It all started on Easter. Naturally. Our pastor asked us to ask the Lord if anything was coming between us and Him. Kind of a check up on your relationship type thing. Feeling very confident that nothing was up I asked Him. Immediately He said, "You are mad at Me. For not healing your jaw and not moving in your finances the way you want."
*gulp* Um yeah. Pretty much. And I basically agreed that was true and that I wasn't going to deal with it just that moment.
Let me put a pin in this post right there and rabbit trail for a minute. God can handle your sin. He can handle your stubbornness and your disobedience. He can even handle a closed door. Or a wall. Or whatever else you may throw up between you and Him. It's why He says He stands at the door and knocks. He doesn't just occasionally stop by and knock or walk away frustrated altogether. He stands there. And knocks. For as long as it takes. Days, months, years. Obviously He would much rather we be more open and receiving but He can handle it when we can't. In fact, I feel closer to Him knowing I can trust Him with the fact that I'm just not ready. I don't think He's mad at me or waiting to punish me. Course hind sight is always better and in the end I always smack my forehead and swear I'll never do it again but it's inevitable. This is not to be confused with misusing grace. I understand the fact that He's merciful and there's grace but there are also consequences in not obeying right away and there is love in that too. I'm just saying if you're struggling with something that He's repeatedly "knocked on your door" about you don't have to walk around in guilt in shame. Just simply be honest with Him, and ask for His help. It's all in daily bread folks.
So He was right. Under my cheerful exterior, and honestly my delight in Him, I was mad at Him for not healing my jaw. I haven't shared with many people that I have been struggling pretty seriously with chronic pain from my TMJ since October last year. Most days it's a mild tingly tightness and gum swelling like what happens if you go a long time without flossing and then floss. But some days it's bad enough I can't chew or talk much. But twice now I've had flare ups so bad that all I could do was walk around my house night and day crying for several days at a time. Literally. And I've asked more then once for Him to heal me or questioned why I haven't been healed. I could write more about all of this and one day I will but that's not for today. I know many struggle with chronic pain and I've definitely grown in my compassion for them. And I do NOT have the answer.
He was also right when He said I was mad about our finances. I hope I don't sound like a spoiled brat when I say I've wanted "more" because truthfully our lives are so full. Full of love. Full of joy. Full of peace. I love our bigger then average HUNGRY family of 6. I love my middle class neighborhood and house. I love my junky van that the kiddos can full-on trash out (And they do. Often.) or that doesn't even lock and who cares because it's not worth much anyway. (I'm totally serious and I can't help but chuckle as I write about it.) But I would be lying if I said that I was happy about having to work. so. dang. hard. I've felt like we are very much just spinning our wheels and not getting anywhere at times. I know we're not alone in that. Many are struggling and again I do NOT have the answer. I've asked more then once for Him to do something about it. To bless us. To prosper us. Not in a name-it-and-claim-it kind of way but in a genuine ease-our-burdens Father, kind of way.
*sigh* So like I said, I basically had a reality check, that yes I was mad about it, but no I was not ready to deal with it. I did ask Him to help me. I did just trust Him with it. I trusted Him with my confusion, my disappointment, my hopes, my goals, my dreams, my pain, and my fear.
That was on Easter. Between now and then I have heard countless testimonies. Just testimony after testimony of His great favor and provision. New cars. New houses. Financial blessing. Restored relationships. New jobs. New ministries. Miraculous healing. And I'll be honest. I was getting a little crabby about it. Not with any of those sharing the testimonies because truthfully I can rejoice with them. I've learned that if you can't rejoice with those on the mountain top despite being in the valley, no matter how long, you may not share in the view from up top. Let me just emphasize right here that things can change in an instant! So never begrudge your brother or sister their victories. Let it encourage you not discourage you.
That being said I can't say I wasn't getting a little annoyed with my Pappa about it. Truly I could see He is at work in many of my friends lives but just as many of us are still waiting, desperately at times, waiting for Him to intervene. I was starting to be a little "elder brother-like" in my heart towards Pappa. "Here I am plowing away and you throw them the party??" "Don't you see me toiling away here?" "What did they do that I haven't done?" "Haven't I been a good girl?" "Haven't I done everything you've asked me?" And as ugly as that is, and knowing it, and also casting down many other equally ugly thoughts from the enemy, I knew I could still trust Him with my longing and questioning heart. Even when I don't understand His heart He always understands mine. Always.
