Conversations

Ouch!

I fell down and skinned my knee.
Sitting here in the dirt, crying, and bleeding.
It looks like just a small scrape. I didn’t break anything. I’m not in the hospital. Nothing fell off. I’m not dying.
So why does this hurt so much?

The Father kneels down to my level to examine the damage. He takes my bruised and bleeding knee in His hands while He speaks gently, with sympathy for my pain.

“It hurts, Daddy. It hurts a lot!”

“I know precious one. I’m here. I will help it heal. I will make it better.”

“I don’t want it to hurt more. This hurts so much. Can’t you just heal it with a wave of your hand and the command of your voice? Like you did when there Jairus’ daughter was raised back to life? Or when the Israelites needed to cross the Red Sea and you parted the waters? Or like the time you healed that guard’s ear after Peter cut it off? Can’t you just heal like that?”

With tears still flowing freely, I search the Father’s face for agreement with my plan for a miracle. Looking up at me, I see tears rolling down His cheeks as well.

“My precious daughter, I am weeping with you. I am hurting with you. I know this does not feel good and that you are worried about experiencing any more pain. My heart breaks for you because I don’t want you to be in pain at all but there may be a little more still as I clean this wound. It is necessary for proper healing. But I am here. I am with you. Hold tight to me. I promise I will be gentle as I clean this wound. I will pour my grace on it as a balm. I will bandage it up so you can heal. Even through all of this, I Am with you always. I Am right here. Hold on to my hand; squeeze it tight; cry. I know what is best for you, even when it hurts. You will see. In the end, it will be better than before.”  

When I was a child and had a scrape or a splinter, I didn’t want my mom or dad to use rubbing alcohol or even touch the site of my injury because I was afraid that it would hurt worse. But if they just left it alone, and didn’t clean it out it would have become infected and that certainly would have been worse. As good parents, they knew that the wound had to be cleaned and bandaged for the best outcome. So they would clean my wounds. Sometimes it would take both of them – one to calm me and one to do the work. When it was all over, I started feeling better. The only evidence of the pain before was a slowly scabbing wound. The Father does the same with the wounds no one can see…His healing work has only just begun.

Conversations

What do I do with this hurt?

For Christmas one year, when we were dating, my then-future husband gave me a beautiful, blue topaz cross necklace. It was the envy of just about everyone who saw it. I wore it every day. It was priceless. It was beautiful to look at and was a frequent reminder of the love of God and the affection of the man who is now my husband.

A few years ago, I lost the ability to wear that one-of-a-kind necklace. Our dog at the time was a puppy and liked shiny gold things for some reason. I walk into our bedroom one day to find her chewing on something – it was my necklace! She had taken it off of my dresser and now it was a mangled up mess in her mouth. The topaz gems were scattered around, some I never found because she’d swallowed them. I was heartbroken! This was not just any necklace. It was specially made and specially gifted by my husband before we were even engaged. I had planned on passing it down to my grandchildren. I wore it every day and now this “crazy” puppy had ruined it completely! It may seem silly to cry over a material possession, but I did. It was broken beyond repair. The gems were gone. It would never be whole again.

To this day, I still don’t have a suitable replacement for that necklace. I’ve tried several other cross necklaces I already owned, but none of them were from my sweet husband and none were made so well and beautifully like the original.

There have been times that my life has felt a little like that chewed up necklace. Beautiful friendships and blessed relationships that have created hurt or become mangled, leaving my heart broken. The hurt hasn’t always been something I’ve had control over, like death of a loved one. Some hurts I have contributed to, and knowing that I’ve hurt someone else because of my pain has made it hurt worse. Some things I’ve shared with others, in the hope that they could help me heal, but just like those replacement necklaces, nothing was suitable. Many times, no one has been aware of my hurt…except The Father. He is the only one with full knowledge about all of my pain.

 

On one recent occasion when my heart felt shattered, I looked up from where I sat, tear-soaked face, feeling on the edge of hope, searching for answers from The Father.

“What do I do with this hurt, Papa God? The pieces of my heart are scattered all over the place. How can I get past this. I can’t fix it, Papa God.”

Every part of my body felt heavy. I picked up two of the broken-heart pieces. They felt like lead weights. My tears flowed like an endless fountain emptying into a bottomless bucket. Through blurred eyesight, I looked for The Father’s face again.

 

The Father sat down next to me on the floor. Putting His arm around me, He comforted me. He didn’t tell me everything was going to be alright. He just sat there with me. He let me mourn the hurt. His presence and the embrace of His strong arms quieted my weeping and slowed my tears.

He whispered,

I know it hurts. I’m right here. You’re not alone, little one. I’m holding you and won’t let go. Sit here in my lap, my precious one. I’ve got you.

As my tears finally ended and my breathing slowed to a normal rhythm, I looked around at the mess. I looked at the broken-heart pieces I was still holding. Then I looked at The Father’s face. It was wet with tears of His own.

Opening His hands and motioning for the pieces I still held of my shredded heart, He said

Give it to me, little one. Give me your hurt. Give me the pieces. I will make it better than before. It won’t be the same, but I will make it more beautiful. I will mend it. I will heal it. I will restore it to the greatness you cannot yet see.

 

…He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
~Isaiah 61:1-3

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
~Psalm 34:18

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
~Psalm 147:3

Conversations

Lost…

If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
– Psalm 139:9-12

I’m sitting on the ground. Alone. Weeping. Exhausted. I don’t know where I am. I don’t know how to get there from here. I’m overwhelmed. I’m tormented by worry overtaking my thoughts.

