It has been just over a month now since my accident. I may be slower than the seniors at my grocery store, but I can walk without a limp if I concentrate and I have the cast off on the right hand, although the thumb is still pretty tender and weak. But this week what I have been struck by is how quickly and easily our resources; physical, emotional and spiritual can be drained.
To say that I hit a wall on Wednesday would be an understatement. I was scrapping the bottom on all levels. I was physically exhausted, mentally exhausted and, as I was soon to learn, spiritually exhausted. Sometimes it’s easy to hold on to our faith, sometimes it squirts away from us like a wet bar of soap. The details of what sent me over the edge aren’t as important as the fall out…I got to a point when I couldn’t see the point, I cursed God, swore at him and decided that I was done with it all. I was hurt and tired and frustrated and angry. I told myself that I had just been deceiving myself this entire time about God and if there was a God then I certainly let him have it. I wasn’t in a much better place the next morning and I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say that I let some of that hurt and frustration and anger I was feeling spill over onto my loved ones.
I ended up in bed, in tears, feeling not just like a bad person…but like an evil one. Within minutes I was crying out my contrition to those I had wounded, and of course, as I knew would be the case, their forgiveness was offered unconditionally. They knew that, despite my harsh words, I loved them with my whole heart. I had built up enough emotional currency to be able to make a withdrawal.
But for some reason I couldn’t bring myself to believe that God could forgive me. I had sworn at him. I had vented my unfiltered spleen at him. That afternoon I sat there confessing my fear and my shame to David. I was a terrible person and I didn’t deserve God’s love. And yet, even as I was acknowledging how I was feeling, I felt a truth creep into my heart. There was nothing my children could say that would make me turn away from them…even if they should curse or swear at me. I was a child of God and, like the perfect Father he is, he would happily forgive me when I was ready. He already had.
I wasn’t ready yesterday, I haven’t asked for forgiveness yet today, although I can feel it pressing down on me anyway. But God continues to send me messages of peace and reassurance. Every morning my phone gives me a verse from the Bible. My verse today: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and don’t lean on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5
And my reading while I was waiting for my physiotherapy appointment…”Experience shows, however, that capacities for spontaneously reacting to people and circumstances in a way that is unloving, unethical and sometimes violent remain with the holiest men all their days; indeed much of their holiness consists in resisting and mortifying such reactions, which may be evoked at any time and may take a form of which the person did not know himself (or herself) capable till it actually happened. What the Puritans bluntly called corruptions…keep being triggered off in us by new stimuli, and humbling, shaming self-discoveries keep being made…no Christian, however wholehearted at this moment, or at any future moment, in conscious love of God and neighbor, will ever be immune to shocks of this kind, in which new depths of his or her sinful nature are disclosed.” Keep in Step with the Spirit, by J.I.Packer
God wants me to know that I’m not alone. That what I experienced; that overwhelming wave of negative emotions, those feelings that swept over me and carried me along in their tide, is a ride that even the most holiest of men and spiritual scholars have taken…and it’s okay. God was there with his overwhelming and never-ending love to pick them up and dry them off and he will do the same for me.
If you have been following my blog then you know that I have had moments when I am so filled with the love of God that I can’t help but sing…but I want you to know, that as strong as my faith was, and still is…we can all fall down, we can all be ashamed of ourselves and we can all want to turn away from God. But our Father loves us so much, he refuses to let go. He knows our heart…who we really are, warts and all and he loves us unconditionally. There is nothing we can do or say to make him stop loving us…and believe me, I tried. He will forgive us long before we find we are able to forgive ourselves. Even before we have the courage to ask him to forgive us.
When I look at my healing journey, I realize that I have started focusing more on the things I can’t do and less on the gains I am making each and every day. It is in trying to do too much, in pushing myself to do things that I am not physically ready for, that I am draining myself physically. It is in focusing, not on the blessings, but on the things that I don’t have that I am draining myself spiritually. Only when I am focused on God will all of my wells be truly filled. And of course, I have some forgiveness to ask for.