I had a meltdown the other day. You know, it was the kind that you have and are thankful that you are in the privacy of your own home because you are crying the u-g-l-y cry. Oh, except that I wasn’t in the privacy of my home, I was in the grocery store.
So I’m crying, overwhelmed with the circumstances of my life, mad at myself for the lack of patience I have with my kids, mad at God for said circumstances of my life and mad at Joseph for having such a strong faith and relationship with God – all while in the condiment aisle of the grocery store.
I was a mess.
Then I get a phone call. From an amazing friend that I’ve known for years, but hadn’t spoken to in a while because we have crazy busy lives and schedules. She tells me that she thinks of me often and always is intending to call, but life gets in the way. I totally get that. Then she tells me that she felt like God was telling her to stop allowing life to get in the way and call immediately.
It was a divine appointment.
She asks for an update and is overwhelmed by my latest news. She listens to me sob like a baby and then quietly asks me if I have been spending time in God’s Word. Of course, I haven’t been. I’m mad at God today. I don’t want to read His Word. She then, so sweetly, reminds me that it’s okay to not want to talk to Him, He can handle it. Then, ever so gently she tells me that God wants to hear my heart.
“Journal to Him,” she says. “Pour your heart out to Him, the good, the bad and the ugly. He can handle it.” Then she prayed with me and made me promise that I would get out my journal when I got home.
So I did. I walked in the door, threw the groceries on the counter and said to Joseph (with total irritation I might add), “I have to go journal to God.” Then I walked in my room and looked for my most recent journal.
Which of course I couldn’t find. So I opened my nightstand and found an old journal that had empty pages and wrote. And let me tell you, I hope that journal burns up before I die and my kids see my authentic pain poured out in words. It was ugly. Very ugly.
After I was done throwing up my feeling to God about my life, I just laid my head on my journal, exhausted. Then I looked at this old journal and wondered when the last time I wrote in it was. It was December 5th, 2005. Luke was 4 months old and Caleb was 2 ½. Joseph had just started medical school and we had just moved to DC. The whole 3 page journal entry was me pouring out my heart to God and asking him to change my heart and teach me to love Him more than I love my Joseph. Teach me to trust Him, more than my Joseph. Teach me to turn to Him for comfort and rely on Him for strength, instead of always turning to Joseph first.
Here we are almost 6 years later, me having still not learned the lesson. Joseph is still my idol. I turn to him, need him, adore him, count on him, lean on him and expect him to be my everything. Joseph comes first in my life, not God.
I can look back and see the many ways that he has tried to teach me. But as usual, I learn the hard way.
I believe our God is a jealous God. Hear me say this, I do NOT believe that he is vengeful or hateful, but lovingly jealous. He wants us to want Him FIRST. And he will work, for our benefit and because he loves us so much, to give us opportunity to remove the idols in our lives, so that we chose Him first. He has gently tried to nudge me and is kicking it up a notch. And I know that there are way more notches that He could kick it up if He wanted.
For my benefit, because He loves me.
What I love, LOVE, about God is how He works. So He is trying to get my attention and gently teach me something – that is no.kidding.hard. But in that, the way that He is going about this is not punishing Joseph. Joseph is in the best place that he has ever been in with his relationship with Jesus. God is everything to Joseph – his rock, his comfort and his shield. He simply amazes me with his love for God and his desire to be in the presence of the One that created him. It is beautiful and inspiring to see. It actually makes me jealous.
Because I want a relationship like that with God. I want to know God like that. I want God to be my everything.
You have my attention God. You have my attention.