Finally I get to breathe and write.
I am finally able to process all my internal ramblings that has transpired post life events. I find myself sitting at the a random Starbucks enjoying the sweet sensation of Jazz and typing to my heart’s content. Being an introvert I often deeply ponder and internalize my situations and find that I always want logical answers…there has to be a ‘tangible solution’. This month I come to tell you that life is full of intangible answers…like a pause to a song that never continues. Often this void is filled with our own solutions to life’s aching and groaning. Allow me to take a minute and share my story with you. It’s easier to ease the pain with solutions than to bleed and be vulnerable to the intangible…to trust the invisible God.
I have always grown up in a household that believed in the Lord…or rather what they believe ‘about’ the Lord. Real questions stifled with ‘the Lord is good’ ‘the Lord is faithful’…growing up in poverty and abandonment you are left aching with the question ‘How is he good when I am left this broken?’. Welcome to the internal questions of my soul. My father is the most amazing man I know on this earth (sidenote: future husband take notes). He is a hard worker, loyal and deeply compassionate. My dad is a doer and he is a fierce lover of Jesus. Never did I question that Jesus is real…ever. Then fast track to my teenage years my eyes are enlightened to ‘real life’…the kind you live growing up in ‘poor neighbourhoods’. A life filled with a traumatic lashing to the soul…the place where kids grow up faster than need be, the place where we live from day to day and the place where we are sold into the slavery of mental conditioning. The place where we make agreements with ourselves that because we lack xyz we are less worthy. The place where we see our parents love the Lord so much and work so hard…yet he is nowhere to be seen…or at least that is how I saw it. I found myself lost beyond measure…often bandaging my soul with ‘self medication’. It was in those days that my heart became marred by the illusion of intimacy, love and self preservation. Midst it all I somehow found a hope in Jesus (which I cannot explain fully) that anchored my soul…I stand tall beyond measure because I have found stability in the one who loves me through the fear, the agony and the loneliness. The kind of intimacy I have found in the pages of my bible, my broken prayers and the endless nights crying myself to sleep, has marked me to believe that he is truly real. So many times I attempted to take my own life and he was there…reminding me why my life matters. I tell this part of my story because I know this is the hardest and darkest story to tell.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:16)
So easily I forget those days…such is human nature I suppose. Fast track down my twenties (haha late twenties…aaaah…I digress) and I find myself coming full circle with a broken life. The past year and a half has been the hardest times in my life. A month into me arriving in Philadelphia my mother was diagnosed with colon cancer. I nearly died…I didn’t though. Little did I know that this news would set me on a path of months of anxiety, loads of fears arising and many nights of lonely crying again. My mother had undergone two surgeries in this past time and is alive and well. My mother’s last surgery had happened a couple of months ago and it was successful. In this time I was so vulnerable at the thought of losing my mother in a time where I have barely experienced life. So much anger and accusation stirred in my heart…the biggest lesson learnt is that no anger is to great for the Lord to handle. I found myself many nights screaming at him, waving my fists like a brat and accusing him of her being ill. Angry that he would not ‘take’ this away…he is God after all right? Looking back I am comforted that he loves me this much. Over and over by his word he kept reminding me that he is faithful to heal her disease…each time I would sob like a baby still fearing that she would die before I even have my first child, or even marry. The thought of losing my mother is scary…I have never loved another individual like I do my mom. Through the tears I knew his word was truth and I could speak that and he would move on my behalf…BUT I still doubted in my soul…the beauty of the Lord is that he is unfazed by my weaknesses.
I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish.Then I called on the name of the Lord: O Lord, I pray, deliver my soul! Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful. The Lord preserves the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me. Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. (Psalm 116:1-7)
Fast track a week later, my dad collapses and is hospitalized. Nothing freaks me out more than losing my dad being so far from home. In this time I was brought to utter weakness. Knowing that my parents are this far from me and that my dad was reduced to such weakness. There is nothing more terrifying than seeing your dad be weak and frail. Dads are made to be strong and brave…not frail and weak. In these moments I found myself back at the place of weak tears. I had nowhere to turn with my bleeding soul but to the Lord. The only place I knew I would find answers that would leave me satisfied. Can I just say that the answers I found was not always ‘nice’. Yet they left me knowing in the depths of my emotions that the Lord is in fact real and intimately acquainted with every accusation in my soul. Again I had to rehash my wounds…’why me Lord? why my family?’…in those moments I found these answers:
- Life is about choices and choices have consequences. The Lord values the freedom to choose right and wrong and he also allows the freedom of those consequences to play out. Yeah thats harsh because we want the Lord to love us on our terms. My parents both lived unhealthy lifestyles and this was the outcome of just that.
- The Lord is merciful to heal and to draw near the brokenhearted – When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:17-18) Not only is this a verse…I have encountered this. I have never believed for healing as much as I have in this season…and he has healed my parents. Even when I doubted he came through because I asked through my tears
- Regardless of what life looks like there is solid answers in the Lord. I have had this conversation with a friend before…that the Lord is not good because he has not been good in this life…or rather that there are not tangible traces of his goodness. this has left me wondering and just thinking…then I realized that the Lord’s goodness is anchored in the fact that he upholds my life even when I use this life to defile who he is. – He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.(Hebrews 1:3) I have endless stories about my broken life that is a fragrant testimony of the Lord’s love and mercy towards me. Brokenness brings forth that fragrance…when I have had absolutely nothing and no one he was there…this is experiential knowledge I cannot pass on by giving you text from a bible.
- Life is a broken place because people are broken. I am so tired of people saying ‘but he is God he should just change us’…think about this for a moment. Would you want to ‘make’ someone else love you? Do you truly want a ‘puppet master’ pulling the strings of your life? Fool yourself all you may…there is no other God that gives you guidelines for a life fully beautiful and says ‘hey you decide…no pressure’.
Last night I finally had a melt down and I bawled myself to sleep literally. Through the tears my heart just gushed at how tired I am of always being on the ‘broken end’ of life. The accusations of loving the Lord and him throwing me this harsh life hit me like a flood. In those moments I was met with such tender love and truth. I could openly bring my anger and weakness before the Lord and vent. In those moments I was met with this reality:
- The Lord is humble…he has set the standard of humility by belittling his Son and being slaughtered at the hand of a people who he created. Allowing himself to be led to death on a cross because he loved a people who hated and mocked him – For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isaiah 53:2-4)
- This is the standard of love in Jesus…whether I like that or not. I can choose to walk away and go on my own…but I would never know wholehearted love the way it was intended to be. Love is not the fleeting feel good kind of existence we long for it to be.
- Life is not rooted in the tangible things of this world…for now yes…but for eternity…no. I live under this truth because I chose Jesus as my savior. Yes he comforts and he sustains but I live in this life and therefore I will experience the harsh reality of this now. As much as I want to be removed from this harsh reality…it is mine to live. It is this brokenness that refines my character, my ability to stand, my resilience to love and my humility to be vulnerable.
When people look at my life and wonder why I love…this is why I love.
A voice says, Cry! And I said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. (Isaiah 40:6-8)
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phillipians 2:5-9)
I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. (John 17:15-19)
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5)