This post was written for Bonnie Gray’s #OneWordLent prompt response to the Scripture:
“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow
to the point of death.
‘Stay here…with me.’”
Jesus in Matthew 26:31
And is also linked up to Open Mic Monday at Carolina’s:
Overwhelmed. Yes, I’m overwhelmed. And yet I’ve tried to deny it. Tried to tell myself I shouldn’t be. Tried to speak Scriptures to myself to overcome the feeling. But nothing’s helping.
And then this morning God reminded me, both through Bonnie’s words and my mentor’s that the first step is to take ownership through naming. In Genesis God makes Adam responsible for the animals and then asks him to name them. Several months ago, God opened my eyes to how this also applies to our feelings as well. Confessing our transgressions, our often knee-jerk human reactions that indicate a lack of trust at the core, allows us to take ownership of them by naming them. And in taking ownership we stand before God as ourselves: as broken human beings, who confess their desperate need for God’s grace and love. And just as His Word promises, as we draw near to Him as ourselves, He draws near to us. For He is standing there waiting and looking to shower us with His Love and Grace.
Father God, I confess that I am overwhelmed. I confess that I am overwhelmed by a crippling fear of rejection. A fear that the words you have given me to share in my book will be met by rejection. A fear that I will crumble underneath this weight, just as I did as a little girl. And that I will be forced to run and hide again because I cannot carry the knife-cutting remarks turned toward me, because I cannot bare to hear people doubt or reject my story, to not believe the words you have spoken into my heart. Lord, I feel like the little girl again, the little girl whose words were met with rejection, the little girl whose heart of pain and grief found no release, the little girl who was turned away.
Father God, I confess that even though I know you’re with me and have never and will never reject me, I’ve let my thoughts and feelings tell me otherwise. Forgive me, Lord for doubting Your Love for me. Forgive me for believing again the lies I did as a little girl. Forgive me for doubting the Love and Grace you have poured into my life. Forgive me for leaning to hide again, for leaning to procrastinate from doing your will because I’ve chosen to believe the lies that tell me I’m a fraud, that I’m unworthy to share the words you’ve given me.
Lord, please help me to stand firm in the promises you’ve spoken over me, promises that tell me that your sacrifice at the cross has made me worthy, worthy to complete the works you have prepared for me. Promises that tell me you are for me, with me and will never ever leave or forsake me. And help me to step out in obedience to do what is pleasing in your sight, to follow the desires you have placed within my heart, desires to bring your Light into a broken, weary and grieving world. Thank you, Father for releasing me from these lies and for tethering me to your promises, your promises of truth, faith, hope and love.
After praying this prayer, I went for a run. As I ran I felt God press into the aching pain within me. He took me back to that little girl and reminded me of how He’d called her to let out the anger within her, the anger at being turned away, the anger at being held back from protecting someone she loved. And then, He turned me to the aching pain beneath the anger. He reminded me of my blogging friend Carolina’s reflection on us being called to pick up our mats. And He showed me that I’d picked up the mat of anger and layed it at His feet, but that I hadn’t yet picked up all of the aching hurt mat.
I’d left it lying there with the little girl, the little girl who still resides within me. And He showed me that every time I meet other people’s silence, their criticism or their anger, whether it is directed at me or not, that the little girl within me starts crying out again to be seen, to be loved and to be accepted. And He showed me that picking up my mat, means letting the little girl within me feel the hurt, it means letting myself cry, really weep for all that was stolen from that little girl. It means letting myself weep, not just for my little brother and my Mum whom I couldn’t protect, but also weeping for myself, for the ache of rejection that pierced that little girl’s heart and for the knife that led her to believe that her mother had been torn from her too. It means letting the tears fall for the deep grief that I’ve carried within me for so long, but have refused to fully face.
And so running through the forest, I couldn’t stop weeping as I saw that little girl before me. I suddenly realized that she has reappeared, calling for comfort, every single time I’m met by silence, anger in body language or words, or anything that could possibly reflect badly on me as a mother, wife or writer, whether it is intentionally done or not done to reflect rejection or not. But rather than allowing the little girl to cry, I’ve pressed her downward and hidden the fears and hurt beneath.
I’m now starting to see that it isn’t even about my current fear of rejection, but it is about that little girl, about letting her weep before Her Saviour and letting Him take her in His arms, just as He did the angry, kicking and screaming little girl within me last year.
Finally, I heard Him tell me, “I want you to know that I won’t let him steal your joy anymore. Just as the sunshine is now pouring through the trees after the rain shower, so I will pour out My Joy upon you, as you step into the hurt to share your story. And do you see that dog that frightens you, racing right past you? There will be scary dogs running towards you, but they will race right past you, not touching or hurting you, just as this dog here, for I will keep you safe.”