(originally published in Take Root and Write online magazine)
I wasn't sure that I heard the Lord correctly today. After all, I'm relatively new to Take Root and Write and I wasn't sure exposing this part of me sounded like such a great idea.
Evidently He did. So,here I am,following the directions of the One who loves me and always leads me in the way I should go.
My story begins seven years ago, praying on the treadmill when the Lord direct me to share my journal with the womens Bible study I was leading at the time. Say what?! was my first response. No way! was my second; sobbing my third, and fourth . . . surrender.
The last day of class came, and just as He'd asked, I handed out copies of my unedited story to the ladies in my class as they left. However, surrendering had not eased my fear in the least; terrified of their responses to the unedited Lisa, I obediently shared my "shame."
Over the course of the next few months, much to my delight, many women told me that my story had blown them away, not because it was so phenomenal, but because it spoke to them in their present circumstances. Some shared how they wept, others were encouraged to persevere, and still others were relieved to see someone else's struggles looked a lot like their own.
Flash forward seven years, and here I am again, hearing my Lord lead me, "Tell it like it really is, Lisa, be transparent for Me". I tried to tell Him it's too soon, they don't know me very well, but He wouldn't budge.
So, let me introduce you to one side of the real me. My morning tennis game was canceled today. No big deal, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, this change was enough to send me into a hormonal fit, complete with tears (I even kicked a chair and banged my shin instead). I can't explain the childish emotional breakdown that overcame me, and why something seemingly so insignificant would send me over the edge. However, I suppose I don't really have to. We've all been there; things slowly accumulate and the building blocks of fear, anger, and frustration usher in negative and destructive thought patterns.
As a 43-year old women, I'm experiencing some very powerful hormonal deficits. My mother-in-law used to have a t-shirt which read: I'm out of estrogen and I have a gun. I get it now. Don't mess with me; that's what that t-shirt meant. Don't mess with me, or else! Funny in a way, humbling too when your life can be defined by some corny sentiment on a t-shirt.
Back to this morning, which looked something like this: I refused to miss my exercise (it's a natural form of hormonal therapy), I stomped downstairs, grabbed my ipod, realized batteries were almost dead, hopped on the treadmill, and angrily start walking. Then the flood-gate of tears burst open. I was dumbfounded about bawling over a dumb tennis game.
What's wrong with me? Am I a 4-year old!, I raged at God. Unable to stop my tantrum, I let it all pour out: my fears, frustrations, and disappointments, all while maintaining my 3.8mph (too stubborn to let the enemy keep me from exercising!)
It took until the timer read 29 minutes and 17 seconds before the episode finished and that's when I heard Him, "Did you think I gave you a voice with others for you or for Me?"
"What's that have to do with tennis, Lord?" I waited for Him to tell me how disappointed He was with my childish temper tantrum.
I felt no response in regard to my morning fit. Instead He helped me understand that everything He allows me to experience is for His glory if I will consent to it. He reminded me how much He loves me, and that His grace is sufficient (even through hormonal tantrums). I told Him that surely even Paul's thorn in his flesh couldn't have been this bad, so wouldn't He please, please release me? "My grace is sufficient" was His only response.
So, here I am, again. Seven years later, and His plan is still the same. Be real. Tell the truth, others need to know what life sometimes looks like on the inside, and that He's not disappointed or disgusted with us. In fact, He wants us to run to Him for comfort and love during these times. See, He's not like people...His love isn't affected by our performance or bad behaviors, He love's us always. 100% of the time, no matter how badly we feel we've failed; His love is perfect, not conditional like human love often can be.
I pray you don't have to experience hormonal hellishness to encounter His amazing love, however whatever it is you are undergoing, remember this: He can turn breakdowns into breakthroughs. That's what He did for me today. By 32:33 I was laughing (not maniacally); I was joyful! I was reminded that He has a plan for my life, yours too, and it often doesn't look the way we think. If we will allow, if we will surrender our logic and plans to Him, fearlessly acknowledging all our imperfections, His peace and joy is our reward.
My gift to you today is sharing the goodness and love of Jesus in every detail of your life; don't doubt it. I could have had my temper tantrum face down on my bed. I could have thrown this in His face, proof that He doesn't care. I wanted to. However, that little voice, the voice of His Spirit, kept me on course through the storm of my emotions.In the end, He was comforting me through the trials I'm currently walking through, just like all of us. Trials which have nothing to do with tennis or hormones and everything to do with the suffering in this world.
Regardless of what we feel like on the inside, if we'll hang onto His Word, even when everything is screaming, run away, withdrawal, don't trust Him! His grace will sustain us. If Jesus is the Lord of your life, then the power which raised Him from the grave lives within you. If you've not asked Him into your heart, why not stop what you're doing, and invite the Lord of Heaven and Earth, who loves you with an everlasting love, to come and be your Lord?
The power of His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, is available to carry you through the worst of times.Trust Him.