Growth requires a swim in murky, dangerous waters. ~ D.A, {To Be Told}

Lately, the topics of prayer, anger and forgiveness have been coming across my path- intersecting, overlapping and creating a tangled mess in my mind… I hope the words that follow will be an unraveling that is both healing and redemptive.

After Tirzah died, I honestly have not struggled with being angry toward God… All I’ve felt toward God is an overwhelming thankfulness and deeper experience of His goodness than I’ve ever known before.

But *wow*, have I struggled with bitterness and resentments in other areas and in other relationships!! It has been a deep, dark, struggle of anguish.

I feel almost tangibly this truth: God made women to be Fierce. I believe that there is a *fierceness* inside each woman. The Hebrew word for “Helper” in the Bible (when it’s not referring to a woman), refers to God Himself…. in the context of **War**… God in battle, redeeming His people from disaster. Therefore, God’s design for women to be a “helper” is not in the category of “housekeeper” ie, one who folds laundry and cares for children… “Helper” is a category that reflects the nature of God as Redeemer… Women as “helpers” are meant to bring God’s Word into our homes and families… calling each other to the task that God is most in love with- and that is giving mercy.

And I believe that is how our God-given fierceness is meant to be lived out… as Fierce Warriors fighting the powers of darkness crouching outside and inside our homes… Fighting with the spiritual weapon of God’s Word… fighting FOR mercy, redemption, and goodness.

But… if we don’t understand this role… or we get distracted… our fierceness will be directed somewhere… and if it’s not directed at fighting against darkness and for good… it likely will be focused on people around us.

So anyway, through all this pain and anger, God has shown me that I was fighting the wrong battle.

For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms. ~ Ephesians 6:12, NLT

And so I have come to realize that all my prayers for God to use Tirzah’s life for His Kingdom, and my desire to minister to other women, will be utterly ineffectual if I allow a root of bitterness to grow or fester.

I have been reading about Rembrandt’s painting of the Prodigal Son, in a book by Henri Nouwen… I felt like this book was written just for me. The parable came alive to me… as God’s Word truly is living, and active, it pierced my soul.

Here is the story in Luke 15: The Parable of the Prodigal Son

{In this story, notice that both sons are lost, and have left the presence of the Father}

photo 2And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them.

Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living.
And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need.
So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.
“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger!
I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”‘
And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.
And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
But the father said to his servants,’ ,’Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet.
And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate.
For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.
Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing.
And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant.
And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’
But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends.
But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’
And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.
It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.'”

God has brought me through a process of “cleansing the temple”… He has been uncovering the dark areas of my heart and “turning tables” in a sense, to bring the darkness of my sin, into the light… Showing me that my anger has been like that of the Elder brother… and through this journey He has brought me to my knees… back to the posture of the Prodigal child.

In his book, Henri Nouwen says:
“The parable that Rembrandt painted might well be called “The Parable of the Lost Sons.” Not only did the younger son, who left home to look for freedom and happiness in a distant country, get lost, but the one who stayed home also became a lost man. Exteriorly he did all the things a good son is supposed to do, but, interiorly, he wandered away from his father. He did his duty, worked hard every day, and fulfilled all his obligations but became increasingly unhappy and unfree… Outwardly, the elder son was faultless. But when confronted by his father’s joy at the return of his younger brother, a dark power erupts in him and boils to the surface. Suddenly, there becomes glaringly visible a resentful, proud, unkind, selfish person…

Nouwen wrote of the elder child: “Here, I am confronted with my own true poverty. I am totally unable to root out my own resentments. They are so deeply anchored in the soil of my inner self

Can the elder brother in me come home?

More daunting than healing myself as the younger son, is healing myself as the elder son. Confronted here with the impossibility of self-redemption, I now understand Jesus’ words to Nicodemus: “Do not be surprised when I say: you must be born from above.” Indeed something has to happen that I myself cannot cause to happen. I cannot be reborn from below; that is, with my own strength, with my own mind, with my own psychological insights. There is no doubt in my mind about this because I have tried so hard in the past to heal myself from my complaints and failed… and failed… and failed, until I came to the edge of complete emotional collapse and even physical exhaustion. I can only be healed from above, from where God reaches down. What is impossible for me is possible with God… I must be found and brought home by the Shepherd who goes out to me.

So how do we forgive others? By coming to Jesus for forgiveness and recognizing that we ourselves are forgiven. This is how to not hold grudges, how to not be bitter. It’s that simple, but at the same time impossible apart from God.

I believe God has allowed this journey to show me a glimpse of the depths of evil that my heart is capable of apart from grace… and thus to bring me back to the posture of the Prodigal son… to my knees, clinging desperately to Him for lifewhen i am clinging to HIM, I’m not reaching out for what others owe me (isn’t that what anger is, in essence: making someone PAY?)… I’m allowing his comforting, welcoming embrace to enfold me (because I see my NEED for it afresh)… THIS is the posture that prevails with God in prayer. This is the posture where I abide in Christ… and experience the fullness of unity, which allows me to in turn MIRROR the welcoming embrace of the Father for others.

Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. ~ Romans 15:7

There IS grace for the Elder child in me to come home *one day at a time*; grace upon grace. EACH DAY I must see the Elder child in my heart, and surrender to the kneeling posture of the Prodigal child, abiding in the embrace of God. This is the only way to enter the *true* battle (instead of brother-against brother) and to prevail against darkness. The battle will be fought and won on my knees… Clinging to Christ.

First of all, I love Jesus. I am a wife to an amazing man, and mother of three: my 5 year old son Jeremiah, 1 year old son Judah, and my daughter, Tirzah, now 3 years, is waiting for me in the gardens of Heaven. I am also a Veterinarian. The goal of my blog: Creating community around an honest journey through the joy and grief of life. Blog Topics: Child loss and grief; Attachment Theory in Parenting; Mental Heatlh; Christian Theology and Ministry; Veterinary Medicine; and Community Stories.

2 Comment on “Dangerous waters

  1. Pingback: Do you love me? : Every child’s question – delightofmylife

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