Trustworthy

To say that I’ve had a hard week would kind of be like saying the ocean has a lot of water. Perhaps just a little bit of an understatement. 

I was thinking about it last night, and I was thinking, none of these things stressing me out are actually my problems. This is just me, trying to help other people through their problems. Their junk. Not mine. But then I had this niggling thought of, is that really true? Because actually, when we help other people deal with their junk, it inevitably stirs up some of our own. 

I am realizing that this week, I’ve had some serious doubts and worries about the Goodness of God and being able to trust him. I think, when I say that I “trust” God, what I’m actually saying is, “I’m really confident that God is going to work out everything the way that I want it.” And this week I’ve had to face the stark fear that Maybe, God is not going to work things out the way I want in my loved ones’ lives. Maybe the happy ending that I’ve been praying for, isn’t going to actually happen. Maybe God isn’t going to answer my prayer and keep all harm far, far away. 

That has been hard for me to accept. Again, an understatement. 

I feel helpless. And the power of prayer doesn’t feel as strong when there are no guarantees that we will get the answer we want. 

Yesterday I had to walk away from someone I loved, leaving their problems in someone else’s hands. I started walking back to my car. Tears running down my cheeks. I sat in my car and sobbed for a minute. My brain numb. And I felt the Holy Spirit whisper into my soul the word, Trustworthy. 

And as I sit and think about that word, I realize that I have been guilty of creating God in my own image. I know how I want things to work out, I know how I want God to move in these situations, and so I create a God in my mind that does everything that I want him to do. And then, when crisis comes, it feels like God is not being God. Except that he is being God. Just not my little image of him that I’ve created. He is being God: Omnipotent, Sovereign. And, as he reminded me yesterday, Trustworthy. 

I think what the word Trustworthy means is, God is who he says He is. He can do what he says He can do. (To quote an old Beth Moore Bible Study). My knowledge of who He is and what He can do comes from the Bible, not from my imagination. And when my ideas get shaken up, I’ve got to return to that firm foundation. 

And so I find myself on new ground. Perhaps it’s Holy ground. It feels really unstable, but I think that’s just because my legs are weak, not because the ground is shaky. It’s a place of saying, Your will be done, not mine. I’m sacrificing my preconceived ideas, and instead am going to walk into the unknown, clinging to the truth that you are good. Your love is wider and deeper than mine. You are Trustworthy. 

Reckless Love

It’s been a rough week. Not so much that my circumstances suddenly became horrible, rather that my ability to handle my everyday circumstances seemed to be at a low ebb. A big part of that has been because I’ve been making some changes, and change is hard. I talked about that in the previous blog. But, I wanted to take a little time, on this Saturday evening, to share a bit of how God has been grace-filled to me. 

 

On Wednesday, an old acquaintance (friend? Casual Friend? Really nice person that I have always liked, but never had a lot of conversations with?) messaged me on FB and told me she wanted to drop off some crafts at my house. Well…Ok…Wow. That would be awesome! Thank you very much! She dropped by a little later and carried in 3 very large bags and a large box, full of VBS-worthy crafts. All organized and ready to go.  Wow! Thank you so much! 

 

On that same day I had a really rough spot with one of the fosters and not one, but TWO different adults who are part of this child’s life were able to come to the house and speak to him and help him and all of us get over a rather rough patch. 

 

And then, on another day, another acquaintance (friend? Casual friend? Really nice person who works in our church’s Children’s Ministry with my kids, but who I only speak occasionally with…) messaged me and said that she had randomly thought of me, and wanted to offer to babysit my kids for free so I could get a break. Well…Ok…Wow! Yes! Please come! Thank you very much! And then she came Friday and babysat, and also brought her Mom with her (who is certifiably one of my good friends), so I was able to chat with her a bit before I took off. 

 

I was mentioning all these things to my husband, and he commented, that’s an awful lot of random people just “happening to think about you”. And I paused. You’re right. And I gulped, cause I realized that God had been talking about me. To other people. Calling in favors. Pulling some strings. Making elaborate arrangements to bless me. 

