The Presence of God in our Pain.

Call it satan, spiritual warfare…life, but I have felt the hardening of my heart in circumstances only this world can offer.  The disappointments of relationships, the unraveling of what was once mended, the fear of rejection creeping back in, the distance perceived between my spirit and Gods.  It has sent me on a quest to discover and find the real, tangible presence of God.  The source of all love, perfect peace and my true identity.

Friday.  It was a warm, summer evening, I had just spent the past couple hours in worship yet feeling lost.  Tears strolled down my face as I sang the songs that promised His presence.  I needed these words to coat my heart before ‘that’ call came.  Shoving disappointment, anger and resentment down my throat like a punch in my gut.  My knee jerk reaction…anger.  Defend myself, because after all, I was now a victim and I wanted to shame my accuser.  Feeling good for about 5 seconds to then feel the overwhelming sense of rejection, fear.  The “thought” behind my feeling…that I was never going to be enough for this person.  I was never going to be accepted and loved because their view of me is a portrait painted out of watercolor that can’t withstand the elements of the storm.

Saturday. The promise of a new day.  I awake to little’s camping out in my living room and birds singing that familiar song.  Someone I love dearly came to visit, but this visit was different from those of the past.  You see, this soul has been burdened by the disease and destruction of addiction.  After years of being in fear over their actions, their words, I set boundaries that were hard but necessary.  They were no longer welcome in my home unless they were sober.  So this, this visit, meant moving mountains.  It meant change.  My hope had been renewed for what ‘could’ transpire, for him, for me, for us.  Several hours later, the actions would quickly shift back to what I knew all to well from before.  As I sipped from his cup, my fears were made real and yet again, the addiction had one.  I had to stick to the boundary, he was not welcome back to my home.  My broken heart fell on the floor as I walked through my front door.  Not because he had slipped, this I know is a part of the disease, but because the hope I had in what could have come from our time together was taken.  The “thought” behind my feeling was again, rejection.  I felt the alcohol meant more to him than me, that I was not enough, that the picture I had now painted was also but mere watercolors, being washed away by another storm.

Sunday.  Feeling beaten and burdened by the previous 24 hours, I dedicated my day to church, community and Christ.  Before ever leaving the house, an innocent but misinterpreted conversation was had and anger became my response.   Yet again, I sat on the steps of rejection.  Once again, the “thought” behind my feeling, I was not enough.  I was broken.

Following Christ does not protect you from this world, if anything, it puts an even larger target on your back.  You are publicly proclaiming the gospel of the most perfect human that ever walked this planet and dedicating your life to following in his footsteps.  Sadly, no one ever has walked this earth, since Jesus, that was able to accomplish the full and perfect grace, love and humility that He lived out…but that’s not the end of the story, it’s the purpose.  God came to this earth, through His son, not to shame us but show us what life with Him is truly like.  He brought His will, His ways to this earth for us to finally be set free from the burdens, the hurt, this world places upon us.  God sent us Jesus and left us His Holy Spirit.  This…this is where we get to find solace, be at peace.

As I have been seeking the solitude of time with God and the presence of His peace, I found rest in His word.  That the answer to the “thoughts” behind all my feelings is, His word.

When I felt rejected, His word says, “Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.” Psalm 27:10

When I felt like I was not enough, His word says, “You have been set apart as holy to the Lord your God, and he has chosen you from all the nations of the earth to be his own special treasure.” Deuteronomy 14:2

When I witnessed my hope washing away, His word says, “When his people pray for help, he listens and rescues them from their troubles. The Lord is there to rescue all who are discouraged and have given up hope. The Lord’s people may suffer a lot, but he will always bring them safely through. Not one of their bones will ever be broken.” Psalm 34:17-20

The truth is that Jesus was hated first, He was mocked, beaten and killed because He threatened the power of those around him.  And even still, He overcame this world.  He defeated death.  This world tried to break him, take him and dissolve his name but here we are, 2000+ years later, still quoting His words, worshiping His name and speaking love on His behalf.  If God will do that for His son, then He will do that for you and me.  We ARE His children.  Made in His image.  We are His direct creation, made for a purpose to bring His kingdom come to earth as it is in heaven.  His will is for us to love Him and love others.

So in this time of reflection, presence with God, I know that the hurtful conversations I found myself in were not because of my lack of faith or relationship with Christ but because I am still alive.  Walking among a very broken earth among very broken humans.  While my knee jerk (earthly) reaction is anger, my spirit longs for love.  To be gentle in the face of those who persecute me with hateful words.  To be forgiving to those who break their promise.  To display self control when my way is challenged, to be patient and kind.

I am a constant work in progress.  This is not my natural state but I know the ability lives inside the soul that was knit together by my father, my LORD.  I am not perfect, far from it, but I long to be present.  I long to seek His will over my own and His way above this worlds.  To not think of myself above others but humble myself to a place of servitude for all He has given me.  My life has been one of much blessing.  I don’t turn a blind eye to that.  Hurt and heartache is a part of this life but peace and joy are promised in our eternity.

Lets hold steadfast to the promises He has made and not let this world break the spirit that houses our reactions.

When anger sets in…remember this:

“In your anger do not sin” : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 
 and do not give the devil a foothold. 
Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. 
 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 
 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 
Ephesians 4:26-31
And when we fail miserably at this, because at times we will, ask for forgiveness, forgive yourself and move forward.  The promise of our future can not be found in the mistakes of yesterday.
Melanie Ortiz, @melanie_motheringinthemess

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