Work was pretty normal and went by rather quickly as Fridays are concerned. I was on my way to an afternoon meeting with a beautiful friend of mine, looking to share some insight on questions that had to do with learning how to recognize a healthier way to respond and engage in relationship. When I become conscious for the umpteenth time in the last week or so that I had this rather obstinate and in general irritable non-cooperative disposition rising inside of me. Once again I found myself pushing it away thinking that later I needed to look at what in the world that was…that feeling of…well…I think it was discouragement.
Trying to will myself to focus instead on the upcoming time with my dear friend, time which has always been bathed in the scriptures. Her insight has and I believe always will, include the beautiful way she weaves the loving word of God into whatever topic we discuss. I look forward to our times together with childlike excitement because I know that God’s Presence saturates that time and in it I will receive a treasure from Him, a gift to unwrap, meant just for me. That time to me feels wonderfully holy.
Needless to say, the rather disagreeable way I found myself feeling caught my attention as I was driving to meet up with her. Despite the fact I had become aware of that contrary feeling once again; I shoved it into the “I’ll deal with that later” file in my head and pulled up to Kaladi Brothers.
Clearly, God had a different plan than I did. Although I distinctly remember trying to shove the offensive feelings aside, they came up in the most inopportune time, spilling out of my mouth as if I were trying to expel them before I could rein them in.
We had been talking about (actually, she was helping me wrap my head and heart around true things that God intended for) the role of families. We had just started discussing needs that we were created with—the need to be loved and to have a sense of value or worth…and how people can profoundly experience God’s love, forgiveness and strength in families that model God’s character for the children…
For some reason the darkness of that discouraged feeling from earlier had started setting in like ominous clouds foretelling the coming of a storm…I felt them rolling in and I fought to keep them away. Though like trying to fight away a natural cloud, my mental push against an intangible vapor did absolutely nothing to keep the fog from rolling in.
Through the topic of discussion, I thought about the way that I grew up—
I thought about the critical words of a drunken father—
I thought about the passiveness and weakness of a beaten down mother—
I thought about what daily life looked like…felt like…sounded like…
Wave after wave it hit me and I felt nauseated by the mental assault that no one else saw.
Psalms 55:22 “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”
Her voice cut through the tidal wave of memories that I fearfully saw bearing down on me at the horizon of my mind—and asked… “Jewel, what does your relationship with God feel like, look like and sound like…?” An unseen hand split the hidden tidal wave and dissipated the power and force behind it and then continued on to cut through the dark clouds in my head and a tremendous flooding of light shone on my entire body. My face softened and with recognition in my eyes, they filled with tears and I said, “it feels like joy, like forgiveness, like acceptance, like being known…” and I dropped my head into my folded arms at the table and I wept into the bend at my elbow.
John 14:1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.”
I found myself not even realizing the lies I was believing. It was as if my friends words were the channel to Christ that I needed to keep breathing. They brought me to the truth I needed. They brought me to the reassurance I needed. They brought me to the recognition that I was letting discouragement slowly smother me. Her words were God’s beautiful reminder to me that my heart needed to be ruled by His promises laid out for me in His word—not by the fleeting emotions of the day.
Romans 8:35,37 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
Tears of gratitude and recognition of the beauty of the truth had me undone.