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January. Hello, Goodbye.

It is hard to believe the first month of Twenty-Eleven is almost over. I really didn’t intend to take a break from blogging, in fact I intended to post more, but life has that silly little way of becoming very full and overwhelming whether or not you’re intending anything. I have a tendency to try to make my plate into a platter. I will multi-task all day long in order to feel productive but often I just do for the sake of doing and miss out in fruitful joy. I get easily irked when things don’t get done at the rate/schedule/plan/necessity I feel they should be accomplished at. At the same time I’m a great procrastinator and am easily distracted. Getting sick this last year and blowing my adrenal glands really showed me how severe the ill effects of letting external stress rule your life and inevitably catch up to take their toll. It steals from you, takes, leaving you depleted, empty, kicks you when your down and reinforces weakness and fear of failure in your propensity to seek worth in the performance of accomplishment and stuff. I’ve been too far down that road; I don’t have any desire to be there again and have made physically and spiritually huge strides away from there. But this month I began feeling the physical affects once again of having no adrenal gland reserves, little ability to handle and weather the normal spikes in stresses life brings. The heat is turned up and I have little left to push through with. And all the more I see my folly, my shortcomings and my mis-aligned desires to put my head down and forge ahead by my own strength, on my own agenda, my own ambition, my selfishness, for my own glory. I hate that. Hate that thing growing in me that rears it’s ugly head so quickly and naturally. It leaves me defeated, enslaved and hurt. I can now see it for what it is. And I see the grace that so quickly flows in to cover me. Like a cracked egg- it’s not so much about putting the egg back together, but about grace and mercy and love flowing in to fill the cracks, bonding the fragments. That’s what Jesus does. Sin sucks. It needs to be put to death, not just put up with or tolerated or minimized. Sure, a lot of external and physical stuff can be both improved on or even not controllable at all. But it’s the response to the external heat which bears far more importance. It says either I trust and believe I am cared for even through suffering and equipped with the portion of grace to persevere even when I stumble, or I grumble and bear the suffering out of a bitter heart in which I enslave myself to the situation, lamenting in it’s unfairness and hurt.

This morning my eyes and snot-stained pillow bear witness to a very late night of blubbery sobbing. The breaking of my sin, digging up the heaps of crap buried under years of regret and keeping old feelings in darkness, the putting it to death of emotional tendencies clenched in stone-cold hands used as weapons against the one I love and am supposed to be one with, having my wickedness and hurtful actions exposed– it’s painful. But it’s also joyful. Joyful because even though I’d really rather not feel the sting of my wretchedness, would rather be defensive and accusational and protect myself- there would be no victory apart from allowing Jesus to bear the full weight of what I have done. It would still be there, lurking, stewing and driving a wedge in this relationship. I WANT it to be gone, to be completely taken away. I WANT freedom from my identity in that, from the dark stains and pain it smears all over me and him. There is no possibility of that apart from the finished work of Christ on the cross, regardless of how we deceive ourselves there might be alternatives (like moving on, or water under the bridge, or self-actualizing into a better person, or getting over it, or working off karma by doing some ‘good’ stuff, or any other crap like that). The hurt is real. The feelings are valid. They won’t go away and will continue to fester if undealt with. I can’t do anything to escape it for myself. I can’t make the past not affect the present. Apart from Christ I’m stuck and drowning and incapable. It’s a miracle to be transformed and be freed to grow in intimacy that is otherwise impossible when ensnared in the inescapable, perpetual cycle of sin and hurt in relationships. So despite the suffering of last night’s intensity, his mercies are new each morning. He does all the work, we simply have the opportunity to now walk in faith he has taken the burden and demonstrated his faithfulness to us by filling us with more of himself. This morning was the first morning in about a month I have been able to get out of bed when Matt got up and the fatigue has not been so paralyzing I’m physically unable to move or be conscious enough to wake up until at least 9:30am regardless of the time we went to bed. (See? Having Adrenal Glands producing the correct amount of hormones are important.) It’s a small victory, but it’s God’s, as there is no way I can muster up enough energy to claim any part in being able to do that for myself. I’ll take the swollen eyes today and praise him for the work he did in me last night. He turns even agony into his glory.

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{I really love this image on the left. It’s magically imperfect- not quite in focus, a bit off center. But emotionally it tugs at something– something magical about waking up to a snow day, the residue of making a snow angel stuck to her hat simply epitomizes that childhood fun}

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