Hey Everyone, sorry that I didn’t post anything on Friday. I ended up with the stomach bug and wasn’t feeling up to posting till today. So here is the devotion of the week! 🙂
We Can Lose Heart Because of People
In The Mom I Want To Be, I referenced a story that took place over 20 years ago at a Turning Point conference. At that time I was working with teens, and my church sent me as a conferee. The facilitator flipped the lights off and a flip started playing.
The movie was about a dysfunctional family in the midst of a meltdown moment. Mom and Dad were arguing. One child was screaming in defiance. Another hid around the corner in angst. Then I saw her. She was the peacemaker. Trying to make everything okay. Like a tightrope walker, she asked the screaming teen to stop yelling as she attempted to comfort her little brother. She was trying to keep the pieces from falling all around her, but she simply wasn’t old or wise or big enough.
I heard someone crying nearby, and I was filled with the compassion for whoever was sobbing.
Wow, that person must have been really hurt in the past to cry so publicly. Why isn’t anyone helping her?
Then I realized that the sobbing person was me. I jumped up out of my seat, left the room, and found a empty stall in the women’s bathroom. I crawled up the toilet seat and huddled, trying to stop the tears that seemed to have no end. A pair of red shoes appeared, just visible under the door of the stall.
“Can I come in?” a woman’s voice asked. “No,” I replied. “You can’t.” ” Are you okay.?” “I’ve been okay for a long time.” I whispered. “I don’t understand this. I’m here because I want to help others. This is crazy.”
The red shoes remained still for a few seconds, and then I heard these words: “Honey, sometimes God lets you remember for a reason.”
The sight of that little peacemaker in the movie had triggered emotions long healed. Perhaps that is the most powerful lesson I took away from that conference, and it’s one I still hold close today. We can become so whole (a wonder gift!) that we forget the magnitude of what we have been given. God reached down to give me a glimpse into the brokenness I had once carried as a little peacemaker, and to remind me how much He had healed my shattered heart.
It had been a long time since I had felt such pain. It was heavy. I made me sad. It went deep into my being.
Many of us carry that weight of sadness as a result of the people factor in our lives. It may be our childhood, an ex, a parent or an in-law who inflicts pain. The people factor impacts those who are rich, those who are poor, those who are married and those who are not. It reaches to the addicted, the hardened and the innocent. Whatever the specifics of the situation, the common thread is a desire to be free of that hurtful influence – not necessarily removed from the person, but healed of the pain associated with the relationship.
When you’ve been hurt by the people factor, you just want to be whole and discover what God has for you – regardless of what another person has done.
What is the people factor in your broken places? Are the people who once hurt you still calling the shots in your emotions or in the way you view yourself? Is an old wound damaging current relationships? Perhaps your offender has been out of your life for years, or is even deceased, but their actions or words continue to impact:
How you interact with others
Emotions that linger or rise up at the worst times
Attitudes or behaviors that lead to unhealthy responses, such as enablement, people pleasing, consuming care taking, striving, over control, mistrust, lashing out, withdrawal, and more.
If you are struggling with any of these symptoms, you may feel marked or branded or unloved or unworthy. You probably find yourself asking, “When will they release their hold on my life?”
The Mended Heart by Suzanne Eller
Come back next week for the answer to the question at the end. The Jesus Factor.