“More than anything else, I learned to stop filling the gaps of my faith with religion.” Angie Smith – Chasing God
This quote hit me between the eyes this morning….probably because I have done it…I have tried to fill the gaps in my faith with religion.I have tried to justify my existence by existing solely for myself because existing for something bigger than me scared the heck out of me. There were times I was so confused about who God is that I was tempted to deny Him altogether. And even when I acknowledged His existence, I couldn’t imagine Him loving the broken vessel that is me. And if I am honest about it, sometimes I still have trouble believing His unending, unconditional love applies to me….Because I am a mess ya’ll…and a HOT mess at that.
I won’t bore you with the details of my mess. I am sure there are many of you who are dealing with things much worse than anything I have ever experienced. And if you’re like me, when someone starts whining about their paper cut while you’re standing in front of them with a gunshot wound, it just doesn’t seem right, somehow. So, here we are, in the midst of my mess (and yours too, I’m sure) wondering where to go from here. I am going to be real with you….although there is a part of me screaming “WALK AWAY FROM THE KEYBOARD!” and my palms are sweating, and my stomach aches, I am going to be real, because there is an even greater part of me that believes the world needs more real. We need to know we are not alone in our messes and that someone else experiences pain and tries to hide it from the world.
So here goes:
There are places within me that seem broken beyond repair. There are cracks in my heart that run deeper than even I can measure. There are nights I lie in bed on a pillow soaked with my own tears and there are days I cry with such harsh, gut wrenching sobs, my voice is hoarse for hours afterward. I share these things because I believe there are others who speak with broken hearts and tear stained voices. But somewhere along the way, we have convinced ourselves it is not OK to not be OK. We feel we have to lie about our pain and go about our business as if everything is fine. Ya’ll, WHY have we bought into this lie??? Is it because we want people to believe our lives are fairy tales? Do we see pain as weakness? Or is it just too painful to talk about our pain?? I think it is a combination of all of these.
I know I hide my pain from pretty much every person who knows me, with very few exceptions. On those rare occasions I choose to share, I almost feel like it causes me more pain to put myself out there. I am very much in the habit of holing up when I am hurting. Kind of like a wounded animal. I hunker down with my God, my Bible, and my tissues. While I see nothing wrong with hunkering down with God, I am convicted that sometimes I use Him as an excuse to hide. I mean really, who is going to argue with you when you decline due to “spending time with Jesus”? 🙂
This last year has been tough for me, ya’ll, and just when I think I am on the other side of it, it gets even tougher. But here is what I am learning.
God loves me….Every broken, messy, part of me. And when I let Him, He begins to mend those broken places within me and He shines His light through those cracks in my heart. He holds every tear I cry and He hears every gut wrenching sob that escapes me. He even sends His people to minister to me through my pain and I am learning to let them in, little by little, bit by bit.
So for those of you who are hurting, let God do His work in you and heal your brokenness. For those of you He sends to minister to us broken vessels, thank you, and please don’t give up on us even when we decline to “spend time with Jesus.”
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Father God, thank You for Your unending, unconditional love. Thank You for healing our brokenness and mending the cracks in our hearts. Thank you Lord, that even when I feel alone, You are with me. I love You and I praise You in the midst of every storm. In Christ’s name, Amen