Saturday, October 25, 2014


I have been laid bare, stripped away of all that was me.

Before what has happened and after what has been wrought are the remains of who I was and the life I was stepping glibly through.

I shouldered my burden of childhood and carried it high and proud on my back. I used its weight to propel me forward, and it's weight reminded me in many ways and in every conversation that I would never go back there.

I was who I chose to be. I was a woman immersed in a life I created. I was loved and I loved in returned. I served and I loved to serve.

And between the then me and the now me lies a shriveling of self, a backstep into who I never wanted to repossess. The hard edged, hard worded person I had left long ago.

The battle with circumstance has poisoned the sweetness of faith I worked so hard to wrap around my heart.

Have you ever been thirsty? So thirsty you would drink anything, anything, to remove the desperate calling of your body for replenishment? And have you ever taken that first sip and realized the water was bitter? Tainted?

But you drink anyway. Because you thirst. 

And this water makes you sick. But still, you are thirsty, so you still drink. And soon the sickness and the bitterness become like nothing. You no longer taste or realize how sick you have become. 

That's how the world, and life, and hurt, can turn your once cared for garden of a soul into a stumbling block of stony field.

It's not an overnight process, but a moment by moment slip and allowance of outside forces to become more important than the truth you know. 

And here is the Truth:

God is bigger than life. That He is and always will be working for your good. That our troubles here, in this plane, create in us a deeper need for Him and a calling home to where we are destined. 

Every tear is counted and every moment we spend in pain or in fear can create a carved path for our feet to tread to the cross.

Or it can lower us into a state of perpetual wrath, of giving over to thoughts of only wrongs and betrayals. It can lower our vision into only seeing the turned back of friends instead of the open arms of our Savior. 

Bitterness is sadness and anger given root and wings. It is savage in its spread and unretreating in its repetitive thought patterns. 

It has hooks and claws. But it is also a slow moving monster, and it has had me without me knowing.

In the tossing storm of the past few months my eyeline has shifted. It has moved from heaven to the horizon. It has turned from caring about God's idea of who I am to who everyone else thinks I am.

I am a bitter Christian with a loving God. One who is faithful even when I am not. One who loves me and wants to give safe haven when the world is storm tossed. 

Hebrews 12:14-15 

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled. 

Defiled. It's such an intimidating word, but important. Because defiled is what your mind becomes when you allow your circumstances and your situation to outshine the knowledge that God is sovereign. That He is awake to all things, even when you are asleep. That when you rage and cry and scream and wail He is still in control. 

I lost my way in this. I allowed my life to become bigger than my God. I let my troubles become much much bigger than what I know to be true.

I don't like to give evil a lot of credit. I tend to try to ignore the fact that there is a force other than the One I love and live for in this world. But I can see, step by step, how insidious and easy it is to get a foothold in my thoughts. And once it is there how moment by moment it creeps and finds other thoughts to feed on.

1 Peter 5:8 

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

In praying to God to change my circumstances and repair the broken things, I never prayed to guard my thoughts. 

Bitterness works it's way in the dark. It twists the actions of others through a lens of fear and hurt, so that everything becomes personal. It makes the innocuous hurtful and casts doubt upon every action others take. 

It twists the victor into a victim, and the hopeful into a wretch.

And I'm weary of being hopeless.

I have an amazing, vibrant, loving God. He has given me more than the world could ever take away from me. 

I'm stepping into a new life, one that is much barer of those I thought would be here for the journey. It's much quieter, and filled with confusion and hurt. 

But it is also filled with the symphony of my husbands voice, my children's calling and singing and laughing. It is filled with God's grace and His open arms and his word that speaks of home and life.

It is filled with all that can edge the bitterness away, push the stony ground beneath the cover of life that can regrow even in the barren places. 

It is filled with Him. 

Colossians 3:12-14 

Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.