Grief Guided Me to An Anchor of Hope.
I sat quietly this morning, sipping my warm coffee and allowing my thoughts to wander about the upcoming work week, my family, my dreams and life. I thought about how the world around has changed and I am certain, if you're reading this, your world has changed too.
So much division over this past year over an array of issues. Politics, masks, vaccines, race, gender, freedoms, and religions just to name a few. My thoughts began to overwhelm me at the massive changes I have seen in people, myself included. It's as if the whole human race is suddenly offended at an opposite viewpoint, another's beliefs, and we seem to be falling for an array of lies. I began looking within at my own heart to see if I could discover any lies that I may be falling for that could hurt someone else. All I was able to discover on my own was that I basically had my own belief system that differed from another. I soon realized that what we used to call diversity is now called division.
I had to delve a little deeper and I had to begin to ask some hard questions. Am I judging another based on what they believe? Do I push my beliefs on others without seeing theirs first? I mean, let's face it, we all come from different backgrounds, different belief systems, different religions, and different cultures. I began to recall what I was taught about life and how to treat others. An old phrase popped into my mind - "Do unto others and you would have others do unto you." I heard my mother's voice as she whispered in my spirit, "Be kind." "Bite your tongue until it cracks." "Don't judge anyone based on their outer cover." "When you feel confused, talk to God about it, God does not give us a state of confusion, He gives us the truth, so read your Bible and seek the truth."
So, I did. I read, prayed and asked God to simply show His truths. He did through the words written on those thin sheets of paper, that I had underlined, highlighted, and circled throughout the years. Passages that I had read over and over, suddenly had new meanings within my inner soul. His name is Jesus and He alone is my blueprint for life. He spoke with such wisdom and clarity. He spoke with certainty, love and compassion. He knew how to discern spirits and taught me many valueable lessons in which to live my life. I can only hope I could do it as perfectly as He did, but I simply fall short daily. His mercy endures forever - So I seek it, and confess my short-comings and ask for forgiveness daily, as I cannot even make through a 24 hour day without falling short.
Whether you believe their is an enemy of your soul that wants to kill, steal and destroy or not, is your decision alone. It is certainly not my place to push what I believe on anyone. I have been in the enemies grips and my entire life fell apart because of it. A pastor once asked me, "Describe your earthly father in two words." I immediately spoke out and said, "Abusive and abandoning." He looked at me and said, "Did you know that is how you see the Heavenly Father?" I had to admit it, he was absolutely right. That very day, I began to look within and the anger, rage and unforgiveness I had within my own heart. My heart was ugly and because of the hurt I held onto, I hurt those around me.
I took an inventory of hurts that I was holding on to and the losses that had been taken away - some of my own doing. I began to realize that I had stopped praying and seeking God to show me His truths in life. He did. As I walked with the Lord, and he showed me all the unforgiveness, bitterness, hatred, and inner vows I had made to myself. My heart was completely open and exposed of nothing but filth. I wept to think I had allowed this to enter and consume me. Alone, I didn't know where to begin to rid myself of all the darkness I was being shown.
So I asked the Lord to help me begin the healing process. He came through as He began to provide new friendships that knew Him personally that prayed with and for me as I healed. He provided resources that I could never provided for myself. I saw signs and wonders all around me for the first time in my life. I realized that we were all on a different journey in life and He was at the helm of it all. Guiding, directing, whispering and protecting. It would all be in His divine timing, not ours.
I look at the world today as it appears to be falling apart all around us. The division we are witnessing as the news media feeds us all the worst case scenarios about the human race. We witnessed riots, destruction that we have never seen before and felt helpless. We witnessed how many children were being rescued from human trafficing and it made us sick to our stomachs. We watched helplessly as family owned businesses who had given their life's saving to serve their communities, close permanently. Dreams shattered and families locked within the confines of their homes. If you're like me, you researched on your own and discovered how family and domestic violence increased. Suicides among our military sky rocketed as well as high school aged suicides soared.
We all witnessed the confusion of the pandemic as numbers were rising and falling, and our health care professionals worked tirelessly to find the answers and the cure. We were told that this is our new normal by leaders and that we all just had to adjust to it. Many of us didn't want to make the adjustments we were told. Some of us were led to do what they told us to do.
We began to do what us humans do and seek to place blame on others. We bashed our president, past and present and it continues to this day. Some prayed for those leading our country, others chose hatred. None of us felt in contol and we lashed out at the world around us. Trying to change another's viewpoint is like trying to brush the fangs of a rattlesnake. Sooner or later, we all got bit with the venom. We lost friends or family members over it, because it hurts to get bitten by someone you love and cared about.
So we did what we were taught about loss and we isolated yet again to tend to our wounds, alone. The poison raged and consumed many of us. Social media added to it as we read about what another chose to believe and unfriended or blocked people because we didn't want to see another's point of view. We were all wearing the badge that screamed, "My way or the highway!" Many of what we saw was based in hatred if we're honest about it. Yet, as each day passes, we continue to remain isolated from others, mainly out of fear that we don't say something wrong to offend, upset, or rock the boat. We are pushing our own agenda on others whether we are right or wrong. I mean let's face it, we are in the storm of our lives. We question who's at the helm of this ship and are they capable of guiding us back to unity.
Personally, I just see a hurting world filled with fear, confusion, and offenses. We all lick our wounds differently, but if we lick them too long, they will never fully heal and we open the wound to grow deeper with the infection. Personally, I am looking within my own heart this morning. Asking, yet again, for God to help me be a better person and to let go of the offenses. Staying off of social media, and turning off the local news helps me. Maybe it's because I am sick of looking at all the ugliness the world is showing me behind the screen. I am making my own choice to simply turn it off. There is too much beauty in this world and all I have to do is get off the couch, walk out the door and discover it for myself. I am tired of living in fear and confusion so I chose to lay that all down.
Grief is the new pandemic and I have seen that hurting people, hurt people. I was one of them not so long ago. I read an article that stated that 43% of Americans are seeking professional help for grief. That's pretty alarming to me. I Googled, "What does the Bible say about grief" Here's what came up for me:
Grief is temporary, as are these bodies. And like the Lord Jesus, even in grief we do not lose hope in God. Jesus, mourning, knew that the day is coming “when all tears are wiped away” (Revelation 7:17, 21:4 ESV). And so our Lord Jesus did not grieve as one without hope, and neither do we.
It's so amazes me that I had already chosen the title of this blog to read, 'Grief Guided Me to An Anchor of Hope.'
So I have to ask, where is your anchor of hope planted?