Sunday, June 1, 2014

15. In God's Time and Way

(This is a series that was adapted from my life-story, Child of Mine, which is at sweetlybrokengirl.blogspot.com.  On this blog, it starts at the bottom of the June posts with “Like a Child.”)

                        “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 
                        Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 
                        And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.  To him be the power for ever and ever.  Amen.”  (And the glory, I might add.)  (1 Peter 5:6-11)

14. "Not Know! But My Father Does!"

(This is a series that was adapted from my life-story, Child of Mine, which is at sweetlybrokengirl.blogspot.com.  On this blog, it starts at the bottom of the June posts with “Like a Child.”)

            To me, to be able to trust God in our worst times and with our biggest hurts is a true picture of what it means to really know Him as a Father.  But we can only get to that point when we have become humbled and broken before Him.  I want to look one more time at the scene of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Because in Him, I see the ultimate picture of what it means to be broken.  Humbly broken.

13. Sweetly Broken

(This is a series that was adapted from my life-story, Child of Mine, which is at sweetlybrokengirl.blogspot.com.  On this blog, it starts at the bottom of the June posts with “Like a Child.”)

            I had lived in fear for so long that I never really knew His love.  Sure, I had read all about it in the Bible, but it wasn’t until I had my own children that I could really understand it.  Just as I delight in my children and in providing for them and experiencing life with them, God delights in being a good, generous Father . . . because His love is so great that just “providing for our basic needs” wouldn’t satisfy Him.  He has to go over and above in His shower of goodness because His love is so great – great enough to hold Jesus on the cross in our place.  And if we can’t feel that love and goodness, it’s because our own sense of unworthiness won’t let it through.

12. Holiness and Love

(This is a series that was adapted from my life-story, Child of Mine, which is at sweetlybrokengirl.blogspot.com.  On this blog, it starts at the bottom of the June posts with “Like a Child.”)

            As I reflect on this whole journey that I’ve been on and the many different things that God has used to break me, I think that I can boil the “lessons-from-the-furnace” down into two main truths - two main, overarching truths that ultimately humbled me and moved me from a self-sufficient, adult step-child to a child that learned how to rest in her Father’s embrace.  Without these, I never would have really known Him as the good, loving Father that He is.  And although I’ve already explored these in other posts, let me sum up the two, very crucial truths:

11. A Good Father?

(This is a series that was adapted from my life-story, Child of Mine, which is at sweetlybrokengirl.blogspot.com.  On this blog, it starts at the bottom of the June posts with “Like a Child.”)

            You know the scenes in shows where a little girl is running toward her dad, and she jumps into his open, waiting arms.  And he scoops her up and hugs her and cuddles her, while they are both smiling.  And they both look just so happy. 
            I have no idea how that feels.  I’ve never done that before.  The most I’ve ever had was a slightly awkward, slightly uncomfortable hug from a dad.

10. Lessons from Wandering the Desert

(This is a series that was adapted from my life-story, Child of Mine, which is at sweetlybrokengirl.blogspot.com.  On this blog, it starts at the bottom of the June posts with “Like a Child.”)

            When I was going through that long time of waiting on God for an answer, I began to feel like I was wandering around a large, dry desert.  I still have times like that when I feel like my faith is lifeless and dull, and I am waiting for God to breathe new life into me.  But these times make me dig really deep down into my faith.  They refine me and root out issues that I need to face.  And it humbles me.

9. Humbleness is . . .





(This is a series that was adapted from my life-story, Child of Mine, which is at sweetlybrokengirl.blogspot.com.  On this blog, it starts at the bottom of the June posts with “Like a Child.”)

            I have four endearing, rascally boys now.  And in being the parent and by prayer and reading the Word, I think I am finally beginning to understand what it means to be humble like a child.  And the conclusion that I’ve come to is that being “humble like a child” means . . . are you ready for this? . . . it means being (drum roll, please) . . . it means being needy, helpless, and dependent. 

8. What is "Being Humble"?

(This is a series that was adapted from my life-story, Child of Mine, which is at sweetlybrokengirl.blogspot.com.  On this blog, it starts at the bottom of the June posts with “Like a Child.”)

            The first life-changing prayer in my room (the “Uncovering Fears” post) was when I began to really learn that complete honesty with Him is okay.  Not just okay, but necessary.  I was learning that nothing I say in honesty can separate me from His love and forgiveness.  That transparency, especially about the painful things, brings me closer to His healing love.  I didn’t have to bear the weight on my own, to keep a stiff upper-lip or be ashamed of the doubts and fears inside.  I just had to admit them to Him and seek His comfort and truth.

7. Falling into His Arms

(This is a series that was adapted from my life-story, Child of Mine, which is at sweetlybrokengirl.blogspot.com.  On this blog, it starts at the bottom of the June posts with “Like a Child.”)

            God’s silence dredged up a lot of things inside of me that I needed to face.  And it helped me see the ways that I was blocking His love from getting through to me.  And one of these things that blocked God’s love from filling my heart completely was that I unconsciously saw Him the way I saw my absent father.

6. From Step-Child to Child

(This is a series that was adapted from my life-story, Child of Mine, which is at sweetlybrokengirl.blogspot.com.  On this blog, it starts at the bottom of the June posts with “Like a Child.”)

