I'm learning that what I allow to linger in my mind takes root and shapes my attitude, my decisions, even my daily life. I want to pursue what is true and right and noble and pure, yet I find myself distracted by murmurings within. Distortion of truth can be almost indiscernible if lies oppress long enough. Allegations can be mistaken for authenticity. Words can become weapons, as self-reproach and derision pummel away at the inner life- the true life that makes up who I really am, behind the mask. It's a struggle, this truth seeking.
Reckless words spoken by loved ones in jest or anger can worm into the tender places of my soul, becoming daily poison, marking the deepest corners of my identity. And the enemy uses these words to pierce my mind with accusation, guilt, and self loathing.
Every evil that has come against me originated with the enemy of my soul. So, yes, he knows my fragile places and still schemes to deliver subtle but annihilating blows. Yet there is resounding hope! The one who speaks only lies holds no power over me, except what I give him- and the Voice of truth stands ready, not only to defend, but cover. When I see clearly, past untruths, past wounds and disappointments, I see the heart of God for me.
He is not some distant or cruel master turning away from heartache. He
is the lover of my soul, who embraced pain and death so I could be close
to him in every season.
When war invaded my home, words became the ammunition of the enemy.
My husband returned altered after his second deployment to Iraq. He had been a loving family man and committed Army
chaplain, yet his anxiety and anger began to drive a wedge between us. Almost overnight, the man I loved became alternately withdrawn or spewing
emotional abuse. After six months of chaos, symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress
Disorder were recognized and he self admitted to a VA facility which
specialized in treating PTSD. I was left alone, again, to care for two
little ones with special/medical needs. I was relieved to have a break from the
barrage of rage and depression, yet my mind was still entrenched in a battle for
During weekend visits, my husband gave our boys and me pottery he had crafted
himself. I was struck with the cold hard facts; this was not the average hospital stay. Life
became surreal, like a scene from a movie; a family visiting a loved one
in a mental facility, art scattered all around. In that moment, my dreams shattered. How could I ever have a stable life again? I believed the lie that we were damaged
beyond repair. I felt helpless. And utterly broken.
From that pit of heartbreak and despair I cried out to God, and I
remember well the moment that changed everything. I was at the end of all I
knew, all I ever wanted, and I reached out, weeping, "I can not do
this!" And then, a presence covered me, tangibly. I was cradled in light and love-
and unconditional acceptance. It was as if God was saying: "Cry it all out sweetie. I am here with you. It's OK,
you can be where you are, in all your grief, with me." And then I
knew these truths: He is safe. He does not judge. He longs to hold me through
the heartbreak, if I will let him. It's OK to lay down in his arms and weep.
This was not the first time I had endured a life crushing blow. But it was the
first time that I turned to my Comforter with every bit of my broken heart and
learned what it really meant to be held. To be everything I was and everything
I wasn't, and still be completely and totally accepted.
This experience radically transformed how I understood God.
Dear ones, if we can learn to pray past lies that bear down on our
hearts and minds- if we are willing to open ourselves to a new understanding of
God's heart for us- we will find His surprisingly boundless grace. Guilt and
shame are hurled towards us mercilessly, sometimes even by God's own people.
But His ways are not humanity's ways. And when we get a glimpse of Who he
really is- untempered by those who have failed us, we will know His grace,
even in the darkest depths of our souls. He offers undeserved favor, and liberation from the lies we tell ourselves, not because of anything we have done, but because
of who God is and his great love for us. Do you know what it means to be
totally and completely accepted where you are, who you are, no matter what? I
found this miracle in the arms of God alone.
Beloved one, you are invited to move deeper into his immeasurable love, to walk
free from the chains of guilt and shame. You can know that though
you feel you are 'not enough', He is. And he loves you, now, just the way you
are, flaws and all. There is no need to hide, no need to cower, for He is your
covering, and his grace is all encompassing. You can ask him into every moment, every wound,
every loss, and learn for yourself his true nature: Unconditional Love.
With all your heart, you can speak these words to the One who longs to hold you
through the worst of times:
I invite you in to heal the broken places of my heart and soul.
Teach me to turn a deaf ear to the enemy, who only seeks to destroy. Open my ears to hear your voice, speaking life and love into my heart and mind, replacing the lies with your truth. Open my eyes to
see how very precious I am to you! I speak the truth that my worth is
immeasurable, and you have spoken volumes of your all surpassing love for me.
Your love caused you to endure even the torment and pain of the cross,
so that I could be re-claimed into a day by day relationship with you. I
am ransomed in order to be healed, whole, restored. And you have
declared that I am worth it!
Thank you God, for accepting me just as I am. Hold me, teach me to trust you to set me free.