Dealing with criticism, Everyday life, Faith

The Mender {And a Great Opportunity!}

By about the third time I said, “The timing of this attack is so strange…” I realized two things. One: No, it isn’t. Two: Evidently I’m a much slower learner than I believed myself to be.

It was calculated, of course. A punch in the gut at a moment when the enemy knew I could barely get to my knees. And the truth is, I didn’t leave the battle unscathed.

The Lord has been dealing with me on a few things that aren’t exactly easy. I’m digging into the crevices that have long held power over me, and the enemy of my soul isn’t crazy about the excavation.

I told the Lord I was afraid to travel anymore.

He told me I was going to Peru.

I told the Lord I was too tired to write.

He told me I was relying too much on my own hands.

I told the Lord I had nothing left.

And He whispered, “Finally.”

If I were to be really, really honest with you, I would tell you that as a 25-ish year old woman (what? WHAT?!?!?!), I still struggle with the same thing I did as an 8 year old child.

I was the shortest kid in my class by a landslide. I was also, according to my dad, as fast as the wind.

On team sports day, all the kids would line up at the starting point and I would be shoulders below my classmates.

On one occasion, the man sitting behind my dad made a comment about the “pipsqueak” who was ready to race. My dad sat silent, because he had a feeling he knew what was coming next.

He was right.

According to him, as soon as the whistle blew, my tiny little legs took off and didn’t slow down until I crossed the finish line, which always happened way before anyone elses did.

On this particular day, my dad said he stood up with everyone else as the race ended, turned to the man behind him and said, “By the way, that’s my little pipsqueak.”

I loved to run.

But more than that, I loved people’s reaction when I won.

And over the years, the Lord has taught me (Over and over. And then some more) that I need to stop running for the crowd. The applause is one thing, but truthfully, it’s not what pushes me. It’s the fear of disappointing anyone that haunts me. The feeling that I’m not enough, or that I’ve failed someone. It’s a miserable way to approach the race, let me tell you.

It’s not an easy lesson, nor is it one I would say I have fully mastered. I can probably recite to you (verbatim, with emotion, not unlike a monologue from a Lifetime movie) all the really negative comments I have gotten after nearly 5 years of blogging. I can point you to the people who crushed my spirit by telling me I was something I wasn’t. I can be consumed by it.

And that which bandaged my flesh became a tourniquet to my soul.

I realized what influence they had on me…and the way the crowd could twist their heads away and convince me I was a failure. For most of my life I’ve been desperate to know I was good enough, and they were the ones that told me.

You can ever really be mended when your eyes are searching theirs. Maybe you’ve found this to be true in your own life as well.

You’ve asked the others to make you beautiful, to make you brave, to convince you that your brokenness is curable with praise.

But deep down, you’ve always known better.

Flesh will fail us, and we are left with the bruises.

Who is it you’ve been looking to? A spouse? A parent? Siblings, friends, co-workers? The list goes on.

And we are weary of the journey, aren’t we?

Leave the mending to the Mender, love.

You run this race the way you do because you were made to do it.

He chose those tiny little legs and even He laughed when they said you couldn’t.

Because He knew better.

Your legs are burning and your heart is pounding. You don’t even know if it’s worth it anymore. All the while, He has kept His eyes fixed on you.

When they said you couldn’t, He urged the wind a little harder on your back.

When they told you it was for nothing, He reminded you it never is.

He wants you to be mended, to be whole, to be fully aware of His impossibly perfect love for you.

Run the way you were created to run, and ignore the crowd.

You will learn there is only one voice that matters after all, and it’s the one you’ve been looking for in every other face you’ve met.

He’s here, and He has seen every bit of it.

He will see every step from now until the finish, and I can’t help but imagine He is proud when we do.

Gasping for air or just hitting my stride, I pray I make Him proud by pressing on.

“See that one? She’s my little pipsqueak…”

🙂

Thank you, Lord. You have made me run in a way I never knew I could. May it please you and bring you glory.

~A

Now for the fun part!! 🙂
We want to know how God has mended you from a previous place of brokenness or a place of brokenness for which you are currently praying for mending. Let’s encourage one another by sharing our stories so we know that we aren’t alone. And, in celebration of Angie’s new release, Mended B&H Publishing is going to give one of you who shares your story a day at a spa near you for you and a friend! Get a facial, pedicure, manicure, massage . . . the whole works! Here are the details on how you can share your story and be entered to win:
  1. If you have a blog, write a post reflecting either on an area in which you have been mended or a place of brokenness for which you are seeking to be mended. Include the following text in your post an explanation that this is in celebration of Mending releasing and specify that “it can be purchased here or here.”
  2. If you don’t have a blog or prefer to share via video, record a video sharing your story of brokenness/being mended and upload it to youtube. In the description explain that this is in celebration of Mending releasing and specify that “it can be purchased here or here.
  3. Then, come back to Angie’s blog and add the link to where you’ve posted on your blog or youtube to the linky on this post. Each person who adds their link will be entered into the drawing to be selected at random. And . . . you may be able to be entered more than once! Each post/video will be checked by the publisher at the conclusion of the contest and for every 25 “likes” (Facebook) or tweets of your post by your readers, your name will be entered again! The more your friends respond, the more entries you receive!
  4. All submissions must be posted by 12:01AM on September 11. A name will be drawn and the winning post will be posted on Angie’s blog on September 13 as a way to announce the winner.


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