After all the kids were dropped off at school this morning, I walked in the door and plopped my rear on the couch, hoping it would take me to Nowhereville. I was already feeling exhausted and it was only 8:30 a.m.. All morning I had had a knot in my chest. You know that feeling when you’ve been suppressing anxiety, sadness, and anger? It’s that moment when you are at risk of cascading a waterfall of tears with just one kind word from a stranger.
I knew God was knocking on my door. As I fell into the safe haven of the sofa, I sarcastically asked, “OK, what is it now, God?” I wanted to be sure He understood I had plenty on my plate already. Didn’t He know how hard I was trying? Didn’t He understand the discipline I was exercising by being patient in letting Him call the shots, when part of me was reining back the human instinct to take the bull by the horns? I pointed out, this was an instinct HE gave me, (by the way)! Yep, I was pretty much feeling sorry for myself when I answered His call to prayer.
As I heaved a sigh, I asked Him, “What do you want me to do?” He gently, and ever so patiently replied, “Nothing. Let it go. Talk to Me, I’m listening. Let Me give you a hug.” There was that one word of kindness that released the flood gates, but it didn’t come from a stranger. It came from the One who knows me best.
To say the past few months have been challenging is a gross understatement. From losing my home, my dogs, my mountain, my marriage, to releasing my son out into the world for the first time, and staring an uncertain future in the eye, there have been times when it’s been overwhelming. The one kindness our unkind predicament has bestowed is that it has come in doses. Not everything has happened all at once, but in phases. Those phases have occurred at a rapid pace, one right after another, but God has walked both Sam and I through each one before we were hit with the next. It has been amazing to experience the expedition of healing and grace.
There is no denying that God has had His hand on us. I have seen Him work so mightily these past few months. I sincerely give HIM all the glory and praise for provision, favor, opening (and closing) doors, and even the unbounding grace He has shown us. Allowing Him to do that hasn’t always been easy. It gets easier, the longer you walk in faith, but God isn’t one to sit back and let you idly remain dormant. He’s going to stretch you. He’s going to call you up higher. He’s going to push you to depend on Him more and more. However, He doesn’t require we do it alone. He’s always there to lend a hand …. or give a hug.
I have noticed an emotional pattern develop within me. Dealing with separation and divorce, losing everything, not knowing what the future holds (do any of us know anyway?), these things have been relatively easy for me to handle. It has come to my attention that my emotions get stoved up and knots form in my chest when Sam is being affected by the situation. For the most part, he has been a trooper! God has worked in him just as much as He has in me. But when I see Sam struggle, that which has lain quietly, camouflaged beneath the gentleness of a Godly woman, suddenly lunges forth as the lioness of motherhood. You can strip me of everything I own, you can blame me, hurt my feelings, call me names, but you do not, under ANY circumstances, mess with my boy.
Now I’m not saying there has been direct affliction on Sam. I’m speaking indirectly. When I see him face difficult situations that he wouldn’t otherwise be experiencing, it makes me angry. I want to blame, blame, blame! I want to lash out and rip the face off the one who brought us here. Instead, I stuff it down. I encourage Sam, I stand tall and strong for Sam. Eventually however, I must face the demons of my inner thoughts. They have to be dealt with, lest they lead to bitterness and unforgiveness.
This is what God and I talked about this morning. He asked, so I spilled it.
This is how He replied.
Be angry but do not sin. He told me there is no one to blame. He reminded me I have depended on HIM to lead and I am here in obedience and by choice. He prompted me to release bitterness and unforgiveness because ‘that other guy’ is also His child. He told me to protect, but there would be no “ripping off of faces,” except the face of unrighteousness and unholiness which is masked in the deceit of justification. He encouraged me and showed me how far He has brought me. He showed me how He has my son in the palm of His hand, with mercy, grace, wisdom and strength round about him. Then He gave me a daddy hug, patted me on the back, and sent me back out here to do His will.
As I pondered all that He had said, I realized that He was telling me I had a right to be angry, but when I hold on to it and let it turn into bitterness and unforgiveness, this is where I sin. Just because I am justified in how I feel, doesn’t mean I am justified in denying forgiveness.
It became clear to me that many in my situation would be falling apart, aimlessly wandering, clinging to bitterness, and maybe even hopelessness. It is by His direction and grace that the whole of my life I have dwelled in His peace. Because of that, right now, my life is not in pieces. He is the author and finisher of my faith.
~Sandra K. Yates