The Detox Diaries: Rock of Ages, Let Me Hide Myself in Thee

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Gentle Reader,

Since we’ve been doing this for a couple of months now, I would like to draw us back to the purpose of The Detox Diaries:

“My motivation in sharing The Detox Diaries with you has nothing to do with garnering sympathy and everything to do with the knowledge that there is someone else out there struggling along with me, someone who may wonder if Christ is worth trusting through the pain. Or someone who doesn’t even have the hope of Christ to hold on to. That struggle may not involve medical issues. Maybe it’s finances. Broken relationships. Job loss. When I have been faced with such mountains in the past, I have usually given in to defeat before ever attempting the climb. Maybe you have, too.

Not this time.

You can trust Jesus. I can trust Jesus.”

I believe that today just as strongly as I believed it then. In fact, I believe it more. I’m living it. Even though it’s hard. Even though the horizon is covered in soupy clouds. Even though I’m not sure what the next step is. Even though I can’t see where this path is going to lead.

The Lord is with me. I fling myself upon His mercy every day. He’s not going to be able to get rid of me, not that He would try. I am desperate for Him. I will lose this fight if I get stupid and arrogant and think that I can do it on my own. If faith is a crutch for weak people, well, fine. Give me the crutch. I know myself. I limp and it is only with His hand that I can walk upright.

You who read this: Do this thing. Fight this fight. Blow by blow. Come back to Jesus, over and over and over and over again. Every time a negative thought plops into your mind. Every time the news is bad. Every time that you don’t know what to do. And you know, do this thing if you’re having the best time of your life. If the sun is shining and the sky is clear. Don’t pursue the Lord only when you need or want something. Come back to Him and give Him praise. Practice in the light what you learned in the dark.

We must rely on God at all times, for He is the source of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17) as equally as He is the source of strength (Philippians 4:13). Everything we are, everything we have, is from His hand.

“He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit, and my life shall look upon the light.”- Job 33:28

Grace and peace along the way.

To read all the posts in The Detox Diaries series, go here.

The Detox Diaries: We’re in This Thing Together

Gentle Reader,

It was so hard to sit at my desk today. Focus was fleeting. The sorrow bubbled in the veins covered by the thin skin of my wrists, ready to spill out at any moment.

As soon as I got in my car, the tears began.

Naturally, I turned to Sandi Patty and the Friendship Company. This album came out in 1989. I listened to it all the time as a kid. When I found it online a few years ago, the choice was obvious. I had to buy it. Truly, this is the music I want to listen to when I’m having a tough day. There is something so rich in its simplicity. It is deeply comforting.

Please take a moment to listen. Really listen to the lyrics.

Today I would change one part of the song:

When the goin’ gets rough, the wait get’s tough…it’s okay if I am cryin’. I’ve got a friend that I can depend on! Jesus, I rely on!

As I did the whole heaving-breath, sucking-in-the-lower-lip thing, completed by the accompaniment of a snotty nose, the Holy Spirit impressed something on my heart, something that I’m going to have to hold onto fiercely in the days to come: Emotions won’t kill me. Crying won’t kill me. Better to feel the feels, have the cry and move on. Sure, maybe I’ll feel sad again shortly thereafter, but that’s okay.

We press on.

Together.

Jesus and me.

Grace and peace along the way.

To read all the posts in The Detox Diaries series, go here.

From Stillness to Shambles

IMG_20140628_214416Poor hurt, stoned dog. 

Gentle Reader,

Chris went off to be a court monitor at Hoopfest today, so I had the house all to myself for a solid 10 hours. For an introvert (or a “Very High Contemplator,” according to the KLLP), the prospect left me feeling near-giddy. I love my husband. He’s my favorite person to hang out with.

But girl needs her alone time.

I started the day with a bath and this debate between Matthew Vines and Dr. Michael Brown, which tackled the hot topic of our day: Can you be gay and Christian? Honestly, it was kind of disappointing. I didn’t think that either man got to clearly articulate his points. However, this was done on a radio show and so there wasn’t the traditional debate format of opening remarks, rebuttals, responses, questions and closing statements. Soooo…you listen. Decide for yourself.

