Sunday, June 1, 2014

7. Falling into His Arms

(This is a series that was adapted from my life-story, Child of Mine, which is at  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.
            I had been hurt by my mom’s divorces, by my biological father’s absence.  And this caused me to put up walls around my heart.  But the thing was, I had put up these walls of fear and self-protection between the Lord and myself, too.  I just didn’t know it.  Somewhere deep in my mind, I lived as if He was responsible for the hurt and pain, as if He couldn’t be trusted in the same way that unreliable humans can’t be trusted.  I had kept my distance from Him just a little bit because it was too risky to be vulnerable with anyone, even Him.
            But God had never been responsible for any of the pain, insecurities, or fears in my life.  Fallen people - including myself - and the problems of this world were what caused the initial pain.  Not the Lord!  Once I realized that I was protecting myself from Him when I didn’t need to, I began to realize that I didn’t have to fear Him.  I didn’t have to fear Him or doubt Him or feel like it was too risky to be vulnerable around Him.  He could be trusted.  He wasn’t an unreliable, absent, earthly father.  Although, I so often treated Him like one. 
            I didn’t need to protect myself from Him.  I didn’t have to fight and squirm when He was trying to hold me.  I didn’t have to keep some distance because He could be trusted with the deepest, hurting parts of my heart.  I didn’t have to grab for the control because I knew that His hands were big enough to hold my life and my future.  All that I had to do was learn to relax in His arms and be held. 
            But oddly enough, learning to relax can be a very difficult thing.  You know, during this time of God’s silence I thought that I was waiting on God.  But the longer I waited for Him, the more I realized that He was really waiting on me in so many ways.  All this time, even in His silence, He had been holding onto me, just waiting for me to stop squirming.  He had been waiting for me to get so tired of trying to do it myself that I discovered this deep need:  I wanted to need Him.  I wanted to give up “trying,” and to fall crying and exhausted into His arms and just be held.  Whatever came my way, I wanted to know the comfort of His embrace.  And this became the second life-changing prayer for me. 
            Not too long after the first life-changing prayer (an earlier post), I was sitting there on the edge of my bed crying.  Again.  (Really, I’m not a cry-baby.  This was just a really long, hard time in my life.)  I was crying about the confusion and pain of not knowing what to do about all these trials or how to do it.  I was crying because I ached to hear from Him.  But mostly, I was crying because I was tired! 
            For the first time in my life, I was truly tired of holding up my chin, of looking like I could do it all myself, of being the one with the answers.  And I needed God in a new way.  A way that was scary for me.  My self-sufficiency always made me cry on my own shoulder.  And I realized, as I struggled with the words of this second life-changing prayer, that I had always pushed away any attempt of His to wrap His arms around me when I was in pain.  But I couldn’t hold myself up any longer!   
            I’m sure it must have been frustrating for Him to hold onto me all that time.  But, unlike me with my kids, He never put me down.  No matter how much I struggled or wrestled with Him, He’s always been there holding onto me.  I just never knew how to melt into His embrace, how to rest in His arms with complete abandon and trust.  And I never desired that.  Until that moment!
            And as the tears fell, a picture flashed in my mind.  It was a picture of me just collapsing into the Lord’s arms in exhaustion, crying and being held.  I had never done that before to anyone, except my seventh-grade friend and my husband (and even then only a very few times).  How do you ask God for that?  It felt so awkward.  But I wanted that!  I needed that!  I didn’t want an answer anymore.  I wasn’t crying out for a house or a miracle or my way.  I was crying out for Him!  I just wanted Him! 
            Could I risk putting myself out there, vulnerably and humbly, asking Him to hold me when I was a wreck and falling apart?  Did it sound corny or humiliating?  Could I really believe in (and accept) His unearned, unconditional love?  Could I trust that He would catch me if I fell into His arms, even though He was still so silent?  Or would the fear of being let down, abandoned, and falling flat on my face keep me from melting into His embrace? 
            That night as I cried, I didn’t have the energy to care anymore.  I didn’t have the “fight” left in me to face life on my own.  All I could do was cry out to God in all humbling honesty: 
            “I can’t do this anymore!  I need to be held, Lord.  I need to know that You are there and that You won’t let me go if I fall into Your arms.  I don’t want to ask for anything else from You right now, Lord.  I just need . . . more of You at this moment.  And I don’t want You to be “just God” to me anymore.  I need You to be my Heavenly Father.  I can’t face these problems alone.  I have no idea how to help Ryder’s teeth problems.  And we can’t get a home on our own.  I’m supposed to know what to do, I’m the parent.  But I don’t!  And I’m afraid!  And right now, I just need to cry and be held.  I can accept it if You won’t answer me - if I don’t get the house - but I couldn’t bear it if You let me fall.  I just need You!” 
            For the first time in my life, I let down my stiff-arm that kept Him from getting too close and I fell into His embrace.  And even though He wasn’t physically in the room with me, I tell you, I could almost feel His arms wrap around me and hold me tight.  I have seen Him work in my life before.  I’ve seen His answers to prayer.  I have Biblical knowledge and Christian experience.  But this was the first time that I felt like I was just held by Him. 
            And He had waited so long for me to just ask.  After all, if I was never willing to risk falling into His arms before, I could never learn that He would catch me.  I had to fall before I could be caught.  I had to be honest and vulnerable before I could open my heart to Him.  I had to hand over the pain before He could heal it.  And I had to be broken of my self-sufficiency and self-confidence before He could rebuild me as His child. 
            It was a long journey so far.  And this prayer became another turning point in my life, but a moment that turned me toward Him.  It was a moment that brought healing and that filled that empty ache that I had from the time I was eighteen and realized that I never had a “daddy.”  Well, I had one now! 
            But, my goodness, this journey wasn’t over yet.