For all of you wondering what your place is as a mentor in this battle, or as a friend, husband, sister, mother, father, wife, daughter, whatever… this is for you.
So, I’ve been grappling with my failures for about a month now. It’s not that I don’t fail often, it’s just that I failed big this time and was in one of those, “I’m never ever ever ever EVER going to forgive myself for that one” moods. Wanting life to return to normal, I crammed it away in a box and shoved it in some back corner of my heart. It’s like putting a sock on to cover a gaping, bleeding hole in your foot– all the good that will do you.
The cover had to come off eventually. I think we’ve all been there. Sure, you try and go through life pretending you are cool, that everything is a-OK, but then there’s that moment when you just can’t take it anymore. You blow up, and that mask you were painting shatters into a million pieces, leaving you with a big mess to clean up and possibly taking out bystanders in the process.
That was my night the other night. The last five days or so have been full to overflowing with healing and redemption and grace. Wish I had pursued it sooner but I tried the whole “box in the closet” approach. My box came unglued right around 9:30 on Sunday night. That’s when I unleashed the first text-punch at the first person who would respond to me.
We women can tend to be passive-aggressive when dealing with frustration, pain or failure. I come with a background of intense anger. The good news is, nowadays it is for the most part aimed at myself. There are times, though, when I can get a wee bit sassy with whoever is nearest the drop zone. Sunday night was riddled with snap-backs of “Don’t patronize me,” “Don’t feed me Christian fortune cookies,” “I know that already; I didn’t tell you so you could preach at me.” God bless my poor punching bag who took the assault with grace, mercy and kindness instead of telling me to go jump off the nearest cliff.
He so beautifully exemplified the love and grace of Christ, and I think I hated him for that in the moment.
I didn’t deserve the love and grace of Christ. I was looking for someone to be angry with me so I could justify being angry with myself. I know– it’s weird. (I never in my life have claimed to be normal). It’s times like these when Calvary makes no sense to me. I feel like I need to eat pig food until it makes me sick and then and only then will I come crawling home.
Forgiveness is mind-blowing if you think about it. I write often about how there is no ‘return’ period for His grace, but it’s different when I live it. I guess, in my heart of hearts, I feel like I don’t deserve to just bounce right back, that I need to pick up that heavy ball and chain and drag it around for a while. Surely it can’t be that easy.
Sunday night, I realized it could be. I snapped and fumed and fussed and each time the reply was seasoned with grace. Near the end he said, “Good night. God is waiting patiently for you. I love you.” It all hit me then. This is what God is saying. This man is portraying the love of Christ in this moment.
My actions of the past couple weeks have been in the direction of pushing God away. I don’t deserve Him. I don’t want to look at Him. I don’t want Him to look at me. I’m so fed up with myself. My actions Sunday night were only reflecting that same attitude in an earthly-relationship situation. This whole time that I’ve been struggling, I’ve been snappy, snarky and shove-offish with God as well! And His response is the same as this man’s was:
Whenever you’re ready, I’m here, waiting for you. I love you.
Wow. What grace!
Monday evening, I sat at a kitchen table with this man and had the conversation I really wanted to have. I spoke what had been hiding under a cloak of anger and frustration and the confession was so healing, and you know what he did? He started laughing.
This isn’t funny.
I was pouring my bleeding heart out and he was sitting there laughing at me. I expressed my chagrin for the situation and he explained that he was praising God. He was thankful that the situation hadn’t gotten out of control. He was thankful for the growth he has seen in my life. He was thankful for being a part of my life, and thankful that I was still in tune enough with who I am in Christ that sin bothers me as much as it does.
Well there’s a different perspective for you.
It helped me see the role of a mentor more clearly. Not that he and his wife are my mentors in this particular area of my life (they aren’t) but they are like spiritual parents to me. It helped me to understand a piece of advice I once heard from a mother who discovered her daughter’s addiction to lust.
“Love her lavishly.”
We have this amazing opportunity to be the hands, feet, eyes, mouth and showcase the heart of Christ.
We get to be vessels through which He distributes His grace. If He has thrown you into the life of a woman struggling with lust, rejoice, He has a plan for you as much as He has a plan for her.
If you are a woman still looking for an accountability partner- know this, you need someone you can talk to about this. I know it isn’t easy. Been there more times than I care to count, and the worst conversation ever is the one when you say, “Yeah, didn’t make it this week” and have to deal with the grilling afterwards, but there is such healing here.