So today I was taking Lola out to go “potty” and was thinking about the process of training her. Whenever Lola does a behavior that we want, we praise and reward her. When (more frequently) Lola does something we don’t want…aka poop/pee on the carpet, rug, bed, shirt, pants, etc…or chewing another of Daddy’s shoes…or…well, you name it!…we rebuke and punish her. We try to infuse grace into even our puppy parenting, so sometimes she receives mercy instead of a spanking…but that’s usually when she’s immediately gone to hide under the bed in puppy-repentance. She’s so sweet, and she really is learning so fast!
So as I’m watching my sweet puppy go “potty” outside I’m thinking about how the Lord disciplines and teaches His children. I imagine it is in a similar way…bestowing peace and joy and comfort, and more so when we are walking in His way in fruitful obedience. Then when we sin, Hebrews tells us that God is merciful to discipline us. And of course there are the inevitable consequences that come with sin, whether it be our own guilt or something much more tangible and damaging.
But then I got to thinking…it sure would be an ingenious and insidious tactic of the enemy to reverse these outcomes. And since the enemy is crafty, and the “father of all lies”, speaking in his “native tongue” when spewing forth venemous lies…I’m thinking that tactic makes a lot of sense. David told me today, “The enemy can’t change reality, but he can attempt to change our perspective of reality.” I think that if I were to obey…and then meet countless hardships and setbacks and tragedies…it might be harder to obey. And then if I ease off the throttle of full-fledged sold-out obedience and get a little lackadaisical and all of a sudden things seemingly got much better and easier and happier, well gee, I may just think that feels better.
And can I be real here? This has happened in my life a lot. Especially in the area of my calling. This past year has been a year of a lot of transition and learning and hardship for me. I have been struggling with depression due to an imbalance in my progesterone levels, and it’s been straight up hellish. But in the midst of that, the Lord has been teaching and growing me SO much. He has confirmed over and over again to me and my community that He is calling me to be a worship leader, songwriter, performer, and equipper of the Body. I. Am. Pumped.
And at every turn, there seems to be a roadblock. A wall. What, Lord? I know that the Lord often sets up roadblocks to guide us into the fullness of what He is calling us to. So what happens when you are hearing one thing and then seeing another? What happens when things that seem so sure and steadfast in prayer look anything but in “real life”?
Well, I will tell you what has happened for me this last year. a week-long Netflix binge in bed, not going to work, not eating, trying to avoid the constant ache that rejection and hope deferred bring with it.
But then every time the Lord so faithfully draws me out of this pit, He just keeps coming back to worship. Giving me dreams and ideas and hopes and lyrics and joy beyond measure at the very thought of walking in the fullness of this calling.
So I jump and skip forward, knocking on doors, thinking that surely something will open since the Lord is speaking so clearly.
Sometimes nothing happens.
Sometimes the door appears to crack open…so I start to step through…and it SMACKS me in the face. Or at least that’s what it feels like.
So my jumping and skipping turns to limping. But I try to keep moving forward, because my God is leading and I want to follow with everything in me.
But some doors are bigger than others and some wounds cut deeper, some so deep I think I might die. Or at least want to.
I keep fighting…desperately, prayerfully,vehemently…and then sometimes it just seems more than I can bear. I cry out for the Lord to rescue me, but sometimes He feels far off. Sometimes it just hurts. So. Bad.
Can I be honest for a minute? Sometimes I just want to give up. On all of it. Life. But always, ALWAYS my God speaks to me. He reminds me of Who He is and who I am and the glorious and amazing story He is writing in, around, and through me. He reminds me of the cross and redemption. He uses the constant, unwavering gospel-rich devotion of my husband to point me to Him every minute of every day.
So here I am, breathing. Alive. With my heart wide open. Trying desperately to trust His timing, His way, His mercy, His grace. It’s hard. But it’s so worth it. Crying out to Him in my pain has forged a new, deeper, richer kind of intimacy that I wouldn’t trade for anything in this world.
But guys, this is hard.
Pray for me, if you think about it. Pray that God would open doors and equip me and grow me and use me. Pray that I would TRUST Him because golly gee He is trustworthy. Pray that I would walk in freedom from depression. Pray that I would constantly be aware of His tangible presence and believe His voice more than the lies of the enemy. And pray, dear ones, for His glory to shine brighter in me than I could have ever imagined, that everyone I come in contact with would see this Savior Who is so worth it all. Pray for His Kingdom to come and His will to be done. And maybe pray He will just come back, because that would be the coolest thing of all.
Grace and peace.