When plans get canceled and things keep piling on it’s easy to slip down into that pit. You know the one…depression. It’s slippery and deep. Once you’re down there Satan wants you to focus on the stresses that’s piling up around you because when you’re busy focusing on the stressors, then you’ve taken your eyes off the Savior.
But friend, can I share something that the Lord reminded me of this week?
It’s been awhile since I’ve shared. Admittedly, the physical pain gets so bad that it’s hard to focus on writing and sharing, but maybe it’s also because my eyes started to look within instead of up?
One day last week I had a really tough time…it was one of those times where you beg the Lord to take you because it’s just too much. I went to bed sobbing. Y’all…the Lord is so good…He gave me a dream. I’m sharing because I know that I’m not alone…no matter how often satan tries to peddle that lie, I’ve learned…he’s wrong. I’m not alone.
In the dream, I’m sitting alone in a dark muddy pit. I know it was muddy, though I couldn’t see, because I tried desperately to climb my way out…one, two, three times…each time was just as futile as before. The mud just sucked me right back down. I sat like a child, legs crossed, sobbing, & hopeless. But then appeared Jesus. I couldn’t see his face but I knew it was him. He’s my Shepherd, my Lord…I know it was Him. He held me. He just sat and held me. I woke up and while the pain was still there, so was the peace from such an intimate encounter with my Savior.
Later on that day I was praying for a precious friend and the Lord gave me a vision. I know it sounds crazy, but I tell you that the Lord IS able and faithful to communicate with us! We should ALWAYS test these dreams & visions against the Bible. If it contradicts God’s Word, then we can know it’s false and not of God. However, if it aligns with the Word of God we can KNOW that the vision is true and from Him! The vision was of Jesus carrying me on His back as He climbed out of that pit. Then of my friend on Jesus’ back as He brought her out of the pit as well.
Here’s the thing Jesus could have spoke and brought us out of that pit without getting down in there with us, but that’s not who Jesus is. He meets us in that pit and then we must cling tight to him every step of the way up so that we can look back and say – that was not me, that was all God.
If you are struggling to see out of the darkness, cry out to Jesus. He’ll be there.
Today, God spoke to my heart through tangles. Sounds crazy, I know. But lean in and I’ll tell you how…
My lovely daughter has always had the most tender head known to man. The irony is not lost on me since I, myself am so hardheaded; however, when I was her age I, too, was extremely tender headed. My mama owned a beauty shop back in the day and I loathed…yes, loathed, having her brush my hair. It always ended in tears and frustration – sometimes from both of us. I would have sworn that my mama was not being as gentile with me, her own daughter, as she was with her customers. And truth be told…I think I was right. Just kidding, Wanda Sue.
Fast forward to present day. We have had numerous discussions with L about the importance of taking care of our hair, body, etc. Mainly because proper hygiene is important, but more so because we believe it is important to be good stewards with what the Lord has given us. There have been many times that she has been reminded to brush her hair before we go somewhere only to see her come bounding out of the house with a giant wad of matted hair in the back (y’all the kid is a crazy sleeper!) Unfortunately, we have had to dole out consequences for not obeying us, such is the nature of parenting.
This last week we talked about our morning routines and how sometimes we do forget to do thing that need to be done; however, if we are consistently “forgetting” then it has become a heart issue of disobedience rather than accidental forgetfulness. So, for the last few days I have reminded her to brush her hair then let her go about her merry way without checking it.
Today was library day with her Daddy. It’s a special weekly date that’s just for the two of them. She loves it. As she hurried past me, I said, “No, ma’am. Go brush your hair.” She pulls the brush through 5 times, lays it down thinking she has finished. At which point I said, “I’m sorry, but Mommy will have to get those out.” She immediately starts crying.
I prayed that the Lord would give me wisdom in that moment. That I wouldn’t give in to the frustration and anger that have welled up in me so many times because my child had yet again not obeyed a simple instruction.
As I sat brushing her hair section by section, trying my best to not cause her more pain than necessary, the Lord reminded me that just like those tangles, sin usually starts as something small, that most wouldn’t notice or think it’s a big deal. But as it’s left unbrushed it continues to build into something so grotesquely matted that when the time comes & God says ok, my child that’s enough…then the consequences involved in removing that sin are going to be so much more painful than if we had turned it over to Him sooner.
And as I started to share this with Laylah she stopped crying and apologized for not obeying, then proceeded to have a look of hope on her sweet face & asked, “I can’t wait to get to Heaven cause there won’t be any tangles there, right Mama?” That’s exactly right, baby girl. There will be no more tears, no pain…and no tangles. Amen.
But the story does not stop there, friends. See just like L, I needed this reminder more than anyone. As I was removing that speck from my child’s eye, there was a giant log in mine.
In Matthew 7:5, Jesus had a specific title for someone like me. “You hypocrite” – ouch. Shew, he surely didn’t pull any punches with that! See y’all, here’s the thing…Jesus didn’t come to save the sinless, but the sinner. Which (spoiler alert) everyone is a sinner; therefore, a hypocrite. But y’all, that is GREAT NEWS because that means that there is nothing that is too big or too small that He won’t forgive! And if I can get real, real here – it is man that puts levels on sin. To a holy & just God it is all the same sin. Sin that He cannot look upon. Sin that breaks that fellowship with Him. Just like it grieved my heart to see my child hurt today…it grieves His heart infinitely more to see His precious creation continue in sin.
That’s been a grace-filled truth and much needed comfort for my heart today. For those who did not know me pre-seminary, I was always working out & in pretty good shape. Over time, however, I gave up taking care of the body that God gave me. I started to eat all the unhealthy foods in gluttonous proportions. Brace yourself I am throwing some brutal honesty out there – I have been living in the sin of gluttony. It’s been going on for quite some time and the effects on my body are both physically & mentally painful.
As the Holy Spirt convicted me of my sin, He reminded me that God’s forgiveness and grace hadn’t stopped. That YES, I have been/am a hypocrite, but I have not gone beyond the arm of forgiveness of my Savior.
I share this deeply ashamed; yet, in my weakness I will boast of the greatness of my Savior. Though my sin has been festering for quite some time & the road to reversing the consequences will be long and painful, I stand confident in 1 John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us & cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
What do you need to confess to the Lord today? Whatever it may be, know that Jesus loves you & WANTS to forgive you.