on whether you conformed, became "uniformed" to what they believed or did? Unity was based not on being one in Christ, or united in the purpose of loving God and others, but united on everyone becoming and believing like one another? Uniformality? Is that a word? Maybe not, but it works. Maybe we get caught up in it without realizing too. . .
Thinking we are all unified, when in actuality it's just become about everyone thinking alike - uniformity.
It's typically what we tell our children NOT TO DO - "don't just be like everyone else. . ." Yet, as parents are we really living this one out for them? What do our lives, our relationships, our church or groups we join show our children?
Sometimes these words unity and uniformity are just plain mixed up, but shouldn't be. Someone may say they want unity but in reality they want uniformity. Think marriage, family life. Think parenting - do I want unity, or really am I just after uniformity in my children? To be, to act, to think like me.
Or say, a discussion with hubby - I think I want unity, one-ness - but I really just want uniformity, him to be like me, think like me, live like me!
Think kids. As a mom we cry unity! NO arguing! No debate. I'm right, they're wrong. But in reality we want them all to just wear "uniforms" and march to our drum beat, or ah, violin piece - whatever. Our way. Our belief system. This is not unity. This is uniformity-parenting.
I've heard of couples who say they never "fight." Don't think unity here necessarily. Possible uniformity instead? Lack of individuality maybe? Control?
We see this in churches, in families, in marriages. Tooting the word unity, but a lot of times just demanding uniformity. Maybe not demanding it? Just rejecting those who don't conform.
I've been real convicted about this lately. In my finger pointing at those who walk around in churches or homeschooling groupies or families where uniformity is key for acceptance or "christ-likeness". . . I've seen it in my own life on a regular basis. I am getting excited about this revelation and how it effects family and marriage life.
I picture a family with unity, instead of uniformity. I get this feeling uniformity isn't a good thing, just like I've always told my children, "Don't go with the flow." I get this feeling we can make ourselves think we are after unity in our marriage or family, church, whatever - but in actuality we just want uniformity because that's more comfortable and we can find pride in that. We can make ourselves believe we have unity - but only be united in the things, have uniformity in the areas, that really aren't eternal at all.