This is part 24
Start from the beginning
I could go on and on about this season, one major hit after another. How I lost my front tooth and as I write this I still do not have it. About how Daniel finally got a job when we were living with my parents and two weeks later they let him go. About lost friendships and broken dreams, to record it all would take too many words, too many pages. Everything that I wanted to find pride in, everything I wanted to find identity in, slowly stripped away, literally until all that was left was God and I.
"What now, Ashley? When I have said no, when you can't find your identity in all the things that you once claimed as you. Who are you now? What will you do?" There are so many questions that we have rumbling around in our souls that we often times can't bear to face. All the why's all whens all the questions that if we let out might strangle us.
Who are we, really? What do we really believe? Who or what do we really trust?
Another Nichole Nordeman song that speaks to this is The Unmaking...
"This is the unmaking
Beauty in the breaking
Had to lose myself to
find out who you are."
There are two types of people who follow Christ, ones who are fine simply being out of Egypt, knowing that they are going to heaven. The pain that they carry, those questions, they seem too much to face, to let Him into and so, they remain.
But then there are others who say "whatever you want Lord" and they let Him into all the parts that scare them. They are willing to stand bare and dare to let their brokenness be exposed. To trust Him enough to show them where they are holding on when they need to let go, where they are relying on themselves rather than Him, all the places where pride and striving keep them back from all that He has for them.
Jesus came to bind up the brokenhearted, to set captives free, to bring into light those sitting in darkness, to give a crown of beauty instead of ashes. (Is 61) But we have to see and admit our darkness, our captivity, our ashes in order to be saved. We can't say, "but I sort of love my ashes, my ashes define me, I am familiar with my ashes, my ashes have been with me for so long." He is asking for our ashes, even if they feel precious to us. Will we be brave enough to hand them over?
Depression still comes knocking on my door. The liar still lies to me and tells me because I have this burden occasionally that I can never be anything more than broken. But Jesus, He is my Savior, and He continues to save me again and again. I can tell you for sure, that what I once was, how I once thought, I am not that girl anymore. Day by day, little by little, He has renewed my mind, He has set me free, He has made me new.
I thought that my brokenness was my burden to carry. Such a heavy weight on my shoulders. I had to fix myself, I had to have more faith, I had to figure it out, get people to care, worry and stress. But grace is not just for salvation, grace is saying "I can't Lord, help me" over and over.
Moment by moment sometimes, if necessary.
In Psalm 55:22 it says to "cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you". It was never mine to carry, but I thought I was being a good Christian by trying. But all the trying in the world got me no where. He let me feel the weight of that burden, of that brokenness, until it broke me. As I sat there helpless and lost, trying to crawl my way through that darkness, I realized nothing I was doing was relieving and helping. As I was slowly able to let go of what I thought was my godliness, I realized that I was trying to save myself or I wanted anyone else to save me. I was furious at myself and others for not being able to do it. And then, He saved me, again.
Where are we willing to follow the Lord into? We always imagine He might call us to other countries or to people groups different from us, but what if He calls us to face our own brokenness first. What if we can't really help make disciples in this world or love others well until we let Him teach us what it looks like to follow Him and let Him teach us and grow us up in Him. We learn what love looks like because we have been desperate for it ourselves. We learn what grace is and how to receive it from Him and then how to give it away. And we can never ever look at people and expect them to be a little better like us, because we have let God reveal how very dark our hearts are without Him.
If God has you in a season of being broken, I know you are in a hurry to get out. The Lord is with you and He is doing a work in you that is far beyond anything you can currently comprehend in your pain. Trust Him. He is not in a rush for you to hurry up and fix yourself. He knows just how long it will take and He wants you to learn to trust Him for every moment, bring to Him every question, and realize that freedom comes when we can bring whatever it is that is our burden and lay it on Him. He wants to carry it for us, to take it from us and instead of our grief, give us joy.
His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Matt 11:30
Be brave as you stand in your refiners fire, He is right there with you. And when you come out you will be as pure gold, one that the refiner can see His image in.