Someone wrote a song in the 90s about “burning the midnight oil,” whose name escapes me at the moment. Maybe it’s because it is a little past midnight and I’m exhausted. Note to self: don’t eat chocolate at 4:00 in the afternoon! My mind is reeling though, and I wanted to put my thoughts into writing before they escape me, again.
Lately, a lot of things I’ve been praying for and mulling over are clicking in both my head and heart. The Lord has been answering months-long, probably years-long prayers of mine in rapid-fire fashion over the past six months. So much so, that at times, it’s felt as if the wind has been knocked out of me and suddenly I’m gasping for air.
Because the answered prayers haven’t exactly come in ways I wanted them to be answered.
Nonetheless, the Lord has been at work and it’s been beautiful. Beyond description at times—to the point that I’ve not been able to clearly articulate the magnitude of it all.
I think I may finally be at a point at which I can begin to put into writing what I’m learning. But you’ll have to bear with me because it may be a bumpy ride. I’m a work in progress—think of a construction zone that has a sign which says, “Hard hats required, work boots a must.”
What I communicate in writing is not coming from a woman who is sanctified, but is in the process of being sanctified. So it’s hard in one respect, because I’m putting myself out there in a way I’m not completely comfortable with. Truthfully, I’m a coward. I fear man. I fear being snubbed, talked about, looked down on.
But I want others to see the Jesus I’m learning to see. He’s too beautiful for me not to lay the messy before you—because he’s taking the mess of me and delighting over me. Me!
And as He delights over me, He’s enlarging my heart to delight more deeply in Him. And if it weren’t for the mess, the beauty might seem far less stunning.
And you might go on feeling like you’re the only one.
We’d recently moved to Tennessee and received a visit from extended family. During our visit, the Lord spoke clearly to my heart. Not audibly, but in my heart so clearly that it was undeniably the Lord. Below is something I wrote just after it happened.
After they left, I put Brant to bed with tears while Blane put Tara down. Afterward, I went downstairs and got onto IHOP’S site and started the live stream from the prayer room. I tried to keep from losing it but when Blane came down and asked what I was doing, it all came tumbling out. You know, the, “I can’t talk because I’m crying too hard,” kind of tears and talk.
I began to tell him that I cannot be around this family member or any of the other women in their church without feeling intimidated. It is not at all because of any cliquish ways or airs that they put on. It is because every time I’m around them I feel like they can see right through me. I see the confidence they have in Christ. I fear being exposed. As I spoke with this family member that night about kids and my surface struggles with my Tara, I felt as if she could not relate. Not because, I don’t think, her kids aren’t sinners or have presented challenges.
The conversation struck something deep in me. I am missing something. She, I’m sure, because of what I know about her and have seen in her over the past few years, walks in a manner that has caused her children to have at least a respect for God and at best a fascination of Him and amazement of grace.
I do not. When talking with her, a scene, as if from a movie was running through my mind of our daily life. I felt as if my daughter and the way her sin is responded to is no different than that of a near 3-year old in an unbelieving household. I get irritated, angry…I am selfish.
I sobbed because I want what these women have. I want what she has. I have walked for 5 1/2 years in constant struggle. I believe there are things holding me back from deeper growth and experiencing more of the Holy Spirit. I do not walk in freedom. I love the things of the world and my secret, fleshly desires and sins. They hold me back. I know they hold me back and deep down, I have known it but it has been so hard to really let go.
They experience Him, regularly. I don’t have a fascination of God. I’m not in awe of His beauty or grace toward me. I don’t experience Him in the same way they do. I know God does not manifest Himself in exactly the same way to everyone, but I KNOW I am missing what He wants to give me. I am sure of it from last night. God used her to show me the deep, urgent importance of it. She has no clue, either.
So that’s where it began six months ago. The beginning of a great undoing. Slowly, layer by layer, it’s continued. I crumpled at first, I didn’t know what to do with it. I was hungry for more, I wanted real change in my life. I cried out to the Lord, but still struggled with sin, self-inflicted purgatory, and a lack of belief in Who God is.
Who He is. He is showing me and it’s changing me. Oh, is it changing me. It’s slow, but it’s real…and I can’t wait to share more, because He is beautiful.
“If the word ‘inspiration’ is to have any meaning, it must mean…that the writer…is writing something that he does not wholly understand.” T.S. Elliot