It's often that it happens that I read something, catch on to an idea, and spread the word without really allowing the concepts to penetrate my own heart. I'm quick on the pick up, and I get excited about something new, and my first instinct is to share it rather than learn it.
So just as often, God graciously backs me up with some words like, "Let's put into practice what you just put into words."
This exact scenario played out in my life last week. I sat in my chair at the computer and typed all about looking ahead to Christ, even in pain and trials. And no sooner was the blog posted than I got my feelings hurt and felt threatened and looked right down at my own belly button. I shrunk into self absorption.
Take a minute to stand up and try to retain your full height while looking at your own stomach. It's impossible to be all we are meant to be if we're all wound up in a ball of self. That picture just came to me, and I am sitting here, bending my neck toward my belly. The kids sitting behind me must think Mom's really lost it this time.
Carrying on, I fell flat on my face last week. I ate my words. I got called out on being a hearer and not a doer. I am so glad I did. I think I mentioned the last time I blogged that I was looking for ways to usher in true, authentic and sincere worship this Easter season. Well, there's nothing like getting caught in sin to remind you of the work Christ did on the cross. To think that I am forgiven! To consider His love for me when I behave like this! I am overwhelmed!
Don't mishear me. It's not like when God first said, "Excuse me, Teresa, I need to correct your attitudes and behaviors. You're a ways off track," that I replied, "Really, God? That's great! I was hoping to mess up so I could realize the full extent of Your love for me and understand better why Jesus suffered and died."
My reaction was more like, "Uh-uh. It's not my fault. I was prompted by so-and-so. Plus, hormones."
I love hormones. I blame them for everything. They take the fall when I break out and when I find new grey hair, when I lose my temper, and when I feel fat. Sometimes I think hormones are just a nick name for sin nature.
But now, a week later, in hind sight, I can see that God was up to something good. It is always His kindness that leads us to repentance. I heard a song this weekend that said something like - What if rain from the skies is really Your mercy in disguise? - Geez, if that doesn't grab your heart and make you take a closer look at what's going on, I don't know what will.
So I spent the better part of last week wrestling with God, sometimes on His team against myself, and sometimes against Him. I nursed my stiff neck and finally surrendered. And then you know what I needed? Some love!
I read a long time ago that after you discipline your child you should hug them and remind them you love them. Don't end with the spanking, but with a hug. I don't always remember that, but I did this weekend. I had been disciplined and corrected, and I wanted to crawl into my Father's lap and be held and rocked. So He let me up, and He spoke the most amazing words to me:
Jeremiah 31:20 Is not Ephraim my dear son,
the child in whom I delight?
Though I often speak against him,
I still remember him.
Therefore my heart yearns for him;
I have great compassion for him,”
declares the LORD.
I could feel my broken heart being stitched back together. I am no different than Ephraim. God delights in me. He remembers me. God's heart yearns for me. He has great compassion for me. AND FOR YOU! Can you believe it? Could we be more loved and treasured?
I hope this week you are able to sense and experience the depths of the Father's love for you. Even if He speaks against you and corrects you, nothing will separate you from His love and compassion. He sees where you are and what you are battling. He sees your hurting, and He cares. He cannot forget you. He cannot give you what you think you deserve. He already gave that to Jesus on the cross. All that's left for you is His wide open arms for you to fall into and be held.