What a Week it’s Been!

The Lord is Near Broken HeartThis has been quite a week for me!

The scab was torn off a wound that was well on its way to being healed. The wound …  a deep, re-opened mess. And I was bleeding. Badly.

For two years I’ve grieved. Processed. Talked it through with God. Talked things through with my best friend. Surrendered. Dripped mascara stained tears onto the pages of my precious Bible. Forgave. Laid on my face before God. Processed some more. Dripped more mascara stained tears. Then forgave … again. Grieved some more. Lamented. Surrendered again. Let go. A process that would be repeated over and over … and over again.

It’s the Shelly Brown process of healing. 🙂

But it works.

Yet now, here I sit, working again trying to stop the bleeding.

I realized this week how vulnerable we are to the enemy (the father of lies), when we feel so deeply wounded. We are so busy tending to the bleeding, that our minds become a raging battlefield. The energies we so diligently used to guard our hearts and minds are now diverted to simply keeping our head above water, while we nurse the hurt and replay over and over in our mind, the scenes that brought us back to this painful place.

My healing won’t take as long this time, as this was merely a set back. The enemies’ fiery darts hit some vulnerable and exposed areas of my heart and mind. But, he didn’t win! I’ll do what I’ve done over the last couple of years …

Process. Pour out my heart to God. Cry. Grieve. Talk it through with my godly best friend. Saturate my mind with Truth from God’s Word. Surrender. Let go. And forgive. Then … repeat, over and over … and over again, until the only evidence there was ever a painful wound is the scar, a beautiful scar. My beautiful reminder of how there is nothing too broken for God’s healing power.

Dig deeper: Proverbs 4:23 tells us to guard our hearts (minds) with all diligence because out of our hearts flows all the issues of life. 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 offers a very simple blueprint for guarding our hearts and minds.

Trusting God: When Things Don’t Go Our Way

With a tear streaked face, I told the Lord, “Okay, here’s the thing God. I’m struggling right now … with trusting You.” I paused for a few minutes looked at my Bible that lay open on my lap and read a few verses. Then, in brokenness and sobbing, I cried, “Okay, it’s not that I don’t trust you, God. I do trust you. It’s just that I don’t trust that you will work things out the way I feel like I need them to be worked out!”

If God spoke audibly, I probably would have heard a resounding, holy “Well, DUH!”

That’s usually the way it is. If we’re honest, we simply want things to go our way. It’s like the viral You Tube video where the little boy asks his mom for a cookie. He says to his mommy, “I – I – like you, but I don’t like you all da time, I like you when you give me cookies though.” We trust God as long as He’s giving us all the cookies we want, but when the cookie jar dries up and things don’t go the way we would like, our faith is shaken and we begin to wonder if we can really trust God, or worse yet, if He’s truly trustworthy.

For some of us, “trust” is a very hard verb to apply. Yet, it is the very thing that can reverse the effect of adversity in our lives. The adversity that the enemy meant to harm us is the very same adversity that God uses to bring about the greatest change in our lives. Joseph understood the effect of adversity by declaring to his brothers, “what you meant for evil, God meant for good.”

The reality is, the more we know God the more we can trust Him … even on those days of uncertainty and human frailty. And, the only way to get to know Him is to spend time with Him — by seeking His face. How long has it been since you sat at His feet … just you and God, basking in HIS presence … in expectation … longing to hear from Him? My favorite method of spending time with the Lord is, “reading until He speaks to me.” When I long to hear His voice, I turn to the books of Isaiah, Colossians, Romans, Hebrews or James and I read … until He speaks to me, and then I make a note of it. The truth is, the more you hear His voice, the more you’ll long to sit at His feet. And the more you sit at His feet, the more you’ll get to know Him. And the more you get to know Him, the more you’ll be able to trust Him even when things don’t turn out the way you think they should or hoped they would.

When Nothing Else Matters

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHave you ever had a “stop in your tracks” type of moment in your life? A moment where you realize that nothing else really matters. Your life successes no longer matter. Building your dream home no longer matters. Your profession no longer matters. Your coveted season tickets to your favorite sports team suddenly doesn’t matter. Your awards you’ve accumulated over the years no longer matter.

What kind of moment causes everything else to seem so incredibly insignificant?

The moment you hear that your baby girl is now fighting for her life. The moment when you hear that your cancer has spread. The moment when you hear that your husband of 20 years no longer wants to be your husband. The moment when you hear your adult child has made a tragic life-altering choice. The moment when you realize everything you worked for your entire life, is gone. I can describe these scenes because sadly, these are fresh realities of women I know and love.

Moments like these, take our hearts and minds to places we never knew existed. We witness first hand how frail we are in our humanity. We realize that at the end of the day, all that really matters is something so intangible that all the money this world can contain can’t buy it, dreams can’t fulfill it, the brightest minds can’t create it or duplicate it.

When we have one of those “stop in your tracks” type of moments, and I pray, oh how I pray, that these moments are few and far between in your life, we immediately, as if instinctively, do one of two things: 1) in longing desperation we turn our hearts toward heaven; or 2) in bitter anger we shake our fist toward heaven.

Either way, we look toward our Creator. Instinctively, we embrace Him or we blame Him.  We look to Him to be our refuge and comfort or we look to Him to cast blame and outrage.

It is in these “stop in your tracks” moments when we are forced to come to terms with our own mortality. Our frailness. Our insufficiency. Our brokenness. Our utter dependence on our Creator.

So what does matter in moments like these? What causes us to turn our hearts to Him instead of shake our fist toward Him?

It is the intangible becoming tangible … embracing the supernatural love of God poured out all over us. It is experiencing first hand the supernatural phenomenon of having great strength in our weakest, most vulnerable moment. It is drawing on the resurrection power of Christ to sustain us. It is the eternal … knowing and accepting that every life truly is a vapor, but eternity is never-ending. It is loving God and loving others. Jesus said, in Matthew 22 that “the first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our mind.” Then Jesus said, the second greatest commandment is to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

THAT’S what really matters!

I am determined like never before to focus on what really matters. Time is short! Oh so short. I have responsibilities, goals and dreams, all of which I will continue to press into daily, but, with a newly determined eternal focus of loving God and loving others.

What is one of your “stop in your tracks” kind of moment? What was your biggest lesson learned through it?