I have graduated from blubbering uncontrollably out of fear when I pray, begging God to have mercy and kindness when it comes to teaching me, to blubbering out of a grateful heart — smile and all. Yay me!
I have recently uncovered a few lies about God that I have been living with, which has led to this new style of blubbering. Go figure.
(Blubbering: aka shameless-ugly-crying. Usually involves rocking back and forth and lots of tissues. Good times.)
Like the one where I believed that He was going to make me go through something hard in order to teach me a lesson.
There’s always a wee bit of truth in the lies that the enemy spins; he just puts a hard twist on it to try to get us in a downward spiral. Yes, God uses hard things to grow us, stretch us, love us into more… But not to torment us.
And I’ve been jumping on this particular ride of twists from the enemy for quite a few years. (If you’ve ever seen or heard me on a rollercoaster, you’ll understand the torment for me.) I’m pretty sure I can trace the origin of this lie to 2005, where I was listening to a message from some preacher reminding us about counting it all joy in the midst of our trials. And how God will bring us growth, closer to Him, the whole shebang.
And all I translated was: oh shit.
This meant something bad was going to happen to my youngest because I still haven’t got the whole God-thing figured out yet, and since Mando somehow missed the train wreck by being the first born, Ruby was just naturally (what?!) next in line for something hard to deal with since her older brother was dead and her sister Hannah had special needs.
Keep in mind that I was in the midst of learning some pretty wonderful things about God by this point. My husband had moved out the previous Christmas, I fell apart (finally!) and I began to experience the presence of God in a very real, very tangible, very humbling way. Blew me away, really.
I had no idea that I could experience the Living God this way. That He got a kick out of me, of all people, and was dying for a relationship with me. Such a bizarre notion, yet I was desperate to know more. He showed up in ways that continuously proved His presence; something I would read that would coincide with something someone would say to me the same day that was exactly what I needed. Providing financially when there was nothing, and I mean nothing, to glean from. Providing jobs I needed. Changing a situation. Giving me a sense of peace in the middle of something crazy. It was very personal, very emotional, and very true to me.
But this little lie hovered over everything. And I let it, because, you know: God is God and if He thinks I need a lesson then I guess it was His prerogative. I’d just have occasional meltdowns thats all. Like those shelter dogs shaking in the corner of the pen, afraid to come near the hand thats feeding them in case it strikes.
I believed that all the hard things I had experienced so far in my life were directly from Him. Sure, I made choices, but… it was God’s fault. Wasn’t it?
So, over the last few years I find it interesting that one of the things He’s been drilling into me is to try to uncover Who He IS. Taking me through the Old Testament to discover how He really felt about His people and giving me a glimpse of His loving, merciful heart. Honest, its there!
And then let me experience His words coursing through my mind and my soul as I learned to meditate on His promises… revealing Himself to me through Jesus as I read His words and those of His disciples in the New Testament. I began to understand that if the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, and self-control then perhaps-maybe-kinda-sorta God might BE all those things.
And then this week something crazy happened to me.
Through a series of recent events He has let me know that something very particular that He promised me a few years ago will be finally coming to fruition.
As you can well imagine, I freaked out a tad. I sent my sis-in-law a video of me yelling as I explained to her all the things leading up to this point, and she had the audacity to agree with me that it looks like God is telling me something’s up… Oh my heart.
Because, you know, I was doubting. That’s just normal, right? Surely Moses and Noah and Joseph and everybody doubted once or twice, right? Right?
So. I did what I typically do when God does something nice for me. I immediately assumed that there’s a catch. A twist. A “yeah, look at what I’m gonna do for you, but either you’re gonna owe me, or its not going to be as good as you hope it to be...”
Then I did the begging thing. With the fear-blubbering. There was just so much torment.
And my Mom shed some light on the darkness for me. (thanks Mom!)
She said: “You grew up with a good father. Would he treat you like that? Would he torment you in order to teach you? Did he ever? And would he cause you this much anxiety when he had promised you something wonderful?”
So I told God about this new revelation, as if He didn’t know, and I said I was sorry. Asked Him to take it away and fill it with His truth.
He has flooded me with understanding of the lengths He will go to to bring us joy. Fullness. Even in the midst of trials, hard things, painful things — He will be there to bring us out and walk with us to experience His rich and full life within us.
With all the lovejoypeacepatiencekindnessgoodnessgentlenessandselfcontrol we can handle.
If. We. Let. Him.
Thats the only caveat.
One of the things that has continued to jump out at me in the Old Testament is how God always redeemed His people when they screwed up. Sometimes took forever, but He always did it. And what blasts me in the face each time I read this stuff is how He says: it’s not because you deserve it. Its because of me. I am good. I want to. You are mine, and I will lavish you with all this because You Are Mine.
He’s kind of bad-ass, eh? I like that.
And every single day this week He has showed up in multiple ways to assure me that I’m not nuts.
To remind me that He’s doing this because HE is good. And that He loves me. Because HE is good. And wants me to experience joy that blows my mind.
Good grief, I can’t even.
Maybe someday, long after it happens, and my heart rate has been restored, I’ll tell you about it.
In the meantime, I double-dog-dare you to investigate who you think God is compared to who He really is.
And who He wants to be for you today.
He’s a good, good Father.