It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
I have to honestly ask myself, come on Judy, what were your expectations for this cross-country trip? Did you expect to have another endearing summer, like last year? I can’t help but recall an encounter I’ll always cherish on the day when I met God in the middle of the desert and felt His presence so deep within my spirit. When I consider that day, my heart still fills with tearful gratitude of praise and delight.
Yet, this autumn of discontent began at the beginning of my trip, the moment I unexpectedly encountered the mother I lived with as a rebellious 17-year-old teenager. I have to admit that on the first day I knew it was going to be one of the longest nine days I would experience, especially when her words rang with the proverbial tones of annoyance and hatefulness I always despised. Mom was in a state of deep depression and it wasn’t hard to recognize that she was utterly disconnected with life. I probed for answers to another one of my unending list of questions; questions that go off in my mind like fireworks on the 4th of July. We all knew that it was nothing short of a miracle that Mom was still alive and for some reason I wanted to know more about why she was in such a miserable state. So I asked. I was completely taken aback by her response of “I just merely exist”, followed by, “I don’t care about anything”.
From where I was in my pursuit of wanting this trip to rock and change my world, her statements hit me like a ton of bricks! I found myself reliving my teen years, back in my secret seventeen-year-old mindset. I wanted to scream at her, “Really, Mom? Did you not care about the onslaught of continued sexual abuse I endured as a teenager either?” I wanted to screech, “And, you stood by and let it happen because you were too weak to defend me from my own father!”
I wanted to grab onto her, hard, and shake some sense into her feeble mind.
And, I prayed, “God, please, never let me get to the point that I don’t care about anything.”
However, despite that prayer, for the next several weeks, overwhelming feelings of insignificance swept over my soul like a waterfall gushing over a cliff. I begged to just fall over the cliff and drown as her old familiar words repeated in my mind, “You’re nobody!” only to be followed with, “You’ll never amount to anything!” They were words of devastation, not fit for a wounded teenager to hear.
Then, I allowed the enemy to use my unending questions to beat me into a state of deep depression too and I found myself struggling with some of the questions we all strain against, “Why am I here, God? You’ve brought me so far in my faith journey, yet I’m toiling under this cloud of depression, feeling as if I’m just trudging along life’s ups and downs, feeling alone, and afraid that I’ll never escape this torrent of discontentment.” I want more from this life: more money, more beauty, more of this, more of that; All the while feeling so annoyed at God for not giving me more, when He’s given me so much!
But wait! God’s word says that His grace is sufficient for me! My heart leaped to life as I became keenly aware that these feelings of insignificance and discontent are wiles of the enemy, used to keep me from being used by God to defend the abused and using my God-given talent and abilities to teach others that if God can change my life He can change any life.
God is so good and I can’t help but praise him for the divine appointment I encountered last weekend at the Women of Faith event in Portland, Oregon. I take comfort in knowing that He has brought me to a place such as this.
This morning, I’m reminded of His love for me as I read the two books I picked up at the conference, Seeing Yourself Through God’s Eyes, by June Hunt, and The Storm Inside, by Sheila Walsh. I rejoice in knowing that I’m secure, I’m His child, and no circumstance, or no person, has the power to diminish the fact that God knows the plans he has for me.
Romans 8:16, paraphrased in my own word says that the Spirit himself testifies with my spirit in that I am God’s child.
And, Ephesians 2:19 reminds me that I am not a foreigner, or a disbeliever, but I’m a fellow citizen with God’s people and I’m a member of God’s family.
Through God’s eyes I can see that I am His, I’m loved and accepted, just as I am.
How about you? Do you know that you’re secure because you’re a child of God?