Ha! And life is messy, no? Why do so many people think that life is supposed to be neat and compact and fit into a pretty box? I have been on the receiving end of so much criticism lately it makes my head hurt. And my heart. Like how I need to do this, or not do that, or get over my stuff, or whatever by people who are clueless as to what I have gone through. "You're doing it wrong Shana. You're hurting wrong. You're grieving wrong. You're thinking about that wrong. You're coping skills are wrong. You're just wrong!" Oh it's been so nasty. I can't get one knife out of my back before another one replaces it. It's been cray.
So last Sunday I escaped for hours and hunkered down to meet with Jesus. I was desperate. I needed to vent to Him and Him alone and I needed Him to speak. So I wrote down all my hurt and frustration and anxiety and anger. I laid it all out there. I had typed arguments with invisible people and a very real and near God.
"And yet there is still a deep desire to be known. And to know. To be understood and received just as I am. To be loved in that place and not judged. For someone, anyone, to be willing to carry this burden with me. For someone to have the answers, the real answers. Or for them to be okay with not having the answers but just to hold my hand and sit with me.
God I need Your word. I need Your voice. I need Your truth. I need Your protection. I feel like I am staring death in the face again. The enemy is triumphing over me. He is speaking lies and death to me. Depression. Darkness. Hopelessness. Defeat. God no one will fight for me. Will You please fight Daddy? You said I am Your kid and You love me and I don’t understand why You tarry. You see my heart. You see the despair. Will You please go to war for me and see the enemy run fleeing? Please Daddy God. Please.
Will You speak truth to me right now. Something. Anything. I need restoration, healing.
What does it mean “The joy of the Lord is our strength?" How can I be strong, if I struggle to know Your joy? If I don’t feel Your love, but instead feel punished? And by others condemning, I only feel more punished. Instead of telling people to just be joyful, why don’t we remind others of Who He is and how He makes us joyful? The truth of who we are in Him. Wouldn’t that be better?"
And I sat in the car and I cried and I yelled and I started out loud rejecting the lies I knew I was believing. And it was so crazy, so obviously God that suddenly a very real dreary day, a day that had been full of rain, and then at that moment...
Right now the sky is clearing as I sit here. The sun is shining through. This is Him. I know it is. This is a metaphor for what He’s doing in me right now.
I could hear again. He gave me a scripture, and then another. And then I started doing a word study on the armor of God from Ephesians 6. It's crazytown if you have never done that. Wowsers.
So I caught a break. Love that God loves to give me word pictures and picture words. He's so cool like that.
I'm seeking the joy. All the time. Because it isn't coming easy. I'm not feeling it in my bones joy lately. So I'm constantly on the hunt for the eucharisteo. The way this tree changed daily this week. The yellow and the red and the green like beautiful confetti still attached. #eucharisteo
I became an aunt last week. For the first time. My next younger brother had his first born, a son. And the irony hasn't missed me that my firstborn son was birthed nearly 10 years ago. What a gift. Thank You for life Abba. #eucharisteo
Speaking words to show me He is listening. That His word is alive and active. I don't have to fear people. I should not fear people. And trusting the Lord means safety. Wow. #eucharisteo
I decorated for Christmas yesterday. And worshipped and thanked God for this house and these decorations I've been given over the years. And how His love doesn't cost me. He gave it freely. And I am His and He is mine.
Thanksgiving day I got up and sought out the joy seeker lady, Ann Voskamp. God continually uses her to deliver depth and truth to me.
I had to sit down here. What do I have to fear if He is loving? And why do I keep forgetting that He is? This is big.
And then this: "There's no harvest without a storm."
I hear You Lord. That the storm of this year had to come. That a harvest will come too, because You ARE the God who restores, redeems. And even though I still struggle to praise You for this storm, I can say that it has pressed me in like never before and I know that is for my good and Your glory. And God I pray that the harvest would rain down plentiful joy and beauty and life. And thank You for wooing me to Yourself. For never giving up on me, even when others do. For always cheering for me and loving me. For never condemning me, since I am already paid for. Thank You for buying me back. I'm sorry my faith is weak God. Help me in my unbelief.
My heart feels warm again. Is warming. As I sit in the quiet in front of the tree reflecting on the birth of my King, my heart feels warmer. As I breathe in the smells of this season, the lights, the joy on my kids' faces...warmer.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, whoi have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Christmas is coming.