Tuesday, October 25, 2011

tumbleweed and purple crayons

Sometimes I feel a little bit like tumbleweed, broken loose and blown about.  Other times I feel a bit more like Harold, floating along with my purple crayon in a nice purple bubble having all sorts of interesting adventures.

My space right now is very safe, and I'm not sure what that means, except to say that I feel I've been given these days as a present to just be, to heal, to regroup.  I find myself wanting to be all kinds of anxious about what I should be doing now that I'm not pursuing a life with Emmett.  I have to intentionally refrain from jumping into activities and commitments simply for the fleeting comfort of finding an identity in something other than Christ.

Not that life's easy, now, don't get me wrong.  Temptation presses in on my little bubble, sometimes poking holes I have to fill with my handy purple crayon almost faster than I can draw.  Or I go tumbling right through the same sins like I have a million times before and find myself tangled and broken in need of repentance.

But I have a strong sense of being held, and I keep reading psalm 139:
You hem me in - behind and before; You have laid your hand upon me.
At the most acute times of suffering, that verse has been suffocatingly oppressive, almost impossible for me to read even though I'm drawn to read it over and over.  But now I can read with something like a feeling of wonder.  In working through Hebrews 12, I've recently come to verse 11:
 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
I wonder how many times I have not submitted to the discipline of the Lord but instead gone about my own way because it seemed pleasing at the moment, only in the end to suffer acutely from my own sin and folly.  It has been freeing to undergo a discipline that I cannot escape, to be pressed upon so firmly that I cannot help but submit, and find that in submission even to the pain and loss there is comfort and peace.  I see now how submission leads to righteousness because, having tasted of the Lord's sweetness to those who grieve, temptation has lost much of its appeal.  As a small example, I have seen the desire for intimacy and love wreak havoc on all sorts of people, myself included, when not submitted to Christ.  And though I miss the intimacy of marriage, I am not (perhaps I should insert a yet here) tempted to pursue it again.  My eyes are opened in new ways to sin and brokenness, and I harbor no illusions about how they damage even relationships based on Christ.  There are a thousand more examples that I am still working out in my own life, as if I'm looking through a kaleidoscope and beginning to see pictures in the swirling colors for the first time.

So I'm patiently waiting as the Lord chisels away at those scales over my eyes.  Like the blind man who saw people walking around like trees, I don't seem to really see things properly the first time (or sometimes the second time, third time, etc), so I'm trying to sit still and be patient while the Lord works on me.


  1. Your post reminds me of something a woman said in small group this weekend: "You either suffer the pain of discipline now or the pain of regret later. Either way, it's painful." She is a personal trainer and has shared these words with many of her clients; however, she came to the realization that her words actually apply to our spiritual lives, as well.

    God's discipline is painful, and being disciplined in our walk can be painful, but how much more painful would a life not fully submitted to God be?

  2. J read that Psalm to me last night. So amazing that such a familiar Psalm reveals itself in new ways in different seasons, like all of that living Book seems to do.

  3. I can only think that God led me to read this post just now. Hebrews 12:11 is just what I needed to hear as I struggle to homeschool David this morning. He's being very and unusually resistant today. I will be sharing it with him.

  4. Wendy, how do you know when God is disciplining? For a while I thought God was always displeased with me. Then I thought that was all leftover people-pleasing and guilt from childhood. Now I don't know what's what, or how to sort through this and that, or to recognize his discipline. Thoughts?