God the Rescuer

This past week I’ve thought a lot about the things I’ve experienced. The despondency as well as the joy. God hates divorce:  Malachi 2:16 is the oft-quoted passage that tells how God feels about divorce. “‘I hate divorce,’ says the Lord God of Israel. But that doesn’t mean he can’t redeem divorce.

I was in a situation that was irreparably broken. Some of which was my fault. Some was not. I thought I would be alone forever because of God feels about divorce. As usual, God had surprises in store for me.

I met someone who was different. He loves me as I am. He thinks I’m pretty and smart. He doesn’t care what I weigh. He sat with me in the hospital last week and didn’t flinch at my messy hair and unmade face.

I’m not saying there won’t be issues and problems. I think God uses our mates as sandpaper in our lives in order to polish us to perfection. The difference is that God is a gentle God, and that sandpaper doesn’t have to cause raw pain. I’m open to change, and God is renovating my heart. For that I feel blessed.

This might not lead to permanency, and I have to be ok with it, although I do hate endings and I’m hoping against hope that it doesn’t.

My main point here is that my redemption for this season has arrived, and I’m basking in the balm of compliments that I believe are heartfelt. Things could be better than they ever would have been.

I’m not one who believes God wants me to be happy. I believe He loves me and wants the best for me, and sometimes that’s uncomfortable.

I’ve written before to marry or not, and I paid a lot of attention to my fulfilled, unmarried friends. I want to carry out God’s mission for me. I think every day I get closer.

God the Rescuer

Asking for Help

“I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help.
I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me.
I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’
to a nation that did not call on my name.*
2 All day long I opened my arms to a rebellious people.*
But they follow their own evil paths
and their own crooked schemes.

God  wants to help us, but if we don’t ask, he can’t. In this verse from Isaiah 65, he is longing and even begging for us to turn to him. We love our own messes and sin, and we suffer needlessly, all the while he’s waiting with open arms.

It reminds me of when I was a child and did something wrong. I didn’t want to go to my parents because I was afraid of their responses. Truth be told, and I can say this as a mom now, how compassionate I would be with a contrite child. And it’s brave to confess wrongdoing or need!

I suppose we are scared of repercussions and consequences, but those are magnified when we don’t take them to the Lord. They fester. We are unable to fix these things ourselves.

13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.

We have to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. That doesn’t mean the Lord causes the fear and trembling. He wants to forgive and lavish his love on us. Just take it to him. He’s the only one who can apply a balm to our trouble souls.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Ps 103:13). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Is 65:1–2). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

Asking for Help

Loss

I have been seeing a great guy for a little while now, and he suffered the most horrendous loss this week. His brother took his life.

It brought up a lot of feelings for me, those of losing my brother-in-law to the same thing 13 years ago. While it is a long time, those feelings can come back quickly when triggered.

Unfortunately, I’m of little help in this situation. I can’t point to anything or say anything to really ease the pain. Pain is one of those things that are worked out mostly alone. You can’t rush through it. There are no short cuts.

The brother suffered with depression for a long time. My boyfriend tried to help him, even moving in with him to try to help. Depression is one of those things a person has that doesn’t really relate completely to their situations. When I am depressed, as I’ve shared before, I have low energy, low ideas.  Getting up and doing things is agony. I relate to that. And I have no words of consolation, no tricks or tips.

In a situation like this, I have found listening to be the best thing I can do.

Kay Warren wrote an article this week about the loss of her son, Daniel, who took his life 2 years ago. She still struggles, but she’s using her grief to call the church to minister more effectively to people with mental illness. In my current situation the church wasn’t given the opportunity, but there are countless men and women in the church who need understanding. My own experience with the church left me lacking. I didn’t blame them for not knowing how to help me, but going forward, I think we can do better.

For now, we have to come alongside the survivors with hope and understanding. It could be any of us. It’s really doing what Christ called the church to do.

Loss

Praying for Relief

I had some extensive dental work done a few days ago and it was absolute hell. I’ve done work in the  past, and haven’t had as much trouble as I had these days. The following from ‘Practicing the Presence of Christ’ was a help to me.

‘I have often been near expiring, but I never was so much satisfied  as then. Accordingly, I id not pray for any relief, but I prayed for strength to suffer with courage, humility and love. Ah, how sweet it is to suffer with God! However great the sufferings may be, receive them with love. It is paradise to suffer and be with Him; so that if in this life we would enjoy the peace of paradise we must accustom ourselves to a familiar, humble, affectionate conversation with Him.’

