I love the birch tree that is in our front yard. It has always been a thing of beauty to me. While I typically picture the birch as a tall straight trunk this one is different…unique in its own way.
In the mornings when I do my bible study I often just enjoy the view of this beautiful tree. A few days ago I was resting after lunch and noticed all of the different layers that were bending away from the main trunk.
A few spots were especially raw and the bark that was exposed underneath was a lighter color. The kids at one point this spring took to pulling on that bark and tearing it away when it wasn’t ready.
I find myself doing the same in my own life at times . Wanting so bad to find the new skin under the old, I tear away at the layers of who I am and find that it is too soon, too raw and I am not ready for the change.
Dominic and I will celebrate our 18 year anniversary in a little over a week. It just so happens that we have been asked by our pastor to share our testimony on that very Sunday in church. Sharing where we have been, what has changed, and where we still struggle today. Oh and all in the span of about 20 minutes. If you know my husband and I you know that we aren’t short on words so getting it all in will be just short of a miracle in itself! 😉
I have been thinking a lot about what best to share so that God gets the glory. There are so many miracles that have occurred in our relationship because of Gods intervention and yet, still so much change and growth that needs to occur inside of me.
I would like to say that I am not at all a reflection of the person I once was. Angry and bitter, resentful and vengeful and feeling oh so holy.
But the truth is that even though there have been so many changes, there are still areas of bondage that I struggle with. Yes God has slowly peeled back layers to reveal a new creation because of His hand …. But I am not fully complete yet that is where I struggle the most.
Specifically, I am not good about taking responsibility for my poor behavior. I can point out the negatives in someone else real easy. Just ask Dominic he has had the unfortunate “opportunity” to experience it firsthand. I can justify my choices based on something that has no relevance to the situation. And make excuses for why it isn’t ever my “fault”.
It isn’t right and it is a repeating sin in my life that is becoming all too burdensome.
I want freedom.
I want to rip off the old layers and find the new underneath.
But am I ready for real change? Is my heart in the right place? Have I truly brought it to the alter, willing to do whatever it takes to find freedom once and for all?
I believe that God can deliver us from those things that keep us in bondage. Fears, addictions, anger and resentments. I have seen God work in amazing ways in the lives of people around me.
So why not me? Why after almost 18 are there still areas that haunt me?
I have to believe that I haven’t been fully ready to shed the old because it is comfortable. Sure my behavior gets me in trouble every once and awhile, but who is it hurting really and aren’t there so many worse things out there that I am not doing?
Is it really all that bad?
The answer is yes. Especially if it hurts the people closest to me that I love.
And you know what? I don’t have the easy answer on how to change. I know that with God all things are possible. So I am giving myself, my sins, my justifications, and my anger…giving it all to God.
I am praying that He will remove the layers that need to go in His time. I am asking that what is found underneath any bad be filled with the full knowledge of His grace. That I would be a reflection of Him through me so that I couldn’t take credit for the transformation.
Because I want you to see Him when you see me.
God is the reason I have the ability to pour into these pages here. He is the reason I find myself typing frantically on the notes page of my cell phone at 11:42pm because this message here is His not mine!
I believe that no matter what is holding you or I in bondage today can be loosed and set free by the power of the Almighty! We just need to be the least bit willing to let Him do the refining, no matter how long it takes.
I think we will find that what is underneath is strong and beautiful. And He does it all because of His great love for us.
Don’t be discouraged friend. Start praying over those areas you want freedom in and be ready to give Him the glory as the transformations occur!