Messy Heart Work

“Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about; See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong— then guide me on the road to eternal life,” (Ps. 139:23-24, MSG)


Quite fitting that I’m currently making a mess with gesso crafting hearts. My heart is full of confessing today after 24 hours of physical pain and this morning’s Lent devotional. Lent is for turning, repenting, and part of that is confessing to God the way things are. So the truth of the matter is I’m stubborn and full of doubt.

After the difficult pregnancy that ended in life and death in 2013, I reached a new place in surrendering to God. I experienced His grace and love in a new way and journeyed into new levels of trust…except with my body. I didn’t surrender my physical pain. That was mine. And for two full years I lived with chronic, hidden pain in my leg and back. It was my crutch, my curse, my last and most intimate physical connection to son I had taken on all I could for.

It was in studying His Word and truly listening to His voice last year that I moved from fear and pain into freedom.  And if you’ve been following along I started exercising last year in trusting Him to strengthen my body that had become weakened by pain and the ways I’d over compensated on one side to protect the other. My workouts were going well until growing hurts made it clear I needed physical therapy.

I made progress last fall and saw improvements, but we had much work still to do. And then my insurance company stopped covering the therapy, saying I was “well enough.” Fast forward to a new calendar year this January and a new doctor, and I’ve been back in with a new PT who has been amazing. In two visits I felt better than I’d felt in years, and we’ve been working hard every week to maintain the alignment of my hips and strengthen my core and my leg.

So when I found myself barely able to walk on a sweet date with my honey last night, I was stunned. Not this old pain, it can’t be! But there it was, back with a vengeance.  I was able to sit and dine with my love, but by the end of the night he was helping me into bed, giving me medicine, and praying over me. As my heart cried out for healing, all the lies came rushing back–you deserve this pain, you’ll always be broken, you’re just not good enough. By the time I drifted into a tearful sleep, doubt was winning.

Although it took some convincing, I mostly listened to hubby today and spent the day resting and waiting for my physical therapy appointment. I went in discouraged and limping, from physical pain and spiritual wrestling. I came out feeling better, but it is not until now that I’m back in my space, my war room/creative room and getting my hands messy that I get back to center. That I’m reminded again for the need to repent, to turn, to confess as a way to clean up the messy place of my heart and clear the path back into joy. It is here that I can see my failure to worship in the midst of the pain. My stubbornness. My doubt. It is here that once again I find surrender and healing.

The faith journey is just this, a journey.  Not a quick remedy or an easy fix. But there is much joy in moving forward and pressing on. In knowing you don’t stay in trouble spots as long as you did before. In turning more quickly back to the center, the God of the universe, my God, our Lord and King. So be encouraged in the midst of your pain, your doubts, your fears.  Turn. Confess. Worship. He is with us, ready to guide us on the road to eternal life. 

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