Struck down but not destroyed.

I don't have any cute pictures today. In fact I'm in kind of a picture taking slump. Perhaps because my decent Panasonic camera is still out of order. Or perhaps because ,compared to life this winter, my life at the moment seems a little mundane. Not that mundaneness stopped me before. There is beauty in the little things and the monotonous moments of life. I think I'm just forgetting to look.

I'm posting because I need to write. It's that or tear into an unopened bag of chocolate chips. I have no idea what I am planning on writing about. I will figure it out as I go....and I may or may not delete the whole mess afterward. If you are reading this I obviously chose the latter.

I am living in a bit of new baby sleep deprived fog right now. It has been snowing and or raining for what seems like an eternity. A combination of those two factors is making me feel slothful, unmotivated and like I have the physical composition of Jello. I need some fresh air , exercise and alone time which the above two factors are complicating. I have found that instead of exercise, food is a rather effective substitute for soothing an uninspired, tired, emotionally worn out mom. This is not helping the Jello butt issue in the least. Yep I said it.

Our new little baby "Miss Cece" is doing really well. She actually slept for 5 straight hours last night and is adjusting very well to her lower dose of drug withdrawal medication. As long as she gets a little prune juice every day we are all much happier. She has a head full of gorgeous black hair, beautiful dark brown eyes, big chubby cheeks and the cutest little cupids bow lips. As usual I'm madly in love already. She has made a virtually seamless entrance into the fabric of our family life.

On a different topic....

There is a situation in my life right now that has been a major burden. It has simmered unchecked for decades and inevitably it has escalated into complete chaos and heartache.

This blog is my journal. It is where I am completely transparent about who I am. The good, the bad and the jiggly. It's my glass house. My living testimony. As you know I am pretty much an open book. I am however, exceedingly careful not to open other peoples books. There are always things in my life that I, out of respect, cannot discuss.

This is my place to process and share my own struggles and heart ache as well as my joys, hopes, and silliness.

Within the walls of my home, my marriage, my sanctuary and my immediate family, we are all good, healthy and thriving. I thank God for that. The problem is that sometimes other peoples mess, hate, and bitterness infiltrate and threaten to take our peace. We find ourselves dealing with issues and situations we never imagined we would have to face.

I have personally, in my life, never been hated. I guess I never expected to be.

I'm sure there have been people who don't particularly like me or what I stand for, or find me annoying, but I've never been passionately hated...until now. It's a crappy feeling.

It would be one thing if I could trace the hostility to some sin, or actions of my own. I would repent, attempt to reconcile and move on. That is not the case.

My sin is loving someone deemed unlovable.
I have touched the untouchable.
I broke rank.

I am not a perfect person. In fact I am very candid about my mistakes and shortcomings. I am just some raw material that God is molding for His purpose. However, I continually give myself over to be searched in the light of God's holy love. As his Spirit works and grows in me there will always be things that he brings to my attention that need to be weeded out and dealt with. I think that when we are convinced of our own self-righteousness and ultimate wisdom that we run into trouble. Pride will always get in the way of knowledge and wisdom. It cannot co-exist with empathy and grace.

The rub is....I will never be able to defend myself or clear up the misinformation because my voice has been effectively stripped away....just like the voice of the last person that was silenced. My reputation, character, personality, sanity, and motives have been so twisted, distorted, lied about and slandered that if it weren't so hurtful and sad the absurdity would be down right comical.

We dealt with a lot of this mess, on the down low, while we were away in Mexico. It was hurtful, distracting and stressful. We decided we needed to separate ourselves from the toxicity and put up some healthy boundaries. We were in Mexico to minister to and love children, not to deal with toxic people thousands of miles away. We have done our absolute best at staying completely out of the frenzy, physically and emotionally.

Now that we are home ,we are once again facing a misdirected firing squad and I am at a loss of what to do but stand here and take it. Not quite what I had hoped for. Forgiveness and knowledge are hard work. Anger is easier.

We all make choices.

I will always choose to stand for mercy, love, grace, forgiveness, compassion, healing and truth.
... even if that means I will bear the wrath of others who choose to dwell in bitterness and blame. I can't just give lip service to those things and then live a life contrary to them. I'm pretty sure I can't fool God.

The funny thing about bitterness, hatred and ungodly rage is that it is generally rooted in fear and fueled by ignorance. There is nothing "righteous" about it. It is nothing short of sin.

Rage needs an object of it's wrath or it will be shown for the foundation-less, empty emotion that it is. If there is no justification for the rage it will make something up.

