Who knew that when I posted my last post, on July 3rd, at 5 pm, that just a few short hours later, everything in my world would change. It’s funny reading it now.. like talking about how I struggle to focus on things because I’m often focusing on so many things. Well. That shut me up.
And made me focus.
Today I was reading something on another blog about how to continue writing when life is blowing up around you, and I was reminded that writing is something that is important, of course, but that it’s also okay to take breaks when needed. Writing is often an escape, but it’s also a place for me to sort out emotions. Until there are too many emotions to sort out in any particular moment. And having some grace with myself to step back and process is important.
Over the last few days, I’ve been thinking about how I would come back to this space and at what level would I share what’s been happening..
Here we go…
On July 3rd, I was home alone, when some crazy, angry, delusional person opened fire into my apartment. Only by the grace of God I didn’t get up to open the door when I heard someone coming up the steps (like I normally would’ve done) and that the shooter didn’t understand the layout of my apartment and where his bullets were landing. Forty-five minutes later, the same shooter opened fire into another apartment in the next complex over. The alleged shooter was caught three days after the incident and is in custody awaiting trial. That’s all I can share, and that’s public knowledge. The rest is tied up in legal mumbo jumbo.
We are safe.
Trying to process through that with my kiddo and myself, while in the midst of a huge work project, and then into my busiest work season has been… challenging. And difficult. And life-altering, to say the least.
One of the things that made me angry at myself, though, was how I got angry with God. Not at first.. I was grateful for His protection, in the beginning. But then I was angry. I was angry that I have felt like the last year has ripped me open over and over again. I was angry that every time I thought we were swinging toward some lasting goodness, there would be another punch to the neck and something taken from me. I was angry that with every wave of grief over the last year I leaned into Him and dug deeper in my relationship with Him. And then this happened. It was the literal straw that broke the momma’s back. I was getting closer and closer to Him and this was my reward? This was what surrendering to Him looked like? NO thank you. I mean, I’ll love Him, but not like that.. it hurts too much.
But then… God.
I tried so hard to stay mad at Him. Have you ever tried to be mad at someone and you just couldn’t?
Maybe it was the softness in His spirit;
or the gentleness of His love;
or the patience He showed toward me;
or the tenderness of His relentless pursuit for my heart even when I was so done;
or the willingness He had to let me be angry and not be mad or hold it against me;
or the desire He had to love me even though I was not being lovable;
or the mercy He showed me when I screamed that His way was too hard;
or the grace He freely gave to cover me as I crawled back to Him.
This was between me and Him. There was no one to walk through this with me or to encourage me along the way… it was me and Him. On an island. Working through some messy stuff. Have you been there? On that lonely island?
Here are some truths I’ve learned, some for the first time and some for the second or third time…
He didn’t put me on that isolated island. I did that to myself. I refused to allow anyone to walk through this with me because I was too busy being mad. And angry. And bitter.
He didn’t do this to me. We live in a fallen world with broken people. The enemy is real and he knows how to cause division. It’s his whole purpose on earth. Trying to separate us from Him.
He didn’t push me away from Him. I went headstrong in the other direction.
He didn’t force me to stay near to Him if I didn’t want to, I have a choice in the matter.
He didn’t hide Himself from me when I was ready to go to Him.
He didn’t try to offer me an explanation, He just wanted me to trust Him.
We’ve all heard the phrase that bad things happen to good people. And godly people. Being a good, godly person doesn’t mean we’re immune to the suffering of the world. But it does mean that we have a Place of retreat when the suffering is too great for us to handle alone. It does mean that we have a Provider who will find a way to keep us moving forward. It does mean that He will knock down walls to remind us that we’re important to Him. And that He loves us deeply.
We are His beloved.
He is our Defender.
We have a purpose.
He will position us for our purpose.
Oh, friends, sometimes it will be hard to let His love take hold of us and carry us. He wants to be near to us and has a steadfast love for us. His faithful pursuit for our hearts is steady. Even when our thoughts are all jumbled, His promises for us will come to pass when we remain in a place of surrender and obedience. Temporal existence is just a blimp on the radar when we have eternity in mind. I want to be a woman focused on eternity and the Kingdom. Even when it hurts. Even when I’m angry. Even when I’m scared.