Friday, August 23, 2013

In dust and ashes

I don’t really know what to say.

Last night, my husband and I talked for almost four hours. It was painful, very painful at times, but good, ultimately. It gave me hope. And it pretty much confirmed everything God has told me over the last several years:

1. That I need to be freed and healed first, and then, from that place of freedom and healed-ness, I can see to better pray for and encourage my husband.
2. That the battle is God’s, not mine, and he will fight for me/us.
3. That he loves my husband more than I do, and he is not deterred by anything my husband is facing.
4. Be still, trust him, and love my husband.
5. That I need to surrender everything. My plans, my hopes, even down to who I think my husband is. Even down to who I think I am.

And so, I am done.

I repent, in dust and ashes. (Figuratively. I don’t have any dust around. Though I could make some ashes.)

I am done being this girl who acts and reacts out of past wounds. I am done believing lies when I know the truth. I am done looking to my own way of doing things. I am done trying to be in control.

I don’t want to be me. This me I have become, this me that my past has created – it is not me. I’ve seen glimpses of myself before, and I am done condemning myself for falling so far away. For believing things I shouldn’t have believed. I am done viewing my failures as failure, viewing mistakes as the end of everything. I want to LEARN from my mistakes, and I want to change. I want to be transformed by them. I want my mistakes to be used by God to refine me, to heal me, to make me more like him.

My husband doesn’t need broken, wounded R, speaking out of her own insecurities and fears. He needs God with skin on, speaking words of life and hope and encouragement. I have tried to be that, in my own strength.

I am done being fake, or feeling fake. I want to be real, and I want to do whatever it takes to become real.

I am done trying to fix myself, trying to be apart from God. Believing I can do it on my own. I cannot last even a few seconds in this battle without God. He is my shield, my stronghold.

I am done being Fallen Eve. I want to be Redeemed Eve – the woman I was created to be. Inviting, safe, captivating, and the image of God. I choose to believe that I am redeemed, that I am forgiven, that the things I have done and haven’t done that have been so devastating to my husband, I can learn from.

Whether it takes days, weeks, months, or years, this is where I will stand. God will either restore us, or I will die on this hill, fighting for my husband, and fighting to be who God wants me to be.

Please pray for me. For us.

God, change me. Change me, change me, change me. I don’t want to be me, I want to be like you.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I will not give up until I see the sun

I was going to write about the shift that I feel in me, a shift toward resignation, but it doesn’t even matter. Because it is a lie. And it isn’t even worth talking about, giving voice to.

I will say this: I think it’s getting close, the breakthrough. Now, what “close” means, exactly, in terms of a timeline, I don’t know. But things are getting worse. Things are crumbling. The storm around me is intensifying.

This is what it feels like: Satan has stepped up his game. He sees how close the breakthrough is – and it is no longer something in the distant future. It is getting down to the wire. He knows he is about to lose, hugely, and he is scared and furious. He knows that if I continue on the path I’m on, it will be bad for him. I feel like something opened his eyes almost, and he panicked. I can almost feel his panic, his desperation to take me out. He is straining for any opening, any weakness, that he can find in me. It’s like he is hovering right above me, all around me, waiting for the tiniest thing to pierce me so he can slam me with the temptation to give up. Normally, he would take that opportunity to quietly lie to me, to get me to start thinking too hard, to get me spinning away into confusion. Now? He sees the opening, and he lets loose. It is no longer a subtle nudge; it is slam-me-to-the-ground-as-fast-and-as-hard-as-he-can.

His strategy is one thing: Get me on the ground and keep me there.

And when I hit the ground, his voice screams one thing: GIVE. UP.

And for a moment, I want to. For a moment, defeat washes over me, drowns me, and I see no light. I see no hope; it is eclipsed by every mountain that seems so insurmountable. I doubt everything God has promised me. I doubt that he cares at all. I believe the lies.

And then, I wake up. I beg God for help, and he helps. I surrender as best I can, and ask him to do the rest. I struggle, then lay down my hopes and desires at his feet and choose trust over fear and self-preservation. I choose his plan over my own. And truth washes back over me, and I see clearly again. And I get back up. And Satan rips his hair out. (If he has hair?)

