Friday, January 2, 2015

2015:The Rock

(One of my former professors always told us "First we explain, then we write." So here's my explanation: This isn't your normal "Happy New Year!" post. This is me maintaining what I have always done while writing: being real. This is my story. I refuse to let it define me and one way that I can put it in it's place and turn the page is to lay it down here. So that's what I'm doing. If my "realness" offends you, you probably shouldn't read it. My prayer while writing has always been that if my story, even the hard stuff, can help someone going through their own hard stuff, then that brings Jesus glory and brings us all hope.)

Something happened to me. I mean so many things have happened, but something else happened along with the other things and I haven't really talked about it because I just didn't know if I could. I still don't know, but I feel like I want to be brave. 

Bravery is hard, you know?

I've become jaded and fearful towards people. 

I should expect, I guess, to come under scrutiny since I am putting it all out there in this place. I'll have to get thicker skin and a better filter. I get it. But I guess I never imagined that what happened to me would hurt this badly or affect me so much.

And it's amazing how moments can define days...weeks...months...years. It's amazing how lies creep in. In my case they've busted down the gate and have flocked in by the hundreds.

You're a wench. 

A disappointment.

You've missed Jesus.
Unlovely. Unloveable.
You'll never amount to anything.
A liar.
You're in deep dark sin and you don't even know it.
You don't listen to truth.
An idiot.
You'll never be in leadership.
Everyone thinks you're a filthy mess and wants nothing to do with you.

I remember when in high school I had what I would call a massive moral failure. I was rebellious. I suffered the consequences. 

And this time, that is what they wanted me to think. That I am a massive moral failure. I caused dissension. I waged war against something I was supposed to protect.

And for a while I believed them. I thought they must be right. I must not have even known myself enough to know that I was waging war. I mean, Duh! They must know me better than I know myself right?

But those were lies too. What I said and what I did had nothing to do with anyone. It was about me. It was about my hurt. It wasn't a back door to land blast someone. To slander them. To make them look bad. It was about  me and my hurt and my life and my experiences.

But some people took this very personally. And rather than asking me for the truth, and believing what I told them, they were deeply offended. Angry. Hurt. They were angry and hurt at my personal confession of hard and hurt. This made them take my words and twist them. They called my character, my integrity, into question. I was chastised and made to feel like fodder. Like a dog who pooped in the floor and got her face rubbed in it. Look what you did you little jerk!

I've never had this experience before. God's Word has always taught me about loving people. Loving people is what brings them back into the fold. Loving people is what teaches them about Jesus. Love is what made Jesus go to the cross. If my brokenness was what He wanted, I'm pretty sure we would all still be burning sacrifices to earn our way back to Him.

So my face was rubbed in the poo, multiple times. I apologized for causing pain, because that certainly was not my intent. And then I had hope for reconciliation. I communicated how I was wounded. Specific ways I had not felt loved and still did not feel loved. I communicated because isn't that the way you overcome brokenness? But I guess that only works when there is a desire to understand and to love.

And I get it. I mean sometimes you just don't want to love someone. I've been there. And if you felt like someone didn't want to love you, why would you want to love them? And maybe that's what they thought about me, that I didn't want to love them. It's hard to love like Jesus did. I'm no good at it either. So because of that, I can move on past this thing. I'm not safe or loved by these people. They don't like me. They don't get me. They don't want to. That's okay. And I'm still praying so much for them. That God would bless them and cause His face to shine on them. That He would draw them in to His love so that they would feel the heartbeat of that goodness.

But I guess what still gets me is the spread of people who know about this. There's been some gossip. Or at least some retelling of the story. (That's annoying isn't it? I think we tend to justify gossip by calling it something else, "Well I'm just telling you what happened so you can pray." Goodness how many times have I done that. God help me! We are all a broken mess.) And the people who know the story only know one side of it. They haven't asked me. They don't know what was said or done to me. They probably don't care. And I guess that's okay too. I think what hurts though is this mark on my character. This dark spot over my integrity that is completely a lie. That's not who I am. That's not what I did. But I guess people will believe what they will. 

