Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Long and Winding Road - Part 3

I think I started serving the Lord the same month I was saved and I’d been serving in one capacity or another ever since. But in about June of 2008, the Lord apparently knew it was time for some pruning.

The year before had been especially difficult. I had taken on even more ministry responsibilities, I was working part time, my son had started homeschooling (with a internet program that had the difficulty of an advanced college course and the confusion, at times, that left me and even the teachers scratching our heads as we tried to figure out the program), a number of interpersonal relationships had become strained, and by that time I had been suffering with daily headaches for just over two years. By the summer of 2008, I was stressed beyond belief and exhausted, physically and mentally, and spiritually I was hanging on by a thread.

So after earnestly praying for God’s will, He told me to take a break. Not only did I desperately need the rest, but the Lord told me that it would be a year of healing. So I reluctantly stepped down from all my ministry duties, we found a much better homeschool program for our son, and I set about seeking the Lord.

And after a while, I began to hear the voice of the Lord again. He spoke to me at first through song, specifically and unexpectantly, through Third Day’s cd, Revelation. We had picked up a copy after we’d gone to a concert and as I listened to it, the words began to melt into my heart like a balm from heaven.

Some of the songs are sung from the perspective of the Lord toward his children and some from a child to a loving Father. And as I listened, the lyrics seemed to echo the aching of my heart.

Let Me Love You
Ever since the world around you shattered
You’ve been looking everywhere for something more
Sometimes you feel like your life doesn’t matter
But it does
I tell you it does

Call My Name
It’s been so long since
You felt like you were loved
So what went wrong
But do you know
There’s a place where you belong
Here in My arms

My life has led me down the road that’s so uncertain
And now, I am left alone and I am broken
Trying to find my way
Trying to find the faith that’s gone
This time,
I know that you are holding all the answers
I’m tired of losing hope and taking chances,
On roads that never seem,
To be the ones that bring me home
Give me a revelation,
Show me what to do
Cause I’ve been trying to find my way,
I haven’t got a clue

Run To You
If I run to you
Will you hold me in your arms

And I started to realize that God was not only wanting to heal my heart from the pain of the last few years, but of the grief that an entire weary life had left me with. I listened to the words over and over and through them the Lord began to draw me to Himself and to soften my hardened heart.

What I hadn’t realized was that I was still angry about my past – my whole wretched, distorted, disjointed, ugly, lonely past. And I was resentful that God had allowed it, all of it. I was angry at God.

But God knew that and He didn’t turn me away, He didn’t disown me, He didn’t stop loving me, He didn’t even get angry with me. His love and compassion and grace and mercy were poured out onto me as He sought to restore me and our relationship and make me into the daughter He created me to be.

I had wrestled with God for far too long. Oh, there had been times before when I had prayed that God would deliver me from living in my past, from asking a million times “why,” and He had. But like a recurring nightmare, the past always kept creeping back into my present.

And so I began to take my eyes off my physical health and put them back onto my spiritual health, and I began to earnestly pray again.

“The opportunity arose when Moses killed an Egyptian for beating a slave (Ex. 2:11-12). Realizing the crime had been witnessed, he fled to the desert to escape Pharaoh's wrath. It was there that he came to the end of himself.”

The Lord used this excerpt from a Charles Stanley email devotion to remind me that, just like He did for Moses, God had used all the pain in my life to bring me to the end of myself. I had been in a desert of sorts and it was time to give up. It was time to not just let go of the past, but to die to myself altogether.

It was time to die to my feelings of having a right to a certain kind of life, even if others around me were experiencing that kind of life. It was time to die to my expectations, to my dreams, to everything I had wanted to live and to be, not because those things were bad, but because God wanted something better.

Moses’ life as the son of the Pharaoh of Egypt may have seemed like a good deal. And maybe he spent a large portion of the next 40 years after being run out of Egypt resenting God for removing him from that position and putting him in the desert instead. But God had a plan for Moses’ life, and living as Pharaoh’s son was paltry compared to what God had in mind.

And I now had a sense of direction, and I prayed for the better way – God’s way. I asked my Father to help me die to myself and to live for righteousness. And as I did, the Lord put these verses on my heart:

“Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:20-21 NIV)

I had served the Lord, but now I would truly know the Lord. Like Peter had admitted at the breakfast after the resurrection, I had loved the Lord in the sense of friendship, (and lately, not even that) but God was calling me to love Him with an agape love – a sacrificial love that was more intimate than I had ever known or imagined.

To be continued...


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing all this! I'm in somewhat a place of spiritual exhaustion myself right now, and I really appreciate the encouragement of hearing your story. :)


Thanks for sharing!