Friends, I recently read a book titled Love Warrior, by Glennon Doyle Melton. Glennon is a firecracker of a person full of acceptance, light, courage, and love. She has walked some difficult paths in life and she has come out of them a stronger person. She didn’t become stronger by running and hiding from her problems; she became stronger by sitting in the midst of her pain and really feeling it, allowing herself the time to pick it apart and process it. This is my inspiration right now and I hope it can be for you, too.
The past couple of months have been a roller coaster of emotions, mostly brought on by the joys and stresses of adoption, but there are other factors in there, too. I think we can all agree that I am a passionate, heart-on-my-sleeve kind of girl, right? Sometimes this is a wonderful thing, but man, sometimes it can be horrible. Over and over I have been convicted by our Lord about things I need to change or be better at. It has honestly felt like one blow after another. My natural reaction is to feel defensive, but that is the wrong reaction. That doesn’t solve any problems, it creates more, ongoing problems. I should add here that there is nothing earth-shattering going on in my life, I’m just not that great at handling any kind of stressful situations. I internalize and worry, worry, worry.
Last week at Bible study all of these burdens came rushing out before I even had time to process what/how I was going to say them and after initially feeling relief for speaking them out loud, I felt regret, because now that I had spoken of them I needed to do the hard work of fixing them. I have always been so good at avoiding conflict. The key word here being avoiding (aka ignoring and not dealing with and pretending all is peachy). Guess where all those problems/burdens/conflicts went?? Deep down in my heart. My heart was so weighed down with these burdens that I was finding it hard to fill it with anything else. It was suffocating. What happened next can only be a testament to our Heavenly Father….
Avery and I got home from Bible study and I decided to get the mail before we went in the house. As we were walking down the driveway, I stopped to pull some weeds from our flower garden. You guys, this is monumental. I NEVER pull weeds. I CAN NOT STAND gardening. It is no fun at all. I just want there to be beautiful flowers and no weeds all the time. I want an easy button for this whole gardening thing. Also, the garden os HUGE! Ugh. I’m sure our neighbors wish the old owners of this house were still here so that HUGE garden could be beautiful again. I’m sorry, neighbors. Anyway, 30 minutes had passed and I had probably pulled about 30 weeds that were as tall as me. I stood back and admired my hard work and noticed that behind those ugly weeds there really were some beautiful plants and flowers. They were being suffocated by the weeds and their beauty was hidden, but clearing those weeds away gave them the chance to shine again. Imagine that! At this point, I was in metaphor mode. I had some bad weeds to pull from my life.
As soon as Avery and I went in the house I turned my spotify music on and heard the song Chain Breaker, by Zach Williams. Friends, I know that the good Lord was speaking to me LOUD & CLEAR. I sang my heart out and ugly cried like never before. Please, indulge me and take a moment to listen to it and really hear the words: https://youtu.be/JGYjKR69M6U
I think the good Lord really wanted to make sure He was getting through to me because later that afternoon when I finally took a moment to do a daily devotion, this was the verse of the day…
“Oppose those who oppose me, Lord, and fight those who fight against me! Take your shield and armour and come to my rescue.”
Now of course, my enemies aren’t actually any people, but my enemies are those vices I turn to for comfort, protection, and diversion when what I really need to do is SIT IN THE PAIN OR UNCOMFORTABLE OR EMBARRASSMENT of the truth WITH THE LORD. That is the only way to learn and grow and thrive through the hard stuff.
The only reason I share all of this is because right now, as a nation, we are struggling. Instead of dealing with the pain and conflict, we argue to try to get our point across, or we completely ignore “the other side” because we’re stubborn and defensive, or, if you’re like me, you might just shrink back and internalize it all. No, no, and no. Not going to help. We can disagree and still love each other. It is difficult and maybe even painful, but we are not going to get through it if we try to avoid it or if we argue so loudly that there is no room for someone else’s voice to be heard. Sit through the difficulty TOGETHER. Accept that God has given us all free will to choose as we please and when we don’t agree with our fellow American that doesn’t make us enemies. Life goes on and the sun still rises every single day. We have the choice to make our nation a better place or to wallow in all of the disconnect. The election didn’t go the way I wanted it to and I woke up with a heavy heart on Wednesday, but life goes on and I get to decide how I want my life and my family’s lives to proceed from here. Eyes open to see the pain and the joys, ears open to listen to our neighbors and friends, minds open to accept all, hearts open to love all, and above all, letting His Light shine through our own cracks (broken places) because in a world where we can be anything, we want to be respectful, honest, courageous, vulnerable, loving, kind, and accepting of ALL.
Friends, I’m praying for each and every one of you. You play a very important role in your own little corner of the world. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all chose to fill our own little corners with His light? Imagine what that would look like…