The sky opens wide and finally it rains. The kind of rain so heavy that you can’t see to drive. The thunder is constant, low and rumbling in the background. It’s been threatening all week – this storm – the air so heavy and full of moisture that it has slowed just about everything down to a crawl. I’ve had the feeling all week that I’m slowly walking straight into an impending storm. So when the sky opened up about an hour ago, I thought, “Finally. Come on then! If you’re going to rain, then rain already.”
There’s a pile of laundry on the den floor, impending weekend visitors to prepare for, and a pre-school graduation ceremony looming in the very near future. There’s so much that I need to be doing. But instead, I sit here at my computer for the first time all week in a desperate attempt to put words to thought. What you’re reading is my last-ditch attempt to make sense of all the partially formed ideas, thoughts and notions that I’ve been wrestling with all week. I’ve been wrestling all week and as the end approaches, I just want to be done. I want to shake this tough week off and salve my injuries without doing the hard work of making sense of the battle. But I sit down to write out these jumbled thoughts because I need to push through the fog and seek Him for clarity. He must have something to say through this mess of a week.
This week my beliefs collided with reality. And things got messy.
An opportunity for a free mammogram through my husband’s work two weeks ago turned into two additional mammograms early this week. Although the first radiologist “wasn’t concerned,” I guess he was at least a little concerned, because he advised additional imaging…and then still more imaging after that. Still too young to even “need” a mammogram, I thought my going in for the opportunity of a free one was nothing more than due diligence, so I was taken aback by the report that I was going to need additional imaging. I thought, “Wait. I wasn’t even supposed to need this imaging. This is just my due diligence, people!”
“I don’t think there’s any reason for concern, Mrs. Lacy, but I’d feel better if we has some additional imaging.”
I plastered on a smile that showed no teeth and nodded, “Of course. Whatever we need to do.”
And that’s exactly what we did – whatever we needed to do. By 10am on Tuesday morning, after 2 rounds of additional imaging, the radiologist’s initial assertion that there was “no need for concern” came to full fruition and I walked away from Texas Women’s Hospital with “no need for concern” (but really, this time). Apparently, that’s just how my boobs were built. I was fine.
Except I wasn’t. I was shaken. I walked out of that hospital feeling feeble, weak and exhausted and I couldn’t figure out why. Wasn’t I supposed to be “more than a conqueror?” So where was that strength of mind and peace of soul that I had expected? It had never shown up. I had prayed for the Lord’s presence, assurance and comfort, yet came out on the other side unable to point to God’s involvement in any of it. I was stumped. Had I done something wrong? Had I auto-piloted right through that situation and missed God in the midst of it? Or had God just stood me up? Had He just not shown up when I needed Him?
(Thus, the ensuing wrestling that I alluded to earlier.)
Cue the internal dialoguing: “What was that, Lord? Where on earth did that even come from? And where were you during all that?”
When what I believed about God collided hard with the hard reality of my life, for a moment my reality became greater than Him. And as I’ve wrestled this week, working hard to distinguish my emotions from the real state of affairs, He has been faithful to pave the very road I’ve been walking with some truths I can stand on…
Your unawareness of my control doesn’t take me out of control.
Your inability to “feel” my love, my concern, my compassion for you, doesn’t negate it’s existence.
Your unawareness of my presence doesn’t make me any less present.
Now there’s the truth that trumps all my realities. No, God had not been absent in any of this. But my expectations regarding what He would do for me this past week were way off. I was expecting that His presence in the situation would make me feel strong, capable and able to deal with whatever the “additional imaging” might throw my way, but what God’s presence in the situation really did was allow me to be weak. My weakness, my feebleness, my exhaustion this week were His gifts to me. They reminded me once again I’m not the strong one here, God is. I don’t have to be “alright”, “ok”, or “fine” all of the time. As much as I may believe to the contrary, I’m not the one who is actually holding everything together. I can crumble and the whole thing still stand. When that little truth finally settles down deep in my soul, it’s going to be a game-changer, I’m sure. He’s working to take me there.
I was also reminded of the battle that God warned us we were going to have to constantly fight. A battle of the Heart vs. the Mind. When what I know to be true about God misaligned with what I was feeling this week, those fickle feelings of mine tried to convince me that God had bailed on me. Thank God, I know better. But for a split second as I wallowed in the emotion of how I was feeling, I gave my mind the opportunity to follow my heart. My deceitful heart. I allowed my emotions to dictate my reality, and failed to realize that instead, they were leading me away from it. My emotions do not have the reputation of speaking truth, so I needn’t give them a microphone. Ladies, our feelings and emotions don’t get to dictate who God is, or who we are to Him. He does not change, regardless of how we feel.
It’s time for our minds to step up and take the reigns from our hearts. It’s time for what we know to be true about God to carry more weight than what we feel about Him or of Him or from Him at any given moment. The heart contradicts itself constantly, so we must guard it vigilantly with what we know to be true about God. The heart lies, so the mind must know. And thanks to this mess of a week, my mind knows just a little bit better than it did before.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? I, the Lord, probe into people’s minds. I examine people’s hearts. Jeremiah 17:9-10
By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 1 John 3:19-20
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