From Monday through Thursday last week, I was joined by two of my closest friends for a road trip three hours north to the Mendocino area of California. One came from Seattle, the other from Rochester, NY. Both were overjoyed to see sunshine.
I’ve posted a more detailed photo journal on FB, I have a more private story to tell here.
On the drive north, we discussed hopes and expectations for our time together. I admitted that I knew I needed to process my disappointment with God, but wasn’t sure what that might look like. When we got to the cabin, I was close to shutting down. I love my friends, but hadn’t realized how much I’ve withdrawn from people in the last couple months. A whole day with two other personalities was taxing my internal resources. They both asked if I was ok, and I explained that it wasn’t them at all, I was just peopled out. I made dinner and then retreated up to the loft to journal and then go to sleep.
The next day, I picked up a book I found in the cabin. (We stayed at a place called “The Lord’s Land”. A hippie commune from the 1970’s that’s now run by Youth with a Mission.) The author, Floyd McClung, has lived all over the world with his family, including raising his kids in the red light district of Amsterdam. With a title, “The Father Heart of God” (or something), I wasn’t expecting much that would help me. He had a chapter on dissappointment with God. I flipped there and started skimming through.
The short version is that the antidote to disappointment, when you want to shake your fist and ask “Why?!”, is humbling yourself. It’s taking time to sit in front of God and confess your brokeness and confusion. It’s time to check in with Him about what he wants to do in the midst of it all. Part of my fear about processing all this has been that I don’t have a model for how to handle the times when it feels like a set up only to be knocked down. My husband has withdrawn, my mother remained bitter and angry, my father just gets up and keeps going. None of those work for me.
Humble myself? Hmm...
We went out that day and hiked around. While sitting at the beach watching harbor seals, I silently asked the Lord what he wanted me to do. I heard a phrase in my head, “Ask them to minister to you.” Ugh. Really? Ugh. I don’t like being in the needy position (what if I’m let down or rejected?). I hate asking for help.
That night, I asked if they would. They were both happy to do so. One said, “That’s kind of cool, last night I sensed I was supposed to wash your feet.” Another internal thud. UGH. In many ways, I’m not worried about what people think about me. One place where I still feel embarrassed is my feet. I have a really bad toenail fungus that’s invaded all ten toenails. (Thanks, Mom, I got it from you!) In the summer, I paste on fake toenails, paint them and go on my merry way. In the winter, I don’t bother. During a foot washing, they would see my toes in all their glory.
Humble yourself. Even more.
Some guitar. Some singing. A beautiful solo (not by me!). Then they prayed for me. Some of what I remember them praying:
“I keep hearing the phrase ‘a yearning heart’. I think the Lord wants to restore that for you. Lord, please show her what to yearn for. How to hope. What to hope for.”
“Beauty, strength, endurance. They’ve become turned around in your head. Lord, I pray that you would restore those to OTRgirl as good things, not bad things you’re inflicting on her.”
After praying for a while, they washed my feet, dried them, and gave me a foot rub with lotion. I kept my eyes closed and thought about how blessed I am to have friends where I felt safe making the choice for humility.
Before this trip, every day was weighed down with a heavy, lethargic, goupy feeling. I just didn’t care, didn’t want to bother, didn’t want to invest in anyone or anything. Since we’ve returned, I can feel a shadow of that feeling fluttering around the outside of my mind, but it’s not living inside anymore.
Humble yourself and He will lift you up. Indeed.