Sunday, November 22, 2009

Brutal Honesty

I am feeling discouraged right now. I feel everything that I touch here at home just falls apart before me. I'm very ADD (literally)and it shows in every area of my life it seems. I'm unorganized, my kids are walking tornadoes, it makes me irritable and cranky, my mind is exhausted from it all, my flesh feels very strong all the time, and the things I want to do I don't, and the things I don't want to do, I do. I can't respond to conflict or affliction the way I'd like. I pray, pray, and pray more about the things that are heavy on me. I want to yield it all to the Lord but I still very much get in the way. I am very selfish with my time and am very weary at home and my husband and kids are suffering because of it. Yeah, I can choose to not be, but will that really be the answer? Really? Because I'm still ultimately selfish and weary.

There's desires I've had for a long time that are not being met still. I give them over, take them back, give them over, take them back. I don't want them anymore but something in me just can't let go no matter how hard I try. It's eating me up. I acknowledge that the enemy is coming at me, that I live in the flesh still and this is all pride talking...bleah, bleah, bleah. But where is the POWER that God promises? I want to carry that power with me and I just don't see it anymore!!
People talk to me all the time about the encouragement I give them, and I'm so glad to know that God is using me somewhere, but I still feel that when it comes to my home envirnment, I am falling oh so short! I don't want to hinder my children from growing in God's love because of my mistakes, or my flesh that wants to come out at any opportunity. I am always walking around with too much burden around here, and it's wearing me down minute by minute. I'm not experiencing the joy still that the Lord promises. I guess I've forgotten how to live that in this part of my life. It used to be there. Where did it go??? All I wanted to be was a wife and mommy when I was young. And God blessed me with an amazing husband and 3 beautiful girls. So what has happened?

I have friends who are hurting so bad right now through the worst circumstances anyone can ever go through. There's people I love dearly who are going through health issues that I can't fix nor make them fix. My children have a very large lack of respect for me right now and though they love on me and want me to love on them, they completely don't respect my authority or the boundaries we try to set before them. How long will I be beating my head against a wall in the areas that I want to experience victory in or where I want my kids to have victory? Will I have to always sit back and watch others want to experience victory where there isn't, even when I pray fervently for it?

That song "How long will you forget, Oh Lord", by Michael Card keeps coming in my head by the way.

So moving on, another thing is, Tim and I have felt convicted about wanting to love others as ourselves more, to go out to the world and be Jesus in skin to others, to shine Jesus light to those in the darkness, whether its family, friends, neighbors, or strangers. Well, the truth is, I am scared to death still about sharing Christ with the lost, with developing new relationships that I feel I don't have time for. I am overwhelmed already at the things set before me in my own home. Yes, once again, these are all things the enemy wants for me to continue to feel or believe so I won't be effective "out there". And yes, they are lies, but they are so real and feel so true in my life right now. The real Truth seems so hard to grasp. Like I hold it for a second, then it slips right through my fingers. Why is it so much easier to believe lies than Truth? Why?

Hope is still a word that I grapple with. The Word says hope never disappoints. Well, I wish I could believe that truthfully. Hope seems to always be paired with expectation to me, and I can't seem to separate the two. And if I am to put my hope in the Lord and nothing else, what does that mean? What am I hoping about Him? He has already accomplished everything, right?

Like I said, I'm being brutally honest about the things that go through my mind these days. These are the questions that pop up as I read Truth, or try to believe it. I'm tired of kidding myself and others about the things that still entrap me. And I'm tired of feeling entrapped by them. I've had glimpses and real experiences of freedoms in my life, but why don't they remain? I need to find where the Bible talks about that exactly. I'm sure it's there, but if anyone has some places to guide me, let me know. I need help there.

I just read the "faith" chapter in Hebrews, where it talks about all those who walked out on faith and were counted as righteousness because of it, but then at the end, it says they never actually saw the promises that God spoke to them or us about. What?? I know we are still living out some of the promises God has spoken of back then, but honestly, my reaction to that wasn't that great. I know we are a microwave society that wants instant results, so maybe that's just my impatience is coming out as unbelief. But that's just what stirs up. One more thing I grapple with!

