A number of times during the course of this writing I’ve stopped to ask myself once again what it is I hope to accomplish by writing any of this down and posting it so publicly. There is no personal gain from pulling back the veil of my dignity. But then I ask myself what cost is of not putting it up… and its too heavy.
I started all of this by talking about how if I refuse to lift my voice in giving God glory for the great things he has done and for who he is and his wonderful presence, then I have allowed a rock to cry out in my place. If I will not give glory then creation still will. If I don’t take my place in this celebration, then the celebration will continue without me. That is too heavy a price to pay for not speaking up. I want to speak up to be a part of giving God glory whether I am heard by others or not. I already missed out once when I clammed up in 2011.
I was not made to store up praise for God. I was made to let it spill over and overflow, so that you too might benefit and so that your faith too may receive a boost with the knowledge that God has been faithful, yet again, to someone you know.
I don’t want to make anyone feel guilty about their own depression and misery and inability to pull themselves out – they have enough of that already. I don’t want to minimize anyone’s life hurts or make it seem like their mental state is trivial and easily cast off. Jesus himself took it so seriously that he gave his own life in order to save ours.
What I do want, is to brag about my Savior, who can be yours too. I’m not talking strictly about Salvation here because I believe Christians suffer from depression as much as non Christians do. Believing Jesus is an ongoing process of trusting him and letting the Holy Spirit transform our minds away from the destructive ways in which we pattern ourselves. We do this is so many different ways.
One way recently in which Jesus brought new freedom into my life had absolutely nothing at all to do with brain tumours and depression. Rather it had to do with certain habits I took on after getting married.
Like any husband/wife relationship, James had behaviours that hurt me (small brush offs, sarcasm, impatience etc) I will readily admit I am not innocent of those kinds of offences either. But on the receiving end of it I began early on to habitually excuse him in my mind for the things he did which hurt me and I have continued on these 13 years doing just that. But I began noticing recently that these things (even very little things) began to spark an explosive reaction inside of me – usually quite uncalled for given the mundanity of the offenses – and especially odd given he has generally stopped doing a lot of the things that initially caused the hurt so many years ago.
All of a sudden, one day as I was about to explode, I felt the Holy Spirit gently speak to me and show me that my habit of excusing him in my mind had allowed me to live in a growing mountain of unforgiveness towards my husband. Small thing by small thing this mountain had become I burden that I needed to throw off. Without intervention it is a mountain that I would naturally throw back at James. It is truly odd, given than by “excusing” him I had tricked myself into thinking that I was actually forgiving. But excusing is not the same as forgiving. Excusing is sweeping it into the corner, un-dealt with.
God didn’t give me the power to excuse sin. I can’t make the offense disappear, no matter how small. What he did give me was the power to forgive and that is a gift beyond value. When I forgive, I extend to my situation Jesus’ power to remove sin as far as the east is from the west. Both my sin and his. And instead of accumulating offenses in the dark corners of my mind, I can enjoy freshly swept, well lit corners.
It sounds small but I can’t even begin to describe the weight that is lifted from me in learning to forgive James for these small but predictable types of offenses that occur in a marriage. I had no inkling that I was even carrying that weight, but now that it is gone I feel so much lighter in my relationship with him because I am free of the need to excuse him. There is a release that only the Holy Spirit can bring. Our conversations are so much more interesting and productive now than they were when I was trying to manoeuver around with my broom. James is not perfect and it is not my job to clear him of wrong. I don’t have to love him despite the mountain. God is the one who moves mountains, so I am free to just love.
Once again, I readily admit that I guilty of those kinds of marriage offences too.
This is just another example of the kind of freedom that Jesus has worked in my life and is continuing to work. I’ve spent many blog posts talking about the big ways he has worked. But the pattern is the same whether big or small. Freedom from the devastating consequences of my sinful reactions to the disappointing painful things that happen to me in my life. I have left-sided phantom pain and James is sometimes short with me. In both cases I can be free from posturing, from accumulation of overwhelming emotion, and from the impulse to isolate myself. In both cases I can allow myself to be opened, if I will only release my pride and my rights.
As I explore this freedom I find a new me arising from the destruction. Jesus said, “Behold I am creating all things new.”
So let me raise a glass in full view of whoever is reading. Let me become undignified order to bring glory to our Creator. To my Counselor. To the friend that knows everything in me that even I am not aware of. I can trust him to guide me and I hope my words have stirred something in you.
Let him create anew in you today too, whatever your current standing with God.