Because, in the aftermath of some harsh words, I've been left crushed in spirit, bruised and broken. Thankfully, the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (psalm 34:18) and as I called on Him for guidance in this valley, He answered.
I glanced at an old magazine (from October) floating around on my counter the other day and was immediately drawn to and ad for a book in the back. It's by Joni Eareckson Tada (she was paralyzed from the neck down at age 17 in a swim accident) and is called "A lifetime of wisdom...Embracing the way God heals you" - I guess it caught my eye because the title implies that God's healing may look different than we expect - and I believe that is part of the problem I continue to face with people who judge me according to their idea of what 'healing' means. I ordered it and started reading it. One of the first chapters is called "The Anger that Heals" and I want to share a few portions of it that reminded me that I am okay.... incredibly imperfect... but okay.
She is talking about a point in the book of Job where he questions God's goodness over the circumstances in his life. He does this in what she says is "not the polite, Wednesday-night-bible-study variety. They [the questions] were pointed, sharp, and seemed at times to walk the borderline blasphemy." She lists out the questions and demands Job had and then says this:
"Job's friends were aghast. They half expected lightning to fall and fry the suffering man for such impudence. But no lightning fell. In fact, God greatly preferred the honest, gut-wrenching cries of Job to the self-righteous prattle of the so-called comforters who mouthed all the old formulas and traditional bromides" (aka: platitudes)
And a couple of paragraphs later....
"We repress those murky, edgy emotions about our suffering. We choose to be polite, speaking sanitized words, or not speaking at all. We bottle up our troubling questions and unspeakable feelings towards God, hiding behind an orthodox, evangelical glaze as we "give it all over to the Lord" Except that we don't. And He knows that too. Why would God rather have our anger, our venom, our rage, our cry of desolation rather than our measured, controlled, even-tempered, theologically correct prayer? It's all about the heart. (have I said that recently?) Over and over again in Scripture you can hear God saying 'Give Me your heart or nothing at all.' God doesn't have time to play games, He wants reality"
Two pages later:
"When Ephesians 4:26 says, "In your anger do not sin," it's clear that hostility is not always synonymous with sin. Not all anger is wrong. Cancer, bankruptcy, divorce, betrayal, or the birth of longed-for children with multiple handicaps push people to extremes. And please hear me here: Affliction will either warm you up towards spiritual things or turn you cold. Jesus said in Revelation 3:15-16: 'I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm - neither hot nor cold - I am about to spit you out of my mouth.'
Hate is sometimes closer to love than a temperate, smiling indifference. And lukewarmness is the only road that never gets to God."Next page:
"Sometimes brokenhearted people say harsh things. Sometimes some toxic cynicism or long-repressed anger can spurt out of a lacerated heart. The Lord knows that...and wants to be close anyway. Sometimes bitter emotions and acid words can ooze from a crushed spirit. The Lord understands that , as well....and draws near to comfort."I know Joni Eareckson Tada is not God and her book is not the bible. But she is a woman that I consider a very strong Christian with qualities to be admired.... and she felt like I do sometimes.... AND she isn't afraid to admit it. You know why? Because admitting it helps other people - and although they are hard things to admit and for some to even hear, the truth is that God is using her pain - because she is not aware that little old me is sitting in a little old house in a little town so far away from her reading her words and saying "Thank you for being brave enough to share your ugliness too because now I feel like I'm not alone." This book was put in my path at just the right time - and reading her words helped me to feel like I'm not a complete failure after all.
I pray that for every person who is not happy with how 'unsanitized' I am at times, that there are a hundred more who are sitting in their livingrooms reading my words, nodding their heads and thankful that they aren't alone. That was my entire purpose for this blog... it wasn't to lead people to Christ, although I do believe that if you follow along on my journey, you can't miss Him. I just really hope I can lift other people's burdens just a little.... post by post, heartache after heartache and joy after joy....as God continues to walk WITH me through my ups and downs, never leaving or forsaking me - being patient with me and loving me just the way I am... I pray that others find His love for them too and know that they don't have to be all cleaned up to be loved by My God.
I'm again and again reminded of the story of Job and how his friends came to his side and sat with him for DAYS in silence and felt sorrow for him - until he opened his mouth. And as soon as he started talking, they started with all advice and criticisms, telling him if only he did x-y-z, he would be delivered from his pain and bad circumstances. I'm sure they meant well... they just wanted him to be better... but they were hurting him even more.
In a way, I look at my decision to blog through my loss and grief kind of like when Job opened his mouth.... some people believe that they now have the 'ok' to let me know what they think... and I guess they kind of do. I just wish when God gave me this task, He would have given me thicker skin. I'm too sensitive for this stuff.