That’s been my response lately, as people have inquired about the last nine months, and what God is up to in my life.
No, I’m not expecting a baby, yet God is birthing something new within me, and since last October, the weight of it all has been heavy.
I read this morning in Isaiah, chapter 43,
“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
I do feel this new thing happening. It’s actually exciting! I’ve been expecting it for a few years now. I’ve known most of my life, that these times would come…someday. I had no idea when, or how.
This morning, on the last day of our Aman family reunion (my Mom’s family), as is a tradition, we have “church” and my Uncle Pete shares a devotional with us. He is the oldest Aman boy, so that qualifies him to be the “Preacher”. But in all actuality, he is qualified, simply because he has the most life experience, and he is an honest, godly man.
He shared this morning from Hebrews 12, challenging us to throw off the weight that hinders us, and run the race set before us, with perseverance, fixing our eyes on Jesus.
Immediately after he shared, one of my Aunts pulled me into a hug and said, “Sheila, can I just say that I see how God is using you, and I’m so proud of you.”
My first thought, and response was, “Thank you, because it’s heavy.” She then mentioned the great cloud of witnesses who surround me, and are cheering me on in the race.
I left the reunion today with those thoughts in my head, and my response to all of it continues to be, “It’s just so heavy.”
And it’s all true. I really thought the hardest part of sharing my story, was sharing my story. Honestly, it was a challenging step of obedience, yet the days and now nine months following have been messy and heavy.
It does sound like pregnancy and labor.
What most people don’t know, is that in the last nine months, since publicly telling my story, while God is birthing a brand new exciting thing in my life, my story has gotten more broken, more painful.
I mentioned on a Facebook post this morning, that I have been wound tight, like a fiddle string, for awhile. This last week, something quite trivial happened to cause me to completely unravel…completely. I felt myself spinning; felt the tension that had been building, and I came undone. It wasn’t pleasant or becoming, and a bit horrifying. It’s God’s grace that I came undone in front of the people who constantly show me heaping loads of mercy!
Earlier in Isaiah, God says,
“He Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out the the earth, and all that come out of it, Who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it; I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand, I will keep you…” Isaiah 42:5-6
As those words flowed over my heaviness early this morning, I felt my tight strings loosening up. The promise from The One who stretched and spread out the earth, and created life…He is My Savior. The same One who took my story, and transformed my life to reflect His redeeming love!
He promises to take hold of my hand, and keep me. Do you know what that tells me? If I’m going to open my hand for Him to take hold, I’m going to have to lay down “that which hinders me”.
As I rested this afternoon, I realized that while I’ve been talking about by desire to be obedient to the next step God illuminates, I’ve been packing around this burden, and bemoaning how heavy the load is.
Just this morning, I reminded a friend who is going through something heavy, “God’s got this.”
Now it’s time for me to practice what I preach.
God does have it all. All the messy, broken, ugly, painful, shameful…every single bit of it.
I find myself, once again at the foot of the cross, where He paid the ultimate price for sin and shame.
As I lay the burden down, I turn around- on either side of me is a great crowd of witnesses- my cheerleaders. With their support and encouragement, I set out on the next leg of the race, and I run, unhindered.
“Therefore, since I (Sheila) have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding me, let me lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles me, and let me run with endurance the race that is set before me, FIXING MY EYES ON JESUS, the Author and Perfecter of my faith, Who for the joy set before Him ENDURED THE CROSS, DESPISING MY SHAME…” Hebrews 12:1-2 (Italics mine)
It Is Well- Bethel Music