These Days

 

road-sun-rays-pathI don’t have much to say tonight. Or maybe I have everything to say. The fact is I’m not completely exhausted. In fact I haven’t been completely exhausted for most of the week. This is new. Sometimes it’s hard to say if the exhaustion caused the overwhelmed or visa versa. I tend to think the latter. I’ve carried stones in my chest for so long.

I find myself thanking God this week. There are so many moments- not big moments, little moments! Infinitesimally small moments.; in fact some have been little more than a thought. And that’s the point.

My husband has to wear glasses. He hates it and when he puts them on he often jests “You people! You see like this all the time?!” I’ve lived with depression since I was a child. I mean, I think my time spent out from under that dark cloud over the last decade could likely be measured in months not years. The anxiety, the chronic over-analyzing, the feeling of constantly failing, trying harder, failing worse, and being so stinking tired all the time! I had just gotten used to it. Despair became my normal. I had given up on having a rational train of thought.

But God just wouldn’t let me accept it. Not in the way I was… which in a weird way was actually to deny it. He just kept at me until I was stuck in a dark corner and had to turn around and face it. And then!… then He started healing me! I want to say “You people! You’ve been able to think like this the whole time?!”

This week I can hear the poetry going through my mind as I watch the children make their way down the crushed limestone trail. I am present. I can hear my self-talk going somewhere it should not, or perhaps more accurately, starting from somewhere it should not. Some place other than His great love for me. I can hear myself talking through the scenarios. Slowing down enough to not react when a chaos bomb blows.

These things are gifts! Heavenly gifts and it’s as real for me as if I was being cured of cancer. Its so small. Each event a pebble in the tray until my new patterns outweigh the old one’s. Until normal is redefined for me. “Rome wasn’t conquered in a day…” (I think that’s the quote) and neither are our demons. There have certainly been supernatural moments in these last few months but God did not come and wave some magic wand. I wanted Him to but He knew that’s not how we are made. The healing has to go on layer by layer. It’s got to build and sit. Like varnishing old wood. The coat has to completely dry.

But eventually that thing will shine. And I am starting to feel the glow of a different life. The internal slowly radiating its way into the external. It’s not over. I still get into some sticky moments and there is a lot of untangling that has to happen. But each day is a reason to trust Him more. Each day I find that He is more faithful then I could have imagined. More sufficient then I could have dreamed. He’s got me.

We’re going to keep walking this path together and I am so grateful for that.

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My Imperfect Heart

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So… this is an important picture. It’s not going to win any awards. No doubt the photo could use some improvement as well. But still, it’s an important picture and I’d like to share why.

First of all:

I made it. This is the work of my own hands. This is my time and my energy and my worship of rest on a page. I undertook it as a representation of my Father restoring my own heart.

Secondly:

My parents gave me this book and the markers. Some weeks ago I made my third visit to the psychiatric unit of the local hospital. Days are long and sterile there (even if you need the solitude and encounter Jesus while there). I had asked them to bring me a book and some markers to help break up the days. I was only a little surprised when they showed up with the nicest set they could find. A beautiful, hard-cased collection of super-fine tipped markers and a lovely book. I couldn’t help but note the price-tag on the back and gulp a little bit. Not only were they coming everyday, faithfully to visit, but the love was lavish. And it reminded me… God’s love is so lavish. When we are broken. When we cry out to Him, He is not waiting with stingy fist clenched tight. He has our best in mind. He gives us Himself. He gives fully. He gives freely. He gives joyfully. That’s how they gave and every time I use the markers I’m reminded of His tender love for me. Especially when I’m at my weakest.

Thirdly:

That ugly dark leaf. So, I’m learning a lot of new skills right now. Thirty-five years is a long time to “return to (your) vomit”. You know… those old thought patterns that keep you exactly where you’ve been. Well one of mine has to do with perfectionism. With everything looking as it should – being as it should. Well, I started this particular picture in pointillism because I found that the markers weren’t well suited for coloring. However, I couldn’t pull myself away from the idea of a bold leaf to contrast the pink flower. So, I tried it…. and it looked terrible (Sub-note: Another life lesson; use things for what they’re best for. Don’t try to make it something its not).

Crap! Now I just ruined my whole stupid picture. This was supposed to be a representation of my heart and I just messed it up! 

Then I could feel His Spirit speaking to my heart. “Yes, it is your heart… and you can change. You can do it differently. It doesn’t have to look perfect to be perfect. It can be a perfect reminder of what am doing in you. A new thing!” The nagging O.C.D. I usually experience dissipated with His words. I could see the beauty in it. The value of watching myself change, and keeping it as a reminder to not go back to the old way of doing things.

Father, for anyone today… anyone who needs your touch. Anyone who needs courage to change. I pray they would let you in. They would feel your love and your acceptance of them where they are. And they would see your fantastic ability to work in their heart, mind, life – to make something beautiful of all our scribbles. You are so good. Thank you for the access you have given us through Jesus. You have been so faithful to me. Please let each person here, experience your gentle restoring kindness today. To know You always. To see you as You are. Thank you. Thank you for the small slow way, dot on dot, you’re filling in my heart. And for the way that you fill in theirs. Little by little. Faithfully, tenderly, working to make us new in You! Help me, help anyone else who wants to, surrender to your Loving Hands. To experience that newness. In the precious name of the Lamb. Amen.