So I made a choice. I was through feeling this way and I wanted to talk it out and get help with prayer from a few brothers and sisters I trusted. And I really want to encourage you. When you've been struggling with something, no matter what it is, talk to someone about it. Sometimes just saying it out loud can totally deflate the enemy's lies. Sometimes we wrestle with something so long that it just grows in our mind. I made a plan to do just that. I even made an appointment but due to some unforeseen circumstances completely out of my control I wasn't able to make it. And I didn't feel "off the hook" I felt even more annoyed. Like, "um, see? I am being a good girl here. What's the deal??"
That night, the night of my missed appointment, the night I was feeling even more hopeless about my attitude and disappointed about my circumstances, I had a dream. I often dream. And this may seem weird but sometimes I believe my dreams are real. Like somewhere, in the supernatural realm, heaven, or where ever my spirit is when I'm sleeping my dream is reality. In a reality that's different from this one, this earthly reality I live and breathe on a day to day basis, I visit in my dreams. And in this dream I was somewhere far away, somewhere "space" like. There was darkness, mostly it is what I would imagine looking out from the moon would be like. I could see stars. It was quiet and loud at the same time. Like when you're underwater, everything is muted but the sound of the water and your heart beat are in your ears. Then I was with a crowd of people. And we were worshiping. It was a roar of praise yet I still had that underwater sensation. And our worship grew and grew to the point that it was so utterly overwhelming that I couldn't take it. I couldn't do ANYTHING but give Him my EVERYTHING. And I was desperate to do so. So desperate to scream and shout of my love for Him but so choked up by His love for me I couldn't speak. And there was light. Blinding, piercing, all consuming light but at the same time it was still the dark space-ness. Like the light was in me. In my head and heart and coming from me but also stabbing me and blinding me and shattering me at the same time. Finally I couldn't take it and I fell to what must have been the ground. I felt sand on my face and could see the feet of those around me. And as I looked off into the distance I could see Earth. It was a view from space. I could see the atmosphere. I could see the clouds of His glory cover the earth as we sang, as we gave our all He poured out His all over the earth.
And I woke up. And it's like, how do I breathe? How do I be human again? How do I have any bitterness or resentment towards Him in my heart after that? When I gave my all and was pierced by Love's light? Oh sure I could function. I could talk to my husband and make dinner, and clean, and homeschool my kiddos. But on the inside I walked around in a daze, blinded by that light, unable to really make sense of it all. Finally, a few days later, He began to explain it. It's all perspective. I made an appointment to receive prayer and encouragement when all I really needed was to lay down and die. HA that's all! But seriously, I saw the earth and realized what mattered. His glory, His presence, His light changes everything.
Later that day, while making lunch for my little hungry beasts, er, I mean my little darlings, my 3 year old suddenly starts freaking out. This is not that unusual so I didn't panic. He was extremely upset because he wanted to use a particular cup but my 8 year old daughter wanted it and wasn't going to give it to him. I intervened and gave the 3 year old the cup. Now before you judge to harshly my parenting skills let me explain that for the past few months we've been working with my daughter on appreciating her age, that despite the extra responsibilities there are many freedoms that come with being the oldest. So after the jolly 3 year old skips out the door with his cup and a lecture on not screaming I looked my girl in the eye. I held up my hands and made a circle with my thumbs and fingers. I said, "this is your brother's world. He lives in a world where there are special cups and special toys and special pop-cycles and special flowers and special TV shows." Then I made the circle a little bigger and said, "this is your world. You live in a world where there is computer time, and sleepovers, and soccer, and summer camp." Then I went back and forth with the "worlds" and asked her, "which world do you want to live in? This world? (small) This world? (big) Special cups? Or special sleepovers with friends?" She of course chose her world over his and walked off happy with her cup. And in my spirit I could see His great big hands, "This world? or This world? Where houses and cars and 'toys' are special? Or where My Spirit covers the earth and the most important thing are souls?"
As we grow in this understanding we can get bogged down and feel like all we want is the "special cup" right now. But with our "age" or maturity in our relationship with Him we can see that despite the extra responsibilities like the not-so-fun fruits of the Spirit: self-control, long suffering, patience, gentleness, kindness, to name a few, we see that there are also many freedoms that come with this understanding, love both given and received, joy, peace, a life filled with His glory.
Which world do you want to live in? A world with stuff? Or a world filled with blinding light and fierce love?