Painted my toenails. Surfed the web for a bit. Ate a little lunch.

I found myself growing irritated as I began to think about something that happened a couple of days ago and so knew that I needed to spend some time reading Scripture. Chris and I just began studying Ezekiel together this week and I didn’t want to get ahead of him, so I turned to Revelation. This is not usually my book of choice, but I heard a sermon recently that pointed out that there’s no need to get freaked out about Revelation; the point of the book isn’t signs and symbols, it’s God Himself.

So, I read. Out loud. Nobody else was around, so why not?

Highly recommend doing this. GOD WINS. Satan is a totally defeated foe. You don’t have to be afraid of him! Read and be encouraged.

Certain parts of the book did give me pause, though. This section from Chapter 9 especially:

“…the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.” – vs. 21-21

The outright stupidity of that just stuns me. There are many ideas as to how to interpret Revelation, but one thing that is relatively clear is the fact that the people know that they are rejecting God. There isn’t any ambiguity about their choice. Why, why, would you not repent after going through all the things talked about up through that point?

I don’t get it.

Midway through my reading, my brother stopped by and we chatted for awhile. By the time he left, it was late afternoon and time for my medically-mandated cup of almost-coffee. (Baby steps, people. Baby steps). I made my way through the rest of the book while the dogs snored on. Heaved a great sigh of relief and anticipation at the closing words:

“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly.’

Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” – 22:20-21

Made myself some dinner and then thought, “It’s a beautiful evening. We should go for a walk.” Got the dogs all hitched up and had the worship music playing on my phone. We trotted out for our usual route, all three of us happy to get out a stretch our legs. Made it just about to the corner and the turning point of the trail when BAM! Out of nowhere comes this huge, white-and-gray dog. He completely bowled Benny and Blue over. (He came up on my blind side, which meant that I simply couldn’t have gotten them out of the way).

There was blood everywhere, Benny was yelping, Blue was panicking and the big dog circled around, teeth bared. He didn’t accidentally knock my dogs over. He was out to attacked them. I was shoving at the interloper, screaming at him and trying to get him to go away. He finally went across the street and the boys and I ran home as fast as we could. What really gets me about all this is that not a single person even peeked out a window. I know for a fact that the guy out tinkering on his car heard the whole thing.

When did people get so cold?

It was clear that Benny was the one who was hurt, so I put him in the tub to try and rinse some of the blood off. Blue ran and hid in his kennel, which he always does when he’s upset. I called my brother and asked him to go with me to the emergency vet since Chris wasn’t due home for another couple of hours. We got Benny down there and, after a long wait, the vet took him in for sedation and to get him cleaned up. Thankfully, he didn’t need stitches.

The vet had us return home until Benny was ready to leave, about an hour and a half later. (By this time, Chris, tired and sore from a long day of basketball, had connected with me). When we returned to the emergency vet, there was an old man sitting in the waiting area, cradling a Papillon in his arms. I asked him about his little friend; my family had owned a Papillon, Murphy, for 14 years. He said that his dog was 14 and not feeling good. He’d had a seizure.

And then he started to cry.

“He’s such a good dog.”

Well, folks, that just broke my heart. I asked the gentleman if I could pray for him and he let me. I wrapped one arm around his shoulders and patted the dog with my other hand. I asked the Lord to comfort them both and to remind them of His love for them. The man buried his face in the dog’s fur and the tears flowed freely. We parted ways as he moved up to the counter to see about treatment. He ended up taking his dog home for the night.

I really, really hope that he knows Jesus.

And now Benny and I sit here on the couch. He’s doped up and his left ear is wrapped in a bandage so that it looks like he’s got a stump sticking out of the side of his head. I am thinking about how the day went from peace to chaos in an instant. And I long for the day when:

“The tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed way.

Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’

…there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face…” – Revelation 21:3-5a, 22:3-4a

Come, Lord Jesus.

Grace and peace along the way.