And then he waits, watches for another opportunity to hit me with the desire to give up.

Don’t misunderstand. This is not me. This is not me trying to figure out what I want, whether I want to stay and stick it out in my marriage or cut my losses and go off to find myself.

This is not a civil war, between me and myself, or my heart and my mind, or between my faith and desires that don’t match up with my faith.

This is outside forces.
This is outside forces, who know things I don’t know, who see a future I do not see and who are panicking, trying to keep that future from coming to be.

This is outside forces who know that if I dont give up, if they can’t break me down, it will be very bad for them. On the flip-side, if they can get me to give up, they win not only me but my husband and whatever ground we would have taken for God.

This is serious. This does not just affect me.
As usual, I am so focused on my own stuff, and I don’t hear God saying, “This is not just about you. My plan is so much bigger than just you and your marriage.”

And even as I wrote all of that, everything about Satan and the outside forces, these thoughts kept fluttering through my mind, “Aren’t you making more of a deal out of this than it is? You are being silly; you are being way too dramatic with this. This isn’t how it is; you think you’re smarter than you are. Thinking you know what Satan is thinking or feeling just because of how you are feeling. Silly girl. This is all you, all in your head because you have this weird need to always have some type of battle going on in your life. Because you think you are some sort of warrior or something. You’re reaching, and you don’t have a clue.”

Essentially, “I’m not here.”

He is here.
I am not making any of this up.
I am not being too dramatic.
I am probably not being dramatic enough.

I don’t know what happened. I don’t know what caused Satan and his minions to intensify their attacks. I don’t know what they know, what they see.

But something is coming.
And I think it’s God.  

I am made for war.
I was born to fight darkness, to rescue people, to stand up to evil and vanquish it.
And I married a warrior.
A protector. A discerning man. A dangerous man who probably has no idea how powerful he truly is.

But he will.

He may not know it, may not believe it, but he, too, was made for war. He was made to fight darkness, to rescue people, to stand up to evil and vanquish it.

I won’t lie. This is hard, and it has been hard for a long time. It is hard to hope when things seem to just keep getting darker. It is scary to trust God when I can’t see what he is doing. It is painful to hold on when everything is pulling at me to let go. It is difficult to be strong when I am so weak.

But I think that is the key – that I do not have the strength in myself to stand. To fight. I have tried to stand against Satan on my own before. It doesn’t work.

But if I stand in God’s strength, then I can stand. And withstand.

I had a dream once; I don’t recall when.
All I remember is that there were mountains – mountains that I could not get over.
Then the sun came up behind them, and as it rose, white light engulfed every single mountain.
Until there was only white light left.

Joy comes in the morning.
And morning is coming.
It’s coming.

I will not give up.
I will not give up until I see the sun.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The riches of your love will always be enough

Yikes, what happened to this week!?

So, yesterday, I was reading in 2 Kings 4. My main reason was to read the story of the widow’s oil, which I had heard Tony Evans talking about the other night coming home from work. I read that, then continued on. At the end of chapter 4, there is this little, easily-missed story:

A man came from Baal Shalishah (ahh, I love names like that!), bringing the man of God twenty loaves of barely bread baked from the first ripe grain, along with some heads of new grain.

“Give it to the people to eat,” Elisha said.

“How can I set this before a hundred men?” his servant asked.

But Elisha answered, “Give it to the people to eat. For this is what the LORD says: ‘They will eat and have some left over.’”

Then he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the LORD.

And it struck me how often that happens – that there is “some left over.” It happened with the widow and the oil, with the feeding of a hundred, and with every time Jesus fed thousands of people (Matthew 14:20-21; 15:37-38). It’s one of those things that is sometimes easy to overlook but speaks strongly when you do allow yourself to notice.

God kind of has a habit of taking something that won’t begin to make a dent in a given situation and multiply it to the point that there is something left over. He often doesn’t simply provide what is needed, he provides MORE than what is needed.