            Learning to be God’s child - after fighting it for so long - did not come naturally to me.  While I was beginning to understand that I had been a step-child to Him all those years, I was still a little unsure of how to be His child.  What does being a child look like?  God was showing me that honesty and transparency were a major part of it, but there was more.  I needed to move from a relationship based on fear to one based on love.  But how do you let others love you when you are used to protecting yourself from vulnerability and closeness?

5. Clinging




(This is a series that was adapted from my life-story, Child of Mine, which is at sweetlybrokengirl.blogspot.com.  On this blog, it starts at the bottom of the June posts with “Like a Child.”)

            As I struggle with learning to be honest with the Lord about all that was within me, I noticed something that I had never really noticed before about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Jesus knew that He was to go to the cross and die for us.  He knew that He loved us enough to do it.  And yet, in His humanity, He still didn’t want to.  In fact, He cried out to God with blood and tears saying, “If it be possible, take this cup from me.”  And He didn’t just pray once.  He was there all night, pouring His heart out to God and wrestling with what He knew He had to do.  But in the end, He decided “not my will, but Yours be done.” 
            Okay, now, we all know this.  But what struck me was that even though Jesus knew that He wouldn’t bail on us - that He would go to the cross no matter what - He still felt that it was necessary and important to pour His feelings and His pain out honestly before His Father.  He held nothing back, not even the ugly side of what He was feeling.  Even if it looked like He was unhappy with what God was asking Him to do.  Even though it meant admitting that He felt too weak or scared to do it.        

4. Good, Adult Step-Child





(This is a series that was adapted from my life-story, Child of Mine, which is at sweetlybrokengirl.blogspot.com.  On this blog, it starts at the bottom of the June posts with “Like a Child.”)

            When I was about eighteen years old, I was sitting on the floor of my bedroom looking over some old letters from Bill, my biological father.  Letters from my early teens, the first letters that I ever got from him.  And for some reason, a thought popped into my head out of nowhere:  I never got to go to a Daddy-Daughter dance.  Without expecting it, a sense of loss and sadness swept over me that I had never felt before.  (And I had been doing so good before that.)
            This was a turning point in my life, a turn toward emptiness and longing.  Before that, I was so happy-go-lucky, but this was the first time that I felt the pain left by the divorce.  For the first time, I realized that I actually had a desire for a “daddy.”  And that’s when it hit me that I had never even called anyone “Daddy”. . . Ever!  And suddenly, there was a tangible ache in my heart.  Having a relationship with several dads could never equal one whole daddy.             

3. Uncovering Fears

(This is a series that was adapted from my life-story, Child of Mine, which is at sweetlybrokengirl.blogspot.com.  On this blog, it starts at the bottom of the June posts with “Like a Child.”)

            As I said last post, I knew God too well to turn my back on Him, even though He was leaving me in silence for so long, not answering our prayer for a home.  And so I had to do the only thing that I could do - I lamented my woes in prayer again.  But unlike previous prayers where I complained about my situation and reminded God about the mess that we were in, this one went much deeper.  When I couldn’t do anything but wait and continue writhing in internal pain, I sat down and poured out my heart.  And, honestly, this was new to me.  I have always been so concerned with “doing it right” that it was new to me to just dump it all out there.

2. Losing Control

(This is a series that was adapted from my life-story, Child of Mine, which is at sweetlybrokengirl.blogspot.com.  It starts at the bottom of the June posts with “Like a Child.”)

            A few years back, I went to a family reunion at my grandparents’ farm, a great big barn dance.  Good food, campfires, lots of people, my wonderful grandparents!  Always a fun time.  My biological father, Bill, (who I barely ever saw) was there with my two half-brothers and half-sister.  He’s a musician and, during the barn dances, he plays his guitar for the crowd, singing old country songs. 
            During one song, he invited my half-brothers to come up with him and sing in the background.  I sat there around the campfire holding one of my children and swaying to the music, listening to my half-brothers accompany my dad with “whaa-ooo-whaa-ooo-whaa-ooo.”  It was peaceful.  It was enjoyable.  It was . . . disturbing.

1. Like a Child




(This is a series that was adapted from my life-story, Child of Mine, which is at sweetlybrokengirl.blogspot.com.  It’s about my journey to brokenness several years ago, before we bought the house we are in and before all of the newest self-esteem crushing trials.  I thank God that someday all trials will end.  But until then, I keep on keeping on.)

            I spent most of my life trying to be “grown up.”  I never liked the idea of being a child, even when I was a child.  It seems in most ways, I was always the “older one” or “the leader.”  I was the oldest of six kids.  I was one of the oldest cousins.  I always tried hard to do the mature thing, to live up to expectations, to be responsible, and to be in control of my emotions.  I led in our church’s youth group.  I was a leader on a summer mission trip to Papua New Guinea.  I always held a job.  I went to college and then grad school.  I tried never to act or appear child-like.  I always wanted to be older and more mature and to lead.
            And while this isn’t really a bad thing (being mature and responsible is a great thing), the Bible calls us to do something else.  Something I really didn’t want to do.  We are supposed to become like children.  Matthew 18:3 says, “And he said: ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.’”