I look around and see new life springing up all around me. Things that were dead a few months ago are growing and flourishing.
I hear the sound of new life in the singing of the morning birds.
I feel a cleansing breath as I inhale the air blowing through the trees.
God takes what is old and broken and makes it new. He puts it back together.
I am quickly transported to a time in my life when I thought I had it all. I was in love, I was as healthy as I'd ever been, life seemed great. The problem with that is, it was an illusion. I was living in sin and God loves us enough to reveal that sin and gives us the opportunity to turn from it. Repentance.
That was probably the most painful time of my life. My heart was shattered, my life was crumbling, and I began to build walls around my broken pieces. Why? To protect myself, to keep others out and to hide my shame.
The facade I created was one of a woman who was strong, independent, self-sufficient, and I also became a woman incapable of loving anyone. Don't get me wrong, I was able to give love - and I did. I gave lots of love to my kids, the youth in my church, the Lord. I served and served gladly. But, I didn't let others love me and I didn't love myself. And most importantly, I was unable to accept God's love for me.
God showed me this weekend that I never let my heart heal. Instead, I left it broken and built a wall around it, so no one, not even Him, could touch it. God showed me that in my brokenness, I've become bitter, scared, hard, judgmental and untouchable. I've been trying to DO everything right in HOPES that God will see and will bless me...but He doesn't care so much about what I DO for Him as He does about coming to Him and loving Him in my brokenness.
Sunday, after a time at the altar, laying it down at His feet, I went back to my seat. I was alone on Sunday. I'm always alone. As I closed my eyes to sing, I felt an arm go around my waist. I opened my eyes to a beautiful young lady who had climbed over rows of seats in a dress to put her arms around me. I didn't know her. She didn't know me. But, God knew I needed to feel His around me and she was the vessel.
I was moved beyond tears and as she stood beside me, arm around me, I let the tears fall. Tears that let the brokenness be revealed. Tears that let God know I was tired of holding onto my shame. Tears that let God know I was ready to change...not by works, but by Faith. She laid her hand on my heart and prayed "God, soften her heart. Soften her. Bring down the walls she has built so she can let you in to heal her. Let her feel your love. She is beautiful Lord and she is worthy".
Today I begin a new day of walking with God...a broken vessel that He is turning into a masterpiece. I've talked and walked this way for a long time, but I never really truly believed it. Today, I'm finally letting God in. Letting Him heal. Today, I'm going to feel. And try to learn a new way of life - one that has less shame and more grace.
You see, this is personal, but I share this because I know someone else feels this way. Someone else has put up impassable walls in order to protect herself or himself. But, when we do that, we not only keep others out, but we imprison ourselves. I'm tired of living in a shell. I don't care anymore what others think of me, because I know what God says about me is truth. I'm worthy. I'm worth it. Today, I begin a new journey of discovering who I am in Christ. Today, I begin to allow God to turn my broken pieces into a masterpiece. Today I finally FEEL Gods love. I've always known God loves me, but I felt I had to BE perfect to receive it. Trying to be perfect is exhausting. I just want to BE in Him.
My journey to wholeness has begun. But, one thing I've learned, when something is broken, and you try to put it back together, sometimes there are cracks. Its never perfect. I have to take the cracks and let God shine thru them. I need to let His living water fill me up and then seep out thru the cracks into others. I can't be perfect - and He doesn't expect me to be. How freeing to finally realize he isn't keeping tabs on me - he is just loving me.
Today is a new day - and I have a lot to learn. Be patient with me God. And be ready to catch me when I stumble and fall. My arms are stretched high, reaching for you.
Will it be easy? No. I've lived behind these walls for many years. Tentatively, like a child learning to walk, I step out with arms lifted high, taking one shaky step at a time, knowing that my Father will catch me if I start to fall.