“Let my ruins become the ground you build upon
Let my ruins become the start
Let my ruins become the ground you build it on
From what’s left of my broken heart”
“Ruins” by Bebo Norman from Bebo Norman
I used to think the Apostle Paul was a madman when he asked fellow believers to “rejoice” in their suffering (Romans 5:3-4, AMP). Are you freakin’ kidding me, Paul? Throw a party for mental illness? Get jazzed over medical issues? Maybe a pity party; that’s all.
That’s how I used to think. Admittedly, I’m still working on “rejoicing”; however, I am learning to be content suffering. My current struggles have forced me to find true dependence in God. I am starting to believe that suffering is a “gift” and I do not fully, nor will I ever, understand its spiritual implications on my life. Where I see only pain, God sees hope and promise…and beauty.
The brilliant red, orange, and yellow leaves beginning to dot the landscape of southeastern Pennsylvania illustrate beauty in death. And isn’t that what Jesus calls us to do—to die to self and to find true live in Him? And now just once or twice, but daily? Besides the promise of Heaven, the Holy Spirit, God’s love, and much more, Jesus promised that in this life, we would all experience trials and suffering. Yet He urges us to “take heart” for he has overcome the world.
For the past seven or so years (maybe more), I’ve bitterly resented suffering—my dad’s affair, my parents’ divorce, my life altering (and chronic) illnesses, my inability to find a job in ministry (which I now realize was a good thing), my mom’s remarriage and subsequent divorce from a horrible man who inflicted a lot of pain and abuse on our little family, and of course, debilitating mental illness.
At first, I sought after God and He is and always was present. As I watched my life shatter around me, I screamed at Him, “How could You let this happen? How could You do this to me? You are supposed to love me. You are supposed to do something with my life. If You could do this to me, if You could let this happen, what else will You do? What else will You ask?” I simply ignored God and His still small voice that beckoned me home. I prayed, read my Bible, and gave Him lip service only when it suited me.
I would not—I could not—relinquish all of me. Yet God asked for ALL of me, so He could do immeasurably more than I could ever dream or imagine.
A few weeks ago, when I shut down emotionally, physically, and spiritually, I knew drastic changes needed to me made. I could NOT go on like this [that] anymore, so I stepped away from Backseat Writer as well as other things so I could focus on overall wellness. I have been learning so much about myself, God, and the Bible (among other things) through circumstances that forced me to come face-to-face with God. No more running, no more hiding—just the naked truth of who I thought I was versus who God says that I am.
I am finding my identity in Christ, asking Him to help me overcome my unbelief, to help me believe the truth instead of the negative self-talk I readily offer myself, and most of all to learn to trust God in all things. It sounds simple enough, yet it is a hard, long road, though it is the path worth taking.
At this time, God has called me away from many things, including Backseat Writer. Not forever, not even completely, just for a little while. When it is time, my sporadic and erratic posting will cease and Backseat Writer will return to a new “normal” with content that is solid, personal, and REAL—not the publicist pleasing garbage I’ve posted at times. Although I assure you that not of it is garbage or posted to please publicist (or anyone else). I can hardly wait to see what sort of future God has for Backseat Writer—something I believe will be far more wonderful that either you or I could imagine.
For now, dear readers, I must continue my sabbatical to focus on knowing God and knowing who I am to God. I would like to pop in weekly with updates on what I’m learning—for there is so much to share with you! Still, most will remain close to my heart; these things are spoken only between God and me. But I want to let you in, at least a little, to show you what I’ve discovered. I want you to know that God is not safe, but He is good.
I hear God calling to me, wooing me to Himself, “Come now, my love, my lovely one, my beloved.” And it’s been such a long time since I felt lovely to anyone and loved by God.
“[God] is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” (Ephesians 5:20, slightly paraphrased)
Currently Listening To: Selections from various Bebo Norman albums, Jason Gray’s latest album, A Way to See in the Dark (“Remind Me Who I Am” has been essential in my recovery. I hope to post more about this song/album at a later time. Thank you, Jason Gray, for crafting such a wonderful album!) Select others including Matt Hammitt (latest album, Every Falling Tear, is excellent!), Josh Wilson, NeedToBreathe (mostly The Outsiders. Yes, I purchased their latest album on iTunes, but haven’t really listened to much of it yet. Shocking, I know!), and Cat Stevens.
Currently Reading: My NIV Study Bible (does that sound cliché?) as well as daily passages from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young and The Inner Voice of Love by Henri Nouwen. I highly, highly recommend both of these books. I am just about finished with a powerful, lesser-known book by Elisabeth Elliot called The Path of Loneliness—not for the faint of heart. An excellent read that I heartily recommend! Next I hope to read God’s Plan B by Pete Wilson and Jenny B. Jones’ latest, There You’ll Find Me as well as a smattering of writing books and whatever else pops up.
Other Randomness: I’m enjoying the new seasons of “Modern Family,” “The Middle,” and “Glee” as well as peeking at “The X-Factor.” I’ve discovered Facebook games like GnomeTown, Words With Friends (play with me!), and Bejeweled Blitz, as well as exploring my world and spending time with friends, my mom, and of course, my beloved fur and feather children.
Please Pray For Me: To have continued spiritual, mental, and physical healing; that my nasty tooth infection would heal and my root canal procedure could be completed; for the small group Bible study I lead; that I may find a meaningful volunteer opportunity; and for my future writing endeavors. Thank you so much for your faithful prayers!
So, that’s me…what are you up to? What’s going on with you and God? Any new pets or babies or anything I missed? What are you listening to, watching, doing? Dish it!