The Lord is like a father to His children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear Him.
For He knows how weak we are;
He remembers we are only dust.
Last week I fell apart.
As in out-of-breath, wild brokenness. Really bad.
I’d slept restlessly, awakened drenched with fear, right at the climax of a terrible nightmare. As I padded downstairs to brew a pot of tea, my anxiety level increased with every step. Everywhere I looked was disorder. Moving boxes half filled, papers and undone tasks crowding every visual space. By the time my tea was ready, I’d made a list long enough to keep every moment filled for a month and lashed myself a dozen times for being so disorganized.
I read my Bible while sipping the steaming tea, keeping that list beside me. Every couple of minutes I’d stop reading and jot down another to-do for my list. Then I’d pause and scold myself for almost forgetting. My chest tightened incrementally by the minute.
I got to work, fast and furious.
I’d get it done today.
I had to! I ought to! I’d better!
After a couple of hours of furious packing and continued scolding at myself for my inability to concentrate and stay on task, Phil came home. He’d been up early for a prayer meeting at church. He was tired. He was hungry. He was not happy. (Enough said.)
Something he said… or the way he said it… or… something unloosed my tenuous grip on sanity and I started to cry. Really cry— hard.
I just fell apart.
Great heaving sobs racked my exhausted body. Gulping for air, I started to panic. And then I started to hyperventilate. Couldn’t think. Didn’t know how to stop.
Did I mention that I fell apart?
And I almost didn’t tell you because it’s embarrassing. Horrible. Not-supposed-to-happen to a woman who writes about cleaving close to Jesus and relationships and wisdom from God’s Word.
But I just have to tell you because the very next morning, the One I keep telling you about, the One I love and worship and listen to… spoke to me. And what He said took my breath away again. In a good way.
Once again I sat surrounded by boxes, though my daughter, Elizabeth had done a commendable job the day before of helping me to get my scrambled, disordered mind back in sync. Boxes for storage in one room, boxes going to the garage of the fixer-upper in another. Boxes for the temporary place off to the side.
Tea steaming, Bible open on my lap, I asked the Father to teach me what I’d done wrong. Why I’d humiliated myself with my meltdown.
Shame filled me. Remorse. More scolding.
And that’s when my eyes fell on these words from Proverbs 9:6…
Learn to be wise.
I am learning.
Ah, relief. Freedom from condemnation.
And if you are like me, making multiple foolish mistakes that lead to falling apart and melting down and breaking into itsy bitsy pieces of shattered truth… you know what I mean by relief. Instead of scolding me for all those mistakes and summing me up as one big failure, He reminded me that I am learning.
Learning to be wise. Learning to live well. Learning to think right and be right and do right… but mostly, I am just learning to love Him. Because…
He loves me— the mess that I am.
And He loves me enough to speak to me. To speak words that bring hope and help exactly when I need hope and help.
And so I’m letting myself be embarrassed by letting you know about something that embarrasses me. Because, face it, it’s embarrassing to be broken. To act unwisely. To fall apart.
But the truth is, I’m a little wiser today because I’m learning to love Jesus and to know my brokenness. And I’m learning to recognize the Spirit’s signals that sin is crouching around the corner, ready to overwhelm my still-learning soul.
And so are you.
That’s the beauty of being part of Him together.
From my broken, but learning heart,
PS: Are you learning something about being wise? Learning to love Jesus more and more because He loves you even in your messiness? Can you tell us? Your stories help give us all hope.