Downsizing (Day 2 from Beside Still Waters}
I’m sorry to say but for some time now my behavior had turned into one of self-condemnation; I just couldn’t get past all that had happened. My mother’s last words to me were very hurtful, and in the state of mind I was in, I just couldn’t get past them; they rang in my ears like cymbals. I knew it really wasn’t how she felt but the more I tried to block them out the louder they became. I had led a grief support group for several years and helped others get past this same thing, yet I wasn’t able to help myself. Holding my bible over my heart I repeated the scripture the Lord had given me over and over again because it said in his word they would not return void; “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1 NKJV) I could hear myself inwardly scream the word louder and louder until it was as if a hot rod pierced my heart, then it got silent, the cymbals were gone. I could hear the words but without the pain. With tears streaming down my face all I could do was thank the Lord over and over again.
While sorting through each room one of the first things I did was start an area where I placed anything I knew we would throw away. This move was a new beginning for us and if I wanted it to be all God had for me, I knew what I had to do; symbolically I placed all my guilt and self-condemnation on the pile marked ‘to be thrown away.’
When I locked the door to the store for the last time I sat in the parking lot, I was numb, emptied out, with nothing else to give. I believed God would never be able to use me again. I had lost the store, the ministry; I let my family down, and my staff, as well as all the people who had tried to help, but worst of all I felt I had let God down. That was the most agonizing of all; I felt like I was in a dark pit and just didn’t have the strength or desire to climb out. To be honest, I was afraid of coming face to face with the Lord, I couldn’t bear the thought of seeing the disappointment in his eyes. I knew the danger of an empty vessel so I wasn’t surprised when he led me to 2 Timothy 1:7, “. . . God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (NKJV) I understood what the Lord was telling me. I had allowed my mind to drift into areas that it should not have gone, giving Satan the opportunity to cause doubts in myself and my Christian walk. He was telling me he had delivered my mind out of Satan’s grip and was protecting it by his word. As the Lord continued to speak to my heart he brought to mind that I had believed I was a failure. I had accepted the reasons he revealed to me as to why it closed, but he knew me and understood my thoughts. The scripture he gave me was 2 Timothy 2:1 “. . . be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” (NKJV) I remembered the first time I broke down this text in Greek, the word strong meant an explosive strength, it was where we got our word dynamite. I laughed through my tears because my friends use to say I was like dynamite in a small package. At the time I was feeling unworthy, a failure, but God wasn’t giving his strength because I deserved it, but because of his grace through Christ. This wonderful explosive strength is available to every Christian regardless of how they feel, because of his awesome grace towards us; all we have to do is release our faith to receive it! I slipped out of my chair and fell on my face before God, humbly reached out my hands and accept his gift of grace. It’s was as if I could feel his hand gently lifting my face and as I looked up into my father’s eyes all I could see was his love. It’s hard to explain what was taking place that night, but as I sat in this room surrounded by books, God was once again using words, his words, to set me free! As before I took my failure and tossed it on the pile to be thrown away.