Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Lamentations

Jeremiah is one of my heroes. I love that he says to 'pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord', and then proceeds to do exactly that. Lamentations 3 is a BRUTAL chapter in scripture. It is raw, ugly, truthful, real and it gives me permission.

Lamentations 3 also reveals how God meets us when we are real. What starts out as gut wrenching agony turns to hope and a vision of God. Lamentations ch3 was the portion of scripture I clung to at the height of my battle with depression.

In my desperation, I blurted out my own Lamentation and in the process of being real; God gave me a new name. Here is what I wrote on March 25, 2001:

LIFE IS FOR THE BRAVE

I am on this journey that is too much for me. LIFE IS FOR THE BRAVE. Lord, you've allowed me to live and yet, I long for the sweet rest of death; or better yet, to never have existed at all. But to say these things is to dishonor the creator. The monotony of everyday life overwhelms me. Oh not to succumb to these gloomy thoughts of peace in death. Is it wrong to long for it? I feel like I don't know you. Maybe I never did. Up go the walls of protection, never to hurt again, never to feel again, never to live again. What is life? Is it a feeling? All that I've known to be life was nothing veiled in caffeine highs and depth of emotion. The underlying issue...a consumption with self. My outward involvements tainted with an inability to continue in the face of doubt, a powerful enemy. All I see is that you hurt me. You, my closest most trusted friend. Why do I struggle to trust you in the dark? LIFE IS FOR THE BRAVE; for those who are brave enough to believe, even after many blows in the same area of life. Forgive me as I spiral down the black hole of self-hate; that seems to be one constant.

NO! This pain IS from you. You have placed me here, allowed me to know a small portion of your suffering. What would you like me to do with this new knowledge? I think I can believe that it is possible to sweat blood in times of deep distress. My distress was deep, but miniscule compared to yours. You sweat blood; I just had blood blisters. You were brave; I deserted you the moment it got hard. You persisted; I gave up. You loved; I hated. What fool returns hate for love? The fool of self, that is who.

What is this surprise? The peace of a new vision? The battle rages still. Emotion verses knowledge; self verses you; wrong verses right; flesh verses Spirit. Can you take such a foul sinner and make even her beautiful? Would you have forgiven Judas if he had asked? I am no better than he.

You took a symbol of execution and made it beautiful. There is still hope for me. Take this wretched body, heart, mind and soul. I don't want it anymore, and yet I find myself hanging on to my perception of life. 'To live is Christ, to die is gain.' I am dying. Purge me of death; make me new. Don't heal me, replace me. Somewhere under this smut is the Cheryl you created. Make me your Beloved. I'm tired, so tired of being my own Beloved. You are stronger than flesh, win this battle for me. LIFE ISN'T FOR THE BRAVE; IT'S FOR THE SURRENDERED. Dearest Lord Jesus, it isn't much, but it's all I have and I give it to you...It's just me.

Beloved

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In the moment I had asked God to 'win this battle for me', a bookmark on my desk caught my attention. At the top of the bookmark was the name Cheryl and a passage of scripture. Also on the bookmark was the meaning of the name Cheryl.

Cheryl means 'Beloved'.

'In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for Help. From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came before Him, into His ears. He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep water. He rescued me because He delighted in me.' (Psalm 18)

The Lord Jesus IS the lover of my soul; Lord Jesus, I love you.

9 Comments:

At 10:01 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I think I could have written what you wrote there. You know I've been in a dark place recently, and I appreciate your prayers more than I can say. I've finally realized that "this valley is for me" and in that, God is allowing me to start back up the mountain.

Thank you.

 
At 6:27 PM, Blogger Colleen said...

I'm glad I know you.

 
At 9:13 PM, Blogger Jay said...

You write beautifully Cheryl. I'm unable to relate to some of what you've written (never in my life have I ever longed for death. Pain seems better than not existing to me). But then again I'm young on the road of life, and I've yet to experience as much as you have.

The rest, however, I get completely. Sometimes I seem to be unfair to people. I see Christians who are so mean that I don't want God to forgive them. I want God to punish them for alienating others from the faith. I guess it comes from my struggles with homosexuality. Still, I am reminded that their sins are no worse than mine, and that we are all, in our own ways, as bad as Judas. Grace can make life (and the afterlife) seem unfair at times, but aren't we lucky that it exists at all?

God bless you,
Jay

 
At 11:04 PM, Blogger Cheryl of the Wilds of C said...

Jay, I hear you. I can't identify with your struggle with SSA and fitting in the church. There is not much understanding of SSA in the church and I can see how people would say or do things that would be hurtful.

Randy reminded me recently that we are the church. There is no 'us' and 'them'. Christ sacrificed Himself for His Bride and we need to be willing to do the same. I'm saying this as much to me as I am to you. There are some days I have to confess my anger many times. I have asked God to break my heart for His Bride. He has been gracious to me (as you said) and I need to be gracious to others in return.

Just remember those of us in the body who do love and accept you and ALL your struggles.

I'm thinking and praying for you as you prepare to begin a new chapter of your life.

 
At 11:47 PM, Blogger Cheryl of the Wilds of C said...

Colleen, have I mentioned lately that I love you?

 
At 11:54 PM, Blogger Cheryl of the Wilds of C said...

Eowyn, I have also seen the similarities between your struggle and mine. Your realness has inspired me to reflect and remember those words I penned in pain. Thank you for being real. You encourage me.

 
At 5:54 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Wow. Stunning. I will be reading more.
Thanks.

 
At 10:02 AM, Blogger Colleen said...

SHMEEBLEWHIP. Thank you, Cheryl.

 
At 4:42 PM, Blogger Cheryl of the Wilds of C said...

Thanks for coming by inheritor.

 

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