 

And that makes me tear up, cause really, I don’t feel worthy of that kind of Supernatural help. In fact, this week, I’ve felt a lot like a failure. I haven’t been as nice as I could have been. I haven’t been as patient as I know how to be. I have not been the picture of grace and wisdom, carefully and cheerfully guiding my home. No, more like a grumpy pit bull, snarling a bit, forgetting important things, not finishing tasks, buying a lot of takeout, letting the kids watch too much tv. Crashing along, trying to be productive, but not really succeeding. 

 

And in the midst of all that mess, God starts sending me gifts. The gift of his people’s generosity. 

 

And my old thought patterns rear their head. What? I’m being bad. That means you should be disciplining me, punishing me, at the very least, ignoring me. But instead, he lavishes love and grace on me. 

 

These are the lyrics to the chorus of the song Reckless Love, by Songwriters: Caleb Culver / Cory Asbury / Ran Jackson

 

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God

Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine

I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah

 

And that is what is running through my head, as I continue to stumble my way through life, covered by His Grace. 

The God Who Stays

I’ve had to do a lot of driving this past week. I’m not a big radio fan, but I needed something to keep me awake so I turned on the Christian Radio. This song came on and I started singing along since I was familiar with it. And as I was singing, God gave me a bit of a download. You see, before I got in my car I had been praying for wisdom for a situation with another person. In this situation I really had two choices. Keep pursuing the relationship, or pull back. I really needed wisdom. And God chose this song to speak to me. Here are the lyrics…

 

The God Who Stays

Matthew West

If I were You I would’ve given up on me by now

I would’ve labeled me a lost cause

Cause I feel just like a lost cause

If I were You I would’ve turned around and walked away

I would’ve labeled me beyond repair

Cause I feel like I’m beyond repair

But somehow You don’t see me like I do

Somehow You’re still here

Chorus:

You’re the God who stays

You’re the God who stays

You’re the one who runs in my direction

When the whole world walks away

You’re the God who stands

With wide open arms

And You tell me nothing I have ever done can separate my heart

From the God who stays

 

I used to hide

Every time I thought I let You down

I always thought I had to earn my way

But I’m learning You don’t work that way

Somehow You don’t see me like I do

Somehow You’re still here

chorus

My shame can’t separate

My guilt can’t separate

My past can’t separate

I’m Yours forever

My sin can’t separate

My scars can’t separate

My failures can’t separate

I’m Yours forever

No enemy can separate

No power of hell can take away

Your love for me will never change

I’m Yours forever

chorus

Songwriters: Matthew West

The God Who Stays lyrics © Highly Combustible Music, House Of Story Music Publishing, Two Story House Music, Be Essential Songs, One77 Songs

 

We sing these songs about God’s love and his character and we get teary eyed. Wow, isn’t it amazing how much God loves me? God is so amazing! I am so unworthy of this kind of love! Thank you God!  

 

But, I think we forget that we are called to imitate Christ. We are called to learn how to love like this. When we sing about how God never gives up on us, how nothing we can do will change his love for us, we need to be thinking how we can love like this too. Sometimes, or maybe even Often, we have people in our lives who are difficult to love. They cross boundaries. They are not faithful or loyal. They have some serious issues they need to get over. 

 

We are called to love THESE people. In the manner that this song describes.

 

I am not saying that we can’t have boundaries or that we have to put up with abuse. But, I can tell you from experience, that even with healthy boundaries in place, it is still possible to extend love and grace. We can still stand ready to forgive, ready to help. 

 

I heard somewhere, a long time ago, that as parents, we are the first people to teach our children about the character of God. And this is what I want to teach my children about God. He is a God of unfailing love. He is ready to forgive us. He is standing with wide open arms, ready to welcome us. Nothing we have done will change that. And I teach this to my children by loving in this way myself.