What God can possibly expect from a broken-down, brokenhearted, mess like you?

Grace is that kick-start value that breaks through the dullness of one’s self-loathing, recrimination or dysfunction, granting love and favor without the expectation of a return. Experiencing it from God is transformational, offering it to someone else is revolutionary. — Saltshaker 

In some ways, I wonder if my frequent lingering in the pain of the past —  the constant remembering — is a slap in the face to God, to the forgiveness and grace that I have received.

I live with that shame.  I live with the question if God is the healer why can’t I heal, finally, once and for all?  

That question rings out loudly today as I look back over my week of falling into depression, again.  I know that I have some control over it, though not sure how much.  I know that.  I wonder to myself if by slipping down there again, I betray my Lord?  Am I denying him?  “They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.”

I have always believed that my honesty and truthfulness was my only hope out of the wickedness of a childhood full of fear, self-hatred and pain.   Now I am uncertain.    Perhaps I am doing this in my own strength and I am not really healed? Does my frequent lingering only pick the scab off of a wound that deserves to heal?  I want the Lord’s healing.  I want my life to be proof of God being real.

I whisper a prayer from Jeremiah:  “I know Lord, that our lives are not our own.  We are not able to plan our own course.  So correct me, Lord, but please be gentle. Do not correct me in anger, for I would die.”  

Correction first, healing second.

Really?  This might be it.  The connection I’ve been searching for.  As I open up to God’s correction, then healing may come?  I see it in the words of Julian of Norwich in Revelations of Divine Love:

“See that I am God.
See that I am in everything.
See that I do everything.
See that I have never stopped ordering my works, or ever shall, eternally.
See that I lead everything onto the conclusion ordained for it before time began, by the same power, wisdom and love with which I made it.
How can anything be amiss?”

What?

Before time began, this too the Lord knew …

He knew of an angry father.

He knew of a reclusive, fearful cold mother.

He knew of four frightened daughters, full of secrets.

He knew me, full of self-loathing, before time began.

This too, He knew?  He never stopped ordering his works, or ever shall.

How – can – this – be?

What do I do with this knowledge that before time began He knew my pain?

He knew and He knows.  He knows my heart, what it feels like to fear your own daddy and wonder what you did wrong?  He knows what it is to crave a comforting, hug from mamma, a hug of safety.  He knows what horror tastes like, in salty tears streaming down, as you’re berated, over and over, for some failing; that as he yells, you are not even sure that he remembers what failing of yours set him off.  He is so caught up in his righteous raging.  All you know in that moment is the shame and loathing and fear.  You want to escape it, him, home.  If this is love… then there is no safe place.

And over the years you hide inside yourself, eyes wide to the world, cringing.  Expecting life to hurt.   Not knowing whom to trust, if anyone.  Even in that fear, remembered some thirty years ago, you stumble over the question of what God can possibly expect from a broken-down, brokenhearted, mess like you?  But he knew this pain too?

“God only desires that our soul cling to him with all of its strength, in particular that it clings to his goodness.  For of all the things our minds can think about God, it is thinking upon his goodness that pleases him most and brings the most profit to our souls.”  (Julian of Norwich.)

Really?

Cling to the truth that God is good.  Even in the midst of past horrors, pain. Scabs on your heart, thick scarring.  Disbelief.  Knowing, or at least fearing that people will always let you down. Your hurt billows out with the fear from the echoes from a daddy’s rage.

I will cling to His goodness as if it is a prayer, whispered, lifted to the heavens with a tiny billow of faith. 

A prayer of gratitude for his goodness is all he asks.  Not my perfection.  Not any deed or accomplishment.  Not even a big, humongous faith.

Simply cling to his goodness.

See that I lead everything on to the conclusion ordained for it before time began, by the same power, wisdom and love with which I made it.

He made life, with power wisdom and love?

Amen.  May it be so for me and you.

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