As a child I was quiet and shy, so much so I would cry before talking to most people. As a teen I was awkward and shy and convinced I was never good enough for anyone. As a young adult I grew to take in anger but I was still quiet and shy. I had a fear of meeting people. I hated going out in public. And, after I took in more anger than ever - through the abortion I instantly regretted - I held a lot of hatred inside.
At 26 I ached to suicide... but having a daughter to care for I cried out to God, instead. Two days later I was running into the only Christian I knew, and despite the anger i wanted to throw at the world - and long story short - come the following Sunday in church I knew God had heard my cry and rescued me.
That was over 21 years ago... and since then I've had great reasons to rejoice and a few reasons to take on more anger. I walked close to God for many years. My most favoured moments - a long with marrying Tim and the birth of my children - are those moments God's heart touched mine and I knew that I knew that I knew He was using His Spirit, His still small voice, to speak to my heart. I knew it was Him because of the freedom, peace, joy, hope, faith and love that increased inside me when He did, even in being corrected.
But I walked away. Somewhere deep inside me there was a root of some sort that had me reacting negatively when someone would call me sweet. I hated being called sweet. I would think 'If you knew where I've been and what I've done you wouldn't think me so sweet!' And, in truth, I found it to be quite condescending.
However, on the other side of telling God I didn't want to be sweet, and after rejecting that image with all my heart, I arrived at a place yesterday where I looked back over my life of recent months - many months - and noted how bitter my heart was becoming. I didn't mourn for me, for I felt protected behind a veil of bitterness. Rather, I mourned for all the friends I'd let go. I mourned for the cuppas and chats I missed out on, and the events I missed out on, and the quality of life I missed out on with some really wonderful and beautiful people. I mourned for the intimacy that comes to a sweet heart but not to a bitter one.
Rejecting the 'sweet' side of my nature cost me much... but I mourn more for what I cost others by walking away than what I may have suffered.
Yesterday, upon looking back, upon seeing the bitterness eating away at my heart, I repented for what felt like snobbery (for want of a better description) and asked that God restore my heart.
This morning, I woke up feeling a greater rush of peace, hope, faith, joy and love than I had in what seems like forever, and I couldn't figure out why. It was the happiest, and most peaceful, I had felt in many, many months. The world looks brighter; my heart prays more readily and compassionately for those suffering over the face of the earth right now; I once again see EVERYONE has potential and worth; and, quite suddenly, I want to reach out and love and embrace again. God has heard my prayer...
God didn't cause me to grow bitter. He simply took away what I didn't want: Sweetness. I asked for it back, seeing its value, knowing I can make the world of those around me a better place if I use it, and He gave it back as I slept. He renewed my heart as I slept...
I haven't felt this close to God, or His love, for soooo long. It's like coming Home, and there He is, my beloved Father, waiting with a tear in His eye, a relieved smile on His lips, and His arms and heart open wide, forever ready to love. And now, once more, I embrace "Today" and look to the future with hope breathing life into my heart, with faith as my wings and love as the air upon which I fly... I can live again. I can breathe again. I can love again...
NOTE: I don't feel condemnation when I run back into God's arms, for He forgave me before I lifted my gaze to Him again. He does not correct me for He knows my lesson is learned, and a lecture will help no one or nothing other than to build a new wall between us. No, He loves me. He loves me without strings attached. He rejoices over my return. And I fall into His loving embrace, weeping with joy, knowing, once again, I am home, I am wanted, and I am loved... and so are you. :)
And I know that I know that I know that I know I have much to thank our Lord Jesus Christ for, who makes all things new, who has conquered sin and death and has, through His suffering, cleared a path for each of us to enter into God's throne room and heart without fear, without condemnation, and in the midst of breathtaking love.
Jesus, with all my heart, I thank you...xxxxx