The alarm pierced through the silence of night, announcing a very early morning. The small cabin room laid dark. I reached for my cell phone to hit the proverbial snooze button, afraid I’d fall back asleep and miss my date. 4:30 AM. I had a rendezvous planned with the sunrise at a beach almost two hours away.
I’d driven over to the family cabin a few days for a writing retreat. Thinking I’d get my bearings straight and gain direction for the new website, it turned out God wanted to work more deeply in me before it was time to work it out of me. Though the direction had taken me by surprise, it was obvious my heart needed that course the most.
I mentioned in my short story Hope that I’d gone to counseling for help to get “unstuck” from a decade of various family and personal traumas, and how that process eventually opened up stories from my childhood.
During my days at the cabin before this early morning alarm, God addressed a lot of specific grief I held against Him. Unaware until then I’d been holding God responsible for so much pain, I wrestled my confessions with Him until I was spent. Over the span of nearly 20 years, ministry had not looked anything remotely like what Andy or I expected. God wrestled back that it wasn’t His fault, and reminded me that people have choice, and sometimes they choose to hurt us.
Then He reached way back to little me.
As we grow from childhood to the teen years, then from young adulthood to the middle years and beyond, something of our heart gets lost along the way. Things happen. Good things, but also terrible things. While parts of our heart go missing, strangely, the pain etches forward a deep mark in our soul.
For me, it had etched a lie that God could not be trusted as Father. That lie gave birth to another: when I’m broken by others’ wounding, and therefore unable to function as originally designed, it’s my fault. I’m to blame. There’s no one but me. I’m the reason I can’t get it together.
Thankfully, God never unearths a pain to leave it to fester.
He began freeing me through those cabin days with this truth:“You think this is all your fault, but it isn’t. Who, when they are broken in their body puts it back together themselves? They go to a doctor, a surgeon, someone who specializes in putting back together what is broken. You can’t fix yourself. I sent Jesus to heal the broken-hearted.”(Isaiah 61:1-3, Psalm 34:18, Psalm 147:3, Psalm 71:20)
My prayer became for Jesus to please gather the still-broken-pieces of my heart and bring them back into the whole again. To please be gentle and tender. For I was exhausted from all the years of wasted energy trying to fix what I couldn’t. Living under a shroud of shame for being unsuccessful and unconsciously blaming God for others’ choices had left me desolate of all wonder.
It was after these revelations I sensed God wooing me to the beach,“I want to restore your wonder. You’ve lost your wonder and I want to help you get it back.”
I googled the best spots for a colorful, unhindered view. Stunning photographs had me breathing deeply already.
I mapped out my route before bed.
Mornings were not my specialty, but this one was different. Visions of east coast Georgia sunrises pushed me out of bed. I could hardly wait to drink of the beauty!
Imagine my disappointment when, after driving two hours with a certain view in mind, arriving at the north beach, I see storms clouds threatening from the south. Not just any kind, but the type of solid, massive, utter darkness encroaching on the sea. In Georgia, nine out of ten storms move from south to north. Still, I prayed for the clouds to part, to move a different direction. Afterall, it’s happened before, why not again? “Please, Lord, please don’t let this ruin my sunrise!”
To be continued next week…!