It's funny the things that stay consistent with you throughout your life. But I'm grateful that the Lord knows just how to speak to me.
If you know me at all you know this last year has been excruciating. Compounding that is that 99.9% of the time I am misunderstood, my actions are perceived as one thing, yet my heart is a completely different story. And while I know that, and more importantly GOD knows that, it doesn't ease the pain I feel from lost friendships, judgement, and a move in a different direction - from everything that is familiar, a move from everything I thought was mine.
BUT I have seen God's faithfulness this last month like I NEVER have before. He's lead me after much prayer to a new church. A church that is able to express their love for me and is committed to making me feel SAFE and welcome. He's connected me with the most unlikely group of women, who in a few short months have included me more in their lives and circle then 95% of the women I have known for 4+ years. He has given me the strength and the courage to put myself in new, awkward, scarey and sometimes painful situations, and He has blessed me to tears each and every time. He's provided me with a flexible job that allows me to take Asher with me. I am in pain, BUT I am blessed.
One of the things that I am really struggling with right now is people's perception of me. There is so much people don't know-much that they will never know. And for years I've thought of that as a burden I had to carry alone. What I am learning, is that YES, it is a burden, but it doesn't need to be MY burden... it belongs to the Lord. He is gently teaching me that I needn't carry the pain/shame/rejection/fear and loneliness myself-He will step in and take it from me. And as for people's perception of me, judgement and rejection is always going to hurt. Always. But during my quiet time with the Lord last week, He brought me to Psalms 91, which says:
"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!" For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and a bulwark. You will not be afraid of the terror by night, Or of the arrow that flies by day; Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or of the destruction that lays waste at noon. A thousand may fall at your right side and ten thousand at your right hand, But it shall not approach you. You will only look on with your eyes And see the recompense of the wicked. For you have made the Lord, my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place. No evil will befall you, Nor will any plague come near your tent. For He will give His angels charge over you, To guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands, that you do not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread upon the lion and cobra, the young lion and the serpent you will trample down. Because He has loved me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name. He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With a long life I will satisfy him and let him see My salvation."
VS 15 is what really struck me.
"He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him."Yes, the Lord has answered! He has been with me! He has not left me alone. And though for a season it may feel like I have lost my honor and dignity I believe with all my heart that God was using this verse to speak to me, to say that even that, in time, will be restored. I was moved to tears.
When I went back to that Psalm later in the week, I was touched again by verse 15, but verses 1 and 4 also hit me as I was in prayer thanking God for His faithfulness and Mercy, for the Compassion that He extends, for the Unconditional love only He can give.
"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty... He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark." And again I burst into tears, how true this has been for me! In vs 1 the word shadow is used as a metaphor for care, and protection. And oh! how I have felt that from the Lord this last month. Vs 4 talks about a parent bird gathering her children under her wings for safety and comfort. The Lord has given me both, and my heart bursts with thankfulness.
Then yesterday as I was driving to work, I was grieving some of the losses and, well injustices that I feel. And a series of songs played in succession on the radio, each speaking to my heart in a way I can't explain other than by saying the Lord wanted to get my attention and minister to me.
It started off with "All I know is I'm not home yet, this is not where I belong, Take this world and give me Jesus, this is not where I belong" then "Be still there is a healer, His love is deeper then the sea, His mercy it is unfailing, His arms a fortress for the weak, let faith arise, let faith arise, I lift my hands to believe again, You are my refuge, You are my strength, as I pour out my heart these things I remember, You are faithful God forever." Next was "To the one whose dreams are falling apart, and all you're left with is a tired and broken heart, I can tell by your eyes, you think you're on your own, but you are not alone. Have you heard of the one who can calm the raging seas, give sight to the blind, pull the lame up to their feet? With a love so strong He'll never let you go, Oh, you're not alone. You will be safe in His arms, You will be safe in His arms, cause the hands that hold the world are holding your heart. This is the promise He made, He will be with you always, when everything is falling apart, You will be safe in His arms." Followed by "Why in the world did I think I could, only get to know you when my life was good? When everything just falls in place, the easiest thing is to give you praise. Now it all seems upside down, cause my whole world is caving in But I feel you now more then I did then, How can I come to the end of me and somehow still have all I need? God I want to know you more, maybe this is how is starts, I find You when I fall apart. Blessed are the ones who understand, we got nothing to bring but empty hands. Nothing to hide and nothing to prove, our heartbreak brings us to You. Now it all seems upside down, 'cause my whole world is caving in, but I feel you now more then I did then. How can I come to the end of me, and somehow still have all I need? God I want to know you more, maybe this is how it starts, I find you when I fall apart. I don't know how long this will last, I'm praying for the pain to pass. But maybe this is the best thing that has ever happened to me. cause my whole world is caving in But I feel you now more then I did then, How can I come to the end of me and somehow still have all I need? God I want to know you more, maybe this is how is starts, I find You when I fall apart." and then this one, which forced me to pull the car over "The days will come when you don't have the strength, when all you hear is you're not worth anything. Wondering if you ever could be loved, and if they truly saw your heart, they'd see too much. You're beautiful, you're beautiful, You are made for so much more than all of this. You're beautiful, you're beautiful, you are treasured, you are sacred, you are His, you're beautiful. I'm praying that you have the heart to fight, 'cause you are more then what is hurting you tonight. For all the lies you've held inside, THEY ARE NOTHING IN THE SHADOW OF THE CROSS!" and while I was pulling myself together this song came on "Savior please take my hand, I work so hard, I live so fast. This life begins and then it ends, and I do the best that I can, but I don't know how long I'll last. I try to be so tough, but I'm just not strong enough. I can't do this alone, God I need you to hold onto me. I try to be good enough, but I'm nothing without Your love, Savior please keep saving me. Savior please, help me stand, I fall so hard, I fade so fast, Will you begin right where I end, and be god of all I am , because you are all that I have. I try to be good enough, but I'm nothing without Your love, Savior please keep saving me.Hallelujah, Everything you are to me, is everything I'll ever need, and I am learning to believe, that I don't have to prove a thing, because you are the one who is saving me. I try to be good enough, but I'm nothing without Your love, Savior please keep saving me.."