Somewhere Along the Road…
I wasn’t lying when I said I wanted the Gospel to be the biggest thing in my life. But I also want to be honest (there’s that word again) and say that it wasn’t this glory-filled, selfless moment when I prayed those words. Far from it.
It was a moment of desperation. It was me giving up. Or, rather giving in.
You see, I’ve spent the better part of two years sifting through a lot of confusion, hurt and I hate to admit, some resentment, and at times anger.
But what was my resentment about? Was it simply that I wanted a child and I didn’t have one? Was it that I prayed and sought God daily and yet He appeared to remain silent? I’ve thought about this a lot, about the posture of my heart, and I really think I felt betrayed by God.
It took me a really long time to admit to God, and to myself, that I even wanted to bear a child. For years, I kept telling myself that God was in control and whatever He wanted for us is what I wanted too, whether that be adoption or having our own. But then sometime in the past two years, the prayer of my heart changed (more on that in another post).
I wanted to have a child. The simple truth of that admission rocked me to my core. And so, like the very precious thing it was, I gently handed it over to God, and said, here you go. Be careful with that. That’s my heart you are holding in Your hands.
And then I waited. And waited. And I’m still waiting.
Once I told my mom, fighting tears, “This hurt that is breaking my heart right now? THIS is the VERY reason I never wanted to admit to myself I wanted to have a child. Why would God do that? Why would He finally give me a dream after all these years and then take it hostage?”
I wish I could say I turned back to God and allowed Him to answer that question. Instead, somewhere along the road, I started to doubt that God was good and I became resentful. It seemed like a cruel joke because I felt God gave me a dream, literally pulled it out of me, despite my best efforts to hide it, and I got my heart broken in exchange. It wasn’t supposed to be like this, you know? Not in the way I was hoping my life would go, not in what I hoped I would experience in my walk with God.
And so there was a time in which I felt the ugliness start to settle deep in the darkest corners of my heart where I felt no one could see. I was on edge, short-tempered, and ungrateful. I would go to church and still leave feeling void and empty, not allowing anything to penetrate the thick cement wall I was busily rebuilding around my heart. I didn’t want this hurt. I didn’t want to feel so vulnerable…so exposed. I didn’t want to doubt the God I had loved my whole life.
So, I tried to will myself out of this depression. Telling myself, as a Christian, I should know better. I should be behaving better. I should be grateful, trusting, and not resentful. And week after week, it continued until the “I should be’s” chained themselves around my ankles, and I fell.
I was sick of myself. I was sick of what I had allowed myself to become. I was sick of the lies I clung to just so I could justify myself and my own emotions. I was sick of trying to present myself to others as something better than what I knew I really was. And as it often happens, when we have nothing of ourselves to fall back on, when we’ve drained ourselves to the point of exhaustion, we fall (not necessarily by choice) at the feet of Jesus. I remember it was a Sunday this past summer. I can’t remember what the sermon was on…I was most likely distracted (sorry Rick!). But when we walked forward to take communion that morning, I simply broke down. I was tired. So, so, so tired.
All I could manage to say was, “God let your Gospel be the biggest thing in my life.” And then even more quietly, born out of the pain I held deepest, “Even bigger than wanting a baby.”
And GRACE, like living water, rushed in and I stood there in my grief and ugliness and knew without a doubt that God still held my heart. He had never carelessly tossed it aside as I had accused him so many times. He was there, holding it tenderly, making it beautiful and whole, waiting for me to exchange it for the heart of stone I had carved myself.
I don’t think that prayer at the communion table contained THE “magic” words and that everything has been okay from the minute forward. I still have really, really good days and I still have really, really bad days. I’m not sure I will ever be “100% okay” with any of this. But what I CAN tell you is that my God specializes in mending broken hearts. I CAN tell you that admission allows me to experience grace. It gives me permission me to wonder at the possibility of what I cannot see. It fills my lungs with breath and breaks the chains I bind myself in. It sets me FREE. We can try to convince ourselves we are able to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. We can try to convince ourselves that we own the best perspective on our life. We can convince ourselves that we want to hold onto our anger, and self-sufficiency because it’s safer. But GRACE invites us to something else.
It kisses our cheek and whispers that we are loved. It invites us to participate in a holy mystery. Allow yourself to be captivated by it.