For anyone reading this, please lift me up in prayer if you will. I need my brothers and sisters in Christ to rise up and battle with me. I don't want to give up, but part of me has nothing in me left. But maybe that's right where God want me right now. I don't know. Just please pray for me.

"You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry..." Psalm 10:17


run2Him said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
~jo said...

Let me try this again...

Bethany...I'm here....praying for you and Tim.

I have sent him my number hoping that we can connect.


Brendan said...

Hi His Beloved

What a tough place to be in. Feeling like you have no answers. Feeling like what you think is true is slipping away and that the lies stick like glue. I think though that just because something is true doesn't always mean it's true for an individual at a point in time. Try and be gentle with yourself if you are not finding yourself living what you think God is putting in your heart. It is more important to just remain close to Him and be brutally honest about how your are doing than to be doing something for Him. As you've noted, He works His life through you, even if you aren't aware of it. It may be that the people in your life who haven't given their lives to Christ will be most impacted by watching you struggle with Him, watching you continue to hold tight to your faith despite the evidence of your situation. Sometimes I think the church has tried to put across that it has all the answers and has it all together, when it has been obviously untrue. Watching the brutal honesty that you are talking about may have more evangelical impact than any amount of seeking out the lost.

Brendan said...

I think it is a healthy sign when we see the fleshly way we live with open eyes. It can be condemning. And I am still fighting to hold on to the truth that there is absolutely completely and utterly NO condemnation for me, even though I continue to be selfish, to be self centred, to lust, to be self righteous and judgemental, to be critical, and to do all the things that the flesh does to carve a space for itself in the world. But it is so important to finally agree with God that all of that doesn't define you, doesn't limit His life in you, doesn't stop Him loving you. It is also important to apply the forgiveness and cleansing that God has promised. It's paid for, so I might as well use it, hey?

I think that what you are going through is so very wonderful. I know it doesn't feel like it, but you are being honest with God that what you are seeing and experiencing and what you understand to be His way is not lining up. I think that sort of honesty is so powerful. God cannot transform our masks. While we are trying to be good Christians, while we are trying to "go out and make disciples", while we are trying to love others as ourselves, we are living out of masks. We are trying to be what we are not (at least not yet). Because we are "trying", it is our strength and energy that is being used up (and doesn't it run you into the ground? sheesh!) But Jesus tells us that it will no longer be I who live but Christ who lives in me. And when we come to Him warts and all and offer who we truly are - selfish, doubting, weak, still battling with the flesh - then He comes. In my weakness He is strong.

And you've seen the truth of this. You and Tim. You have both ministered to people through your honesty, your encouragement. In ways you had no idea you were even doing. That is Christ living His life in you. And it is beautiful (and at times very confusing I find!).

If God is convicting you about loving others then what I am learning about dealing with that is to be more aware of the sin in my life. That allows me to confess it to Him, and others, and to apply the forgiveness and cleansing that Christ paid for through His sacrifice. It's not about "trying" to be different. Transformation comes not through our individual efforts but through the life of Christ in us expressing itself (if that makes sense). We are transformed as we look upon His glory as in a mirror (and by glory it means His good name as well as His might and majesty - so that comes back to your point about faith; you just need to remind yourself who God is and that transforms you). We are never transformed through striving to be better. We cannot be better. We can look better. But the only real better is when we no longer live but Christ lives in us.

So please forgive yourself. God forgives you. Recognise when you are not being who God wants you to be. But confess it and let it go quickly. Just continue to be brutally honest about what you want and what you feel bad about. He can take it. Actually I think He absolutely loves it (maybe that's the key message behind Abraham and Moses arguing with God). Forgive yourself when you aren't the perfect wife and mother. Forgive them for not being perfect husbands and children (well, Tim if you read this I'm sure you are almost the perfect husband mate, just like I am *rolls eyes and grins*).

God loves the real you. He knows you so deeply that it makes you cry to think about it. And He loves you unceasingly. It's going to be alright.

Shalom Bethany - wholeness and peace I pray for you. Amen

Brendan said...

Sorry for the length - I get on a role and stuff just comes out.

Just so you know, being able to write that was a blessing to me because it reminded me of some things, some truths, I wasn't living with.

God bless you and your family.