Monday, November 19, 2012

My Heart is Good?

I just finished "Waking the Dead" by John Eldridge. My heart is stirred. My mind is struggling to wrap it all up.

Eldridge tells me my heart is good--made good by the presence of God (because I requested it) and as the fulfillment of His promise to give me a new heart.

As I was reading this book, I was struggling to believe my heart is good, yet also distancing myself from it because I'm afraid of being sappy and emotional. I want to be strong and stable! I'm wearing of hurting. I'm afraid of what I might feel if I allow myself to.

One morning after an evening of reading about how my heart is good, I actually wept over a painful situation that has caused intense heartbreak, and feelings of guilt and regret. I hadn't wept over this situation for months, maybe years. I wrote about it in Today I Cried.

The next morning, I wept again (see, I'm becoming sappy and emotional!) as I read  in my devotional, "God formed man from dust, a material substance, and breathed life into him--the breath of God, a divine substance. God looked at His creation [me!]--a combination of corporeal and spiritual reality--and declared it good." He declared me good? He declared me good!

Tears flowed freely as I felt God's confirmation that my heart is good--that I am good--because He declares me good! Not because of anything I have done, but because He created me, He breathed life into me, He gave me a new heart, and His presence dwells in my heart.

God continues this confirmation as He draws me again and again to Psalm 46. The first 3 verses talk about God being our refuge when our world is crumbling away. In verses 4-5 it says, "There is a river whose streams make glad the City of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells, God is within her, she will not fall, God will help her at the break of day." Bells began going off in my head as I realized, that's my heart! My heart is the City of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells! (Yes, I know He's talking about Jerusalem, but He's also talking about our hearts.)

That's why my heart is good. That's why I am good. That's why I must proactively guard and protect my heart. I must care for and nurture it. And I must fight valiantly for it. I don't skip happily and carefree through life because my heart is good. No, there is an enemy who wants to take me out, and he will stop at nothing to do so. He wants me to believe the lie that my heart is not good and that I must distance myself from it. And he will win if I let him.

Even though I fear what I may find there. I fear what God may say to me there. I fear what I may feel there. Even though I may become sappy and emotional there, I must live close to my heart, I must fight for it, because it is the City of God, the dwelling place of the Most High. He is my refuge. He is my Unswerving Hope.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Today I Cried

I have this situation in my life that has broken my heart for years. I feel like I have failed over and over. I just can’t get it right. The most important thing God has given me to do and I have failed miserably again and again. He keeps telling me to be still and know that he is God. That feels like such a cop out.

Today I confessed to him my lack of faith. I told him I feel like I’m slipping away—slipping in my faith. I confessed that I feel like my prayers do nothing. I keep praying and believing and nothing changes.

Wanting to find God in all these negative emotions, I turned again to Psalm 46. It was like I was reading it for the first time. Tears began to sting my eyes then run down my cheeks. I haven’t been able to cry over this situation for a very long time. I can't remember the last time I cried over it. Even as I have shared it with friends, they cry but I can’t.

My heart has been so broken so many times over this situation. It has hurt so long and so much that I feel like I have to harden it just to survive. But today, God sent me the gift of tears.

I feel a little relief—a little bit cleansed. It feels good to know that I still have the capacity to cry. But I also know that I will soon have to pick up all the pieces and tuck them all in. My precious little one will be awake soon, and will need to get ready for school.

But thank you, God, for a few minutes of closeness. Thank you for the tears.