Monday, August 11, 2014

But Rejoicing Comes in the Morning

The other day a group or friends and I were discussing a person who went through the loss of a parent. She hadn't given herself any time to grieve her loss and her behavior changed. She became hard and inflexible and difficult to deal with. All because she didn't let herself grieve.

Honestly, I don't enjoy grieving, but it is necessary. Not grieving means all sorts of bad things: avoiding reality, hardness, building walls of protection, and missing out on things. I also don't like any of those things, so why not just let myself grieve when I need to? I did mention that I don't like grieving.

Of course, another reason might be that sometimes I don't even know that I need to. I have avoided it for so long that I become numb to what I need to grieve that I just forget about it. How does that seem possible? Well, because I am really good at ignoring things, so that makes it possible. 

Yesterday I knew there was something from my past that I needed to grieve. Something that shaped a lot of my adult life. Something that helped me hid the real me so I could avoid certain relationships. Something that needed to be grieved. But I didn't want to grieve it. I decided that I would give myself time to grieve when I went to bed. So I stayed up later and was too tired at bedtime. Did I mention I am really good at ignoring things?!

This morning I woke up and I knew that I couldn't put it off. I knew that grieving this would bring me one step closer to a healing in my life that I truly long for. This healing is much more valuable to me than keeping a hold on this grief. I picked up my journal and began to write. Soon the tears came and I had to put the pen down. I continued to talk aloud about what I was grieving over and what it had stolen from me, what I had guard myself from. Once I was able to write again I continued to journal about my grief. 

As I did a thought struck me: God never said don't grieve. He tells us to be anxious for nothing, to not fear, to be strong and courageous. He doesn't say don't grieve. Actually He tells us that joy comes in the morning for those who grieve. He tells us there is a season for grieving. He blesses those who grieve and tells us they will be comforted. 

He understands grief. There has been more than one time when He has said to me, "now you understand a little of how I feel." Once when my Chester cat had gotten out and was missing for two months, I heard the Lord say to me, "now you understand how I feel when just one of my children runs away from me." I was grieving! God was telling me that He grieves!

So what is the result of the grieving I did this morning? Well, I acknowledged the truth of how much it hurt. I acknowledged what it cost me, how it made me not trust. It made me acknowledge that I do not wish to continue to live my life based on a hurt from so long ago. I want to trust others and myself. I want to have the kind of relationship that it made me terrified to actually have. I wanted to walk in freedom and not let the anchor of this keep me stuck. I realized that it is okay to grieve. Healthy to grieve. Necessary to grieve. And expectant for the joy that comes in the morning.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

When You Walk Through Fire You Shall Not Be Burned

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
Isaiah 43:2

The last year this verse has been my experience. August 2013 began with a prayer that I thought would bring freedom and healing. Little did I know it would be accomplished through some trying experiences. There were times that I thought the emotions I was experiencing would overwhelm me. There were times of such anxiety that I felt incredible physical pain. I felt like I was being consumed. 

Parts of my past resurfaced and had to be dealt with. Things I hadn't thought about in twenty years came up and I had to face them. Then I had to give them to the Healer and go through the process of having my heart healed. Honestly, so many things from around the same time period surfaced that it was overwhelming at times. As I look back now, I can see how many of those events, that time in my life, helped changed me from a bubbly child to a quieter person. People who know me now, who didn't know me as a child, might find it hard to believe that I used to get "talks too much" on my report cards. I had a lot to say! ;)

There were time over the last year, when I thought it would be easier to just have God take me home than to continue to go through the process. Yet, I also knew that on the other side there would be something so much better than anything I have had to this point. As July started I'll admit I was really starting to hope that this was just a year-long process. I longed for August 2014 and the hopeful end to this healing process. It might be too early to say this, but I feel that I have come through it.

About a week ago I was talking with someone about one of the hard things I had come through, and how differently I had dealt with it, with my feelings. As I finished sharing with her the lines from Isaiah 43:2 went through my mind. No sooner had I thought them, then she was quoting them. I smiled because I felt God was confirming that I have indeed come through the river and the fire, that I was on the other side. Maybe it's too soon to think that this year-long process is over, but since then I have felt an in-explainable peace. A calm, a joy has filled me. 

Do I think that there will be no more testings, no more healing processes? Of course not. I know that as long as I live there will be more healing processes, more parts of my heart that need to be removed so I can become more like Christ. But for right now I feel that I am in a time, even if it's brief, of being on the mountain top with the wonderful wind whipping through my hair.