I feel lost and worse, discouraged.

The map lies smudged and tattered on the ground. I thought I’d taken the right trail to get to where The Father was taking me. So why do I feel so lost and uncertain? Have I been walking in circles? Did I miss interpret the directions? I need help. I need a guide.

The Father kneels down to the ground, laying His hand on my shoulder His gentle voice speaking into my darkness “What’s wrong, dear one? Did you forget I Am here?”

He picks up the map from the ground and begins to gently fold it. He doesn’t need the map. The map is for me. I wanted to know where I was going. I wanted to figure it out on my own…or at least I thought I could follow it. After all, He’d told me where He wanted me to go. Isn’t some part of this journey my responsibility? Aren’t I supposed to know how to follow His directions and not get lost?

I don’t know how to move forward. The path isn’t clear and I can’t figure this map out. I’m so confused and lost …

“I saw you focusing on the map and what I called you to. You were so busy looking at the map and figuring out the way to go, you didn’t look to see I Am right here with you. I’ve never left your side. I know the way to go, precious one. You’ve never been alone on this journey and you’re not lost because with me you are found. I know you’re scared and worried about how to get there. Let me be your Peace. Let me be your Guide. Trust me to get you there.”

Will I ever figure this out? There are so many things I don’t know! What do I need to be doing? How will I know if I’m walking the right direction and taking the right path?

Because I Am with you. Stay with me and you will always know the path. You will see great and wonderful things on our journey together if you stay with me and keep your eyes on me. I will take care of the journey and the destination. I love you and love that you want to get there. We will get there, dear one. Have peace. Be patient. I have so much more for you on this journey than just the destination.”

The Father hands the folded map to me to hold and gently gathers me in His arms, lifts me to His back, and starts walking.

Rest on me, little one. I’ll carry you a little while and when you’ve rested and you’re ready again to walk, I’ll lead you. But for now, just rest. We’ll get there right on time.”

I know I can trust The Father. He is the one who knows the way. He’s never lost. It seems like He’s come this way lots of times before…or maybe that He’s made this way. He made the destination, He knows how to get there and He’s taking me there with Him.

Father, thank you for lifting me out of discouragement and setting me back on the path with you. Thank you for calling me and taking me with you. May I know how to trust you with the next step. May I seek your lead with every step along this journey so that I don’t miss your wonder. May I learn to look for you, see what you see, and take from your strength what I need for this journey.

Kingdom Living

I Can’t

For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
1 John 1:16

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9

“I can’t” is not a phrase I’m comfortable with. It’s certainly not a phrase I want my kids saying. I’m not the only one that doesn’t like this phrase either. It’s frowned on from a societal and cultural perspective.

But right now, I need to say it. It’s the truth. This is the one circumstance where this is true.

I can’t – without Jesus.

I can’t parent well – without Jesus.

I can’t do my job with excellence – without Jesus.

I can’t live healthily – without Jesus.

I can’t succeed at anything worthwhile – without Jesus.

I can’t stop worrying – without Jesus.

I can’t – but God can.

There are some very worthwhile things that I want to do and am working hard to do, but trying to do them successfully on my own is wearing me out. I’m not purposefully leaving God out. I have grown up learning that anything I want I can get, if I work at it hard enough. It’s not easy to re-train my brain to remember that it is by the grace of God that I can do anything. Even for that I need the grace of God! I’m having to unlearn the concept of complete independence in everything I do, and learn anew that my hope for success only comes as I put my hope in Christ.

I wonder if this was sometimes how the apostle Paul felt too? He grew up in a very “do-ing” oriented society too. Everything in his world was saturated with understanding the need for God, but everything they did and said was still heavily based on doing all the right steps to make sure God was happy with you so that you would be blessed. All the “do-ing” led to a culture of believing that if a person didn’t do the right things, bad things would happen to them and any kind of success would elude them. Yet, God’s reply to them, and to me too is that “He [God] gives more grace…God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble…Come near to God and He will come near to you.” (James 4:6-8a)

“I don’t know how to do this though, Father.”

“That is why I’m here to help you.”

“But I’m a fixer. I’m a do-er. I need a step-by-step guide of how to depend on you and not try to do everything myself.”

The Father laughs.

Through His chuckles The Father replies, “Even as you are learning to depend on me and how to use the grace I’ve given to you, you still are trying to get a list so you can do it yourself, little one.

You are like me in many ways. I created you that way. But remember, I AM the Fixer. I AM the Restorer. I AM the Success Maker. I AM the Wisdom you seek. Yes, you can learn from me, but there will always be things that you will need my help with. Take My Son for example. While He was on the earth, He still had to depend on me for many things, from simple things like food to very hard things like willingly putting Himself on the cross so that you and everyone would be able to have everything you need for life and godliness. He didn’t do it by Himself – you can’t do it all by yourself either, little one.”

“But I can’t just sit around and wait for things to happen. You’ve called me to so much. So where do I start with depending on you?”

“Right here. This is where you start. Start with me. Start with asking for help. I have grace even to help you with that. A little later today, when you need to speak to your daughter differently – stop and ask for my help. When your patience is wearing thin – stop and ask for my help. When you feel like giving up – ask for my help. When you wonder why you’re doing any of this or when the next difficulty will ever be over – talk to me. Bring it to me. I’m here to help you. I’ll be the strength you need in those times when you feel your weakest. I have all that you need. Absolutely everything.

You can do this, if you do it with Me.