Five years ago, I asked someone, "Can we talk?" A simple question because I needed help and expected, like most people, that they would talk with me and leave. Everyone leaves. Life is just like that, people come and people go. Except these did not leave. They did not say nice things and then walk out of my life. They have never walked away. That very fact is one of the most special things in my life.
I began to learn how to grow.
I'm coming to a place where I feel like I am reaching the top of a hill. Oh, there are likely hills in front of me, too. I've given up thinking I will reach a flat place that never changes. That would be too boring! But I am at the end of a season, and I am thinking back over things. Looking back after the visit to this place I went earlier in the month. I wanted to write some of what I have learned. What has changed.
Also, I'm struggling right now. Feeling overwhelmed. Feeling in doubt about a few things. I've learned that when I am struggling and don't know some things, then I begin with what I know. When I am confused, I start saying what I do know, what I do believe. That helps me get my footing to go through the tougher times.
So I began to write. Sometimes, I just write my heart out with no purpose. I wrote on the top of my paper, "Things I Learned"
God is not a disciplinarian. There is a delight in knowing Him that I never realized existed. He disciplines me, but the goal is not that I become perfect as in a perfect model or display, but that we might have a perfectness in our relationship, no tension, no slights, no strain between us. Accepted with all my faults, loved with an abandoned delight, and called to grow into a perfect relationship.
God does not force me to change. He doesn't withhold Himself from me until I agree to change. He doesn't shame me into changes. He utterly delights in loving me and that love calls forth a response in my heart, a delight in moving closer to Him. I don't always delight in all the changes He shows me. I am not always happy about being shown all the things in my heart that keep me from enjoying His love, but my heart longs to know Him more, to know and experience His loving of me. So I face those changes and challenges head on. Sometimes they scare me and I take off running. Sometimes it's hard, and I cry for help. Sometimes, those things God asks me to deal with are some of my favorite things. Yeah, I've got favorite sins and weaknesses. I wiggle and squirm and try to ignore that call at times. But my heart betrays me. It longs for the delighted love of God. Even the things I held as my favorite sins are so empty, and my heart longs for the One who delights in me. So I turn and cry out to God. Help me. I need Your help to deal with these things. I need You.
He won my heart. Such a stronger force that trying to make me change or make me obey. He won my heart. It seeks to follow Him even through the tough, the scary, and the things I want to hang on to. Even though I can not even imagine or believe what He calls me to, I follow... because my heart moves towards the One who delights in me. I am utterly loved. There is no shame in discipline that says, "Come closer to me because I want you, I delight in you." He has written His law on my heart. That was what He promised, and He has done it. So my heart betrays me. It keeps me going toward God. Perhaps it is not my heart. Perhaps it is His Spirit. But He has won my heart.
I remembered the verse God told me twenty years ago:
"Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. Ez.36:25-27
Ah, I have a story I want to write one day... a story about why this verse is so special to me. One day.
So, I'm feeling overwhelmed. I've got an interesting mix of guests coming and there is tension between them all and can likely pull up tensions in our own family. I'm real low on time alone. I'm facing some talks with God where I need to sit and be quiet and listen about some areas of my life. I'm confused and frustrated about somethings. So I go back to what I know. Starting there.
What do I know? I know I can trust. I have to remind myself sometimes. It doesn't come naturally to me. But I know I can trust Him. I'll rest in that today, and go on tomorrow.
I can trust Him. Even in discipline, He can be trusted.