Friday, March 14, 2014

Papercut of the Heart...and Permission to "be"

Anyone who's had a papercut understands the lingering sting it leaves behind.  It may not bleed or cut too deep, but it marks us with the reminder that we've rubbed up against something the wrong way.  Life, too, has a way of quickly and suddenly rubbing up against us when we least expect it.  Leaving in us, a papercut of the heart.

We may go a while forgetting that that cut even exists.  That is, until life rubs up against us again.  It seems to always cut the same finger, doesn't it?  Or, we may temporarily lose memory of our wound until the saltiness of life reminds us that it is indeed still there.  And that all familiar sting throbs through us once again.  I wish there was a bandaid for that.

Last night I was blessed by a friend to go to the Casting Crowns concert. My hubby was behind this surprise and ok'd it ahead of time, even though the concert was the same day as his birthday.  Recent happenings in life have exposed certain papercuts of my heart.  And I sat at that concert feeling torn.  Half of my heart was at home with my husband and my family, the bandaid that covers and soothes that newfound sting.  The other half of me willed to be fully present in the moment, soaking in the gift of friendship and music as it ministered to my wounded soul.

The work of His Spirit gets down deep to not only clean and cover all wounds, but heal them too.

I've found that this life is filled with moments of feeling cut and torn. Some days, a war wages within me trying to tear God's truth into shreds.  My mind battles between thoughts of life and death. Constructive and destructive.  Futile and faithful.  Truth and lies.  Big, fat, ugly ones.  Ultimately, I get to choose which side to fight on.  In all honesty, some moments I'm tempted to join the team that appears to be a fully-equipped army in which I have no hope in winning against. Even though I know victory won't ever occur on that side of the battlefield.

A messy misfit.

There are days when life around me appears to be a savory steak, cooked to perfection, and served up on fine china.  And I feel like a cheap cut of raw hamburger plopped down on a paper plate.  Definitely not your grade A meat.

But rather marbled in flaws.
Rough around the edges.
A fat, bloody mess.

There are moments when I get overwhelmed too easily.  Anger too quickly.  And cringe when I look in the mirror.  Some days I am too melodramatic and take on a "glass half empty" view of life.  I hate these things about me.  At times I wrestle with feeling forgotten, rejected, isolated, unrelateable, and that I just don't plain measure up.  That I am failing completely in every area of life, and just barely keeping my head above water.  Inadequate, incompetent, insecure.  That there's just no place for me.  No right fit for chuck beef amongst a world of savory filets. That life looks at me with disdain and regretfully whispers, "Sorry, we tried, but this just isn't working out. We are going to have to move on without you.  You are no longer needed or wanted in this circle.  There's just too much wrong with you.  What could you possibly have to offer for our benefit?  But anyways, feel free to get back with us when you have things more together and life figured out." Convincing lies.  On days like this it feels as if I just plopped that papercut heart into a heaping bowl of salt.

My feelings, fickle and foolish.
My thoughts, threatening and thick.

I know I have a choice to make:  Will I be convinced by lies or convicted by truth?

As I sat and wrestled through these feelings at the concert last night, wading in a sea of unspoken longings and achings of the heart, I felt God's presence swoop in and meet me with understanding.  He gets it. He gets me and all of my messiness.  And in that moment, I felt peace as He gave me permission to just "be..."

To be broken.  To be messy.  To be flawed.  He reminded me that although I feel like a broken jagged piece that doesn't fit perfectly into the puzzle of life, maybe this is the way He wants me.  And accepts me. That it's ok to be completely broken.  (And reminded of it regularly.)

For my very brokenness is what He uses to keep me connected to Him.

And though I may not fit the mold, my broken jagged heart is being held with care and precision in His hands.  It fits beautifully into the mosaic He's creating over me as He positions me perfectly into His plan. These pieces need to be chiseled and broken in order for Him to shine more brilliantly through me.  As this truth sunk in, I felt covered in His love. As if He just came in, took me into His arms, and wrapped me in a big, giant, holy hug.

A warm embrace and truth spoken can solder brokenness of many kinds.

I learned this today as I picked my youngest up from preschool.  She was solemnly quiet as we departed from the school parking lot. Moments after we pulled away, she melted into tears and her brave walls began to crumble and fall. Apparently, it was "a horrible, miserable day."  Someone did not get the class "Me Bag."  I tried to console her on the car ride home, but my words didn't help much. Another day, another week, another disappointment, and another papercut of the heart.

When we got home, I knew only one thing to do.  I picked her up, held her tight in my arms, and rocked her slowly.  As I gently stroked the back of her head, I whispered into her ear, over and over again, that I loved her and that it was going to be ok.  That sometimes life is hard, but that I would always be there for her to pick her up and carry her through.  As she cried in my arms, I fought back tears myself because I understood the ache of "hard," the sting of the heart as she watched her name be passed over once again and that deep longing within her went another day unfulfilled.  I understood.

I asked her if she was hungry or if there was anything she needed. But, she couldn't answer.  She just pulled me closer and cried into my shoulder.  Sometimes we can't put words to the hunger we feel within, and we find ourselves helpless to articulate our deepest needs.  So, I curled up beside her on the couch, pulled her close, and just gave her permission to "be."  I knew just what to do in that moment, because this is exactly what the Lord had done for me the night before.

As I held her in a hug and spoke truth into her heart about my love for her, my little four year soon calmed and settled.  She nestled me closer, hugged my neck in her tiny hands, and wouldn't let go.  A few eskimo kisses later and she was smiling again, ready for lunch.

There are times when all we really need is His presence, and we find comfort in simply knowing that He is near.

Whether a deep bleed or a papercut of the heart, I've learned that the best place to go for comfort and understanding, is right into the arms of our Father.  Where He waits for us to come.  Loves and accepts us as is. And gives us permission to just "be."  Broken, messy, and altogether His.

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