I spent some good time yesterday with God, and then was able to relax with the kids at the farm for a while. This morning, as I was getting ready for church, God spoke and reminded me of some verses I had read yesterday about repentance. I just heard the word "repent" in my heart and connected it to the verses I had read the day before.
And, God connected both of those thing with some areas in my life He has pointed out that I need to work on. Some things that make my flesh squirm in shame and pain.
As I drove to church, I was praying, asking God to help me focus on Him today, and to be able to worship and really hear what He had to say to me through the sermon. As I did, I heard again the word "repent" in my heart. I caught myself telling Him "later" and stopped. Why in the world would I do something later that I heard Him ask me to do when I know He's asking it, and that when I haven't responded right away, putting Him off, I feel more distant from Him?
So right there in the car, on the way to church, I did. I turned it all over to Him and sought forgiveness. Oh that opened the floodgates of the tears!
I made it safely to church (I was crying while driving) and got in there. Almost as soon as I walked in, I saw our former pastor and his family here. I gave him a big hug and greeted his family. After a moment or two, as others came to greet his wife and daughters, he asked how I was doing. I said OK, but saw that familiar look in his eyes.... and amended it, saying instead I was making it, but been struggling quite a bit recently again. He reminded me to hang in there.
Well, little did I know that he was going to be getting up with an announcement at the beginning of the service. He gave a report on how their fund-raising was going to plant their church, and how the sale of their house was going. When he was done with that, he shared how during this process of the last month being away from our church, it had been extremely dark and hard and heavy.
Then he said, "I don't know where you are today, or what is going on. Some of you may be walking in some darkness. Feeling lost and heavy and having a hard time hanging on. I just want you to know that God has not dropped you off along the way...."
The words aren't exact to what he said, but the meaning is the same. I don't really have the rest written down, because I could hardly see Pastor Brad for the tears streaming down my face, and the sobs threatening to overtake me.
I pretty much cried on and off through the rest of the service.
The sermon was good, I was able to connect to God through the worship, and afterward ran into Peter and Donna, my small group leaders. Peter pulled me aside and we had a conversation, one that I had been expecting, but still hard nonetheless. I gave him a hug, and started to cry (again). He reminded me we are still family, and I explained that this, though expected has come on top of some other tough things God is working in and working through and working out, but they are hard.... and it was just one more hard thing today to have confirmed for me.
This pulling apart in my life is really getting old, and it hurts and it has left my heart very raw and vulnerable.
I know God is working on getting me to rely on Him 100% and not leaning on other people first. Depending on others, and having accountability, and living in community and unity is wonderful. However if that starts taking the place of going to God first, then He is going to do something about that.
He's been working on my heart for so long now. Only now am I learning that when I feel His prompting I need to act on it immediately, no matter how inconvenient it might be at the time. Slowly I am learning to set aside things in my life that are or have been idols. Slowly I am allowing Him to open up my heart to see the things I still need to work on. Slowly I am learning to submit myself to Him.... and its a daily thing many times.... submitting myself and submitting my "stuff."
Folks, my heart hurts. All I want to do is cry. This growing and stretching thing is really painful. I know that the Holy Spirit is working.
I. Can't. Do. This.
It's. Too. Hard.
But I have to remember that God is in control. He has not dropped me off along the way. He is carrying me, even when I don't feel Him there. If I draw near to Him, He will draw near to me.
Every little thought of what has happened, just today, pricks my tender heart. Too much to process, too much to think about, but I don't want to shut down again, so that means I need to live with this tender heart.
God, hold me tenderly this week. Hold my vulnerable heart in Your Hands and keep it protected and safe. Guard my mind and heart and soul this week, and continue Your healing in my life. Somewhere I read this week that to be broken is to be healed. Well Lord, I feel broken. So I am choosing to trust that Your healing is following. I am truly "on the road" with You..... You have shown me that I have a tendency to hang onto You, so I know that I will hang in there with You, but please keep feeding me strength and hope for this process that seems never-ending.