Tuesday, February 2, 2010

life-altering moments

In life there are moments that define you. At times they are simple little things that perhaps, to an outsider, look irrelevant, unimportant, dismissive; but to you, they are live-altering.

I had one of those recently. It was a sentence that I saw. I doubt that I was supposed to have seen it. It wasn’t something that was written to me, nor was it something that necessarily regarded me. At least, no one pushed it toward me, offered it to me or even desired my eyes to touch it. Still, as my gaze flicked over the words, I knew they were about me and my heart died a little inside.

One short sentence placed me face to face with the selfish evilness in my heart. Not because it was directed at me but because it fit me. I knew it. No one had to tell me. It simply was. And my initial reaction was to crumble on my living room floor and cry my eyes out.

Not because I was hurt. Not because I was angry. Because I was sad. A deep abiding sadness that welled up and spilled out.

Oh, God, how did I get here?

My mind filtered back and the whole sordid tale came spilling to the surface in a combination of words and actions that flashed sporadically through my mind like a bad movie.

Why would anyone want to be friends with her?
She thinks she’s perfect but I know she’s not.
You hurt people all the time.
You never admit if you do something wrong.
When you talk about your life you just sound like you’ve got it all figured out.
I’m done. I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to try anymore.

Still, this time, as the words swirled with the sighs of frustration, the tears and anger that I had faced, this time the effect was different. Possibly it was the last sentence that had entered the memories. No, not possibly. It was. That sentence over powered everything else.

Lord, I don’t feel safe with her.

My mind stopped at the words. Nothing else mattered any more. It didn’t mattered how hurt I had been. It didn’t matter how desperate I was for love. It didn’t matter how empty I felt all the time. Nor did it matter how many demons I faced day after day, longing for someone to help me fight them.

All that mattered is that I realized that I had been given the chance to be to someone else the person I was always longing to have… and I hadn’t even recognized the opportunity. And in not recognizing it, I had failed.

Words from all the books that I’ve read, and started to write, began to fill the memories.
She was the one we just enveloped. Loved her even though she ran away.
In her I found the friendship that filled the loneliness.
She took my hand and drew into the Father’s embrace.
Remembering my pain and not her own.

In my heart, my selfish evil heart, I had been longing someone to be all those things to me. I wanted to be enveloped with love. I wanted someone’s friendship to fill the loneliness in me. I wanted someone to take my hand and draw me into the embrace of the father. I wanted someone to remember my pain.
If the cry of my heart could have been put into words it would have sounded something like this…
Don’t forget me! Don’t forget that I have pain. I hurt! I hurt! Remember my pain! Someone, please, please… remember my pain.

The problem with this is simple. Well, there are two problems. The first, that all of those sentences begin with me. I want, I want, I want… The second problem was that I was desiring for someone else to do those things for me.

In that one split second of my gaze filtering across those words, I finally saw clearly. I was finally set free. I am not here to have someone be those things to me. I am here to be that to others.
My responses changed in that second.

Why would anyone want to be friends with her?
My response had been: I don’t know. I don’t know. Why would they? And then I crumbled into a hole of self-loathing and pain. And dreamed of someone coming to my rescue and saying, “You’re sweet and lovely and I want to be friends with you.” But that never happened and the words always hurt.
Now my response was: I’m not sure but I know why I want to be friends with you… I love listening to your thoughts and hearing your dreams. I love walking down the road with you walking beside me. I love laughing with you and sharing joys with you. So, even if you won’t want me around, I love being with you and you’re stuck with me.

She thinks she’s perfect but I know she’s not.
My response had been: I don’t think that! Why would I think that? You want me to list my faults to you? I know them better than anyone! I’ll list them for you. I’ll write a long list. Would it make you happy if I just dwelt on them? Whined about them? Wallowed in them?

Now my response was: Oh, no. I’m so sorry that I wasn’t able to communicate my struggles in a way that you understood. I struggle so often but I feel a need to keep them bound up inside. Forgive me, please, please, forgive me.

You hurt people all the time.
My response had been: I know! I know! Do you feel a need to rub it in? Do you think that I don’t go home and replay every conversation that I’ve ever had and cry myself to sleep over them? Don’t you realize that I abhor myself most of the time? Can’t you see that I just need a little grace? Just give me a little grace!

Now my response was: Oh, my dear. My sweet, sweet friend. Forgive me for hurting you. I can tell that my actions and words have left scars. Please, find it in your heart to forgive me. Together, perhaps we can put enough oil onto the scars to make them fade.

You never admit if you do something wrong.
My response had been: Of course I do! The only thought in my mind is there I screwed up again. I’m consumed by it, filled with it! Look a little deeper if you can’t figure it out! Honestly, I do everything wrong.
Now my response was: I hate to. I really hate to. And I’m sorry for that. I see it inside and I hate to say it aloud. It’s my protective instinct trying to cover myself. I’m working on that but in the meantime, don’t doubt for a minute that I see my faults. And forgive me for the wrong things that I’ve done that have touched you.

When you talk about your life you just sound like you’ve got it all figured out.
My response had been: I hate this. If I talk I’m in trouble for sounding like a “know it all” and if I’m silent I’m accused of “not sharing about life”. I can’t win. Maybe this one isn’t me. Maybe this is your own problem.

Now my response was: Help me. I don’t feel that way and I don’t want to sound that way. If there are certain things I am doing that cause that, help me see them. Pray with me. Seek God with me. Listen with me for his guidance of when to speak and when to be silent.

I’m done. I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to try anymore.
My response had been: Overflowing pain. Hurt. Betrayal. And accusations inside- I would never do that to you. I would never ever just walk away from you. How dare you do this to me!
Now my response was: I’ll try. I’ll do it. Just please, don’t walk away. Hold on. I’m begging you to hold on for just a little while longer. I’ll figure it out for us. I’ll fight for us. I’ll find my sword. I’ll spend hours on my knees. Whatever I need to do. I’ll do it but please, please don’t give up yet. I’m coming, my darling, my friend, I’m coming…

And now, there was the newest one. The latest memory to be faced. I couldn’t go back and change my reaction to the old ones but now I had a chance to respond right the first time.

Lord, I don’t feel safe with her.

How was I going to respond? This time I started it right- on my knees. Jesus, change me from the inside out. Fix this miserable heart of mine and give me something new.

And His words came. Just like he promised they would. Envelope her. Love her even if she runs away. Give her your friendship. No matter what. Take her hand and lead her into my embrace. Remember her pain and not your own.

Jesus, keep working on me. Thank you for never giving up on me. Enveloping me in your love even when I was running away. Giving me your friendship to fill the loneliness inside me. For taking my hand and leading me into the Father’s embrace. For remembering my pain and not your own. For being to me everything that you are asking me to be to others.

Then, as I finished praying, I remembered the sentence from the book Redeeming Love. The sentence that caused my heart to catch when I read it. The greatest desire of my heart.

“They were so beautiful. It hurt to look at them. Light shining in darkness.”

Make me like this, Jesus. Make me like this.

And I realized that it is in these little life-altering moments that define me that I’m able to become the person that God intends me to be.


Hollie Ann said...

*hugs* Prayers for you dear.

yankeemom said...

Wow...that was powerful. I can honestly say that I have thought and felt some of the things you wrote about and my heart goes out to you.

I had stopped by to say "congratulations" on winning the contest on Life in a Shoe but I know now that the Lord sent me this way for so much more! I will be praying for you today!

Lois said...

Wow. Thank-you for sharing that. I too linked over from Life in a Shoe, but God knew I needed more. Thank-you. I needed to hear that.