Monday, April 5, 2010


I feel raw right now. I feel like all of my emotions are right under the surface. I cry at the drop of a hat. I feel so many things right now. No, I am not pregnant. No, I'm not emotional. It's a culmination of so many things going on right now. Four years ago, just before Patrick and I got married, God took me through it. He pulled everything in my life that I counted on away from me. Over the course of a year, He fundamentally changed every aspect of my life, and stripped away all the safety nets I had erected. I remember praying about all of these changes one night at church and the Lord giving me a picture of an onion whose layers were being peeled away one at a time. He said that this was me - He was systematically peeling away all of the layers around my heart so that nothing would be between Him and me. After a year of this, I finally felt so overwhelmed. It was a hard process. I cried out to God and said I could take no more. He said that He was done peeling away, and that now He would restore things to me in His way and replace my distractions with Him. I foolishly thought that this would happen overnight. When it was taking months, I went to the Lord again and asked Him why it was taking so long to restore me. (Impatient much?) He answered that He was going to restore me through my marriage. I was a few weeks from my wedding day and thought that my honeymoon was going to be even better than expected. Beyond a new life, a new name, new home, and new (ahem) experiences ;) I would be getting my heart restored. Again, so impatient. God did not mean that it would happen at my wedding, or on my honeymoon, or even in the first year. He meant that over time, over a lifetime, He would be restoring me rightly to Himself, and that my marriage would be the primary place He would do that. I also thought that this would be a spectator sport for me - I would just sit back and see God doing things on my behalf and blessing my marriage and subsequently me. And while at times this was true, overall God was using my marriage to expose my sin and my wrong attitudes. Now I am at the crossroads of choice. Do I choose to go the way I've been going, or turn another way? Do I do what is easy, natural and familiar, or do I begin the hard work of relearning life, reviewing my actions and motives, and looking at everything differently? I have slowly been making the latter choice. It's hard, a daily struggle to choose the hard road, which in the end is the easy road. Doing things God's way means being thought weird, unpopular, hated, ridiculed and often going it alone. But it also means freedom, joy, peace and a knowledge that God is using all of it for my good and His glory. This was not always the case. I kind of checked out for a few years. I kept reading the Word, praying and trusting the Lord, but I did not seek for Him to change me. I would say I wanted Him to change me, but I feared what that would entail and in my heart I would wish He would just leave me alone. I thought if I did the right things, said the right things, and acted the right way God would bless me and give me all the things I needed and wanted. Over those checked out years I dealt with depression, loneliness, and a feeling of being far from God in my heart. I felt lost, and truly I was. I was looking outwardly and inwardly, instead of looking up. I thought I could figure it out for myself, as long as I consulted God. But God wanted much more than that. He wanted me to make Him the basis and foundation for ALL of my decisions, from what I ate to what I watched, wore, bought, said, thought, read - you name it, He wanted a say. Instead of being a consultant He wanted to be the decision-maker. And after years of fighting, I have finally relinquished. I have allowed Him in, all the way in. This is a day to day, moment to moment decision. It's scary and exciting and freeing and hard. And this is why I feel so raw. My exposed heart is now being steered by the Lord, and He is causing me to see sin and people and everything in a whole new way - His way. I now have much more compassion for the sinners, and much more hate for the sin that separates them from their loving God. I see things so much more as black and white, and thus my decisions are much easier to make. But they are often more difficult to execute. It's easy to know what I need to do, it's difficult to step out and do it. So I am raw with emotion, on the cusp of a new life God is calling me too. What will that entail? I have no idea! I don't know what changes He'll make, or what things will remain, and while this would have scared the living daylights out of old scheduled, planner me, I'm choosing to be excited about this. I'm choosing to look ahead with hope, though the world looks bleak. I'm choosing to be joyful, though all the circumstances tell me to fear. And I'm choosing to get ready for a fight. All of the things God has done and shown me in the past few years have confirmed to me that this life is a fight, and I need to take up my sword and get in the battle. Being raw and exposed is not only something the Lord wants, but also something the enemy wants. He wants to take advantage of me being exposed and lead me down a wrong path. He wants to manipulate situations and emotions and draw me away from the Lord. So I need to be ready to fight for the things God is calling me to, and the things He is giving me. I need to fight for my family, for my marriage, for my relationship with Him, for the future and purpose He has called me to, and against the sin of this world. This is not the time to rest, this is the time to stand up and fight for my restoration and for my life in Him. I am reading Judges with my Bible study and I was struck by chapter 3 verses 1&2 -
"These are the nations the Lord left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan (He did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not previous battle experience)..."
Why did they need battle experience? Because they would face future wars. They needed to be tested in the battles so that they would win in the war. This time of being raw before the Lord, and ripe for battle is to get me ready for the war that's coming. So instead of fighting with God over why I have to fight at all, or opting to sit out, I am picking up my sword and falling in line. I'm going to feel all the emotions (not run from them or "medicate" myself with distractions), and make the hard choices, and be open to what God is calling me too in every aspect of my life. I'm excited to see where He's leading, and what He's calling me and my family to, and all the changes that will occur. Who knows, maybe this time next year I won't recognize myself :).


the cavclan said...

so proud of you Gina!! God will not only bless this, but reward you greatly! the road is hard, but the reward is more than we can imagine!! praying for you!!

Katie Riddle said...

You're so awesome, Gina! It's going to be an exciting season for you! It's fun to see the more you partner with God, the more He allows you to make decisions with Him instead of Him doing it all alone. I think you probably already do that more than you realize. I can seriously feel God's delight in you so strongly right now. I relate you your rawness, sister! This is such a season of transition. Intense change right before intense breakthrough (birth). I am *so for* you, friend!