How to Redeem Hard Seasons of the PastPosted: March 2, 2011
It’s early morning in February when it wakes me up growling, sends me running to the bathroom and before the hands of the clock travel yet an hour, I’ve been there 10 times and body is spent, weak, empty.
The kids will be waking soon and I wonder how I’ll do it, sick like this.
Loving Husband will get oldest to school on his way in… but I’ve got 3 preschoolers at home.
How in the world?
I lay there feverish, weak, doing all I can to drag self to the toilet…again.
It’s not just the fires of body that burn me up. It’s the fires of hell that burn most: “You are 900 miles away from family that could help. Everyone else has somebody to call on.”
“You never stay anywhere long enough to build lasting, meaningful relationships.”
“You’ll live your whole life like this, no one to call on when you need help. Alone. Isolated.”
“Aren’t you getting tired of living like this?”
And I fester on what I don’t have, what my kids are missing, all the what if’s, and I give Husband the hard cold summary version of what I’m thinking as I watch him buckle belt through loops at the foot of the bed:
“I know God’s grace is sufficient for this…but I’d rather have someone with skin on to help with the kids while I’m laying here like this.”
It’s horrible. Wicked.
The summary that has defined the hard places of my life and the places I don’t particularly care for. I’d rather have provisions according to me, not God graces, thank you very much.
I’m ashamed of the wicked truth; but glad for finally uncovering the putrid, because now it can be cleansed.
For days I wonder why? Why do I insist on God meeting needs my way, God doing what I think is best and needed and right?
Do I not know Him? Do I not trust His goodness? Do I not believe in Grace Gifts?
Yes, there is some of that.
But there is something worse. There is a root and a reason why I can’t see God’s grace as better than people with skin on. God uses Romans 1 to brand me, searing the wound, inflicting pain. The beginning of healing.
“For though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God…” Rom 1:21
Yes, that would apply.
I know God…but at times I fail to celebrate Him as God, especially when times get hard.
I haven’t always carried that knowledge of God into my dark places, taken it up like a rope as I’m lowered into the pit, tethered myself to the Light of the world.
I haven’t always fulfilled my responsibility to intentionally honor God in each place.
But I know it now… When I fail to deliberately acknowledge the Truth about God’s goodness when the sick beds of life tell me something different….I become a blasphemer. I “make the Truth about God inoperable.”
I exchange the truth of God for a lie, the glory of God for an image of my own making.
And I think I can do this without consequence??
Isn’t this what clouds my vision and becomes the reason why I can’t see grace in the moment, my foolish heart darkened?
Isn’t this the path to destruction, a choice of my own choosing?
Oh why, WHY, do I apply scriptures to the heathen without seeing myself in them?
We are each without excuse. (Rom 1:20, 2:1) You, Arabah, You!
The passage convicts me and exposes me and sears me and I thank God for the breath in my lungs that allow me life long enough to come to this point of recognition and for the kindness of God even here to bring me to repentance.
So if this is where I’ve gone wrong, in failing to celebrate Him, to magnify Him, to ascribe lustre, to extol ~ If I’ve failed to hold on to Truth about Him in hard places, then this is where I go back and “re-do.”
It’s right there at the beginning of Romans. We each have broken down at this point. Like it or not, we can’t go on to the Faith of Romans 4 or the Spirit quickening of Romans 8 or the manifestations of the Spirit controlled life in Romans 12 without first passing Romans 1.
This is the “Go” on the Monopoly board of life.
I know it so clearly I can see it, my own life the map. I see the breakdown…the consequences…the blasphemy…the fruit.
I pick up Ann’s book and oh, how I “get” it, eucharisteo. “For though they knew God, they did not honor God as God nor give thanks…”
I want to move out of Romans 1 and I’ve found the exit.
I’m not on sick bed any longer, but I go back to that place, back to burning fires and throbbing heads. I start listing the graces there. I extol the Goodness of God. I start a list of 1,000 Gifts in my life’s dark places.
2. snow days and canceled schedules
3. Husband who took up the slack
It’s been years and years~ a lifetime ~ since the dark places in my childhood. But I go back there. I list the graces. I celebrate the kindnesses of God.
74. Momma combing hair
75. leaves rustling in trees
76. night owl outside my window
78. memory verses
79. gingersnap cookies
It’s been many moons since that isolated apartment in Asia where I wondered where God was but I go back there. I list the graces. I see things in my mind’s eye, relive the life, but this time I see it differently.
314. Big Bertha (our wind up alarm clock) …
317. finding cheese, thank you Lord!
318. squatty potties…
339. bicycles and backpacks and walking everywhere
340. backs that bore the weight of packs filled with Good News Films
341. feet that blistered delivering the message
342. the chance to go
Oh blessed gifts!
I’m redeeming my past.
I’m also paving new paths for my future.
I’m walking out of Romans 1, deliberately extolling the Gifts, Graces, and Goodness of God in all things.
Romans 12, here I come.