I’m in one of my panics that always ends with me in a fetal position (and no, that is not a yoga pose). Let’s just say I’m possibly being irrational. But note to all men, especially my husband: don’t ever tell a woman she’s being irrational, even if she is, even if she says so herself. And don’t tell her all the rational “facts” that life is really not that bad. Just listen, nod sympathetically, at the most make “mmm” sounds through closed lips. With the emphasis being on the closed lips. Second important note: Some women may like to be patted on the arm. Not me.
Here is what’s causing me to roll into a hedgehog ball (and why you may not want to pat me on the arm): I’ve come away from a week caring for sick aging parents I cannot help. I’m overwhelmed on all sides: fearing the future, grieving the present, and flashing back to some hard memories. I’m trapped in Mount Doom and nothing my husband and friends say reaches me.
Everything is wrong. Everyone is wrong. I am wrong. I’m surrounded by chaos that will never go away and is growing. I’m at the bottom of the pit in the land of Mordor. It’s filled with Orcs and goblins and Wormtongue is whispering in my ear, “This is the way it’s going to be, forever.”
As I wallowed in my Mount Doom, I had to prepare to teach Romans 8. (Note: It’s why I teach. It forces me, even when I’m in a hissy fit or deep pit, to deal with truth.) Scripture can do what I let no man do, whisper true truths to me, exposing Wormtongue, whom I call the “Lie Guy.”
Romans 8 was my “pit-stop.” In every verse God met me in the midst of my Mordor meltdown. Beginning with Therefore there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus and ending in Nothing will be able to separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord, my Heavenly Father embraced me with truth: I am not alone. In Christ Jesus I have the Holy Spirit and a new way of life and peace. I do not have a spirit of slavery, but a spirit of adoption so I can cry out Abba Father. He gives me permission to groan for better and not feel guilty that I don’t even know what to pray. He’s up to something good in my life.
I begin to uncurl.
God’s Double-Handed Grip on Me
He has known me, chosen me, called me, justified me, and glorified me. His love will not let me go. It is a done deal. That is my Abba Father’s tender yet unbreakable grip on my failing, flailing life.
He knows the tortured raw questions inside my head in the midst of my pain:
Are you, God, really for me?
Will you really give me what I need and want?
What about all those who are criticizing and ripping me apart? Will they win?
Who can condemn me? Will you?
Is there anything that can break me away from your loving grip?
The answers to those questions are like the Abba’s other hand holding me. (And I do let Him pat me on the arm.)
As I feel my Abba Father’s strong doubled-handed Scriptural embrace, I hear him whisper what only a beloved father can say to a downwardly cycling daughter, “It will be okay.”
With one hand he steadies my shaking shoulders and the sobs wracking my core. My volcanic emotions never erupt—I’m too well trained for that—they just implode and eat my insides. As my internal lava flow ebbs, I relax and begin to hear his truth.
With his other hand, he strokes my hair, “It will be okay. I am for you. Remember, I chose you. I called you. I justified you. I glorified you. I see you. You’re beautiful. You look so much like my beloved son.”
“Think about it. If I sacrificed my Son for you, don’t you realize I will follow through and give you all your true heart desires? Yes there are many who are lobbing charges and condemnations at you. But don’t you remember what I said? There is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. Although your self-condemnation hurts me, it will not stand. Christ died for all those accusations, even your own. Nothing will take you away from me. You are safe. You are secure. You are loved.”
He pauses as I look up, “Everything will be okay. In fact, everything will be more than okay. It will be glorious. Wait for that day.”
As my breath slows, I read the sign he’s left with this chapter:
I sense him saying, “So, are you ready? I want you back out in this beautiful, broken world. But never forget my embrace and my truth.”
“Everything is going to be okay” may be a weak statement to some people. But it lets me breathe. It allows me to stop and be in the present moment, even with its hard realities. It will be okay.
It is okay—and it will be okay—in fact, it will be more than okay. I unroll from my fetal ball and show my husband where to hang the sign so I won’t forget.