hidden

There’s that sewing project again, sitting atop my dresser, still unfinished, still less than perfect, still holding claim to my agenda.

Turn the corner, see the dishes piled high, food still caked on.

Catch sight of the time. Guests set to arrive any moment.

Dash to a mirror. Find humidity’s evidence left in my hair.

Stressed, I lose it with my tiny one and watch hurt wash over her face.

I melt,

but the tugging of the Spirit is quickly replaced with the sound of company knocking.

And as I open the door to usher in the guests my chest tightens as I recognize an uninvited member among them: anxiety, that unwelcome guest that accompanies my keenly felt insecurities.

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Failure’s proof without, no matter how small or insignificant, has long turned my attention to failure’s evidence within. Triggered by something as small as a casual disapproving comment throws me into a cycle of regret over past mistakes, embarrassing moments, missed opportunities, and broken relationships. Rehearsing my broken past and shattering present sinks me into despair.

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And I want to run. I want to retreat. Cover up. Shut the door. Pretend.

Hide.

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So it is that whenever I have no other resort, nothing left with which to cover up my mistakes, that I run.

I once went so far as to tell a boy that I would “do him the service of withdrawing my company” after he pointed out that I was complaining a lot, truly believing it would be a kindness to him to not be around me anymore.

But I had deceived myself. It wasn’t about his comfort, but about my discomfort at the exposure of my sin.

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Pouring out my heart to my husband and my Heavenly Father about these things, I knew something was wrong, but had little idea of how to fix it.

I’ve tried being perfect . . . but that plan was doomed to failure.

I’ve tried being a hermit . . . but that doesn’t fit into the whole “Go make disciples” plan very well.

I’ve tried not caring what people think . . . but I was cranky and unfeeling all the time, as I found that not feeling rejected meant I had to emotionally “unplug” altogether.

I’ve even tried telling myself that I’m a new creation, beloved, and accepted by God . . . but somehow the words never made it to my heart.

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But this past Sunday as I stood there joining my voice with the gathered church, in a room full of broken, rejoicing, hope-filled hallelujas, the Spirit grabbed ahold of me and spoke into my void.

You don’t have to hide because you are already hidden.

“You have died. And your life is hidden with Christ in God” {Col. 3}.

I “will cover you . . . and under [my] wings you will find refuge” {Ps. 91}.

“Fear not, for you will not be ashamed;

be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced;

for you will forget the shame of your youth,

and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.

For your Maker is your husband,

the Lord of hosts is his name;

and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,

the God of the whole earth he is called.

For the Lord has called you

like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit,

like a wife of youth when she is cast off,

says your God.

For a brief moment I deserted you,

but with great compassion I will gather you.

In overflowing anger for a moment

I hid my face from you,

but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,”

says the Lord, your Redeemer. {Isaiah 54:4-8}.

Can it be that I no longer have to cover myself because Christ has already covered me? Could it possibly be true that I can own my mistakes rather than excusing them because my Father has owned/claimed me?! Can it be that “though all around my soul gives way, he is all my hope and stay?”

My righteousness.

My perfection.

My advocate.

My beauty.

My joy.

My peace.

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He spoke and there was light, creating in me a new heart. And that evening and morning was a new day, realizing anew the goodness of my Creator’s work in me.

What freedom is mine!

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New and surprising fruit was the final topic of the How People Change study, and since the Spirit presented me with an opportunity to share my personal experience of fruit with you, I decided to make it into the final post in this series. If you’ve missed out on any of the earlier posts feel free to click the image below!

HPCF

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Photography by Carol Stewart. Minor editing by me.

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5 comments

  1. Stephen Green · · Reply

    I love the way you wrote that. It adds a touch of real life perspective.

    Thank you.

    1. That is so encouraging! Thank you! It was just so kind of the Spirit to teach me like that, and I wanted to share that encouragement with others.

  2. Thanks Susanna! That’s also and easy trap for me to slide into. That scripture is perfect.:) Like your blog!

    1. Heather!! So glad it encouraged you friend! You know I miss you so much and you reading this was like we got have a little heart to heart almost 🙂 Thank you!

  3. I love that Bible verse! It makes me realize how much greater God is than my shame–just like you said in this post. Thanks for being real. I’m glad to know I’m not the only imperfect one : ) Thanks for sharing this! By the way, I love all your photos! Just beautiful!

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