Being completely honest was scary … but it changed my life – Part III
Even after six weeks of God faithfully meeting me with my honesty, when things got hard, I got scared. I shared in the last two posts how I had started giving a biblical response on my “horrible, no good, very bad, terrible day,” but that things went south quickly. And how I chose to get honest, and listen this time, to God’s answer about what He thought of me and my less-than-stellar reaction a few hours earlier.
Unbeknownst to me, God had already given me the answer earlier in the week; I just didn’t realize it. He had also given me part of the answer earlier that morning, but again, I didn’t realize it.
I share songs with friends during the week as a way to encourage each other and continue to keep us focused on God and His goodness despite what our circumstances look like. As a result, my family (and friends) will hear songs that speak to them and send them to me so I can listen and/or share as I feel led. My daughter had been at work that morning and sent me a song, one that she said was her favorite.
We were sitting around waiting to go somewhere and God reminded me about the song. I opened my phone and started listening to Micah Tyler, “New Today.” It was a video that showed the words while the song played.
I was reading the words and this stanza, right here, got me crying. (I’m actually crying as I type this, feeling the flood of God’s love for me all over again):
“I kept thinking You were angry
But You were fighting just to hold me
And picked me up every time I fell
If Your love is here to lift me
And Your blood says You forgive me
Show me how I can forgive myself
‘Cause Your mercies are new today
Your mercies are new again and again”
I’m a slow learner and the spiritual battle was fierce. While I kept reminding myself of those words from God Himself, condemning words of the enemy kept sneaking in throughout the day. I would push them away through prayer, through repeating the above words, and reminding myself what I was hearing was lies.
Later that night, I picked up a book I had reserved from the library earlier in the week. It was called, “Forgiving my daughter’s killer.” I’m not sure why I picked it up to read it, except I have a degree in psychology and it was a book with a biblical viewpoint and intrigued me. However, let’s be honest. God prompted me, and I obeyed. Plain and simple.
I started reading it and wow! There were so many things in the book that spoke directly to my heart, but one in particular was this: “’We don’t define Connor by that one moment.’ There is no way to understand a person’s essence by judging one moment of his life.”
For the second time that day, God spoke to me with such unconditional love. I felt as though He was telling me He didn’t define what makes up the essence of Cheri by a few ill-spoken, hurt-driven words spoken from someone running on fumes. Someone who had spoken many more loving words than the few disrespectful ones one morning.
In addition to feeling overwhelmingly loved, I also felt His quiet conviction to confess and to make permanent changes moving forward.
A week later, God was still answering that heartfelt prayer. I turned on the radio on the way to pick up our child from school and heard one question and answer on the Christian radio station. That specific question continued the conversation I started honestly with God and filled in the rest of the blanks of that disastrous day. And it gave me another starting point in another heartfelt honest conversation I began with God to finish peeling off the layers of this particular issue so it can be put to rest completely, without regrets.
See, another thing I’ve learned about God is this. When we come to Him honestly seeking His will in our lives, even if we think we won’t like the answer but are willing to obey because we know His way is best, not only does He meet us lovingly and convict gently, but He offers a solution that will bring about complete restoration and leave relationships better than their original baseline.
Why? Because that’s what a loving Father does.
© Cheri Swalwell 2021