Ms. Azalea survived her season of drought. She lost many leaves due to my negligence, but she rebounded well.
I decided I better do a little research to understand how to care for Miss Azalea better and I almost burst out laughing at the advice:
- Place the potted azalea during its bloom period in a spot exposed to indirect, bright light with daytime temperatures at 55 degrees Fahrenheit and nighttime temperatures between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Did I read this right? Bright sunlight with temperatures at 55 degrees? Is that even possible? Apparently I need a little more science in my houseplant care.
In learning how to heal from my past I have come across scriptures that contradict themselves much like bright sun and 55 degrees.
Many Christians have quoted Phillipians 4:8
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
And they generously apply that advice to the abuse of my past. As if “Just don’t think about it” is all I need to do to keep it at bay.
But then I hear Christ tell me in Isaiah 43:26
“Review the past for me, let us argue the matter together; state the case for your innocence.”
Lord – How do I review the past, full of evil and deceit, abuse and usury and still comply with thinking on the noble, right, pure, and lovely things?
Inside I felt like Lamentations 3:19 and 5:1
“I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.”
“Remember, LORD, what has happened to us; look, and see our disgrace.”
And I could not reconcile the opposite truths of His word.
“Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering.”
My suffering could be surmised with these words–
My experience in life seemed incongruent with who God said he was. I suffered under the struggle of being caught in an everlasting and unconditional love that would not let me go while failing to see how that love was demonstrated toward me in my past abuse.
I’m certain many of us are stuck right there. The place where who God says he is and what has happened to us does not line up.
John 14:26 promises us this:
“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
That same Spirit led me to this prayer…
Lord, I give up. I can no longer make sense of who you say you are when I am tortured inside with opposing evidence. I give you all my knowledge. I lay it down at your feet and I ask you to start over with me. I’m throwing it all out except for these truths: You are God. You sent your son Jesus to die and rise again and you have forgiven all my sin. That is all I’ve got. Rebuild in me Who You Are.
The day I prayed that prayer I began to heal – that was 22 years ago. Through enduring the suffering of reconciling my faith to the facts, I can now explain how to fulfill the apparent contradiction of Isaiah 43:26 and Philippians 4:8.
When I review my past – I still remember the abuse
But now I know that Jesus’ words (over me, about me, living in me) trump the lies that the abuse and shame planted in my soul.
This truth is what is noble, pure, lovely and good report about the memories of abuse.
A simple truth is this – Jesus said his words first.
He created me and redeemed me – the Alpha and Omega – The first and last word on who I am.
May the Holy Spirit of the Living God bring the life of Jesus Christ alive within your soul and in His supernatural way answer all the questions of your soul with specific words, dreams and memories.
Other Growing Ms. Azalea posts:
Part One – Growing Ms. Azalea, An Introduction
You nailed in in the benediction. Apparently the Holy Spirit of the Living God gave you power in the words…especially the part of Him answering questions in our dreams. I love how He does that. All in all, a wonderful recount of the beauty of surrender – it brings life and strength!
Thanks Rachel! – It was a subject I wasn’t sure I could aptly explain in less than 700 words 🙂 It touches on the struggle of everyone devastated by some wound and I hope it continues to speak to others. I hope they press in until they find the reconciliation of their on incongruencies.