Six months ago, a significant part of my life was put to rest.
Many chapters were closed, sealed, and forever placed at the foot of the cross.
My life was changed forever, my heart beat at a different pace, and the sensitivity of my emotions was heightened.
The reality of humanity, life, and the pause in my journey with God, suddenly exposed many facets of darkness, questions, doubts and anger. I desperately needed the soft whisper of the Spirit of God to heal me.
The river of my Life, which I thought had always sustained me, suddenly was exposed as a man-made canal, taking me to a single destination; one that I didn’t want to go.
Above all I wanted to be authentic in my humanity; to stop, reflect, consider, respond, pray, remain silent, cry, laugh, and share. To feel as if I belonged, dispensing the feelings of separation, the feeling of being hopeless and alone on the inside.
Mistakes and feelings of frustration and anger are essential parts of being human – I can relate to those feelings over my life experiences. I believe they are part of the process of learning from and moving towards the wisdom and grace of God. Expecting perfection is a denial of our humanity, relegating the choice to trust in Jesus, turning quickly into pride. Pride is a sin because it is a denial of being human, and sin is not just behaviour, but an act of separating. Separating from God.
Sin is simple enough to summarise; it’s anything that negates, diminishes or misrepresents the truth of who you are, no matter how pretty or ugly.
Separation from God is a fundamental building block towards faith. I had allowed myself to believe that all the maelstrom of feelings, emotions, negativity, hurt and feelings of being separated, were part of my process of repentance and forgiveness.
I was at the mercy of all my past teachings and beliefs, all well-intentioned, to find that ‘secret’ formula for crossing the chasm back to God.
Religion was so well established within me, that it was like suddenly seeing many years of my past being stripped bare and hung out to dry. All the fasting, praying, heart wrenching tears for forgiveness, seemed and felt hollow. I was devasted, I had for so many years, ‘worked’ to keep attached to God. To ensure there were no barriers, no separation, no walls within.
The anger I felt was all-encompassing, debilitating, and scary. I didn’t recognise the monster raging inside of me. To see this inside my secret place – my sanctuary, my heart – was devasting and unreal. But it was real, and the time had come to look truth in the eye, and submit my inner being to its scrutiny. To acknowledge God’s creation of me, of mankind, as a reflection of him, as its always been from the very beginning. The veil of blindness was stripped away, and I saw without a doubt, even in the middle of all the mess, God was there, He had never left me.
Jesus did not come to uncover our humanity as shameful; He came to show us true humanity. He put on flesh. He became human.
He was never outside of God, never separated from either the Father or the Holy Spirit. He was, is, and always will be part of the triune God. There is only God and Creation. God is omnipotent, and there is nothing that can separate us from Him. No power great enough, no action strong enough, no sin abhorrent enough, no shame big enough to separate us from his love.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
My cry to God in these last six months was to do whatever it took to build authenticity in me. I knew that I would fall back into anger, and yet willingly submitted to the crying, the fear of doubt in myself, and the realisation that I had to reverse choices I had made in the past.
I knew that since most of my hurts had come through relationships, I knew that my healing would come through the restoration of the same. I have also come to understand that grace rarely makes sense for those looking in from the outside, steeped in religion and unbelieving. I needed to allow the truth on the inside; it was crucial to filling the voids of the past.
It has not been a comfortable ride, there have been many questions, searching and recriminations, but finally, I have found peace.
God has given me many moments that have bypassed my mind, reached into the deep and secret precious place of my heart, and allowed me to contemplate the truth, and the real feeling that ‘life is good’.
I don’t fully understand, nor does God require me to, how this all works out in the end, but I just must let go of control, and rely on the truth that he is always with me. He has promised me that he will never let go and assured me that I am not powerful enough to ever make him leave.
I am not required to perform any religious sacrifice, but growth requires risk, even at my stage of life’s journey, I need to be willing to jump and learn to trust the arms of God.
It would be so easy to get sucked into the ‘if only’ game, but that would take me back to the slippery slide of anger and despair. It’s not the consequences of my poor choices that weigh the heaviest on my heart, it’s the overwhelming accusations of regret, and the pulling of my imaginations to think of if I had only done it differently. Ringing in my ears right now are the words I have said so many times to my children: “You can’t ever change the past, but you can influence the future”.
I refuse to separate myself from the truth, it’s my power, and regardless of the consequences, I want to be a truth teller – not a blamer, not a self-justifier – but brave enough for my ‘yes’ to be ‘yes’ and my ‘no’ to be ‘no’.
Meeting God these past months has shown me His tenacious love towards me; being with me, walking with me every step of the way through my deepest hurts and pain, believing in me and above all healing me.
I now know that I am defined not by my past, nor relationships, feelings, beliefs, or actions. I am defined by God and him alone.