Don’t get me wrong, I suffered badly. But this passage might have given me a step or two forward in trusting God.

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Praying for Relief

God Will Deal With It

I have an ongoing difficult relationship in my life that I can never get any level of fairness established in. It’s been frustrating, and I’ve handled it a lot of different ways, many of which were the wrong way to handle it.

It is a situation that is never going to resolve itself in my lifetime. That’s just the way it is. It has taken me a long time to realize that there is nothing I can do about it.

Of course I pray. Sometimes our enemies have a condition where God can work in their hearts and perform a miracle. This really isn’t one of them.

I have had to try to achieve some serenity about it. Something happened this morning that triggered my anger, and once again I went through all the feelings of wanting to lash out, to establish my position, to be heard and understood.

Then I prayed, and realized that doing nothing is the right thing to do. I need to give it to God and walk away. I then read the following verses:
1 What sorrow awaits the unjust judges
and those who issue unfair laws.
2 They deprive the poor of justice
and deny the rights of the needy among my people.
They prey on widows
and take advantage of orphans.
3 What will you do when I punish you,
when I send disaster upon you from a distant land?
To whom will you turn for help?
Where will your treasures be safe?

Now I don’t wish bad things on this person. I merely wish for what is right and fair to happen. But I’m not going to be able to cause that to happen. On the other hand, God can, and he will. There will be a point in time when all things are set to right. I don’t wish God’s vengeance on anybody. But God is gentle with his children. I do happen to look forward to that day though!
Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Is 10:1–3). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

God Will Deal With It

Ropes of Lies

Short post today. It piggy-backs on yesterday’s post about guilt. It comes from Isaiah 5:18. I have to say, I get more out of the Old Testament than I ever have before.

The verse goes like this:
18 What sorrow for those who drag their sins behind them
with ropes made of lies,
who drag wickedness behind them like a cart!

I think the point is that we drag out sins around behind us even though we don’t have to. And what are the lies? The lies are the accusations made by the enemy that we believe and allow him to secure the sins behind us. In my mind I see a heavy cart that we pull along, believing we have no other choice.

Once again, the answer is to let go. To reject the lies, and take our sins to the Lord. When we repent, he’s faithful to forgive us, and we need trouble ourselves no more about them. Unless we want to believe the enemy.
Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Is 5:18). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

Ropes of Lies

What to do with guilt

There are a  few things that happened with my kids that I can’t get over. I have asked their forgiveness and they verbally gave it, but it nags at me. I suppose I haven’t forgiven myself.

RC Sproul has a book that is FREE on ligonier.org about guilt. It took me 30 minutes to read it.

In my daily reading, I was reading Isaiah 1, and it provided me a clue:
Why do you continue to invite punishment?
Must you rebel forever?
Your head is injured,
and your heart is sick.
6 You are battered from head to foot—
covered with bruises, welts, and infected wounds—
without any soothing ointments or bandages.
7 Your country lies in ruins,
and your towns are burned.
Foreigners plunder your fields before your eyes
and destroy everything they see.
8 Beautiful Jerusalem* stands abandoned
like a watchman’s shelter in a vineyard,
like a lean-to in a cucumber field after the harvest,
like a helpless city under siege.

See, here was Israel living outside of the city God built for them. A beautiful city abandoned. The people weren’t cast out, they chose to live outside of the city because of their rebellion. It doesn’t appear God even  sent them out. I could be wrong.

Whether he sent them, or they sent themselves, they could have gone back merely by repenting of their sins. Once they were restored, God would never think on their sins again.

So, that leaves me wondering, why won’t I let go of my guilt? RC Sproul says to confess it and accept the forgiveness God offers.

In the “Practice of the Presence of God,’ by Brother Lawrence, he says “God I shall never do otherwise if you leave me to myself; it is you who must hinder my falling and mend what is amiss.” And here is the important part: “after this he gave himself no further uneasiness about it.”

Hannah Whitehall Smith from the Christians Secret to a Happy Life,says something similar: “I desire to make this subject so plain that no one need have further difficulty about it.”

I often read authors from over 50 years ago who have this attitude. You go to the cross. You leave it there, and you trouble yourself about it no further.

It would be nice if my children and others would forgive me. But their forgiveness pales in comparison to the forgiveness my Heavenly Father gives me. And I remind myself that we will be in heaven one day, and it is my belief that all wrongs shall be set right.
Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Is 1:5–8). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

What to do with guilt