When we went to Blessing Ranch (I can’t say enough GREAT things about this place!) back in February for our intensive week-long counseling the therapist there had me read The Furious Longing of God by Brennan Manning. It is an amazing book, at least for me it is.
It’s been five months since Tim confessed his affair to me. The days are still hard. The pain is still deep. But life goes on and it doesn’t slow down simply because I’m having a hard day. The house is still a mess. Caleb still needs to be taken care of and played with. Bills still need to paid.
And I lose sight of all that God showed me back at Blessing Ranch. I never felt God working so much in me or feeling closer to me that in those first couple months of 2010. And I miss that. But I think it’s me who has drifted, not God.
I picked up that book the other day and read a little bit. The chapters are really short, but pack an intense punch. (If you get the book, just wait until you read the chapter entitled “Healing”. DANG!) The other day I read this. Manning writes:
“When the night is bad and my nerves are shattered and waves break over the sides, Infinity speaks. God Almighty shares through His Son the depth of His feelings for me, His love flashes into my soul, and I am overtaken by mystery. These are moments of kairos – the decisive inbreak of God’s fury into my personal life’s story.
It is then I face a monumentous decision. Shivering in the rags of my seventy-four years, I have two choices. I can escape below into skepticism and intellectualism, hanging on for dear life. Or, with radical amazement, I can stay on deck and boldly stand in surrendered faith to the truth of my belovedness, caught up in the reckless raging fury that they call the love of God. And learn to pray.”
I can’t read those words without getting teary eyed and just pray. I have to surrender to God. Those words cripple me in a good way.
It is so hard for me to REALLY understand and ACCEPT God’s love for me. I don’t know why because that is the one thing I “taught” most when I was working in ministry. Maybe I wanted so badly for others to “get it” because I wanted to “get it” so bad. Don’t get me wrong, I know it and believe it in my head. But it’s only recently that it is dripping into my heart in a real way.
I am so tempted to (to use Manning’s words) “escape below into skepticism and intellectualism, hanging on for dear life”. And that is what I so often do. I rely on my own brain to figure life out. I focus on “will Tim REALLY be able to faithful now? Will I be hurt like this again? What is going to happen with our future? Can I trust him ever again? Will I ever be doing ministry again?” I want control and I want answers. And they don’t come.
My focus becomes horizontal.
My focus NEEDS to be vertical. And that is easier said than done. But that’s why I love how Manning writes this. “Or, with radical amazement, I can stay on deck and boldly stand in surrendered faith to the truth of my belovedness, caught up in the reckless raging fury that they call the love of God. And learn to pray.”
When I let God’s love wash over me I get stronger. When I let Him fill me He controls the pain. When I put my trust in Him, not in Tim or myself, He gives me peace.
The days lately are long and the times of refreshment are far apart.
But God hasn’t left me. I am the one who has stopped running into His arms. Or calling out to Him and letting Him scoop me up when I don’t have the strength to run to Him.
I’m calling out, Abba. Hold me, Daddy. Love me. Give me the strength to let go. Thank You for Your faithfulness, Your love, Your forgiveness.