I am pretty thick skinned. I don't offend easily. I'm a strong and resilient woman. I used to think I could stand up under quite a bit.
The thing is, I can only be alienated, called hideous things, betrayed by those I love and lied about so many times before it starts to inflict some wounds. I think what is even harder to take is listening to hatred and slander being openly expressed about people I love.

I don't want those wounds to fester.

It hurts, but I refuse to succumb to bitterness. That would make me part of the problem. Instead I will choose to forgive...as difficult a process as that may prove to be. As those hurts turn to bitter thoughts I must take each one of them captive and not let them take hold.

My question is ....how do I balance healthy boundaries (keeping the bad out and the good in) with turning the other cheek and blessing those who curse me? Any advice? I will not and cannot be a scapegoat for someone else's sin and dysfunction. I will not allow my family and my children to be a part of that. It isn't healthy, in fact its toxic. That is not a legacy that I will allow to be passed onto my children.

"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse."

That's a tough one. It's hard enough to just tolerate those who curse me.. but bless? I'm going to have to mull that one around for a while. If any of you out there in blog world have words of Godly wisdom or experience please share them with me. I know where I need to be and where I need to go with my hurts but sometimes I'm having trouble getting there. I know I need to take them to the feet of Christ and let them go. Offense is the bait of Satan. It's so appealing and alluring to coddle our hurts, take offense and allow bitterness to grow but it leads to a deadly trap.

It goes against my nature not to stand up against injustice and cruelty. In fact it goes against every fiber of who God made (and is still making) me to be. In this situation it appears there can't even be a rational resolution or logical discussion to satisfy my desire for civil restoration. I don't like unresolved conflict, but even though it's directed at me, it is not something in my power to resolve. I accept that now. I can't reason with unreason.

I can't clear up misunderstandings and misinformation when they are already carved into stone.

That is uncomfortable for me.

Why can't I just let it go? Slide off my back and not let it hurt me? I think it comes down to my desire to be liked. After all, I'm a good person...shouldn't good people, with good motives and good actions be liked? I guess if you look in the Bible that isn't usually the case. In fact the opposite is often true.

Unresolved bitterness and un-forgiveness is cancer to the soul. Being that our body, mind and spirit are all so interconnected there is no part of us that will be not be unaffected by it. I won't live like that. I won't die like that.

I know without a doubt I have sought to keep peace as much as it depends on me. However, sometimes peace at any cost....comes with a high a price tag. Sometimes creating the illusion of peace means that someone will be sacrificed, people will need to be silenced and sin will need to be covered and ignored. That is not healing. That does not allow forgiveness or reconciliation. It's such a delicate and complicated balance to face issues head on in a spirit of grace and reconciliation. There's a pretty steep learning curve.

I have honestly never in my life been through a season of such strong spiritual warfare, such discouragement and oppression. I have never in my life been under such a barrage of fiery arrows meant to wound and destroy. Despite this, I have also felt God very close as I put on my armour and face the battle on my knees in prayer. For the first time in my life every word of the Psalms of David are direct prayers from my own heart.

I guess if I'm on Satan's radar...I must be doing something right. God must be up to something big if Satan won't let go of his death grip without a fight.

You can test a tree by it's fruit. Is the fruit bitter and sour or is it nourishing and life giving? The tricky thing is sometimes we judge the fruit without ever getting close enough to actually taste and touch it. We make assumptions based on appearances or what we have been told alone and judge the whole tree. Do our words give life and hope or do they tear down and destroy?

Out of the mouth comes the overflow of the heart.

Still, it grieves me. It grieves me because the ripple effects of sin are always so far reaching and so damaging. It grieves me because this is not God's will.

 He has given us the freedom to choose. We can choose to be closed minded, heard hearted, and unloving or we can choose mercy.  God will not be mocked.

Life is messy. Sometimes it gets down right ugly and we have no control over that.

What I can control is my attitude toward others (even those who hate me) and my spiritual orientation which , like a sail to the wind, must be constantly re-adjusted.

So this is me.

Growing. Praying. Loving.

The world can spiral into chaos around me.

I have peace. I have faith. I have joy. I have loving relationships.

I have God's all consuming passionate love.

He KNOWS me.

That's truly all I need.

No one can take those things from me. No one can touch that.

I have a guilt-free conscience that has been laid bare and cleansed. I have peace that goes to the very depth of my soul.

I will choose to respect, forgive, and show grace.

If that's all I can do then that is enough. God is big enough for all the rest.

I can stand in the middle of turmoil and chaos and honestly say - It is well with my soul.

"The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn of my salvation,
my stronghold.
I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise and
I am saved from my enemies."

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