“Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when the laughter ends, the grief remains.” Proverbs 14:13
I’m emerging from a very painful season. If you read my last blog “Walking through the Valley of Tears” I shared some of the sorrow of grief. Just as the seasons cycle throughout the year signified by leaves falling, freezing temperatures, blooming flowers and brutal Texas heat…life does the same on a less predictable calendar. In my own life joy has been restored, yet the grief remains. I’ve entered a season of healing where new life and death co-exist.
The topic of healing implies something is broken, not whole. Something that was….is no longer. A yearning arises to be restored to a previous state of health or completeness. It could be in the physical sense if afflicted with sickness or disease. This could also be in a relational sense when there is friction, division or death. I always like to leave things open and general in hope that anyone who reads may relate to a current situation in your own life. We all need healing in some way. The world we live in is full of tragedy and death. As we trudge through this thing called life I pray we never forget that healing is possible, one day at a time.
Healing is a journey not a destination. Along the path stones will be overturned uncovering more places of pain in dire need of His Redemption. These areas of brokenness revealed are opportunities to submit my fleshly desires to my Creator’s hands. As I remain humbly willing to undergo transformation on the Potter’s wheel, discomfort is certain…yet essential.
He continually shapes and molds me using His loving hands to remove rough edges & repair broken crevices by adding the water of grace to soften hardened clay. The removal of my self-protecting habits and tendencies is a mixture of internal & external pressure, stretching & thinning me beyond my preferred & comfortable status quo. This process offers opportunities to replace my self-reliance with trusting surrender to His will & ways.
My self-protecting approach to life benefits me in various ways or I wouldn’t utilize these behaviors. Yet they prevent me from flourishing in the life God has for me. Resentment blocks me from joy, but I believe by keeping people at arms length I won’t be hurt again. Fear is a thief with all the accompanying anxiety shrouding the peaceful existence Jesus freely offers, however I can use it as a tool of perceived control just to “play it safe”. If I avoid what has caused me harm I erroneously believe I won’t be hurt again.
Self-reliance has more precise applications. I can use gifts and skill sets that God has intended for good in selfish ways. I can use a gift of communication to appear honest and vulnerable but really only offer enough so people will leave me alone & not realize I’m struggling. I can serve others & stay productively busy not allowing time to slow down and admit pain I’m hiding from. I can pour myself into my family, friends, business, fitness…all good things improperly used as a source of fulfillment while hiding from memories and past events that only God can amend.
So often I seek symptom relief, not healing to the core. When I go to the doctor for a physical ailment, I go because of the pain. If it’s strep throat, it’s because I don’t want my throat to feel like its on fire. The doctor prescribes an antibiotic and after 24 hours my symptoms have begun to alleviate. I’m one of those people that forgets to finish my prescription just because I’m “feeling” better. However, this makes the probability of reoccurrence more likely because the antibiotic wasn’t able to complete the intended purpose of healing.
When I approach spiritual healing this way, I sell myself short. If I’m only willing to submit to the inner work when experiencing extreme discomfort I’m not being honest with myself about the existence of my true underlying brokenness. God’s grace operates in reality. No matter how difficult I must push into the painful reality & allow His healing hands to do the seemingly impossible redemptive work. Even the impossible is His reality.
Yet in this, my own healing isn’t for my comfort. Yes, I believe my Father loves me fiercely and faithfully. I’m certain He desires my wholeness and restoration! The impossible possibilities that only He can accomplish are personal and specific in His plan for my life…but it doesn’t end there. As uniquely and intricately designed we all are, we are still meant to live in connected community offering comfort to one another. However, if I am to have anything to offer it comes through the healing work His Spirit has done inside me. On my own I am nothing.
“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not ourselves.” 2 Corinthians 4:7
The mention of pottery can easily lose meaning in our day and time. Long ago, the only containers available were made of clay. Containers and jars of all different sizes. If you wanted to carry or store an item, you used something made from clay. God is our Divine Potter and He shapes and molds us to carry His glory, His light. This is the source of strength and power that we have to offer to the world. This is the light that shines in darkness. This is the comfort we bring to one another.
There are many circumstances in life that I absolutely have not been able to bear. God’s presence alone has given me breath. I have experienced situations that have completely broken me and although I didn’t doubt God’s love for me, I couldn’t make sense of the devastation. One thing I am sure of, nothing is wasted in this mixture of clay. I will continue to allow Him to shape and mold me into a jar that can more effectively carry His hope. I will remain still until He calls me to move. I will yield to the internal and external pressure abiding in His love until one day I’m ready for the kiln and He calls me home.
As I embrace this season of healing I’m committed to fully experiencing the myriad of emotions. Especially the sadness. I don’t think He wants me to rush past it. I throw my sobbing self at His feet with all my anger, doubt, confusion, fear, frustration, bitterness, rage and despair then watch Him redeem it all. I allow myself room to cry because in the pouring out, He is ready to fill me up. He will not allow me to be empty. My tears & grief make room for less of me and more of Him. Thus life is a continual journey of healing as we are transformed to reflect more of Him & less of our fleshly desires, revealing our true self yielded to His empowering spirit.
If you have been in a season of grief and sorrow, I pray you believe that spring is coming. Let go of all expectation because He operates in ways beyond our wildest dreams. He does exceedingly and abundantly more than all we could ever hope or imagine. He is on His throne and can handle anything we throw at Him. Yet simultaneously He has bent down on His knees to gently whisper and affirm our immense value to Him. He catches each tear, not one is wasted. He has never forgotten you. I can attest to this in my own life, time after time. Let the healing begin.
“Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.” Isaiah 58:8