It goes with the verse that says, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20a).

And it goes with the line from the song “Forever Reign” – “The riches of your love will always be enough.”

One night, a while back, I was thinking about my marriage, my husband, feeling hopeless and frustrated and all of that crap. Begging God to please do something. And that song was on, and it got to that part, and I started crying.

In that moment, I felt a new meaning of those words; I felt like God was saying, “My love is enough, even for this.”

Enough to heal. To free. To restore. To deliver. To redeem. To transform. To use. To conquer. To resurrect. To inspire. To change. To recapture. To calm. To comfort. To counsel. To satisfy. To save to the uttermost.

Even as insurmountable as things seem sometimes, they won’t surpass God’s love. It often feels like it, just like it feels like I will surpass his patience, his grace, his compassion.

But it isn’t true.

His love is enough.
His love is more than enough.
He does do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.
And he works ALL things for the good of those who love him. (Romans 8:28.)

He will do those things that I feel cannot be done, he will change what seems unchangeable, heal what seems irreparable, redeem what seems irredeemable.

And not only will he meet the needs, he will exceed them.
He will do more than I have asked, more than I can imagine.
And there will be some left over.

Monday, August 12, 2013

…You call me out upon the waters

I’m sorry I haven’t written. Read on; you should understand why.

Something in me broke on Friday.

“Aww, that’s so cute!” turned into, “God, what about me?”

And then, “God, what about me?” turned into, “God, why not me? Why do I have to struggle, when everyone else”


And with comparison came distrust.
And with distrust, came my attempt to retake control.

I somewhat unwittingly allowed Satan to hook me, rip me to the ground, and subsequently slam me with everything.

This weekend has been really, really, really rough.
I have cried more over the past three days than I have in a while.
I have seen things rise up in my heart that are, frankly, disgusting:

Manipulation, control, vindictiveness, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, envy, impatience, distrust, coldness, despair, wanting to just give up.


What broke on Friday was my hope.

And I see now that it was a hope that needed to break.
Because it was hope placed in circumstances.
In the result of the waiting. In the future.

Not in God.

I am not much of a risk-taker.
Okay, I’m not at all a risk-taker.

I especially don’t like to take the risk of waiting for something that isn’t actually going to happen.

I know what it’s like to feel like I am waiting in vain. I have an eight-year-old headache to prove it. (If one can, indeed “prove” a headache, haha!)

But with my marriage, I have never felt like I was waiting in vain.
The only time I do is when Satan attacks me with those fears.

Yesterday, at church, I told my pastor’s wife that I need God to show me something new, to confirm his past promises; I need a new revelation of what’s to come – so I know that I’m not misunderstanding again. So I know that I’m not waiting in vain.

That was wrong.
I may need a revelation, yes, but not of what I thought.
I realized this last night after work.
I flipped to this song (“Not Alone”; by Red) on the radio, and started crying:

“I am with you; I will carry you through it all.
I won’t leave you; I will catch you when you feel like letting go.
‘Cause you’re not, you’re not alone.

Your heart is full of broken dreams, just a fading memory;
and everything’s gone, but the pain carries on.
Lost in the rain again; when will it ever end?
The arms of relief seem so out of reach – but II am here.

I will be your hope, when you feel like it’s over.
I will pick you up, when your whole world shatters.
And when you’re finally in my arms,
look up and see – love has a face.”

And that is when I realized.
He is my hope, in all of this.
He wants to be my hope, not just give me hope.

I don’t need a revelation of what is to come.
I don’t need God to re-re-re-confirm the promises he has made.

I need a revelation of HIM, of who he is, of his heart.
I need to learn to trust HIM, not just what he can do.

(And yes, part of trusting him is seeing him prove himself faithful. But if I am looking for specific circumstances – which I have conjured up in my head from repeated rehashing – I will probably miss it when he does fulfill his promise.)

He calls me out upon the waters, the great unknown, where feet may fail.
But where my trust will grow to be without borders.
And where, in oceans deep, my faith will then stand.

The question is: Can I let go of my feet and learn to take his hand?