It happened on a scorchingly hot day. The pain is still seared into my mind. I was pushing my one-year-old in his stroller, dashing under shade trees for temporary relief from the blazing rays of the sun. I don’t remember exactly what triggered my brain to dive deeper into examination, but suddenly it was as if a scummy film had been scraped off my eyes and I could finally see the details and truth that had been in front of me all along. It was as if I was seeing a reflection of my actions and thoughts and they were staring back at me with ugly warts, rotting teeth, and unkempt hair. How had this happened? How had I let my thinking turn sour? I realized that I had been viewing the world through bitter, judgmental, prideful, and cynical lenses the last year. I stopped pushing the stroller, turned my warm face up toward the blazing sun, and wept. My son turned around and looked at me quizzically and I spoke out loud for the first time on our walk, “Mommy needs to ask God for forgiveness.”
Our pastor, Rick McKinley, recently stated: “The most courageous thing any of us may do is face the truth about ourselves. Grab the horns of the altar pleading for mercy for the darkness we find and raise our hands in praise for the light of His life in us, both can be equally terrifying.” God gave me the courage to face the truth and then the power to make the decision to change the destructive pattern I had drawn for myself carelessly. Praise the King for not giving up on His wayward children!
This last year has been the most difficult and challenging year that I can remember ever facing. Unforeseen circumstances, relationships, harsh words from others, fatigue, burn out-they beat me up inside and out and left me raw. I am ashamed to admit that I got tired of fighting and finally let them win. I didn’t realize this until months later though. Perhaps I was in denial or perhaps I was too worn out to put in the hard work of self-examination. Praise God that He allowed me to rest long enough this last week to wake me up from my sinful stupor to “grab the horns of the altar pleading for mercy for the darkness we find.”
I told my family recently that I haven’t felt like myself. I feel like the cheer and encouragement has escaped me like air out of a deflating balloon. I’m done letting the world beat me up and dictate how I feel and react. I have a choice. I can cling to the Creator’s promises and unfaltering character. I can focus on the positive aspects of situations. I can thank God in the midst of my weaknesses. I can ask others to keep me accountable. I can love people despite their failings because I fail too. I can examine my thoughts and actions daily through the Word and prayer so I never go long with poisonous behavior plaguing me. I can seek forgiveness from the King of Love for myself so that I can forgive others also. I can view myself as no better than any other person-we are all sinners in debt to our perfect Savior. I can live life cheerfully because God has gone before me to make this possible. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
May God give you and me the courage to face the ugly sin that creeps into our lives and the strength to put it behind us to embrace a righteous life that honors Him and encourages others. He is powerful! He has redeemed us! We can be beautiful again through His sacrifice! Thank you, Jesus.
“You however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit of God living in you.” (Romans 8:9a)
“Be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'” (Hebrews 13:5b)
“Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” (Psalm 34:5)