I love to write. LOVE it. It's therapy for my now 27 year old heart. Unfortunately, there's just not much time for it these days. Seasons of life, right?
But since it's my birthday, I decided I would make the time to do something that I love to do that doesn't involve kids, snot, cleaning, breaking up fights, etc. Actually, I guess I already did one thing that I love that didn't involve any of those things today. I carb loaded at Ihop for breakfast with my husband. Wait, cancel that. Addy Jo was there so I guess it did involve a kid and snot and sugar packets and straws and eggs everywhere... But there was coffee. And coffee covers a multitude of sins. (disclaimer: that's not in the bible just my theory)
Anyway....I've been doing some reflecting. (yeah, here comes the serious stuff so you can stop reading now if all you wanted to do was laugh.).......
I've been reflecting on the last few years. It's been a crazy, wild ride. Three kids in five years. Five big moves in five years with a couple of little moves in between. It's been hard. I lost my joy along the way. I lost my zest for life. But a few months ago, I got it all back. You might think that it was because our circumstances have changed. Although that does play into it quite a bit, that's not when the change in me started. The change in me actually started a couple of months before we moved to Nederland.
It took seeing myself for who I had become and seeing the person that I had lost. I had lost myself and it wasn't anyone's fault but my own. I am so thankful that God helped me identify the problem. It was bitterness. Such an ugly word even in italics. I was bitter about how much my family and I had sacrificed to be in the ministry. I was bitter about how little we received in return. I was bitter about having to move away from my family and friends for people that would never accept me as their own. I could go on and on. But the truth is "a little leaven leavens the whole lump". My leaven was bitterness and it was consuming me.
So right in the middle of some dark circumstances, I made the decision to stop. To just stop being bitter. Actually, it was making that decision over and over again. I had to be very intentional every time a thought started creeping in to push it aside and pray instead. When I compared my circumstances to what Christ had to endure for me, there was no comparison. I reminded myself of that constantly. I began to focus on all the great things that I had in my life like salvation and my amazing husband and my three precious children. After a few weeks, those dark thoughts became less and less. I slowly felt my joy returning. I was beginning to feel like "me" again.
And you know what? I started loving people again. I started loving life again. My passion for reading and digging deep into God's word was returning instead of feeling like something to be checked off my to-do list. I couldn't believe just how much letting go of bitterness was changing me. I began to realize that it is nearly impossible to love people the way God has called me to love them when I am bitter. I could put on a smiling face and do everything to please them, but it meant nothing if I didn't love them like I should.
So if you are reading this, I know that you are going through something. Because the truth is, we all have our struggles. Every single one of us. And we like to compare our mountains to each others, but a mountain is a mountain. It's rough and scary and we aren't always equipped to climb it. And when we carry bitterness with us, it weighs us down and we will never make it to the top. So why don't you just go ahead and cast it off. I'm not going to lie. It won't be easy. But I can promise you this. It will be worth it. No matter what has been done to you. No matter how justified you feel in feeling the way you do, it's only hurting you. And it will continue to hurt you and damage you to the point that you can't even recognize yourself anymore. But Praise God that our Savior made a way to return! That bitterness and hurt that you carry? It was nailed to the cross with Him. Will you leave it there? Or will you choose to carry a load that you were never meant to carry. It's not worth it my friends. Cast it off.