(This is another wonderful post by my wife, giving her thoughts on the latest stage of this journey we’re on. Every time she takes the leap to shares her heart, which is not an easy leap for her, my love and admiration for this amazing woman grows. So thankful for her, and for her steadfast faithfulness on this journey)
Last Tuesday, they took away my driver’s license. And it ALL went down hill from there. Who knew I’d be on the verge of a big ol’ ugly cry right there in the middle of the tag agency office? But that’s exactly what happened when I asked to keep my North Carolina license for sentimental reasons. Apparently they have to mail the license back to NC. For what? I have no earthly idea! But since I could feel the lump swelling in my throat and the water pooling in my eyes I knew it would be best not to ask any questions, just take the Oklahoma license and get out as fast as I could!
As silly as it sounds it was just another stripping away of the old, more grieving over the way things were and the reality of still so much uncertainty. As the week progressed it was much more of the same: strip, grieve, uncertainty …. and repeat. It was a tough, tough week. I struggled to get out of bed (who am I kidding? I struggle to get out of bed every morning. I love my sleep!!! But even more so last week). I felt like all I could do was weep. Ugly cries for days. Therefore I “hibernated” quite a bit last week. There seemed to be a never ending fountain of tears. Bitter, bitter tears. And as I cried out to The Lord through my doubts, anger and fears begging for some type of encouragement, relief, answers….He was there. Even when it felt like He was gone.
Painfully, I struggled to keep trekking through my reading plan and my time in The Word each day but looking back over the last week I see how He graciously gave me examples of others who had “bitterly wept” before The Lord. Letting me know I’m not alone in my weeping. Isn’t that just like God? Some of the similarities in these passages were certainty not lost on me.
- Judges 20:18- 21:3 The Israelites are in the middle of a civil war with their family, the Benjaminites. Time and time again they seek God for direction (in Bethel, mind you) “weeping loudly and bitterly” in the presence of The Lord over their defeat and loss.
- Ruth 1:3-21 In this passage, Naomi is so bitter and discouraged that she’s asking to be called by another name. “Call me Mara, for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me” (vs. 20). No, I’m not to the point of asking for a new name but it has been a long, hard year and I wonder with each passing day how much more can we take?
- 1 Samuel 1:9-11 Hannah is in such “deep anguish crying bitterly” to The Lord for a baby. She’s so distraught in her prayer that Eli, the priest, thinks she’s drunk! I’ve certainty prayed my fair share of desperate prayers lately. Praying for things we need and want, all the while, after so many months of waiting, doubts flood my mind and I start to question everything.
Funny enough, after He gave me all these “spiritual” examples He brought to mind an experience my daughter and I had a couple weeks prior. She and I were some of the suckers who bought into the hype and tried the horrid, wretched Unicorn Frappuccino. Yep. Suckers. It was dubbed as being “the flavor-changing, coloring-changing, totally not-made-up” magical drink. We took one sip of the sour, bitter concoction and immediately needed something else to get the taste out of our mouths! Ahhhh…..lightbulb!!!
After a week of tasting many bitter tears, through the recollection of something ordinary and normal He was inviting me to feast on Him and His goodness. I needed to “cleanse my palette” so to speak. The words of Psalm 34:8 kept echoing in my mind… “taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him”. How ironic is it that He’s called the “Bread of Life” and the “Living Water”? He’s nourishment for our souls, strength for our bodies, and the only real thing that will truly satisfy.
There are still so many questions unanswered and so much uncertainty about this journey that we’re on, but one thing is for sure: The Lord is using the ministry of Frontline Church in OKC to breathe life into our weary souls. As we went to church Sunday morning, Matt and I were both still pretty beat up from our emotional week. It was there, that morning, that Jesus came to us! He met us right where we were – in our broken, weary, desperate state. He was inviting us to enjoy the Bread and drink the Water. From the beginning to the end of service, we both bawled like babies. This time the tears weren’t bitter, instead they were cleansing, repentant, and peace-filled.
There is no one or nothing like Jesus!!! Over the last year He’s stirred an even greater passion in my heart for His Word which I’m so thankful for! It truly is living and breathing, sharper than any two edged sword. But as precious and sweet as The Word is to me, Jesus is all the more sweeter! He’s so faithful to come near when we ask. He comes close, wraps His arms around us and invites us to bask in His goodness.
And that’s anything but bitter!