I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster these last few weeks and months. I must be rising toward the peak today, because I feel excited and jubilant, though I couldn’t tell you why. Nothing has physically changed in my life. My circumstances haven’t changed. But my view of some things is slowly changing. Maybe that’s the “why.”
If I’m on a roller coaster, then two Saturdays ago, I was at the lowest point of the deepest plunge, a place I hadn’t been in a long while. Although I hadn’t planned to write that day, I ended up with a little bit of time after breakfast and thought I’d quickly write for 30-45 minutes and pound out maybe 500 words or so. They didn’t have to be stellar words. Just something to slide me a little further along on my WIP. Easy, right?
I couldn’t do it.
It took an hour to wring less than 100 c.r.a.p.p.y words from my cottage-cheese of a brain. And then…time was up. Had to move on with my day. Tears pooling in my eyes, I stood, gathered my cleaning supplies, and as I started for the master bathroom, I began to pray for God’s help—
Wait a minute. His help? He’d had the last hour to help me, and He’d remained silent.
Something black and rancid shifted inside me. I dodged it before it became a full-fledged thought. Couldn’t go there. That wasn’t “Christian.”
Then again, God knew all my thoughts, so what was the point in avoiding what He already knew?
“I hate You, God.” The words rasped against my tongue as the nylon scrubber grated against the porcelain sink. “I hate You. I thought I was a writer. Didn’t You and I have some kind of heart-to-heart a few months ago where You pretty much confirmed I was on the path You wanted me to be? Then why has it been almost a year since I’ve written anything of significance?”
Oh, sure, I’d brainstormed, I’d mulled around different ideas, I’d written a couple thousand words over the last ten months…but none of those things were enough to produce the next book.
“Why, God?” Scrub, scrub, scrub. “Whywhywhy did You give me a desire to write but not equip me with the ideas needed to fulfill it? You could have taken away this passion—I’ve begged You so many times to do just that—yet still, crafting stories is how I want to spend my days. So what’s the deal? What am I doing wrong?”*
In one breath, I said I hated him, in the next I asked for forgiveness, in the next I begged for help. I tore myself down, compared myself to others, and shook my fist at God.
I had probably cried for at least two hours by the time I sank to the bedroom floor, my chest aching, my body so empty, it should have caved in on itself. “God, help me. Help me.” Over and over, I repeated those words, incapable of much more than that.
Then my phone rang. Swiping at tears, I rose to grab my phone from the bed.
My father-in-law? Calling me? A tiny part of me hoped he hadn’t dialed by accident, intending to talk to his son, instead.
“Hey, there,” I answered, pushing all kinds of “happy” past the tears clogging my throat. “What’s up?”
Now this is a man who I’ve respected all my life, the one who’d been my pastor throughout my childhood and college years, before he moved on into a new ministry. When he talks about God, I listen. And when he shares the things God’s shown him, I lean in closer.
You know what he said to me that day?
“Laurie, I just called because God wanted me to tell you something. He wants you to know how much He loves you.” My father-in-law’s voice broke with emotion. “He loves you. You can’t please Him any more than you already do right now. He. Loves. You.”
It took longer than it probably should have, but eventually, the weight of his words caught up with me.
There I’d been, throwing my little private tantrum, telling the Creator of the Universe that I hated Him, but instead of smiting me (or spanking me and sending me into a time-out), He tapped my father-in-law’s shoulder and said, “Laurie needs to know I love her.”
God loves me. My Abba—Daddy—loved me in that ugly state, and because of my father-in-law’s sensitivity to His spirit and his willingness to obey, Abba was able to wrap me in a hug that day.
There’s nothing like a Dad’s hug to begin melting a stubborn heart.
Jesus has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, so I don’t have “before Christ” and “after Christ” snapshots of how I used to live and how He changed me. But this…this comes close to it for me. To tell the Creator-God I hated Him, and for Him to hug me in return? I don’t ever want to forget that.
I’m done with this emotional roller coaster ride. I’m getting off and driving a stake in the ground. Yes, there will be days I’ll falter and succumb to the fog of depression; there will be times I take three steps forward only to take two steps back; but may I never retreat farther than this stake today.
God loves me.
If He can love a hater,
If He can love a BFF that denied Him three times,
If He can love a zealous Jew bent on destroying followers of the Way,
If He can love a king who committed adultery and murdered an innocent soldier,
If He can love a coward with a speech problem,
If He can love a drunk,
If He can love and welcome into Paradise a thief on a cross,
If He can love and hang out with the fallen, the imperfect, the hopeless, the broken,
Then there is nothing stopping Him from loving you, too.
Now it’s time for us to own it and move forward, ever closer to Him.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~Romans 8:38-39, NLT
(*Just want to point out my messed-up theology back there. My knee-jerk reaction when I’m stressed or depressed is to think (incorrectly) that God won’t bless me if I’m doing something wrong. Hello! Fallible human being here. I’m always going to do something wrong. God doesn’t withhold or dole out blessings based on our (in)ability to get something “right.”)