(When Losing Is Actually Gaining….continued)
Over the next few days, I created space for God to speak to me regarding this heartbreaking memory. I was desperate for Him to re-write this part of my script according to His unfailing love.
The Father began revealing to me that as a five-year-old little girl, with a temporary disability, you are pretty sure of one thing–THIS is your BIG moment! I was bracing myself for endless hugs and kisses, a diet of ice cream and Snicker bars while staying home from school and watching reruns on T.V. This was my moment! A special time of special favor. A time of great tenderness.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. – Psalm 34:18
Instead, the message I received, loud and clear was “Toughen up” and “Laugh it off”. That teaching would be the one to play on an endless loop, throughout my entire childhood, into my awkward adolescence. It’s been my greatest ally to keep me from giving up or giving in. It has kept me strong and able to say “No” to the things that threaten my well-being. Whether in my pre-Jesus, common grace days or my post-Jesus amazing grace days, default character trait of mine has served a real purpose. Real but not necessarily true.
It’s important you know that God is not shaming my character (or my parents). He is inviting me to give it a rest so something new can arrive.
This is my season of greater. He wants to show me something greater than any well-intended human or self-help book can. He wants to be God. My God. His trust and favor are everything I have asked for, and yet it seems they always come at the cost of my comfort.
Over the past weeks, I have a had an ongoing revelation and surgery of the heart. I have become painfully aware of how deficient I am in gentleness and kindness. Ugh! I am so deficient! I crave kindness and tenderness from others (target number one, my husband), but I run from it when it comes to me because it’s so foreign. Or I run right past kindness and gentleness when it is the cool water first needed in all heated and hard situations. I have been trained to meet hard with “be tough” and “be strong.” To extinguish hard with kind sounds idiotic, weak and unsustainable.
But wait a minute…is that not The Way Of Jesus?
Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? – Romans 2:4
(Removing the elephant’s foot. I cried when the fresh air hit my skin. I cried when the technician gently washed my foot with an alcohol wipe. I cried at the kindness of the Lord for the tiniest of things.)
(A lisfranc foot injury: known to be one of the smallest injuries to the human body causing the greatest effect. A.k.a..surgery)
Shoot. I am screwed. I’ve been found out. And I am being asked to turn myself in and receive something kinder and more gentle in exchange. I’m taking it! And I am deathly afraid of what to do with it, or how to steward it, once I have it. Good thing I am promised that the Holy Spirit whose job it is to show me how this whole thing works.
This is me, turning myself in.