Sunday, May 25, 2008

From drought to downpour...

WARNING - Long post - sorry, but did you expect a downpour to be light and short?)

The last few weeks have been dry for me... desert-like even. (anyone notice in sudden infrequency in posts?) I've been feeling un-inspired, un-spiritual, un-motivated. Days would pass and, as I'm climbing in to bed I wonder, did 24 hours really pass since the last time I did this? What did I accomplish?

I felt it most in my relationship with Papa... my devotion times were just not happening... I was beginning to wonder why I can't seem to hear from God. I kept pursuing and wondering when I'd feel moved again...

In about 12 hours, there was a deluge, starting last night (Saturday) about 11 pm...coinciding with the actual thunder and lightening storm that hit our area... It was beautiful and fearful and loud and productive.

I love watching lightning, and didn't feel much like flipping on the TV (which is my normal routine at that point in the night), so I pulled up the shade in the office and grabbed "Heaven" by Randy Alcorn. Somewhere between Chapters 8 and 9, I had something of a revelation, I think it was spurred on by this chart...

I think it was the line that says "Past: God walking with humans in the Garden. Present: Humans cut off from God. Future: God dwells face to face with humans." My mind was captured by that thought. I realize this is not a new thought by any means, but it really struck a new cord in my heart.

Sin is often defined as "missing the mark", we are literally falling short of the standard - which would be perfection. We can't be in perfect relationship with Papa if we can't see him eye to eye... yet, we all miss the mark, we all fall short. But God has litterally dipped down, out of his perfection, full of mercy and grace (which are gaining deeper defintions as I grow closer to Papa) to reach into our sin-filled lives and bring us to himself, in a place where we can see into his eyes, to know, even just a little bit of his heart. Wow! He leaves his place to draw us up... that's amazing!

As I began my day (Sunday) thoughts of God's reaching for me, where I am, these thoughts were lifting my heart into an internal praise as we went about breakfast and dressing the kids, getting ready to go to church. As the service begins, I sense something comfortable and familiar, Holy Spirit... His presence is there. The worship music is speaking the words in my heart. A quick glance at my husband tells me that he is delighted in praising God today as well. In hindsight, I believe that God allowed a great experience for both of us today that it would be a confirmation of all the good that I am experiencing. And then we begin to sing:

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord, We will wait upon the Lord, We will wait upon the Lord...

Wow! All this time I've been waiting on the Lord... that's it! I have been waiting! He is teaching me patience. And my strength IS rising. That was cool - thanks Papa!

... but there was more, maybe its more of an alarm - WAKE UP CALL...

As the last worship song is coming to an end, I imagine Heaven (I've been reading about it, not too far of a stretch right?) Heaven will be much like God's original creation, earth with out sin. The Shack showed me what a sin-free relationship would look like, one of the biggest reasons I loved that book. Where everyones' concerns were full on expressing love to one another, with out the slightest concern for themselves. I imagine hanging out with Jesus and Papa and the Spirit; I imagine my Mother, who has been praying and petitioning for me and her grandchildren since she passed, she gets to put hugs around our necks and just be with us, face to face.

And then I imagined something that I can't explain, and realize it had to have come from God. I imagine someone who has hurt me, JS, in Heaven too. Someone I wouldn't want to be in the same room with, but as I imagine JS in heaven. I can see complete love for him from me, and he, with complete love for me. The hurt was gone, the offense was washed off and forgotten... wow, that's an image.... back to reality though, that can happen at the end of the age, but for now, I'm still choosing to be hurt. The music ends and we are seated to listen to Pastor Paul preach the sermon.

Topic: Toxic relationships. I'm ready to sit back and listen, assuming that this will be a good teaching, but not looking for anything too personally specific - after all, I don't have any toxic relationships, right? (Paul isn't looking at me is he? I think he's looking at me?? No, Paul isn't, but Papa is...

My notes:

Hbr 12:15

See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

Keep the root from becoming the fruit - manifest in anger, control, violence.
The only way out of the house of bitterness is through the door of forgiveness.
What can put you in the house of bitterness? - betrayal; feeling that God allowed something bad to happen; self loathing / regret for your own deed.

