God makes his people strong.
God gives his people peace.
–Psalm 29:11 the message
Tattered book open on my sticky kitchen table as I watch the rain, fading fire colors of Autumn and two pesky squirrels.
I open my Bible at church but otherwise it sits on my nightstand. Within my heart dwell resentments. Unanswered questions. Fears, even. I live between the pull and tension of meeting expectations and a raw hunger for authenticity. I resent the former and so I hide from the latter.
Even in the muck I sometimes feel His presence. I may have determined myself impenetrable but I do believe He laughs. Presses my heart until I’m uncovered and vulnerable. And I don’t want to cry. Don’t want to feel the sweet, searing pain of release as pressure and poison give way to Love.
Wrinkled pages open and my heart scatters over the Word. Breaks against the truth.
(Shouldn’t the confusion have cleared by now? Shouldn’t my spiritual act be together by now?)
My great juxtaposition…
I love Jesus very deeply because I’ve lived so loved by Him and yet truly I’m angry so I now refuse to live loved.
I cannot merely go through the motions. And I cannot pretend. And I just will not serve myself up in pretense to others. If there is one thing I believe I know it’s that Jesus only deals in truths.
The rain comes down. Leighton wants to play and I tell her in a little while. She asks, Why do you need to read your Bible, mama?
Because mama needs help, I answer.
I need to swim the river of peace. Taste the fruit of His Spirit.
I stubbornly attempt to produce certain results in my life all at a loss.
There just is no peace apart from Him. No lasting measure of joy outside of Him. No wisdom away from Him. No security, no healing, no freedom.
Fading red leaves barely hanging on outside my window. They shake and tremble as rain and wind assault but refuse to let go. Winter is around the corner and the leaves need to fall. Finish dying their pungent death.
Sometimes you have to give up trying so hard to be what you are not. Give up holding on so hard to yesterday. Finish dying to your rights, your viewpoint, your hurts, yourself.
I open up the Psalms. David is my favorite. And the words He let spill lend me the encouragement I need to let loose my own truths. I whisper to my God of the many crispy places in my life. My helplessness. My exhaustion. I read David-words and say honest things and my feelings, like the wind and rain, begin to assault me.
Except there is this.
God makes his people strong. God gives his people peace.
Here is the falling away. The letting go. The fade.
My every attempt at managing, controlling, preserving and protecting is futile. He lets wind and rain blow against me. I want rest but refuse to let go and come out of the storm. But it doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t work my way.
Peace and stability, internal rest, come with the falling. The letting go of producing. Acceptance of surrender to the ways of Jesus.
Sometimes it’s frightening and so we stubbornly hold on to ways that produce unhealthy results.
In this near rainy dark comes the inclination to write. I open up my laptop and life because I cannot be the only one who needs encouragement. Cannot be the only one who loves Jesus but secretly — or not so secretly — is provoked by many things. Not the only one who let disappointment and confusion breed until bitterness was born. Not the only one trying so hard to produce things in my life that only God can give.
Not the only one who simply needs His help.
Who wants to let go.
Jesus, for those with weary hearts, tired minds and upset souls will you help us to let go…help us to feel your love and presence in ways that make us want to trust you more…help us each day take just a baby step toward surrendering control to you…and as we do please make us strong and give us peace as you promised.