This strategy of my enemy and the wounds of my heart work together and leave me feeling discouraged, listless and worthless. Pulling out of the shame and walking in freedom feels intensely difficult... as if, this is the "right" place for me to be. This place of defeat is the "right" punishment for my sin. I must pay, it feels. I must do something... I must fix this!
And, certainly, the Lord is finally "done" with me. Right?
These are the ebb and flow thoughts that swirl around my mind and soul today.
Why so downcast, O my soul? Put your hope in the Lord!
These words fill my journal page as I wonder about the state of my heart... and how to fix it.
How to fix it?? Really, Stephanie. Did you hear that? I am still trying to fix it!
So, I sit. And, I read and I take in the words of a woman who walked this road nearly 150 years ago...
"To state it in brief, I would just say that man's part is to trust and God's part is to work..."
"Only God, who created us first, can re-create us, for He alone understands the work of His own hands. All efforts after self-creating, result in the marring of the vessel."
"Settle down on this one thing, that the Lord is able to save you fully, now, in this life, from the power and dominion of sin, and to deliver you altogether out of the hands of your enemies."
"The most difficult burden we have to carry in life is self. Our own daily living, our frames and feelings, our especial weaknesses and temptations, our peculiar temperaments, these are the things that perplex us and worry us... you must hand yourself to the care of God, and leave [it] there. He made you, and therefore He understands you and knows how to manage you, and you must trust Him to do it."
This wonderful lady, Hannah Whithall Smith, writes of a parent's love toward their child. "He loves us, loves us, and the will of love is always blessing for the it's loved one". I read these words last night as my daughter snuggled next to me with her own book. She can't seem to get close enough to me. In this warm, God-timed place, I read, "the baby toils not, neither does it spin; and yet he is fed and clothed, and loved, and rejoiced in... This life of faith consists of just this: being a child in the Father's house."
...being a child in the Father's house. You are my well-loved daughter, Stephanie!
When my daughter sins, I watch with deep joy when conviction comes and I rejoice when forgiveness is asked. It is my joy to her her repentance and my bigger joy to forgive and offer mercy to her, my sweet girl. But, what might I feel if she would roll around in the guilt and shame of her sin for days!
I read these simple thoughts about being a child in my Father's house and I can't help but reach up and caress her hair, my daughter, as she sits next to me. What deep grief I would feel if she wouldn't, or couldn't, leave the sin done and forgiven! What if she wallowed in it and punished herself and didn't believe my love!
Lord Jesus, I believe that Thou art able and willing to deliver me from all the care, and unrest and bondage of my life. I believe that Thou did st die to set me free, not only in the future, but now and here. And, Lord, I am going to trust Thee to keep me. I have tried keeping myself, and have failed most grievously. I am absolutely helpless, so now I will trust Thee. I will give myself to Thee; I keep back no reserves. I believe I am Thine. I believe Thou dost accept that which I present to Thee; I believe that this poor, weak, foolish heart has been taken possession of by Thee, and Thou hast even at this very moment begun to work in me to will and to do of Thy good pleasure. I trust Thee utterly, and I trust Thee now! ~Hannah Whithall Smith
It is man's job to trust and God's job to work.