It has been exactly 30 days since my last post.
The same reason we always give … life. No but really, it WAS life. The thing is, I know better than to let it pull me away from my faith. I am no stranger to trials and storms; I have been walking through them almost continuously for 18 years now. But I let it happen yet again. My family experienced some traumatic events and I did the opposite of what my heart needed, what my soul longed for, and what my mind required.
I isolated myself. I stopped studying. I stopped going to service. I stopped writing and taking time to engage in the things I adore. I stopped investing in my relationship with God. I stopped connecting with others. A simple way to say it is that I lost myself. My circumstances and situations overwhelmed me and I felt like I was drowning. Deep inside I know that Jesus is the Living Water, he is where I need to turn when my well is running dry. In all honesty, he is where I need to turn even when my well appears full. But there is one thing that keeps slapping me in the face over and over, and this was a result of it … I’m human. It is not an excuse, it is a fact.
I’ve done this more times than I can count. I get mad at myself each time. I know better each time. And each time I say I won’t do that again, no matter what happens. Have you been there? Have you cried out and insisted that you have learned and won’t revert to a certain behavior again, only to find yourself there for the 6,387th time? You can raise your hand with mine, because I am totally there with you! But here’s the thing …
There is a grace in our grumbling
There is a patience in our procrastination
There is a love in our longing.
There is a quench for our weariness
And there is always, always a place to run back to
Jesus already knows we are going to stumble. In fact, Moses made sure to point this out to us in Leviticus 26:37 when he said: “You will stumble over one another when no one is chasing you, and you will be unable to fight against any enemy.”We not only stumble over others, we also stumble over ourselves repeatedly. But here’s the great news, we can always get up again. And that’s what we do, isn’t it? Constantly stumble, error, turn around, and do it all over again at times. But the one thing that defines us as Christians is that we do not stay down. With God on our side, Psalm 37:24 reminds us that, “If he stumbles, he’s not down for long; God has a grip on his hand.”Let that reassure you. Let that flood you with gratitude! God allows us to stumble because we need to take notice of something in our heart that needs to change, and sometimes He has to work through us in ways we don’t like because we are too stubborn to listen to Him the easier way. But make no mistake, His hand will always be right there waiting to lift you back up!
This is exactly what the Lord has done for me … again, and again, and again … and right now. I spent 30 days thirsty and longing for hope, for healing, for the hurt to go away, for miracles to happen, and for myself to be found. The whole time Jesus was right there, watching me and waiting. He was aching for me to run to him instead of having to watch me try to fight alone and sink deeper and deeper. Everything in me wanted to read, study, pray, and be at the church and serving others. But my heart was aching, my soul was tired, and my human tendencies were patterned. So I thirsted, and was never quenched. It made the bad days worse. It made the lonely nights lonelier. It made my insecurities brighter than the sun. And then finally, about a week ago, it made me fall flat on my face, crying out for God to grab ahold of my hand and pull me near again; for Him to fill my soul with such a desire for Him that He encompasses every part of me so that I can not bear a day without His presence. And I bet you can guess exactly what He did … with tears streaming down my face on the carpet of my tiny bedroom, He gave me an endless stream to quench my thirst. He invited me back with open arms, holding nothing back and with no grudges. He offered a gentle conviction of my undeniable need for Him to be my first, my constant, my cornerstone.
A love like that is one we need to run to my friends, not away from.
Can I say I will never mess up again? No, I cannot … because I am not perfect. Can I say I never want to mess up again? Absolutely, with all my heart. Can I say I have a newfound understanding of my desperate need for Jesus and a heightened love for my Savior and his presence in my life? Unquestionably! I have a new radical faith, one I have never felt before. I have been headstrong for Jesus and my faith before; I know exactly what that feels like. This is different. I constantly want to be with him. I constantly think about studying and reading when I’m having to work or clean. He has poured into every crevice of my existence, and it is an abundance of acceptance and joy and passion like I have never felt before. I have gone to church, I have led in women’s ministry, I have been baptized. But this … falling utterly and truly in love to my core with Jesus Christ … knowing on a never before understood level of just how good and gracious our God is … feeling a security and comfort like I have never experienced before. Let our precious Father flood you with the love, healing, and guidance you are longing for—He’s waiting for you.
I have surrendered
My heart has been captured
My soul has been embraced
I will face every storm with him, not away from him
I am utterly and completely His … for eternity
Happy are those who remain faithful under trials, because when they succeed in passing such a test, they will receive as their reward the life which God has promised to those who love him..(James 1:12, GNT)