The biggest thing I'm struggling to overcome, though, is all the lies. I can forgive the people. I can let go of all the moments that happened. I can, from a good place, pray for these people who hurt me so very deeply. But what I'm struggling with is fear of people now. I've never in my life been so misunderstood or felt so judged. I feel like I'm constantly in this posture of arms in front of my face. "Oh please don't say that. I can't take another knife to the heart." I'm ducking and weaving and avoiding people. I have had some friends say, "Why don't you reach out?" Because I'm afraid. I'm afraid you will misunderstand me and believe lies about me and kick me when I'm already down. I'm afraid you'll try to pick me apart. I'm just afraid.

I remember after I miscarried, I went to a dark place. God took my baby away. God was sitting with His wrought iron fist waiting to strike me down should I move or breathe or say something wrong. He was fearful to me. I loved Him, but only out of a place of fear. He could smite me! And I remember several years later going to this small group and the leader looking at me and pointing out the lies and replacing them with the truth:

He is good. He is faithful. He loves you. He pursues you. He rescued you. He redeemed you. He loves you like a perfect Daddy. He isn't waiting to strike you down. He's waiting to lift you up!

And I stood there in the light of that epiphany for all those years. Years of bringing other people to that Rock with me. His goodness. His lovingkindness. His ever presence.

I got pushed off that rock in 2014. When I see it in my mind's eye, I imagine a tall cliff next to an ocean. Jesus is up there. It's the Rock of Faith. The Rock of Truth. The Rock of Goodness. The Rock of Life. Jesus didn't push me off. Satan and all the lies did. People did. They shook me and made me question everything I am and everything I believe, and I fell off. My confidence broke down because nothing like that has ever happened to me. And truly it wasn't just that, but that was the final push off the rock after a year of massive spiritual attack on my mind and heart, the likes of which I haven't experienced in the 21 years I've been a Christian. 

I'm on the sand now and the waves keep crashing over me and I just want to get back up there. The heartbreaking thing is that I'm so disappointed in myself that I fell off. That I let myself get pushed off. I feel like a failure for that too. Heaps of condemnation.


I want to get up on that place where I believe in His goodness with every fiber of my being. I see how desperately important this is. Believing He's good. I mean if we stop believing He's good then we only follow Him out of duty. Obligation. We don't really trust Him. How can you really trust someone you're afraid of?

2015 is a clean slate but I'm still pulling out the briers, the knives, trying to find some ointment for my bruises and cuts from 2014. I feel like I just came stumbling out of the jungle and I'm trying to get my bearings. Where am I? Who am I? Where is my Guide? I just saw Him a minute ago. Yay I escaped the wolves! Ouch that hurts. Where are my people? Who are my people? There's my Guide, what is He saying?

I don't even know ya'll. That all feels very real. 

I've got to get back up on that rock.


So I guess that's what 2015 is about for me: Whatever it takes, get back up on that rock. His rock. Where He is standing beside me telling me TRUTH. 

God has laid it on my heart to start memorizing Romans 8. Have you ever read that people? It's like theology in a nut shell. It's so freaking good. The WHOLE chapter. So far, I'm to verse 4.

I know so many of you pray for me and my villagers and you have no idea how thankful I am. I have felt them. I just had a friend tell me last night about when she started praying regularly for me in the fall and it was at a critical moment. The fervent prayers of a righteous man produce much. Please don't stop praying okay? Pray God would pull me back up on His rock. Pray I would have clarity in my mind about what to pursue and set my hands to. What to study and to pray about. Pray He would restore all that the enemy has stolen from me and my family. Pray for redemption in all this brokenness. Pray for our marriage, that God would guard and keep it and that we would always move towards each other and never away. Pray that everything that sets itself up against the mind of Christ in our lives, would be torn down in Jesus' Name.

How can I pray for you friend? Do you relate to my story? If so, my heart aches deeply for you because I know how excruciating it has been for me. Please tell me how I can pray for you too.

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