I’ve been doubting God’s love for me.
It all started at a worship night about a month ago. After receiving prayer over ministries turning into prayer over my sight, I walked back to my seat, redirecting my thoughts and attention back to worship. As the music played, in my head I saw the cover of a book I had read about ten years ago by Sarah Haggerty called “Every Bitter Thing is Sweet”. I didn’t really understand nor give any more attention to the picture, unsure of whether the Lord was making a connection between the cover or the contents. And since I didn’t no what to make of it, I said nothing to anyone.
That was a Friday, and the following Monday morning as I sat at my computer deep in work, my seven-year-old Luca came running over to me and exclaimed, “Here you go, mom! You wouldn’t have been able to find it because it was behind your bookshelf!”
As I looked down to my right and saw what he brought me, “Every Bitter Thing is Sweet”, the very book that the Lord had brought to mind three days earlier and I had not mentioned it to anyone, I had my answer. The Lord obviously had something for me in these pages that He wanted to apply to this season.
Through out this book, the author is talking about the hard things in life, seeing God’s love in them, speaking His love into them, and believing in His goodness. As I worked my way through the chapters, I was floored my how much He was directing the words into my heart.
I had been shoving down every emotion in the face of His difficult answers of no or not yet. I had been avoiding all the emotion tied to my circumstances, just continually burying any form of negative emotion and pressing forward. But the Father was asking me to feel it all, and to unpack every emotion in His presence.
He wanted to comfort His daughter.
He hasn’t healed me yet, and I know He can. And knowing He is able and He is choosing not to is one of the most difficult things to process. As He began to sift His spade into the soil of my heart, the feelings of overlooked were shook loose. I couldn’t place His unconditional love in the same boat as my blindness, knowing He had done it before, knowing He is the one who even asked me to ask for the healing, and yet, a year later- still blind.
A week ago at church, worship was filled with His glory. It was amazing and intimate, and everyone felt such an abundance of His presence. Then, as gears shifted into prayer, so did my heart. As someone stepped up, pouring out the words of how the Lord wanted to release His healing, I knew I was supposed to go. But I didn’t want to. Because I was hurt. Hurt that it seemed He didn’t want to heal me after all.
I went up to the front, deciding I would be an extra hand praying for others who went forward, and even as we prayed, I couldn’t lay hands on the people in front of me. I couldn’t get past my own wrestling with the Lord. But we kept praying, and after praying for one we moved on and prayed for another, and then when I was walking over to pray for the third, I was met by a friend who squeezed through the crowd toward me. Through sobs, she told me that she felt like they were supposed to pray for me again. She told me that God healed babies where she worked that week, and He loved me as much as He loved them.
I haven’t been able to run from His presence. He keeps showing up and meeting me and making me feel.
When we were in our car accident last March, in the ER, the doctor came in to look at my lip to determine if I needed stitches. When he came over to me, he took my pierced, swollen lip between his fingers and squeezed as hard as he could. He wasn’t trying to hurt me. He was trying to make sure there wasn’t any glass or anything in the wound to keep it from healing properly.
The Father isn’t pressing on the wounds of my heart to keep them open. He’s not trying to hurt me. He is pressing on these wounds to clear out the shards and lies that will keep the wounds from healing properly.
Thats not to say it hasn’t been painful. It has been a season of grieving these hard emotions that he seems to have popped the cork off of. But He has felt more like a Father than ever before.
Just like a tree with no roots is going to topple when circumstances shift, a relationship where I only confide in Him over the easy prayers and the seemingly successful ones that have produced answers, but if I don’t stay long enough to tell Him how I feel, then I will never know the roots that come from the comfort of my Father, and I will always struggle to see His unconditional goodness.
Today as the kids played outside, I sat in my prayer spot on my couch and asked the Lord to speak to me. As I sat carving out my left over banana milkshake, I heard Him telling me that He loves me with an everlasting love. Being familiar with the scripture and as fresh as it felt in my soul, I assumed it was in one of the books of the Bible I had read within the last couple months. After being unable to find it, Google proved me wrong. It wasn’t in a book I had recently read. It was in Jeremiah 31, and as I flipped my Bible to the chapter, I was undone by the fullness of what He was speaking to me, verses 1-14 being so intimately tied with the words I had even used to describe this season and where I am.
In verse 13, tears spilt as I read His words He has for me.
“I will turn their mourning into joy,
give them consolation,
and bring happiness out of grief.”
He wants us to mourn. It’s an ingredient to feeling true joy.
When we allow ourselves to sit with the answers He gives us in His presence and process them with Him, allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, we’re giving him our whole heart and giving ourselves the opportunity to deeply know the Father’s love, goodness, and comfort.
And if this is the reason He places and leaves some brokenness inside of us, to draw us into deeper intimacy, then the reward is still great and He is still good.
It’s your turn, love. Break the silence. Spill your guts.