Behind the Scenes

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

So, you may have seen that last week I wrote this article for Venn Magazine, titled "Divorce is Always an Option".  In it, I very vulnerably describe some emotions I felt when I walked through my own divorce several years ago, and how that has impacted my current marriage in a powerful way.

Choosing marriage daily is vital in a world where we are bombarded with options.  Options for who to love, where to invest our time, how to be a better person, why to choose a certain religion, or deciding what I think is best for me based on mostly feelings-in-the-moment.  Options are everywhere all the time.  THIS is why I wrote the article.  To help myself (and maybe others!) remember the COST of some of the options that are so enticing.

It was a hard article to write, and it had been in my brain and heart for a couple years - percolating and waiting to find just the right time and place to post my heart-on-a-platter story.  Venn does a great job at giving "both sides to a story"and uniting ideas that seemingly contradict each other, so I jumped at the opportunity when they liked my pitch for the article.

While I have zero shame attached to my divorce story (thanks to the grace of God and quality therapy), it's never easy to depict such a grief-stricken, brokenhearted time in my life.  I have to wade through the rolodex of memories in the back of my mind, plucking out emotions that I haven't felt in many years, and "relive" them in a sense as I do my best to genuinely convey an honest tale.

So, I almost didn't write it.  I mean, who wants to go there?

It's so easy to leave pain in the foreign land of forgotten memories and let it just rot and die there with the rest of my attachments to that time in my life.  It's long over.  I've obviously moved on.  So, there must be something wrong with me if I'm willing to pick at the wound that's merely a scar that's easily hidden.

Too easy.  And, just like that hidden scar, I kind of wanted to hide this article and not let anyone know about it.

Guys, up until the very day this article hit the web, I doubted it's impact.  Even though these words had been brewing in me for a long time, I was ready to let it skate by unnoticed and not very willing to let God use them however He wanted.  I thought "Eh, maybe I won't tweet about this article or post it on Facebook.  Maybe I'll just let strangers stumble upon it and see what happens."  But, God stirred my heart and so I threw those words out into the light - and oh, God used those words.

The day the article hit the web, I received more emails, more comments, more "shares" than maybe anything I'd ever written before.  Hearts were touched and reminded of the hope that pain and progress hold; and I was put in my place for ever having doubted God's timing for those words.

Satan LOVES insecurity.  Sometimes I think it must be his favorite game to play with us.  And more often than not, I find myself lost in the forest of temptation, bombarded by worries about "What if..."and soon traveling down the path towards "I doubt..."

I'm giving you this behind-the-scenes look into the wild mind of a freelance writer, because I don't want you to read or see that article and think for a second that "Wow, she can just unzip her heart and put it out there for all to see and never have any question!  She must be so confident and trust God all the time!"  Surprise - I'm human.  And full of irrational worries that God holds and molds into something useful that I can actually benefit from.

It's the ugly vessel that is used most often.  I'm learning this over and over again as I continue to ask God to pour and pour and pour through my fingertips.  The more I reveal, the more I fling back the curtain so you all can see the heart that's being molded, the more I feel God can actually use me for His purpose instead of my own.

It's not easy to get gritty and honest with ourselves.  It's even harder to share that with others.  But, looking inside is not the same as looking back.

The pain of the past changes us, and to put away that pain forever would be a misuse of an opportunity to further ourselves, reach out to others, and acknowledge the new abilities of a malleable heart.  Don't tuck away that opportunity forever if you have something in your heart that God is working on.  Ask God to give you the courage and time to reveal those wounds when they can be used for His purpose.  Maybe it's alone in a therapy room speaking with someone confidentially, or maybe it's on a public forum for everyone to see (I do both!)

I'm going to share with you one of my all-time FAVORITE passages out of the Bible.  Yes, it's long.  Ok, it's an entire chapter...but, if you've stuck with me this far, you can keep going.  Let the words sink into your bones.  Let the message reach your heart.  Let God work IN you.  It's uncomfortably comforting, and I pray you'll be blessed from it's truth:

2 Corinthians 4 New International Version (NIV)  [Bold added]

Present Weakness and Resurrection Life

Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”[a] made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

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