A FULL LOAD
I love it when the Bible describes feelings that you can’t find the words to express. Such was my experience earlier this week when I sat down in my devotional “spot.” I was weary, bone tired from the holiday hoopla. As I reflected, I concluded that, for me, it was one of the saddest I could recall in years. My mind felt numb. My heart hurt. I couldn’t sort it out. I had functioned somewhat in a rote manner throughout the festivities because that’s what’s expected, right? But this time, in the end, I recognized that a part of me died inside. A different kind of brokenness consumed me and I let go of any previous confidences about traditions or people. And, for the first time ever, I couldn’t wait to undecorate the house. It simply didn’t matter.
I was nursing 3 different sources of “loss.” Some are expected but still hurt. Like getting the news about the passing of our “adopted” father figure, Elvis Priest. (See my 12/23/17 blog) Secondly, the past 6 months have taught me a deeper connectedness & compassion for what others face. When God calls you to something birthed from your own experience, you not only sympathize but you empathize. You can picture it. Even though the incidentals might be different, you can feel the shock, the temporary quandary, & the fear that comes after. Those were my thoughts on December 22, when we received the news that my sister-in-law, Karen, had NOT responded to chemotherapy…at all. I had my cry & then I put out the word to my awesome prayer team. But I still carry that ache within me.
The third loss, that’s like a knife in my heart, is an ongoing, extended family division that seems to be getting worse instead of better. The more I/we pray, the worse it seems to get in practical life. In totality, it directly affects 15 households-- that I know of. As I write that number, it seems almost unbelievable! Some things simmer for years. Some simmering is to be expected. We’re a frail humanity when push comes to shove. Call me naïve or gullible, but I guess not everyone feels about family like I felt growing up. Like I felt when we were raising our girls. When the pot boils over, family is there to help with the mess. But apparently I thought wrong. Sadly, I know of others in the same predicament. It’s becoming more commonplace as the enemy uses secrecy, shame, deception, & distortion of Scripture to give a false perception of self (pride), destroy generational faith & defame the name of Jesus Christ. Satan could really care less about us. As I live & breathe, I’ll never get used to it, & I won’t stop praying!
I’m not very good at faking it. So the reality of these 3 losses, mixed together, felt like a burden I couldn’t bear. None are easily dismissed or remedied just because time passes. As I sat in the pre-dawn hours on Monday, I asked God to change my thinking. I asked Him to protect my mind from lies. I asked Him to lead me in His Word. And He did…through David.
“When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, Thou didst know my path. In the way where I walk they have hidden a trap for me. Look to the right & see; for there is no one who regards me: there is no escape for me; no one cares for my soul…Bring my soul out of prison, so that I may give thanks to Thy name…For the enemy has persecuted my soul; he has crushed my life to the ground; he has made me dwell in dark places like those who have long been dead. Therefore, my spirit is overwhelmed within me; my heart is appalled within me.” (Psalm 142:3&4; 143:3&4)
Ah-h!! What a relief just to feel that I was understood by my Abba Father! I could see the futility of where I was at. I was stuck. But I was seeing the light. So, I read on to David’s recorded turnaround thinking.
“I remember…I meditate…I muse…I stretch my hands…my soul longs for Thee…Let me hear Thy lovingkindness in the morning…I trust in Thee…Teach me the way in which I should walk…to Thee I lift up my soul…deliver me from my enemies; I take refuge in Thee. Teach me to do Thy will for Thou art my God. Let Thy good Spirit lead me on level ground…revive me…bring my soul out of trouble…cut off my enemies…for I am Thy servant.” (Psalm 143:5-12)
God also reminded me of Matthew 11:28-30. Jesus wants to carry my full load & give me rest. His yoke is easy (kindly, pleasant) & His load is light. That rest comes when we humble ourselves before Him & are willing to give it up, & learn what He wants us to know about us. The older I get, the more I realize this is an everyday decision to give my burdens to Him. I need Him desperately!! (It’s a fact, no drama intended.)
As I write this blog, Karen is having major surgery. The course of her life will be determined, in part, this afternoon. Rosemary is missing Elvis so much that she feels a bit lost & wants to join him soon. And our family “feud” is always a potential knife in my heart, waiting with a new twist. But thank God! He is still sovereign & in control. He will cause His voice of authority to be heard. (Is 30:30) My part is to stay humble before Him, do what He tells me, & share the HOPE of Christ’s indwelling life however He wants to express it. As one of my favorite Bible teachers said, “Victory is not determined as much by what we’ve been delivered from, as by what we’ve been delivered to. When Satan come prowling, may we be ‘found in Him.’” (Phil.3:9)