"Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me."
Well that's just not true. That's one of the biggest lies we've ever been told. Words have power. Words are like a hammer. They can be used to build something beautiful, or they can be used for destruction - to tear something down.
Lately, stones have had a symbolic place in my life. As I have unpacked different feelings/emotions and been able to process certain events and journeys in my recent life, I have come to realize I allowed my heart to become a heart of stone. I caught a glimpse of bitterness and my hard heart. It was an ugly sight to see in myself.
It took coming to a breaking point - a point of utter exhaustion and despair to finally look inward and see these things in myself. I couldn't understand why, in this moment, I didn't have the joy I always had in every other difficult circumstance.
"I'm so tired," I would say.
When I had typhoid, I took it head on with a smile on my face and the joy of the Lord in my heart. I didn't let it get me down. I didn't feel defeated. Every time I broke a bone, tore a tendon, was in the hospital or had to have surgery, the Lord gave me peace and joy and strength.
But this time was different. This time felt heavy. This time I'm tired. I'm so exhausted. I had come to a breaking point and finally looked deep within and saw the ugliness of my heart of stone. A heart of bitterness. A heart that needed to forgive and let go of past hurt.
The symbolic heart of stone really did some wear and tear on my body. I've been sick. I've been in so much pain. Finally, the doctors informed me - I have kidney stones. How ironic it's a stone. A stone that will cause much pain before my body feels better - but it's because I must face it, and wash the stone away before I can be refreshed and new again.
It's been a good season, though. Encouragement is never far away when you have the good mentors that I do. I find strength and encouragement in Psalm 71. I find encouragement in knowing that David - a man after God's own heart - struggled at times and had such deep pain and dark moments, even considered walking away at times, but never did; and the Lord commends him and considered David a man after His own heart.
And I find ultimate joy and encouragement today in this:
"And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh."
Ezekiel 36:26 ESV
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Thursday, October 9, 2014
I'm not worried. Not stressed. No anxiety or fear has crept in.
But I'm tired. I am so tired. Mentally, spiritually & physically.
Throughout my life, I have dealt with countless injuries and illnesses. And I have taken on each obstacle with a smile on my face and the joy of The Lord in my heart. He has always given me the perseverance to push through. He has been my strength and my portion. He has always carried me through each trial and filled me with His peace that surpasses all understanding.
This summer was no exception. I had typhoid and I took it head on -- with a smile on my face and the joy of The Lord in my heart. He gave me patience when the doctors lost my blood and I had to wait an extra 10 days and had to re-draw all the bloodwork; He gave me peace when it took 6 weeks to be diagnosed and I was sick and in pain. He gave me a smile when the world was telling me I should be sad and disheartened. But I never doubted.
Here I sit. Just weeks later -- sick again. Exhausted in every sense of the word. Burned out.
But I cling to the words my Jesus has said,
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG)
"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 ESV)