*whispers* It's me.
It's time for some spring cleaning. Digging this blog out from all the boxes and things of life that have piled up on top of it, sweeping away the cobwebs, and getting real.
This past year has been a tough one. Down to the bones tough. And I've had some pretty rough years- times I would never ever choose to relive. But this one tops the cake.
(Theodore is phenomenal, by the way. And other than making me rethink a few life choices as he now enters his "threenager" stage - yes, he's 7 - he is the man. So no worries there.)
This past year left me falling. Unsure. Questioning. Crying. Everything, literally EVERYTHING that I had stood on before, everything I KNEW to be true, was suddenly pulled out from under me. I was like those cartoon characters who run off a cliff but don't realize it right away, and once they do it's a fast fall straight down.
I have been a Christian, a Jesus-follower, a Bible believer, WHATEVER you want to call it, for almost as long as I can remember. And I've seen and been through some tough stuff. And thanks be to God he has been faithful to comfort and guide and redeem and work and love. Up until, it felt, this past year of my life. I became confused, hurt, and even felt deceived by God- into my core.
I walked around for months with nothing below my feet. No foundation. Zero. And, yet, I had the conviction that God was true. I couldn't make sense of anything. I didn't know how a relationship with God even worked. The dichotomy was this:
Something inside of me absolutely knew that Jesus was the only answer and option to it all BUT it didn't appear to be a good one.
And knowing that I am saved eternally from Hell, never questioning that, I felt like a puppet and God could do whatever He wanted, if He cared, because the ends justify the means.
That's hard to say. To put into writing and admit it. But there it is. The past year of my life in 2 sentences.
Maybe you can relate? Maybe you've felt this in some way? Feeling deceived by God was the worst. I was like an animal in a race with something dangling in front of me, trying to get to it. Believing that I could- indeed, even that I had already been given it. And then it was taken away. No rhyme or reason- just gone. That started a cycle for me of blaming/questioning God every time something went wrong. Of wondering why, "Why, God, would you do that?" "Are you serious?" that eventually turned to "No surprise." "Of course that would happen."
I became callous without actually wanting to be callous. And critical without wanting to be critical. I was tense. And I was tired. I started noting how, even when I was trying to be open to God it would backfire. I would purposefully stop and pray about something and the exact opposite would happen. Sometimes almost immediately. I would put my hand to a task and be accomplishing things and would stop and pray about letting the Lord accomplish it in me and then, and only then, would I stop being productive, or EVERY. LITTLE. THING. would go wrong.
Slowly, and I mean s-l-o-w-l-y did my conviction turn once again into baby steps of faith. Teeny teeny tiny steps that I can only assume the Lord renewed in my heart and I started disciplining myself to spend time with Him once again. And I'm going to be honest, it wasn't because I was getting anything out of it. I felt no different. I was still confused and hurt and pretty closed off to anything He had to offer. And that's how it remained. For quite a while.
A few weeks ago we had one nice morning of weather. Winter had ceased for the moment and I was enjoying my coffee on the deck, unbothered, alone, content. I stepped out in discipline, not sure it was in faith, but thanked God for the morning weather and accepted it as His gift to me- a personal gift because He says He is personally invested in my life. INSTANTLY, I'm not even kidding, wasps started buzzing and landing all around me. I had not seen a single wasp up until then. It may seem stupid but that was the picture of my life. Something good instantly gets rescinded by something bad.
But, almost just as instantly, God said to my heart "Satan seeks to steal, kill, and destroy." That truly was the first thing I felt God speak to me in almost a year. And it got me in the gut.
That was it. That was the key. That was the truth that had eluded me for so long.
I so easily forget that Satan has real power in this world. I forget that his one and only goal is to get my eyes off Jesus. I forget that the closer I get to God the harder Satan presses in. I forget that he prowls around like a lion seeking whom he may devour.
If we don't claim to live our lives for God Satan is unconcerned with us. But when we do he is very invested in us. He speaks lies. Lies that make us callous and critical. Lies that make us blame God and believe that He doesn't have good things for us. Lies that He doesn't care. Lies that He is a bad option. Lies that the ends justify the means.
The harder I press into God the harder Satan presses into me. "No surprise" that the exact opposite of my prayers happen instantly because Satan wants my eyes off Jesus, or on Him in the wrong way.
I thank God for revealing that truth to me. And I pray for well trained eyes to see that when it happens and a well disciplined faith to accept it as truth. And I'm thankful that the year of falling is over.