I've felt like I've gotten a big ol' kick in the pants over the last couple of weeks. I've been wrestling heavy thoughts in my head and battling nasty sickness in my body (also known as walking pneumonia).
I don't recommend either.
Now, I will say my few days away at the beach with my BFF last week were just wonderful. Quite honestly, I think I'd be going crazy right now without that short bit of sanity, an "unplugging" from my life. More on that in another post, I've got a lot to catch up on.
Back to this kick in the pants. Now I'm quite deserving of said kicks in the pants when I mess up, make mistakes, say things I shouldn't, spend too much on myself, hurt someone else with words or actions, and on and on. Though those kicks hurt, they are often the good kind of reprimand, a wake up call that I'm human, a reminder I need a good dose of humble pie on a regular basis, and an opportunity to learn and grow and change. I'll take those kicks.
The kind I'm dealing with are of a different kind. These kicks come when I've done something I consider "good," or in Christian-ese language, what we'd call "God's way," what the Bible calls us as believers to do. And instead of receiving something "good" in return, I feel that all I get is a kick in the pants, a kick that bruises deep, inflicts pain. These kicks are no fun, unexpected, and if left untreated, can leave deep open wounds that never heal.
One such kick is this pneumonia. Now don't be feeling all sorry for me...it's not the first time I've had it, yep I was that "sickly" kid growing up. It does limit my lung capacity, leaving me easily fatigued. It's more annoying than anything. And it was brought on by doing something I thought was a "good deed." I volunteered to help with our 900+ preschoolers who came through our church on Easter Sunday; I was placed in a room with 34 toddlers, a least a third with snotty noses. Not so good. I came down with a cold a couple days after, and after a week of not getting better, a trip to the doctor confirmed my cold had traveled to my lungs. How's that for a kick in the pants?
Surely, I'll recover, yet left untreated, I could easily be like one of those old people who are hospitalized by pneumonia. My Pop had that once; it was awful.
Now, my heavy thoughts, these hard kicks not just to my pants, but to my heart. Well, now those I need to battle, I need to wrestle with, I need fight for victory over, no matter how hard that kick penetrates. If not, they could very well lead to bitterness, and bitterness left to itself can destroy the soul.
They have left me weak, but I'm not backing down. Jesus overcame the world; surely, with His Spirit living in me, I will overcome these thoughts.
I will simply say that these thoughts stem from feeling as if I entered into marriage with Tony following God's way, God's holy design for one of the greatest gifts He created. My healthy fear of the Lord, and surrounding myself with friends committed to the same values, would not allow me otherwise. Marrying Tony and the 23 months that followed were absolutely beautiful, blissful; it was a God-orchestrated love story. And I would not trade it in for anything. Anything.
And then, poof; it was gone. In a second. Without any warning. Gone.
How's that for a kick in the pants? A kick that could have very well destroyed me, left me for dead, well at least dead in my heart.
I've cried myself to sleep many nights, clamoring through my tears, "But, God, I did this right."
But God, in His all-knowing ways, has not left me to battle alone. He is with me as my Commander in Chief. He is pointing me to Scripture to help make sense of this all. He's putting folks in my path who don't try to explain it away, they just let me vent, without judgment.
I feel as if I know in my head the right answers to bring me to victory; my heart has not yet caught up. And tonight as I prepared for bed, feeling as if I'm coughing up my lungs, fearing this heaviness in my head will visit me in my dreams, a poem I memorized as a teenager popped into my mind.
It was "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost. My two roads "diverged" are one of the world's ways and one of God's ways. I took the "narrow road," the one "less traveled by" when it came to marriage.
And though I'm reeling from what feels like a constant kick in the pants, a blow to my soul, I will unwaveringly hold to my belief, as it says at the end of the poem, "And that has made all the difference."
And the difference is good. And the difference is found in Jesus.
Dearly loved, with shoe marks from kicks to my pants,