Genesis 45 (read it, my synopsis) tells the story of Joseph. His brothers become jealous, as he is father's favorite. They sell him into slavery, but ends up in the favor of the king which allows him to save those that hurt him - his brothers, during a horrible famine. He forgives his brothers.

Eph 4:31
Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.
Eph 4:32
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Get rid of the toxin of bitterness
1. OWN it
When your root becomes the fruit, you become the offender, looking for revenge, to cause hurt in hopes of justifying your hurt. Your attitude is hostile. Bitterness is Sin. It is like the old cliche - "bitterness is like drinking poison and hoping that your enemy will die."
2. KILL it
Forgiveness is about getting over it. In Eph 4:31 the greek of "Put away" can also be translated "lift up" in the way that a fisherman would lift anchor and move away. When we get angry we tend to drop anchor.
Forgiveness is not about feelings, it is not about minimizing, it is not about reliving. Forgiving is releasing. Releasing the offender from a debt that they could never repay anyway.
It is a decision to forgive.
3. HEAL it
Ephesians 4:32 says "Just as Christ forgave you." If God treated us the way we want to treat our offenders, we would be in trouble.
Develop hope for that person. Imagine that person in perfect union with God. It culminates in blessing. When we start sincerely praying for the offender to be blessed.
It is the Jesus way...
Luk 6:27
"But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
Luk 6:28
"bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.

Remember how I said "I'm still choosing to be hurt." I think I dropped anchor. The rest of the world is moving on and I'm planted in the sand, but the waves of bitterness are drowning me. God clearly is putting this hurt on my heart, it is time to own it, kill it and heal it.

Joseph's words:
Gen 45:4

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt!

Gen 45:5

And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.

Maybe it is that JS is doing what he feels is right. Regardless of how much I disagree with it, we have taken the leading of the Holy Spirit to be away from that. God sent us out of there. I can not any longer hold the hurt and anger and frustration with what is being done in someone else's life because it isn't how I would live their lives. I guess the truth is, I could never know I would live as someone else. My bitterness is judgment, and it is not mine to judge. Besides that, God has transplanted us... we are growing in new and healthier ways. I am going to be praying for blessings for JS, and that God will bless him. So, today, I choose to lift my anchor, sail forward towards the Son on the horizon. Pray for me, that the root of this bitterness is fully weeded out, and that good seeds will be planted from here out.

Ok -now, I know that was long and maybe you need to pick your chin up off the floor that I said as much as I have... have you ever known me to not be transparent? or not long winded?No dancing around it, here it is, all on the table.'s been quite a wet and rainy day....


  1. Well said.

    Well done.

    I wouldn't delete one letter.

    I'm delighted to read of your lifting of anchor. I am also delighted to watch your growth.

    How glorious the day we all worship together at His throne!

  2. At our house we had a very *rainy* June-December. Then the clouds lifted and we began to show signs of growth too.

    I love how God used the thunderstorm and "Heaven" together to prepare you for the word today. Beautiful. xoxo

  3. Thanks for being so open, Sarah. I agree with Tiffany that it's wonderful how God uses the things in our lives to speak to us. Books we read, songs we hear, sermons we listen to, nature and thunderstorms.

    And it takes a heart in tune with the spirit to be able to discern His Voice.

    Feel honored that God has been talking to you so loud and clear! Don't you just love being His child? :)

    I, too, took many notes on Sunday (it was fun sitting next to you!) and have been meditating on several points Pastor Paul talked about.

    I like this: Healing the sin of bitterness begins with the heart, develops with hope, culminates in blessing.

    Thanks for this look into your heart, lovely lady. Expect great things from God. His fingerprints all over you.

  4. You are not the only one who feels stuck... funny, I've been thinking the same thing about myself... everyone has moved on and I'm still stuck with this deep sadness over all the severance that has occurred. And I don't know what to do, nor really how to pray about it all. I am still hoping someday for restoration to all, but that hope has become dim.

    All that I thought I knew concerning life and godliness has changed. The only thing I do know is that Jesus doesn't judge me and if I'm living my life to please Him only, that's what matters. Well, that and loving others, but I don't know that I've ever done that to the full extent that He's asking me to... so, I'm learning a lot. And rambling a lot. Okay, I'm done now.


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