Saturday, July 9, 2011

Not Who I Am

I've been down lately. I see this, and I think I just have to wait it out.

Usually, when I'm down, I don't write much. You'll notice I've mostly posted pictures. But God works from the valleys, and the mountaintops really are too few and far between for a writer to write only from there.

I don't have a specific reason that I'm down. There are a few things jumbled together, I guess. Missing dad, giving up aggression, trying to figure out what I feel, Jeff's liver weirdness, Jeff's hospital stay, James's behavior testing at school, baseball season, a busier schedule than I can handle for any length of time, consistently not being who I want to be, giving up lingering sin, acknowledging the signs that I'm probably pre-diabetic and I need to do something about it, trying to figure out how to help the boys spend their summer wisely, wanting to write but feeling like I have nothing to say, laundry piled up to the sky, and fatigue. Everlasting fatigue.

Is that enough reasons to feel down?

I hope so. Because I'm down.

Now let me get my little chart. Because I don't think "down" is actually a feeling. Maybe it is.

Let's see... I feel diminished, powerless, perplexed, disillusioned, incapable, fatigued, empty, crushed, and heartbroken.

That's a lot.

I'm reading Scripture most days, but God just gives me little snippets here and there. Nothing earth-shattering. No mountaintops. Two days ago, the snippet was that Jacob dwelt in tents. That's me. I dwell in tents.

Yesterday, the snippet was from James. No one can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil. Full of deadly poison. My tongue has deadly poison. It has killed some of my cherished relationships deader than a doornail. Four names come very quickly to mind.

Today's snippet was from Psalm 25. David is crying out to God because he's been wronged, but in the middle, he switches gears completely and says, "For Your name's sake, O Lord, pardon my guilt, for it is great" (emphasis mine). Too true. None righteous, no, not one. As Elyse Fitzpatrick says, all I bring to the cross is debt.

I'm reading Mitford, and God gives me snippets from that, too. Like... write from the valley.

Yet, in the midst of it all, today I put a load of clothes in the washer and another in the dryer, and I remember exiting the laundry room, glancing at the perpetually cluttered breakfast bar, and knowing at that moment, unequivocally, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I am deeply, truly, dearly loved by God.

How?

How can I be so down about so many things, and conversely so aware of the love of God?

Because God's love is not dependent on my feelings. He is faithful and true, no matter how I feel, no matter what's going on. His everlasting love transcends my everlasting fatigue.

I asked Jeff yesterday, "Do you think I'm out of touch with God?"

He said, "Most people don't like my answer. The answer is, that's impossible, and yes."

I tried a different question, "Do you think I've quenched the Holy Spirit?"

He said, "That's impossible, and yes."

"Well," I said, a little exasperated, "what do you call it when someone is not listening to God and making bad choices?"

"Rebellion," came the quick reply.

"Okay, fine. Do you think I'm in rebellion?"

"Sometimes," he said gently. "In some things. But not in everything."

Life, in a nutshell, brought to you by Jeff Frame.

I got his point.

The point is there is grace. Grace for feeling down, grace for the valleys, grace for not being who I want to be, grace for pre-diabetes, grace for fatigue, grace for the brokenhearted, grace for killing friendships, and especially, grace for the debt I bring to the foot of the cross -- the very place of grace.

I'm still down. My sad things are still sad. But those things are not who I am. They're just circumstances. Underneath all that is grace. Surrounding all that is love. Filling all that is peace.