Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mercy hiding in plain sight

Starting in on another read along with Marla, my heart is in a bad place. The book is 7 by Jen Hatmaker, and judging by the intro I think I will be exceptionally challenged by this book. It's not that I think I have an issue with excess in many areas of my life per se, more that I know my heart is wicked and twisted and even my non-excess is excess wrapped in self-righteousness. Romans 7:24 seems to be my refrain lately.

Marla invited us to do several things in this first week, and while I would feel more comfortable doing anything else, I think sharing my "right now" story is really what's best. Since my heart is in a bad place I think it best to just bear it out so that I can hopefully be more willing for God to work through this read along.

I doubt the mercy of God. My heart breaks to even admit that. I know that God is good, faithful, wise, holy, righteous, powerful. I preach God's mercy to our students at church, but in my heart, in my life, I fail to see it. I have come to a point of feeling like all God does is strip me down, he leaves nothing stable, nothing secure, nothing good. I've even started fearing that he will strike my husband dead because he isn't merciful enough to let me have that one good thing.

All of this is blasphemy. O Lord of glory, forgive my wretchedness, save me from myself.

The Lord gives AND the Lord takes away, I will bless his name.

I don't know why God put in my heart an overwhelming desire for children. I have no children. Even as I think that my students are stand in children, and love them passionately, I know they are not mine. The daughter I know is mine may never come home, in fact my heart is pretty sure of that fact. I sat with several moms of our students on Sunday while they chatted about life. One came to join the group and started asking questions about schools, going around the circle to let every mom have a chance to say the schooling choices for her kids. When she got to me she said something flippant which I know was just to move on to the next person, but it cut deep into my heart. In that moment I knew I was not part of the group, and I wondered if I ever would be.

I have two kinds of friends, the ones who are my age or older and have multiple children, and the ones who have no kids but are so much younger than me that I feel like I'm mentoring them. Both groups are far too busy to spend much time on friendship, and I am left in a no man's land of loneliness. Most days it's just easier to stay home, or go out and interact with strangers as I run my errands, than to reach out to the people God has placed in my life. I'm tired of pursuing friendships that no one has time for. I'm tired of trying to find commonalities with people who know they have very little in common with me. I'm tired of being lonely.

Then God gives me days where this is on repeat in my head all day long:
Let every man be considered a liar
If he doubts the goodness and faithfulness of God
- Josh Garrels

And it hits me smack between the eyes: I have spent so long wallowing in self-pity, self-gratification, self-justification, self-(everything else) that I have begun to believe lies about God. There is so much more that God needs to strip away from me, the fact that he hasn't is evidence of his mercy.

Blessed be the name of the Lord.


  1. Danielle, your heart really comes through in this post. I know I don't know you, but I sure appreciate your realness and honesty here. Loneliness is tough, oh so tough. I think Jesus understood loneliness, too.

    I love this line "There is so much more that God needs to strip away from me, the fact that he hasn't is evidence of his mercy" Oh if He dealt with all that needed stripped away in my life at once, I can't even imagine. One thing at a time.

    Will be interesting to see how He changes all of us in this read-a-long. Glad you are here and thanks for sharing your right now story!

  2. Oh, girl. First of all, my heart breaks for you as you long for little (and not-so-little) ones to mother. I'm praying today that God gives you the desire of your beautiful heart.

    And second, you stepped all over my toes with this post. "I know my heart is wicked and twisted and even my non-excess is excess wrapped in self-righteousness." Holy cow. That's me. And I'm praying God keeps working it out of me (which he's doing with Gabe's struggles).

    Your next-to-last line is perfection. "There is so much more that God needs to strip away from me, the fact that he hasn't is evidence of his mercy." Amen, amen, amen, amen!!

    Love you like crazy, and I'm praying God holds you tight today and gives you some kind of good news or glimmer of hope.

  3. i so wish we lived near one another. my childless self would take you out for coffee and give you a big ole hug!

    i struggle very much (in a different way) with being smothered by all the mommy talk that i find in church.

  4. Sweet ladies, thank you for your kind words. God is gracious to me in giving me virtual friends to soothe the times without tangible friends. Looking forward to walking through this with you all!

  5. Danielle, I wish there were words to say to take away your sorrow and your pain. So many times Christians just throw out these platitudes and cliches that are so hurtful. Just know that I am praying for you, that you will FEEL God's peace and His mercy. Just the fact that when this brief and often miserable (let's face it, sometimes it IS miserable!) life is over, He has guaranteed us a place with Him where there is no suffering.

  6. Danielle,

    Thanks for sharing where you are at. I moved to my husband's city when we got married three years ago and have had such a hard time connecting with other women here. I can so relate to feeling like you don't have much in common with those around you.

    And, I, too am terrified that God will let something terrible happen to my husband.

    Praying for you.