This is my eleventh blog post for the Write 31 Days challenge, which I signed up to four days late.
Jeremiah 17: 7 The Message
But blessed is the man who trusts me, God,
the woman who sticks with God.
They’re like trees replanted in Eden,
putting down roots near the rivers—
Never a worry through the hottest of summers,
never dropping a leaf,
Serene and calm through droughts,
bearing fresh fruit every season.
In the weeks after leaving my teaching position, my emotions swayed to and fro. I finally had quiet moments, in which the grief I had repressed came bubbling up onto the surface, as did all manner of feelings rooted in insecurity. I struggled to even put words to what was going on within me. I recorded these almost indescribable feelings in my private journal, pouring out my heart to God in prayer in my first month as a stay-at-home Mom:
I am a mixture of an angry ball, a numb being and a broken, hurting, aching heart. The smallest thing consumes me with rage, or leaves me absolutely cold, or brings me to tears overflowing. I just long for someone to pick me up, place me on their lap and hold me there, allowing me to just be, to let it all out, to be myself, to not have to pretend that the world doesn’t hurt, cut and pull me under. Father God, I cry out to you, take me as I am, hold me as I am, enfold me in your protective arms.
As I’d ask my husband to just hold me and let me cry, a friend abroad sent hugs in the form of Scriptural truths. She sent me common lies we often believe about ourself and our situation and Scriptures of Hope, Truth and Life that speak against such lies. Reading these Scriptures and later other Scriptures in the testimony of Bonnie Gray’s Finding Spiritual Whitespace, slowly but surely taught my heart to trust Him. I was beginning to learn how to “lean on, feel safe or secure, to be confident in” Him, the Hebrew root word meaning of trust (John J. Parsons, Hebrew for Christians).
During this time, I started reading Bonnie Gray’s Finding Spiritual Whitespace, a book which encouraged me to keep opening my heart to the LORD, trusting in His deep abiding Presence and Comfort to hold me, rather than pushing down my feelings of deep sorrow, insecurity and anger, at the loss of my Mom and her foundational love and other childhood experiences that I back then did not realize had shaped who I had become. God showed me, as He did Bonnie, the importance of turning these feelings to Him, in the confidence that He would not leave or reject me:
Lamentations 3: 28 – 33 (The Message)
When life is heavy and hard to take,
go off by yourself. Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions:
Wait for hope to appear.
Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face.
The “worst” is never the worst.
Why? Because the Master won’t ever
walk out and fail to return.
If he works severely, he also works tenderly.
His stockpiles of loyal love are immense.
He takes no pleasure in making life hard,
in throwing roadblocks in the way:
Taking it “full-face” was something I did not, however, know how to do. I was used to fleeing from fear, pain and heartache, by numbing it with busying myself into distraction, fearful that facing it would pull me under. What I had to learn, in several stages, was that, as Bonnie Gray explained:
Peace is ours if we dare to remember our pain and our sorrow, and experience our fears fully with Jesus. Shalom peace from God is a putting back together.
Lamentations 3: 28 – 33 and the following Scriptures, confirm Bonnie’s words of experience. They are Words of Truth that equipped me for the coming period of time in which I would come face-to-face with my deepest fears and grief:
Isaiah 26: 3 (The Voice)
You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You.
1 Peter 2: 9 (NIV)
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
1 Corinthians 2: 15 – 16 (The Message)
Spirit can be known only by spirit – God’s spirit and our spirits in open communion. Spiritually alive, we have access to everything God’s Spirit is doing, and can’t be judged by unspiritual critics.
2 Corinthians 12: 9 (The Message)
Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,
My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.
Equipped with this encouragement from Scriptures and testimonies of God’s goodness, God would use two other books and a return to the home in which my mother passed away, to draw what I had repressed in fear, to the surface. In so doing, He would show me just how well He knows me and how deeply He loves me (Psalm 139, 1 – 6, The Voice):
1 O Eternal One, You have explored my heart and know exactly who I am;
2 You even know the small details like when I take a seat and when I stand up again.
Even when I am far away, You know what I’m thinking.
3 You observe my wanderings and my sleeping, my waking and my dreaming,
and You know everything I do in more detail than even I know.
4 You know what I’m going to say long before I say it.
It is true, Eternal One, that You know everything and everyone.
5 You have surrounded me on every side, behind me and before me,
and You have placed Your hand gently on my shoulder.
6 It is the most amazing feeling to know how deeply You know me, inside and out;
the realization of it is so great that I cannot comprehend it.
How has the Lord built up your trust in Him? Have there been Scriptures that have been instrumental in this building up? I’d love to hear your stories.