EXPERIENCING GOD IN WOUNDEDNESS

Wounding. Grief. Most everyone has endured at least one season of grief through wounding and things not turning out the way we hoped. For some, more than seems fair. One of mine has been more recently after coming home from a great summer gallivanting across the United States to come home to loss after loss after loss.

Losing someone I hoped for. Wounded by someone I cared for.  Grieving someone I loved in death.  Losing hope for a potential future that I let my heart dream about.  Losing confidence in myself. Losing my ability to discern God’s truth from the enemy’s lies.  Losing control of my emotions.  Losing the feeling of my value and worthiness. Losing trust in others.

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But through the losses, God continues to speak into each one of them and says,

“Although others have changed, I have not. Others have changed their minds, but I am constant.”  

“I am still the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. I still care for you.  I still love you. I still have a future for you. I still give you confidence. I still speak my truth and help you hear. I can still handle all of your emotions. I still see the value in you and find you worthy. I am still trustworthy… and I am the only One who is.”

In this season I’ve been faced with what it feels like to not feel “worth it”.  When it feels like someone’s chosen to walk out of your life. And feeling as though you’ve been ejected out of theirs. Whether real or perceived, this is how we feel. And I know that I’m not the only one who has felt this. People choosing to walk out of our lives hurts. Scars us in ways no one will ever see. For some, it’s a parent who promised to love their son or daughter… then left. For others, it’s a significant other who didn’t continue to make them significant. For another, it’s the betrayal of a friend. And for others, it’s a person who began a pursuit of them only to decide later they were no longer worth that pursuit because of the risks involved. And I know that these are just to name a few.

What all of these fractured relationships have in common is that they hurt.  They leave scars. And they communicate to us that we are not enough. We are not worth it. We are not wanted.

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However, I am thankful for a God who says “I am near to the broken-hearted and save those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18) when we feel the reality of the truth that “hope deferred makes the heart sick…” (Proverbs 13:12).  Grief.  Hope deferred.  A sick heart.  These all come with real emotions to be felt. (And I have felt my share of them lately.)  And for a time, I was afraid I would be stuck there. In the sick heart stage and mourning the hope I’d now lost.

But the beauty of God is that even in the brokenness, His presence and promise brings joy. Such a juxtaposition of joy and grief.  Joy IN grief.  It’s hard, but not impossible.

JOY. The nearness of God when others have left us. Constant One. These are all truths to be known. To YADA’. The Hebrew word that means “to know…through experience”.  No, I don’t want grief and hope deferred to make my heart sick. But I do want to YADA’ the nearness of my God… and one of His ways is in my wounding and losses. I don’t like it, but I’ll take it (mostly though because I have no choice.)

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We do not like grief. It lasts longer than we want. It’s harder than we want. It brings tears at unexpected times. It disrupts our happy day. And it reminds us over and over again of what and who we’ve lost. But grief is not pointless. Not for the Christian. Not for the one who is confident in a Father who holds them in their grief. Who bottles up their tears. Who comes close to the broken-hearted. Here in this place, we are held by our Father, the King. A daughter of the King is cared for. A son of the King is vulnerable and doesn’t have to wear a façade of strength. I’m learning that while grief is painful, it’s valuable. And God uses my rejection to YADA’ Him more and more. To experience His kindness and care and gentleness and presence.  Because He does not ever change His mind about me. He does not wound me.  I don’t want the grief. But I do want to YADA’, to know my faithful Father through experience.

So what are we to do with our wounds? We can’t change them and we can’t control them.  So, may we do the only thing we can do… YADA’ our Father in it. Experience His love. Gentleness. Knowing He is constant. Faithful. We talk with and listen to Him.

And in time, I have found that He lifts the scales off of our eyes so we can see our wounding and grief with more clarity… with His eyes. 

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He doesn’t necessarily take away the pain, He just gives us more clarity through the pain.

But what do we do with the person who has wounded us?

As I YADA’ my Father’s nearness,

He reminds me of the sad reality that hurt people hurt other people. Rejected people reject other people. Scarred people scar other people.

However, not always intentionally. I have been on both sides of this reality, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. But this is where as the body of Christ, we are called to have grace. To love. To honor. For a follower of Christ wounded by a fellow believer, we’ve been wounded by a brother or sister in our family. In our humanity, we want to lash out, make them understand what they’ve done and make them hurt as we hurt. But months ago, even on my summer trip as I was feeling the beginnings of these wounds I now have, God spoke something so profound to me that has etched within me. The one who I felt hurt from is a believer and in the family of God. And God spoke to me in a voice of reprimanding, “That person is your brother/sister. And we DO NOT hurt our family.” So I asked the Lord how I am to treat my family. Even in wounding. And what He answered had kept me up at night in prayer, has taken up countless pages in my journal, and I’d never far from my mind, heart, and lips. 

He answered me Colossians 3:8, 12-14. “Put away anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk… and put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and… forgiving each other… and above all these put on love, which binds everything together in unity.” We may never have closure with the ones who’ve wounded us. We may never get to say all that we wish we could say. We may never have a reconciled relationship.

But when we begin to move through our emotion and feel the nearness of our faithful Father, we shall remember to pray for the one who hurt us.Image result for pray

Have compassion on them for the hurt they’ve experienced that led them to a place in life where they’ve now hurt us. Kindness in our dealings with them if we ever have the chance. Humility in regards to how we interact or even just think of them for we are no better and have ourselves hurt others. Gentleness, for a soft tone and words are healing instead of harming. Patience with them as we endure waiting for God’s timing of whatever He is doing in their lives that we may never see the fruit of. Forgiveness as we release blame, anger and judgment of them and move to wanting to pray to bless them. And love… because if the ones who’ve hurt us are believers, they are our brothers and sisters. And if they are not, what better way to show the love of the Father whose love covers a multitude of sins?

We have been adopted into the Family of the Almighty God. And by the power of the Holy Spirit, in the way that only He can do through us, we love them like God loves us. With honoring words. Forgiveness in our hearts. And hoping the best for them. It’s not easy. It’s a daily struggle in the throws of our emotions.  But just because it’s hard is not a reason to give up doing it. Working through pain and wounding and grief in loss is hard. But I know One who suffered all of these as well. And has made a way for joy through it. Who  YADA’s with the Father in the most unique way and says that in YADA’ing Him, I can too.

Wounds and pain are no one’s favorite. But it is a season that God uses.

And I know that He is good. And I can trust Him. Because when others fail me, He never does.

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