Walking through a forest of towering eucalyptus trees that morning my heavy heart tugged at my conscience like a toddler pulling her mother’s shirt hem. Working overtime it pounded vigorously for the extra pounds that had snuck upon me without warning. Life had become a blur of managing mental noise and meeting the exhausting demands of our fast paced schedules, but suddenly the Spirit seemed to speak like a by-gone friend, “How long has it been since you really laughed from a place of pure joy?”
Pausing for an honest answer, I rustled through low hanging branches inhaling their penetrating herbaceous fragrance in hopes to feel a twinge of happiness but all I could muster was a gestured smile through pressed lips. My praise for the sweetest things had become like wooden doves propelled into the air with a hard landing. A feeling of grief had slowly consumed my soul amidst the performance of balancing life and ministry while processing the reality of great loss. When I heard His whisper I suddenly realized how frozen I’d become.
Crossing the trickle of a narrowing creek I noticed the rugged beauty of river rock buried in glistening sand when the Spirit took His scalpel to the soft heart of the matter. “You keep rehashing on the wound every time your offender flaunts their ugly betrayal and it has hijacked your joy!” Immediately I thought of an earlier time in life where joy was a central part of my everyday wardrobe.
Even though I had very little in terms of earthly possessions there was a song on my lips and my heart was full of big dreams. I believed in things that others called impossible, because I knew the power of my God to deliver what He had promised but now I was facing the tangible threat of giants ruling the land, which I knew I was to occupy. I was angry and afraid.
I realized my dreams were not dead they had just become overshadowed by the increasing weight of responsibility I felt to forgive a community that had rejected and intimidate me. The constant upheaval of a deep debilitating wound, which I constantly prayed to forgive, had become routine pain management because I had allowed the rejection of the “chosen ones” to creep into my soul. It had been too long since I’d thrown my cares to the wind and simply danced in the goodness of God’s amazing grace!
I have learned a few things about myself and how I’m wired. I am a deep thinker motivated by compassion and that is why I see beyond the veil most people protect and project. This is often a gift God uses to minister to the hurting and the broken but while it is my strength, it is also my greatest weakness at times and I’m learning to navigate those potential pitfalls with Divine wisdom. If you’re a deep well and a thinker like me, perhaps you’ll relate. I’m usually the first to ask forgiveness in an argument and always self-examining before the Lord because my deepest desire is to be more like Him and to grow healthy relationships.
I’m a work in progress and I rejoice in the uncomfortable interruptions that God brings as He shakes me out of my slumber. This is what awakens the inner warrior called to throw down the lies of the enemy and take a stand for righteousness. But as I examine my own process I’m reminded of the digestive physiology of cows. Their stomachs are made up of four compartments, which play a role in the break down of nutrients. Cows chew feed without sorting through it in the initial mastication but it is later regurgitated and chewed again and again in a process called rumination. This is how their food is eventually digested where foreign matter, like wire, rock and fencing are trapped in their own separate compartment.
Relating to a cow isn’t pretty but I must admit to having a predisposition of gullibility where I trusted too much in my early years and I wasn’t equipped to sort through information the way I am today. So often the experiences that lead to our deepest wounds will resurface long after we thought we were over them and we spend so much time revisiting or analyzing our wounds that it begins to sour in our mouth!
While I do believe in the honest process of revisiting an issue that has merely been compartmentalized, there comes a time when we must recognize the difference between God’s prompting and our propensity to chew and chew until our mouths have soured. We must decide to move on when the infliction has paralyzed us and keep fighting forward in the hope and confidence of God’s Word where we transition from victim to victor!
Healing for the Heart
The book of Proverbs reads that Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, but an encouraging word makes it glad. (Proverbs 12:25) The passage continues, Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12) The bible is telling us that stress and deep HHhhhdisappointment makes the heart, sick and it’s imperative that we understand laughter is good medicine for the soul and that our joy is our strength.
This strength infusing kind of joy can only be found in your honest exchange with Christ, as He whispers and you listen… finally ready to surrender your trust to Him and let go of self-preservation. It is not the kind of joy, which is drawn from community. It was in that very moment where the beauty of nature could once again, penetrate my awareness and just the thought of laughter lightened my load.
I have made up my mind to dump my cares at the feet of Jesus right where they belong and to believe that He will always finish the work of Grace and forgiveness within my heart over the wounds that I am incapable of removing by myself. Friend, It is your turn to laugh again, to dream again and to believe that you can ask God for more than you ever dared to. He loves you and His plan is for your good!
The best news we could ever receive is to know that we win because God is faithful to those who love Him! If your road has been difficult, I encourage you to enlarge your vision in the sanctuary of praise and believe in the God of the impossible where impossible wounds are healed. Without a vision people perish… Learn to laugh in the face of adversity and declare the goodness of God when it hurts like nothing you’ve ever experienced.
It isn’t about staying dry when the storms come without warning… your weakness is where God-Almighty shows off… it’s about learning you can dance in the rain and experience something you’d otherwise never have known in the birthing of your great purpose.