Welcome to Word Woman Wednesday! I love having you all here. You presence is a gift to me…really:) A day where we share the hearts of women. Leaving words of encouragement and wrap our arms around the one opening herself up to you.
I think we all are trying to find our place in the world don’t you? Some of you have already met Joybird and you know her heart. How she writes with raw vulnerability from deep places. For YOU who are reading her for the first time you are in for a treat. Upon my first visit I felt an immediate kindred spirit. She has visited some of the places I have. Wading through a ” whole lotta hard “ can make for tough going. This is where I am finding the value in blog friends. It is a gift. We can pray-encourage-listen-inspire and grieve each other through a whole lotta hard. And then rejoice when we make it to the other side.
I love this sweet soul …
The holy LORD God of Israel has told all of you,
“I will keep you safe if you turn back to me and calm down.
I will make you strong if you quietly trust me.”
Then you stubbornly
Isaiah 30:15 CEV
I’m memorizing scripture with the Beth Moore’s Siestaville this year. This is the first time I’ve systematically committed the bible to heart since I was a little VBS’er. Interesting experience. I’ve never found scripture to be so vital or challenging. In a year when my feelings and interpretation of events say some pretty harsh things about God these verses have been freedom filled correction: guardrails in this steeply winding portion of my journey.
Isaiah 30:15 drew me because of the words safety, strength and comfort. I was attracted to the translations that talked about resting and quietness, those are messages I often like. But there was something about the straightforward directions in the Contemporary English Version that captured my attention: turn back, calm down, quietly trust. When I was searching for this last verse I felt as if my whole life was being shaken and possibly turned upside down. This was not a moment for gentle as much as it was for clear and direct.
But then there was that weird half sentence at the end. Then you stubbornly I don’t like things that are interrupted, unfinished. I like packages tied up with pretty bows and this string is irritatingly determined to dangle. But I went ahead and added this verse to my SSMT sidebar and index cards. Determined to ignore or rush over those three annoying words with no punctuation. But they would not be ignored. They just sat there day after day waiting for me to complete the sentence. When I could resist no longer I began to fill in the blanks.
The holy LORD God of Israel has told all of you, “I will keep you safe if you turn back to me and calm down. I will make you strong if you quietly trust me.” Then you stubbornly
• whined and moaned and grumbled.
• worried yourself sick.
• accused God of betraying you when you haven’t read the end of the story and He has.
• scrabbled to find a way out.
• collapsed into self-loathing.
• lashed out in anger.
Over and over my stubborn reactions poured out, not just from the present but from my past.
• became paralyzed by depression.
• manipulated people hoping they would like you enough to keep you safe.
• pretended wounds were gone that were only hidden away while you were silently bleeding to death.
• borrowed lavishly hoping that stuff would equal stability.
• used sex to bandage a broken heart.
• refused to believe God could mend your heart.
• determined God was only being poetic when He said He loved you. He didn’t mean it.
On and on the list went. Please don’t get me wrong, I revel in His forgiveness. I don’t feel condemnation or shame as I write this, only clarity. When I discard His comforting directions, when I try to go around Him to save myself, I always end up mired in sin and in a worse mess than before. It all became so apparent when I took the time to reflect on those three pesky words.
And then another list begins to build like a triumphant anthem. I am not the only stubborn one. For then God stubbornly
• daydreamed about me.Jeremiah 29:11
• pursued me.Luke 15:4
• wooed me.Jeremiah 31:3
• rescued me.2 Samuel 22:20
• took care of me.1 Peter 5:7
• protected me.Psalm 91:2
• tattooed my name on His flesh.Isaiah 49:16
• forgave me.Psalm 32:5
• welcomed me home.Luke 15:20
• healed me.Psalm 30:2
• calls me beautiful.Ecclesiastes 3:11
• restored all I lost.Job 42:10
• empowered me.Acts 2:17
• established me.Isaiah 61:3
• died for me.1 Peter 3:18
• loved me.1 John 4:10
And really, isn’t this the stubborn list that counts?