Let me warn you ahead of time this post will be a dozy but worth reading to the end I think.
You see I have been struggling greatly. I have been depressed even. Filled with questions, doubts, lack of motivation, pressure and frustration.
Last night though my heavenly Father met with me and spoke to my heart. Let me try and make sense of all of this. My most recent homework in my Beth Moore "Believing God" bible study asked me to remember my past and seeing where God was there all along. There were things there that simply made me angry. I knew the exercise was to bring encouragement but it brought the opposite. I was sooo angry thinking ok I remember this and this and thinking you were there for that God just makes me angry that you even allowed it to happen.
From there I began to think what is wrong with me? Why do others in far more horrendous circumstances, that do not even compare to mine still have faith and belief in you? What do they have that I don't? I asked this question almost daily and when no answer came I would grow more angry and depressed.
Well, last night God answered. I started to read another book I have had for some time now, but like COUNTLESS other times before I picked it up right when I was supposed to. It is titled "She Did What She Could" by Elisa Morgan
I am just going to have to quote the most meaningful parts. The intro to the chapter asked this question:
"What if I believed God loved me so much that I wanted to love Him back by doing what I could?"
Then it hit me. That is it! That is what others have. They believe that God loves them so much! That is why their circumstances don't rule over them. You see I look at my circumstances and at myself and tend to think God must be mad. This must be my punishment. I am selfish, sinful, and imperfect. It only seems like God may love me if things are "going right." Man what a lie I have bought into. Last night that lie was exposed and something hard in my heart crumbled away.
Here are some more sentences from the book that gripped me: "I am a woman, created by God, shaped by life, and equipped by ALL I've experienced."
"Let even your deficits be your offering."
"When we live loved, we splash in the puddle of our personhood, and smeared with the stains of our humanity, we rise to find God FORMING ALL of what we are into an offering that somehow shapes the world around us for good."
Then there were these questions:
What do you bring to this world in the offering of you? How has God redeemed who you are in such a way that it can be invested, ALL OF IT, for His purposes? How does he want to meet you in the messiness of who you are in order to shape your unique investment?
This next paragraph of the chapter was my absolute favorite!!!
"We discount or dismiss what we see as "negatives" in ourselves when they actually form many of the things we have to offer. Who better to help one alcoholic than a recovering alcoholic? Who else can grasp the pain of grief like another who has wailed in anguish? Who else can pave the way toward hope for an incest survivor like another survivor who has found her way? Parenting challenges, failed relationships, territory recovered from addictions, financial loss, even convicted time served --- ALL of the experiences in the ALL of you and me make up what we bring to a moment."
WOW! I was floored and some healing took place in my heart at that moment. You see it became clear. My life experiences, especially the most painful ones, that made me feel like I wasn't loved, actually have become some of the best of what I, yes messy me, has to offer.
These two verses came to mind after I finished the chapter.
"You meant to hurt me, but God turned your evil into good to save the lives of many people, which is being done." Genesis 50:20 from the story of Joseph. (Love that story by the way!)
"We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him." Romans 8:28
Those verses have a more personal meaning to me now and they actually make sense to me now instead of causing frustration and anger to rise up inside of me.
Don't you just hate when someone who has not been in your shoes tries to tell you how to walk in them. I find it very offensive, but then on the other hand someone who has gone before me has real power to speak in love and I am able to receive it.
So I am feeling healed today. I am feeling hope today. I am feeling loved, and I have an offering, no matter how messy it is.