Whose Battle Is It, Really?

Can we learn to let go of the weight of a portion our story? Can we begin to let some light shine in an area we have been avoiding? Can we have enough grace for ourselves to admit desire and need and connection?

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The Lord has been doing much in my life recently. So many little gifts have been presented to me as I have learned to be still and trust God. Just as Moses said to the Israelites when they were scared and wanting to go back to Egypt when they saw the peril both in front and behind:

“Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14:13-14 (I added the bold and italics!)

So many times we want we beg to go back to the last-most-comfortable place in life, even when we know that place was awful and not serving us well. Look at the Israelites: they begged for slavery just so that when they died they didn’t have to be graveless. They pled, saying, at least we know where we will be buried!

How familiar that feeling is. If only we would stand still. Learning to stand still–now that is a lifelong task. But, if only, we could get a glimpse of the trust that it takes in Jesus to just be still. If we could taste the sweetness of being still and begin to let God battle for us. And as we watch Him battle, we have energy for the celebration of defeat. Instead of being weary of the fight; instead of feeling beat up and broken down from the journey; we can relish in our victory that Jesus stood in the gap for us.

Once again, the Lord has reminded me that the battle is His. This journey towards trusting Him to protect me. Trusting Him to care for me. Trusting myself that I won’t implode from lack of control. Seeing myself in my own story, but also seeing everyone else and their stories in it too. This process has taken a lot of toil. I have been so broken. I felt like there was no air left in my lungs. I ran out of tears and then cried some more. I raged until there was nothing left. I felt half-human. The process of redemption and healing doesn’t begin with immediate trust and relinquishing control. For me, it is happening towards the end. The sweet, sweet wrapping up of this part of my healing.

I felt led to the story of David and Goliath. Such a familiar story isn’t it? Giant vs. shrimp. Ill-equipped shepherd boy vs. a lifetime warrior. But was David really ill-equipped? I’m pretty sure God knew just what he was preparing David for when he was practicing his sling shot routine on lions and bears!!

David was sent to the battlefront to deliver food to his brothers and some cheese to Saul. He even had to find his own shepherd coverage to watch over his sheep while he was gone! David arrived and saw Goliath and was like what the heck? He’s talking like THAT to God’s armies?! By the way–Goliath had been talking like that twice a day for 40 days–no one had stepped up. So David found Saul and said he would fight him. He was too little to swing Saul’s sword, so he took all that nonsense off and grabbed some stones. I think he knew what God had prepared him for right that moment. He says to Goliath:

“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied…All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” (1 Samuel 17:45, 47)

See? The battle is the Lord’s. David only had to swing one stone. The Israelites just had to walk through the Red Sea. I’m not saying that getting to this point is easy or even natural. I’m not saying you can pray and then immediately give up control. I’m not even saying that any of this happens on a timeline or that you will know it’s happening even when it is. What I am saying is that as you allow Jesus to woo you, as you allow Him into some areas you haven’t yet before, as you stare directly into your own desolation and isolation and stand firm–it is then that you will receive some miraculous gifts. For no other reason than you are loved by the Almighty. He is jealous for you. He is grieved for you. His grief has not lessened since that day in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Can we learn to let go of the weight of a portion our story? Can we begin to let some light shine in an area we have been avoiding? Can we have enough grace for ourselves to admit desire and need and connection? Can we spend some time reflecting on those areas where we are holding tightly and begin to loosen our grip–just to see what happens? Can we let our imagination run wild with what true freedom looks like?

Let us begin. Let us step. Let us tell our stories. Let us journey together towards a true self.

*Special thanks to my good friend, Maggie, for her insight into the story of the Israelites at the parting of the Sea.*

When It’s All Too Much

So what do I do when I feel like it’s all too much? What do I do when I can’t get my arms around this huge thing that has always been a part of me?

I’ve been wanting to write for a long time. I would like to say that I haven’t because I’ve been busy. I’m always busy; that’s not the reason. I have been thinking about what I want to write about, I feel like I have so much to share, but it’s been hard to put into clear terms. I also am struggling with wanting hide and isolate. Will isolation always be my default? I hope not. I still have hope. I’m learning to trust myself and others and Jesus. It’s a big lifelong job, I think.

I know I have had so much movement these past 6-7 months as I have been stepping into some painful areas of my life. I think I have written about this before, but the deepness of grief that I have experienced in this part of the journey is gut-wrenching. I have always been a kind of a tearful person. I would well up with tears at awkward, inopportune times. I have always found it slightly embarrassing and seemingly unnecessary. I now feel like those tears were a result of this deep grief I had yet to express and process.

My grief comes from lots of different places. I have been grieving the loss of opportunities as a result of trauma. I have not engaged in life for much of my adulthood. That’s a major loss that I cannot go back and change.

I am grieving the loss of my non-traumatized self that I never got to know. Who would I have been if I was never abused? How would I react now to others if I had never been violated? Would I have been able to engage in life without dissociating to the point I didn’t even feel like I was inside my own body? Would I have joy–the type of joy I have been searching for ever since? All of these questions I can’t answer and the only thing I can think is how awfully tragic it all is.

I am also grieving the loss of relationship I have felt with Jesus. I have experienced deeply the betrayal of not being rescued by my creator–my jealous bridegroom. The great physician, the most sovereign. Those feelings of abandonment I have felt are deep-seated and mostly undiscoverable until just recently.

So what do I do when I feel like it’s all too much? What do I do when I can’t get my arms around this huge thing that has always been a part of me? First–I resist! My grief prison has been my friend, my confidant, the only predicable piece of me. But just like all sources of comfort outside of Jesus it is also deeply flawed. What has protected me is now destroying me. This which has kept me safe is now keeping me alone.

Second–I make the choice to take the risk of trust and vulnerability. Trust in myself, others, and especially in Jesus. Vulnerability in admitting that I have been trying to cover over my pain with all sorts of things by providing for myself rather than depending on Jesus–who, by the way, has proven Himself to me over and over.

Third–rest in the timing of God. As long as I have been on this healing journey His timing has never been off. Never too early, never too late. You know what? It’s rarely on my timeframe, funny how that works! I have been receiving the gift of rest and patience recently. It is an amazing, miraculous thing to realize that I really can trust God’s timing.

So, my dear brothers and sisters, travel on. Just take the next best step that is in front of you right now. It takes courage, resolve, and strength and the rewards are bigger and beyond what even you can imagine.