Shabat Thoughts - Stretching Exercise
There's been a painful situation in my life for several years now. As time has gone on there has been a disintegration. I've struggled and struggled but realized I had allowed a very unhealthy mental/spiritual attitude to develop and made a major decision during the summer to ask for a pastor friend to take over prayers for me. I found my way back to a cautious, more healthy outlook during the several weeks that he carried my baton. For the first time in a long, long while, I felt peace.
I took back that baton this autumn. I was rested and had prayed for direction, and I was sure it was time. I had a better understanding of myself and where I needed to be careful. I approached it cautiously. Nothing had changed. The whole issue had in fact, only grown more volatile. More and more I could see that the skirmishes had developed into a major battle that is hard and fierce.
Sunday morning I woke with a weight on my heart. I felt I'd failed in every effort I'd made in this situation. I cannot tell you how deeply I felt my failures. I watched the sunrise and I prayed and prayed asking God to show me what I needed to see in this situation, asking Him how much longer it would go on and how much longer I must wait to see any results.
John came in and spoke with me briefly and he made a few statements that were wise and painful at the same time. I cried a little as I turned to my Bible study for the morning, seeking an answer, any answer.
The devotional I read was appropriate. It was about being 'hands off' in a prayer situation, not trying to direct or control the situation but letting God have His way in it. I tore that one out (it's a quarterly publication) and placed it in my prayer journal.
Another devotional I read that morning suggested an attitude of thankfulness was the most important thing in every circumstance we face. I shook my head over that one, because I most certainly could not see anything I could be grateful for in the whole thing.
I thought on the way to church and prayed silently that God would show me what I needed to see in order to be grateful. The song service was in progress and the music really spoke to me about surrendering myself to God, about wanting what He wanted for me. I opened my prayer journal and began to write. I'd like to share that with you, just as it was written Sunday morning.
"As difficult as I find this situation it stretches me. It stretches me to love harder, to seek to love more, to determine what love language is required. I am stretched to forgive often and to stand hard on faith even when I am deeply hurt and angry because I've failed yet again. Stretching HURTS a lot. I am not convinced at the end of this I shall have made any difference at all. But I will have been changed and there Lord, I find my gratitude in this, that you see I can be stretched beyond what I think I am capable of."
It was a major realization for me that perhaps the answer isn't what I've been hoping/praying it will be, but that God would use this situation to change me. I don't know how all of this will end, or if I'll ever be an influence in this area at all, but I think it is enough to understand that God is using it to teach me something about myself and my walk in faith.