Yes, I do think God speaks. I believe that He is a living, working God and I believe He speaks to His people. If you think I'm nuts that's okay with me. But I know that God talks to me. Occasionally it's a little voice in my ear, but most of the time it's through a friend or, even more often, a song. And the two places He talks to me most are in the car and in the bathtub. If you've been around this blog very long you know that I have control issues. I go through these phases where I feel like I'm wrestling with God. Like He has me penned in because there's something He has to teach me, but I'm basically an angry bull that just wants out of the dadgum pen. Eventually He wears me down and I hear what He's been trying to say and I'm still for awhile. But not for long because I absorb His lesson, and then I'm off and running again and He has to pen me in again. Like I talked about a couple of weeks ago, I've been in survival mode for a few months, and I think God gave me a break from being penned in. (Thank you, Lord, by the way!) But starting a couple of weeks ago I found myself back in the pen again. And this time was different. It was heavier. It was like I knew there was no point in fighting, so I just tried to lay down and hear it but I couldn't. It was all fuzzy in my brain. I had spiritual "static".
I'm not an easy person. Nothing is ever easy with me. I do things the hard way. I fight. I strain. I wrestle. I'm passionate and fiery and sometimes volatile. I feel emotions strongly and, if unhindered, I react strongly. Most people are not like me. I'm hard to understand and relate to. And over time, through the experiences and hurts of life that came because people couldn't relate to me, I began to think of myself as "difficult to love". So I put up walls. Barriers to keep people out. I'd let them see just a little of who I am and then hold back the rest because I was absolutely certain that if they knew who I was they'd run away. I couldn't let myself be vulnerable. And years went by. Years.
I firmly believe that God made me a fighter. He gave me the instinct to fight because it brought me through a phase of my life where sometimes the only thing that kept me going was begging God to help me because "I will NOT let this beat me". But what I've realized this week is that the fighting phase of my life is over, at least for now. It's time to stop fighting. It's time to let someone else - God and my husband - fight on my behalf. It's time to come off the front lines and let my scars heal and soak in what God has planned for me now.
There's a problem. I don't know how.
But God knew I didn't know, and He had it all figured out ahead of time. At the beginning of January I asked Aaron if we could read one book per month and discuss during our Friday night date nights. It could be the same book or different books, but I saw it as a way to plan some meaningful time together, and he jumped all over the idea. He went to the bookshelf, pulled down Wild At Heart (for him) and Captivating (for me) and said "Let's read these". Those books have been sitting untouched on our bookshelf for eight years. They were gifts that got passed over and forgotten about. Ahem. God didn't forget.
If you're a woman who hasn't read Captivating you really should. It's all about how our hearts reflect God and how He romances us and fulfills us if we let Him. Let me say that again. If we let Him. For the last couple of weeks I've been reading this book and getting my hair blown back by the realization that God loves me just like I am, difficulties and all. And not in a Sunday school "God loves us" way, but in a true, deep, passionate way. He longs for a relationship with us. That's why He created us! We just have to trust Him and allow ourselves to be vulnerable with Him and He will transform us. He will ROMANCE us! So I've been praying that God will help me tear down these walls and allow myself to be myself with Him, but I kept getting in my own way. And we were at a stalemate.
Tonight Aaron left for school and I put a pot of soup on the stove and went to soak in a hot bath and read. I picked up my book and tried to read the next chapter, but I kept being drawn to the end of the previous chapter where it talked about sitting still and soaking in God's presence. Why is sitting still so hard for me? I wrestled with it for a minute or two (of course I did!) and then I prayed a simple prayer. "God, I want to do this. I want to be vulnerable....I think...yes...maybe...okay, I do. I want to be romanced and fulfilled by you. Show me what you have to say? Please? I'm listening. I'm here." And I took a deep breath and hit shuffle on my iPhone.
And God gave me "I Will Be Here" by Steven Curtis Chapman.
If you don't know that song, it was written by SCC for his wife. It talks about faithfulness in a relationship. It's a romantic song. It was the song that was sung at my wedding.
And I sat in that bathtub with tears on my cheeks and let God talk.
The next song that played was "Your Grace Is Enough" (First line: Great is your faithfulness, Oh God. You wrestle with the sinner's restless heart. Chorus: Your grace is enough for me)
And then came "10,000 Reasons" (Bless the Lord, oh my soul, oh my soul, worship His holy name. Sing like never before, oh my soul. Worship Your holy name.)
I sat in that bathtub and God and I talked through song after song. A question from me ("Beautiful" by Bethany Dillon). A message from Him ("He Will Carry Me" by Mark Schultz).
And then...remember how I said God has a sense of humor...the iPhone played "Gone" by Switchfoot. And I realized that it had been nearly an hour and my bath water was ice cold. And I laughed until I cried. Maybe it doesn't strike you as funny, but it did to me. And I was so grateful that the same God who disciplines me and provides for me and romances me will also take the time to crack a little joke now and then. Because it shows me how well He knows me.
God is here. He proved it again to me tonight. You can call it a coincidence - there was a time when I would have - but I no longer believe in coincidences. The Spirit of God is alive and is working in his people. He is powerful and all-knowing. He is gentle and romantic. And he has a sense of humor.