I have always been a feeler, as long as I can remember. I am even selective who I watch movies in front of, because it is almost as though I can feel the deep pains of those I am watching on screen, and it turns into that cry that hits me deep in the throat… hard to swallow. My husband is one of the lucky few who can deeply attest to this… bless his heart.
As with anything, there are ups and downs to this level of emotive design. It causes me to slow down and empathize and offer mercy in many situations. Yet, when I am not seated in peace with the Father, I can let these emotions consume me to the point of distress.
Over the past several months, I’ve had lots of… well, let’s say… opportunities to exercise control over these emotions. It seems 2020 has been full of surprises, most of which have brought that hard to swallow, deep pain in the throat feeling. It has been almost a daily, if not sometimes hourly, process of taking every thought captive. I always say God is good and it is so easy to praise Him for the good I see… the victory that appears after a small battle or disappointment. I’ve never stopped believing in Him, but 2020 is teaching me something entirely new as a believer.
Oil Your Lamps
I would often read over metaphorical phrases and instructions in the Bible, without really understanding their meaning and application. Yet this is one I believe is so pertinent, at this time. As I am drawn to this invitation, it hits me. The lamp is figurative for the light within myself… my heart. We know God looks at the heart. This is a season of preparedness. Oiling, or cleaning out … repairing through repentance. Making room for the light to shine oh so bright!
Throughout the year, I found myself starting to ask questions I hadn’t asked in a long, long time: “Where are you, God?” “Does this matter to you?” “Why haven’t you done _________ , yet?”
I knew deep down, I was asking from my emotions… the wrong questions.
Oil your lamp, Miriam.
I then recognized the root of what led me to these questions… disappointment and fear of abandonment. I was triggered. Part of freedom and healing is dealing with our strongholds at the root. So often, the world tells us to “mind over matter” our thoughts… and while this is true, it first starts with handling the root of the problem. Then, and only then, can we have lasting transformation. Otherwise, the mind over matter is simply a band-aid that wears off over time.
The triggered moment.
Call it naïve, but if I were ever in a pageant, I would be the girl claiming a longing for world peace. It is truly my heart’s desire for love and unity, despite all of our differences.
Growing up, differences in my families often ended in non-peaceful situations. Division. Confusion. As the oldest child, I would try to step into being the rescuer… whether that was for one parent or the other, or one or all of my siblings. I remember praying daily for unity in my household. I thought, surely, this is what God would want, and I prayed over the course of several years. What happened instead was the complete opposite, leading to divorce, and one confused and disappointed 17-year old girl.
I realized that in that moment, I still believed in God, yet I also believed He didn’t care enough about my prayers. That He would abandon me and not give me the desires of my heart. My parents were trying to deal with their own hurts, during this time, and I started to believe, at the end of the day, nobody was going to show up for me, including God. Have you ever experienced something similar? Praying for something that ended up the opposite of what you asked for?
Going back into that memory I was able to forgive my parents by realizing they were human and hurting and just trying to navigate through the situation, too. I was able to forgive God, trusting that His will is always better than what I can see. I was able to forgive myself for believing I was a victim that needed rescuing, but even more so, I could forgive myself for questioning and doubting God’s plan. I can see now the way my life would have been, had my wishes come true on my time. The people I would have never met. The growth I wouldn’t have experienced. The faith that wouldn’t have grown had I not gone through the struggles. I may not even have the husband and children I do, if it were not for God’s plan that was so different than mine.
So, fast forward to 2020… to the emotional heaviness felt throughout our world. As mentioned earlier, those questions started to creep back up. As I prayed about these questions and engaged, here is a picture of what I experienced. It was as if I was holding a stopwatch waiting for God to move – the need for me to see His plan was strong. With every tick, my faith was wavering, while fear and anxiety increased. The world seemed to be coming into ruins and as I watched the hands keep moving, it felt agonizing. There came the thought again… He’s not showing up. I kept trying to figure out how I could fix it all, because I didn’t know why He had not yet. At least from what I could see here on Earth. Read that last part again.
In this moment, it was as though I could see Jesus’ hand extended to me – asking for the watch. He always takes what isn’t from the Father and gives us an exchange for truth, instead. This time, it was me handing over control. Fear. Anxiety. Questioning God’s presence and good plan. Wondering when He would step in, before I had to.
The stopwatch dissolved into the air like sand blowing into the wind. It was non-existent. It crumbled immediately upon handing it over. The exchange was peace. Trust. There was hope… not just to survive, but for something NEW and better than before. Something that only God himself could do. To be known by more.
Could it be, that the Father’s timing could be leading more people to the Father?
This is the question I am believing in.
So I invite you friend. If you have found yourself asking any (or all) of the questions I was, I want to bless you to awaken to the heart of the Father. I bless you to know He is the Master at work.
I invite you to hand over the stopwatch and your man-made blue prints.
Trade your timing in for trust in His.
Oil your lamps.
And let your light shine.
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