Peeling off the layers

I was reading my devotional this morning and it was about letting God heal us when we are broken hearted. This one line stuck me and it was enough to make me wince a little.

'Trust the Lord with everything-even with your pain.'

I had to stop and consider, have I held on too tightly to the wounds in my soul? Have I even gone so far as to hold on to my pain like a toddler with his favorite blanket? Have I allowed myself to wear my pain, my suffering like a badge? Ouch. I think it is safe to say, yes, to every one of those questions. Yes, I have let my wounds become like the clothing I wear. There are some deeper than others, and instead of completely trusting God to heal me and take it from me, I've chosen to wallow in it for awhile. What a horrible feeling, a terrible realization. And what is worse-have I allowed that to distract me from helping someone else who is dealing with a hurt of their own?

The depth of God's love and mercy for me, well, it is nearly tangible today. This past week or so, I have chosen to release a lot of "stuff" to God that I've held on to for far too long. I have grown so weary, so physically and mentally ill from the worries and burdens of this life, that I couldn't take it anymore. And, what is worse? The breaking point has come most recently in watching it manifest in our two older children. What better test of your trust in God, and just how evident your reflection of Him is than to see your worries and concerns weighing down your children. Try as we might, we can't fool ourselves into thinking our kids are oblivious to what we are experiencing. On some level, they know. We have always been open with the kids, we talk about everything we are going through because at some point they will know something is going on. We can try and shield our kids from what we going through in an effort to protect them from harm, but I am a big believer in being real with my kids and getting on their level so they can understand how both the good and the bad are going to effect them. It is a harsh world out there and I want them to be prepared, I want them to have a healthy outlook and ability to handle what is thrown at them. Let's face it-our kids are exposed to so much more than we ever were. We can candy coat it, we can deny it and paint it all like it's daisies and roses all the time, but how does that help them? I choose to make an effort to include my kids in the fullness of joy in this life and teach them how to deal with the harshness of life as well. Whether we realize it or not, we are teaching our kids all the time so all the more reason to equip ourselves and know how to respond to them when the time comes. Several years ago when Rylee was younger, we watched her go through a very dark, anxious time in her life and as time passed we saw that our sweet daughter needed some outside help. All the love and support of her family and friends, and her relationship with God were a beautiful foundation for her to draw upon, but at some point we realized that we needed some professional help. As we went through therapy with her, watched her learn to deal with her condition, and how to cope with life and all that she was battling inside, I found myself feeling so helpless and inadequate as a parent. I found myself feeling very angry, grieved for my child that it appeared God wasn't enough for her hurt. I have found myself feeling the weight of that myself for several years now, some moments more so than others. In recent months, I have been in a place of deep longing, searching to know God more than I have ever known Him before in my life. I have been seeking out time alone with Him, not just for myself, but first and foremost for Ryan, for Rylee, for Bailey, for AJ and even for Chloe as young as unaware as she is. I struggle like any parent with being able to provide everything my children really need, not in the sense of the basic needs like food, shelter, etc. but in comforting them, answering their questions, telling them with absolute certainty that it is going to be alright. I have struggled slowly but surely to peel off the layers I have built around me over the past few years, because of how "comforting" my hurt, my wounds have been to cocoon myself into. I don't want those wounds, those hurts, those struggles, to distract and prevent me from being Jesus to someone who is struggling. I want to resolve to let go of all that would weigh me down, to be at peace and rest in fully trusting my God to truly supply ALL of my needs. I want to be better because of what I've been through, and not let it define me. I want to approach each day pain-free, trusting in God who knows what is the very best for me, and not second guessing Him because what I may see or hear seems so great for me! It comes to this---I must resolve to be comfortable in a state of longing to know God more! The life long obssession with loving Him, eminating His goodness, thoughts and words of hope flowing through me and from me, knowing that no matter how that dirty dude downstairs digs at me I wil not be crushed! I will not be moved! I will stand firmly, confidently on the promises of a great and powerful God!

We cannot save ourselves, we cannot save our children, but we can turn it all over to the One who can! He is ready and waiting to welcome us into His arms, free us from our pains, our struggles, our darknesses and love us into His glorious light! Here's hope:

Psalm 34:8 NIV Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.

Psalm 147:3 NIV He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
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