There is an appointed time for everything.
And there is a time for every event under heaven—
A time to mourn and a time to dance.
A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
Ecclesiastes 3: 1, 4-6
My bloodied and battle-scarred past is just that: the past.
And the past is over.
But last winter, my heart forgot that truth as events in the present conspired against me, triggering pain from earlier wounds.
So I reminded myself that I walk in newness of life, chains cut.
And that the me you read here is a much loved work in progress far from perfection. And how He uses all the blows, pains, losses, disappointments and my own sins for redemption’s sake. And those dark times in one pit or another were all rendered by grace as incubation periods where the hand of God worked skillfully and silently, ever more finishing his creation in the person known as me.
If all the ugliness is what it took for my heart to bow before my King and realize that I am the apple of the Great I Am’s eye, and then in loving Him back say, “Have your way in me, Lord,” then it has been worth it.
And He works this way in you, too.
Nothing is ever lost, no struggle is ever wasted, when our Lord’s purpose is to polish the pain until the hurt it holds transfigures leaving behind a thousand points of light reflecting His glory.
And a heart badly hurt melts in the warmth of His tender embrace.
Yet knowing it has all been used for my good and that He is good all the time, I still fought Him. For I am a fighter, a fighting survivor who is really just a broken woman growing up who is never strong unless she recognizes her weaknesses.
And in the fears and hurts of the past, my defense of choice was anger hard and steely. Anger at my dad, anger at men in general, my husband, my God and myself.
Anger acted out inappropriately that provoked more brokenness and pain.
And so much was lost through the years.
With faith fragile and fearful, my eyes could not see the love that held me. And in the absence of seeing love always holding me, anger raged in futile fury.
I fashioned a wall around my heart that was so tall I could not peer over the top until He lifted me up. And I was too weak to break it down myself. Only He can take down that which we put up in self protection.
And bad things learned and lived formed habits deep.
Sinful pathways trod over and again in the depths of my soul paved the way for resentments to bubble over as words and actions unfit to note.
I believed the lie that this was all I was, an angry, bitter woman.
To continue surviving so I would not hurt again, I had to be sinfully shielded, anger always ready to detonate. This shield of anger diminished over the years yet a little bit remained simmering in the hidden places that are never truly hidden because I thought that is what protected me.
Me protecting me! Absurd, useless, sinful.
Untrusting, and battling demons long since vanquished at the cross, and eyes half closed to truth that sets me free.
And the flow of life was stymied.
Like my shoulder frozen for months through a long, cold, gray winter of my discontent. Fascia all dry and sticky preventing motion in that muscle. Adhesions nestled between my muscles, unseen but very real. Holding me back, keeping my shoulder locked up.
Weeks of grueling exercises and stretching, along with ultrasound treatments, broke up the knots. And the powerful right hand of God, using my physical therapist’s petite hands capable of inducing a lot of pain, rendered a seeming miracle as slowly my shoulder began to move again.
More importantly my soul softened as my shoulder thawed, or maybe the other way around, and my heart enlarged. I repented, longing for ever increasing freedom and the ability to move freely with the flow of His Spirit.
True life not held back or chained down, but free. Free to live His will for me.
And this freedom is as old as ever but seems brand new when the veil of hurt, fear and anger over my heart lifted. And light shines on darkness inside first and then all around and outside. Light that can transform whatever it shines on.
All for the leaving.
Leaving my ways of doing life, of surviving, of fighting phantoms from the past which just do not exist.
Dropping my guard so my heart could better harmonize with His and with his. And surrendering more fully to Him so that a new life legacy is being laid down each new day. And I let go of the deep seated hurtful, fearful, sinful believing of the lie that surrender and submission to God or to my husband would mean the death of me.
Not realizing it is the death of me!
A good death. Death to the darkest parts of self that wage war against a holy God.
Only to live more fully, more freely. Real. Like the Velveteen rabbit with all his fur rubbed off, God rubs off the remnant of my rebel heart.
For it is only the creature who seeks my destruction that wants to kill the real me.
The real me made in the likeness of God. The real me whose very life and words, my stories, may help set another free from the brokenness that binds them.
But my God of resolute relationship, sacrificial obedience and other worldly love, has won!
Jesus finished the task and it is over.
Yet the battles on earth continue.
I like to think my fight is over, the fight that nearly destroyed me countless times across the years. The fight that wrecked hearts while ruining marriages and relationships. And I want to say that the fight in my own strength is finished. That fight I thought I had to keep fighting.
But the winning comes when we stop striving and start receiving and believing all He has done.
All that He has secured on the Cross.
And the battle will be fought another day with the enemy of my soul so long as I have breath.
But the cross I bear is easy when I let Jesus carry it and me.
If I fill my backpack for this journey of life with all the pebbles, rocks and boulders of my sinful self and the pain, fear, shame, pride, lust and anger of the self-centered me, I go nowhere fast for the weight on my shoulders will be too great to bear.
And the voices that swirl all negative in my head stop spinning the same tune over and over when I listen with my heart to truth which is the word and the word was made flesh and the word that is Jesus lives in my heart.
Holy Spirit home rule so I may truly live.
And the sun sets over the western ridge across the river, spilling golden warm across the green. And the sun will set tomorrow too, the same as yesterday and all the tomorrows yet to be.
And the Son never changes, never stops loving and longing for me to submit my heart to Him.
But he waits.
Waits for me to catch on.
Waits for me to let go.
Waits while I do it my way and get all tangled up in the struggle when it’s simply a matter of giving up all that I am or think I am or want to be I am to the Great I Am. And I remember this is the year whose one word is BREAKOUT.
And He is our hope. Our only hope. And hope springs eternal.
So my heart sets out after a rest last April, after listening more closely and heeding more carefully.
Giving Him my best life ever lived for Him.
Best life as a wife to the dearest man who holds my heart.
Best life as empty nest moma to my far away young adult kids.
Best life as a writer sharing heart felt words that just might benefit you, the dear soul reading this post.
Spring thaw slipped into the glorious glow of summer, blazing lushness at every turn.
And the warmth of the sun keeps melting what will yet unfold in a miracle of wonder that never ceases.
He continually makes life new, and seeds full of hope scattered over good soil take root, and His word rains down drops of dew that flow with life gushing from His heart to mine.
In the letting go of the anger, past and the pain, I freely lift my arms heavenward.
And the praises of my heart so full of His grace, float warmly on summer’s forever breeze…
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