Facing the ‘unknown’ has never been easy for me, but I am learning to embrace it. For many years I lived by lists. I planned out everything and made a list for it. Heading out on a trip, there was a packing list. Remodel on the house, there was a ‘to-do’ list, a “materials needed’ list, and ‘accomplish first’ list. A simple trip to the grocery store was never simple, the list constantly grew. Solution: I created a spreadsheet list of everything I could possibly need. Need it, check it, grab list and go. Simple and time-saving! (Still a family joke!) Yes, a list maker to the death. Sad really! How could controlling everything be healthy? I had to have a list to function. Then, the joy of checking off the list!!! Item one, check. Two? Check! Oh the adrenaline rush of completion and accomplishment! But then the list began to appear cluttered, all marked up and crumpled. Make a new list. Ahhhh, the excitement started all over again. Yes, this is OCD in living color! Are you a ‘list maker’ by nature? Then more than likely you can relate to where I was living? Stress and striving for perfection. An impossible feat! Oh, the pressure to make such an achievement. And don’t get me started on the pressure that it places on your family trying to measure up to the lists! Well, maybe we should go there, because even if this list is not written on paper, it is scrolling through our head like the ticker tape on the sports channel.
Can you relate? My little controlled world! Everything had a list! Everything had a place! There was no room for spontaneity at all. Order! ORDER! ORDER! When this became compromised, my whole world became a struggle. Inside I would be fretting, trembling and quickly moving into ‘fix-it’ mode. My insides were exploding and my emotions were raging. Nothing could take place until order was brought back into my world. Many times, all too often, it was at the expense and happiness of my family. I had to have everything ‘perfect’ before I could continue with our plans. The way that I saw things in my mind had to be the reality before me. It was not pleasant, EVER! Looking back, I am ashamed and have many regrets. The times that I could have played in the first snow, if the mountain of laundry had not been calling my name … taunting me. The impromptu picnics with my children that could have been, if only the floors and bathrooms could have waited to be cleaned. More bedtime stories, walks with my husband, eating ice cream and cookies for dinner just because, but I didn’t. Endless ‘could have, but didn’t’ scenarios play in my head, but Jesus has given me grace to face them. He placed me at the threshold of newness. A crucial crossroad lay before me. I could fight Him or I could obey. Bend or break, I wanted change and I needed Him to lead me. He has given me the opportunity to change. Little by little He spoke to my heart and chiseled away. I still need work daily, but I am not her anymore!
Coming to Still Waters: He took what was Bitter and made it Sweet!
And when they came to Ma’rah, they could not drink of the waters of Ma’rah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Ma’rah… And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them ~ Exodus 15:23, 25
He proved them. It is all about Him. He will do the work! Oh, the AMAZING work that He has done, continues to do in me. Pouring in the water of His Precious Word that seemed to be so hard to swallow. Yet, sweetness came forth. That is HIM! Somewhere among the lists, overwhelmed emotions and continual disappointments screaming my name, His Voice was louder. He desired change and He was calling me to walk it out. There on the threshold my world was crumbling, everything was changing. A crucial crossroad lie before me. In His loving, but chastising way He showed me… “ME!” He walked into my unknown. All of the ‘bitter’ that lie waste, all the brokenness that had gripped me so tight. How could I have not known? He revealed daily what needed to be my focus. He took me to great depths and He carried me through the broken places. Some I knew, but did not want to face. Others, I had buried and forgotten hoping they would just vanish. They didn’t. He was faithful with every call to ‘go deeper’. Every challenge presented a crossroads before me. I chose to listen and obey His Voice and His prompting in my soul. The LORD handled every situation differently. Some days I needed a gentle hand, He provided that. At times, I needed a stern and persistent Father, He provided just what I needed. He knows ‘who’ I am, but He also knows ‘who’ He is making me to be. Every challenge, every secret place presented new obstacles. I cannot say that it was easy, it’s been everything but that! I have shed many tears in the process. Where there days that I wanted to quit? Yes, but there was nothing to go back to. Where there moments that I hurt so bad that I could not breathe, wanted to sleep life away, and wished to die? Yes, yes and a million times over the answer is Y-E-S! But it has been so worth it. I spent many years seeking worth in things that did not matter. I was in search of fulfillment, only to come up empty every time. List making was an outward action revealing the lack of control inside. As my husband would say, a symptom to the real problem. Each list, each check of accomplishment only left me wanting more. His Voice called me to take notice of the brokenness inside, address it and allow Him to heal me. His healing came in ways that I cannot explain. His Love reached into places that had been broken for so long. There have been many changes. I have faced many ‘unknowns’ and lived to tell about it. His work, His changes, though “bitter” in the process, I know that I am better for it all.
Take time right now to obey His prompting. Listen as He draws your attention inward… way deep down. Allow Jesus to speak in those dark, secret places. Release your brokenness that is crying out to be healed! Bow before Him and lay it all at His feet. He is All-Knowing and All-Powerful! You can trust Him with what is revealed. He will carry you through the ‘bitter’ and bring sweetness from your deepest pain. Friend, only He knows the depth and the remedy… He is our Healer! You can TRUST Him!
(Part 2 will post 7/21/2015)