I am excited to introduce my next Share The Brew guest writer. Carrie of Let Hearts Bloom and I met about two years ago when we began reading each other’s blogs. We’ve bounced blog design ideas off of each other and have participated in some of the same Facebook groups for bloggers. I love Carrie’s heart for the Lord, the simplicity of her writing and her graphics are always beautiful. I know that Carrie’s words will bless you today. And don’t forget to visit her blog for more inspiration.
I watched as cedar play sets were assembled and fences went up. Backyard decks were built. Across the street an enormous hole was dug for a swimming pool. The next-door neighbor arrived one night in a new luxury sedan.
I compared the decor, the landscapes. I contrasted it all to the meager income we earned. Rooms left empty because we didn’t have money to furnish them. Bare walls. Unadorned windows.
I wanted what they had. If I had the same stuff, I’d be happy. Surely the pretty things would make me feel better, whole and satisfied. The discontent bubbled. We were living paycheck to paycheck, unable to compete with ‘The Joneses’.
Didn’t God owe me after the conflicts He allowed into my life? Wasn’t it due me? When was it my turn?
Somewhere along the way I accepted the lie that I was entitled to favor, especially because I suffered. When I didn’t get what I perceived to be right or good, I blamed God. He became the scapegoat for my failures, shortcomings and disappointments. I allowed my relationship with Him to disintegrate.
I scarcely thanked God for the blessings He laid before me: the healthy child, the hardworking spouse, food and shelter. Instead I convinced myself it wasn’t enough. I deserved more.
Plus I fought the urge to run. The anger pushed, pulled and tempted. I searched frantically for liberation.
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
I looked for a reason to leave if merely to stop the disillusionment. It came. We were transferred out of state.
But the emptiness followed me. Nothing filled the void. It took less than a year to realize the move was a big mistake. Why did God strip me of family and friends and lead me to this foreign state and town?
Do not regard lightly the discipline of The Lord,
Nor faint when you are reproved by Him;
For those whom The Lord loves He disciplines,
And He scourges every son whom He receives.
I’d love to say I learned quickly and begged for God’s mercy then and there. This summer marks the 13th year of our move. I wasted years and years seeking something – stuff to mask the pain – but I really needed Someone.
How would I escape the self-centered pit I created? How could I forgive and begin to heal the past? I lived rebellion; I had no clue how to get out of it.
Until I met a pastor and was welcomed into his church. Until The Holy Spirit opened my heart so I heard and believed the Bible. Until I accepted Jesus Christ and learned to follow.
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)
Slowly, tenderly, Fatherly, He pruned. God’s love and discipline – which brought me hundreds of miles from what I’d known – saved me.
[tweetthis]He never stopped pursuing broken me. @CarrieLofrano #sharethebrew[/tweetthis]
All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. (Hebrews 12:11)