Jesus’ Embrace

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Photo by Debby Ledet on Unsplash

I’m flabbergasted the way my LORD moves in this world. When my eyes are “open” and I need encouragement sometimes I don’t even have to ask for it. I was waiting on my daughter to finish Cross Country practice today, and I was gazing out my van window, and two birds flew by. I was also gazing at the clear skies with beautiful puffy clouds.

I’m dealing with some negatives right now that to be honest with you grounded me today. I don’t know how I got the house and laundry cleaned. I was dragging all day. Until I read Caralyn’s latest post moments ago I didn’t have one reason to write, but she gave me many. Recovery is a life long process, and I’m thankful for the ones I share it with on here. I just texted my friend Ruth for her blog address, and her latest gave me further reasons to write from the pain.

My personality profile would educate you on my poor ability to take criticism. I internalize it. Failure is debilitating, and rejection is remembered for years if not for the rest of your life. I don’t know if that’s art portraying life because of the influence of The Godfather, but either way it is what it is. My anger management saga drove me into this most fierce battle with depression in the early 2000’s. I’m not going to write about the trigger or chains associated with that, but suffice it to say all parties involved did not give me those chains to hold. As a first born I took hold of them, and I’ve not dropped them 19 years later. The Shack resonated with me loudly when I read that, and stories of forgiveness continue to redeem my thinking as I walk with Jesus down this road. It’s a lonely dark road as only I can experience what floats between my ears, but coming here to lament the pain is such a release and “joy” that I’ve many times thanked our Father for my blog.

It’s a paradox isn’t it? There you go again Daniel using the word paradox! It’s such a good word! The paradox of anger, revenge, justice and fairness in life, yet you can’t force anyone to do your will. God doesn’t even force us to do His will. Why do we think we can make people do what we want them to do day after day? I can only assume it’s the same thing Paul dealt with when he wrote about the good he wanted to do but did not do. It’s simple for believers because we know it’s sin, so when I want to follow someone in traffic who angers me and beat the crap out of them I know nothing good can come of that. Am I going to beat them into submission with my fists? What a joke! Same goes for flipping them a bird. That might get me shot one day. People are going to choose to do what they do whether I confront them about it or not. I need to follow Ma’s advice and ignore bad behavior. Easier said than done. I offer Scripture up from memory all day long, and I pray always, but those two things seem to pale in comparison to the talons that dig into my neck.

I know I’m not the only one to traverse this terrain. I just gazed at a beautiful verse above this computer.

Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence. Psalm 42.5 

I identify with Kings Saul and David. The music from David’s harp soothed the anguish inside King Saul, but like Paul, David knew well the path of not doing the good he wanted to do.

Trying to achieve greatness in the midst of mental illness is hard, but trying to attain it in the throes of sin is impossible. Then I remember that greatness has already been offered apart and way above all the work of my hands in the life, death, burial, resurrection and continual presence of Jesus Christ through the Pneuma.

I found myself wanting a sign from the Father of His presence, and though there was no visible sign to my eyes I felt His presence as I feel it now here in this place. He truly is Emmanuel, and even though sin may “block” that presence I know it doesn’t. He views me through the blood of His only son, my brother, who laid down his life for payment to a debt I could never pay. I’ve been a Christian for 36 years now, and I still can’t wrap my head around it, but I’m so glad He did that for me nonetheless.

Do you remember the woman in the Bible who had the bleeding disorder for many years? Her thinking was that if she could just touch the hem of his garment that she would be healed, and she hit the nail on the head didn’t she? That thought came from an internal place. I know I let so many things outside of me control me. The narcissistic driver, the affluent housewife, and the entitled college student have received my judgement. I’ve leveled the gavel many times on people like that.

Would that be the case if I began to live a life like that women? If I became so inward driven that nothing outside could rattle me to unravel me? As a warm blooded white male first born surrender is not something I identify with even though I’m on my knees everyday scrubbing toilets. I’m still very prideful and angry when things don’t go my way. I’m driven the places I never thought I’d be. I see signs of my struggle with mental illness since the third grade, but I lived a sheltered life long enough that the repercussions were kept at bay. Now I’m out here in the real world trying to learn first hand what it means to be a follower of Christ. Sometimes I look just the opposite.

But I know He hasn’t given up on me. I long to be embraced by him because I know there were real human beings across the pond who felt his human touch and embrace. There will come a day when ma, pa, grandma and aunt Sue will smile at me when they see me hug Jesus, and I can’t think of a better place to close this post.

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