Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Cry Of My Heart

I've been to many women's retreats over the years with each one being warm and inviting. I would leave there having relaxed a lot, feeling refreshed, somewhat rested, and ready to get back to my life....but still not feeling like I was where I should be after such an event. I felt a lot of disappointment, actually. I would look around at all of the women around me that were praying, worshipping God with all of their heart and showing true joy on their faces and in their beings. I wondered why I didn't have that. Why did I not feel anything spiritual? Why was I not moved by the worship and where were my tears?...why did I not have that joy? I wanted to have what those women had. I longed for it. I thought that surely, there was something wrong with my heart, it was so hardened and stagnant.

I have gone through periods of complete denial of God to times where I cried out to Him daily, pleading with Him to help me. To change me. To heal me. I waited, but I did not hear anything....I suppose I wasn't really listening for his quiet and still voice because I didn't really believe that He would show up for me. I felt cut off from any blessing, I only felt cursed and alone. Alone in such a darkness. I have spent the majority of the last 18 years wading in and out of depression and despair....only choosing to petition God out of complete desperation, but believing full well that it was all for not. I did not have a 'relationship' with the Lord, I felt like he was just the Lord of other people, not me. I felt invisible and unworthy of His love.

I was given the opportunity to attend another women's retreat this weekend...although this was called an 'Adventure Weekend'. I went into it not knowing what to expect, other than I would probably get some rest and relaxation and maybe hear a tidbit or two of something that would make me ponder just who this God that everyone talks about really is. I prayed the 'obligatory' prayer beforehand that God would become real to me and would meet me there. I even prayed that I would allow Him to enter into my heart all of the way, not just part of the way. I am really good at keeping Him at an arm's length away...the faith just has not been there. I had hope, but only a little, that maybe, just maybe I would walk away from there with some of what everyone else seems to, peace, joy.

When I arrived at the retreat center, I knew that this was no ordinary retreat and I was a bit worried. There were women in purple shirts everywhere...and on the back of those shirts, it read J E H O V A H and the verse in Psalms that says ' Everlasting to everlasting, you are God...' Honestly, when I saw the word Jehovah, I cringed a little and squirmed in my seat. I grew up in the beliefs of the Jehovah's Witnesses, and the "Jehovah" that I knew was not a loving and approachable God. He was a God that I feared and avoided. Still, I tried to push those insecurities aside and have hope that 'this' would be the retreat where I figured out how to get what I!

God pierced my heart and broke it very early in the weekend. He knows how stubborn I am and He knew He needed me broken right away, so that the time would not run out. My cry was answered and He met me there! My hard heart was broken and softened. I laid down my pain at the foot of the cross. I laid down my unforgivness, resent and bitterness over many areas of my life. I pleaded with God to give me a new love for my husband. He gave me back the love I had for him when we first married...only deeper. Those burdens are no longer mine to carry...they are God's and He can handle them so much better than I! The name Jehovah has a new and precious meaning to me. While hearing the testimonies spoken, I caught a glimpse of the pain that I have caused my children by living in anger and not loving them the way that I should. I also caught a glimpse of what could become of them if I continue down the path that I am on. I saw pain that could be theirs when they are grown. Pain that I don't want to be the cause of. I saw the importance of a savior.

The pain that has ripped valleys in my heart has been replaced with joy...the holes have been covered and filled with Him and His love for me! I am truly a daughter of the King and HE loves ME!

I know it will take a lot of prayer and work on my part to not pick up again the things that I laid down. They are not my burdens anymore, but only I can choose whether I scoop them up and carry them again. I do not want my God to have died for nothing... He carries them...who am I to say that I will carry them?

A bamboo shoot takes 30 years to form it's roots before emerging out of the dirt with a little sprout. Once the sprout makes it through that dirt, it grows inches a day! I am much like that bamboo's taken me 33 years to grasp the enormity and majesty of the God that longs to be mine. But, now that I have broken through the surface, I will grow in Him and be able to reach for the light that He provides.

I am free!