Last May I wrote an article on “Mood Kicking”, a good reminder from Oswald Chambers that “moods never go by praying, moods go by kicking”. Well Oswald is kicking it again…this time we’re whine kicking!
Last Friday, after spending two weeks on holiday in San Diego, I couldn’t wait to see my grandbaby, Jaxon again. I had missed him so much and so my daughter and son-in-law dropped in before our bags were even unpacked so I could get my grandma fix. I was rocking my grandson, marveling at how much he had grown in just two weeks when my daughter dropped the “bomb”. They were going to be moving to Louisville, Kentucky so her husband could attend the Southern Baptist Seminary there to get his Biblical Counselling degree.
I should have been happy. I should have rejoiced with them, instead I looked down at my grandson and it felt like my heart imploded. The realization of being separated hit me like a two by four and I started to weep. I wept right through the weekend. I barely ate, I barely slept. I couldn’t pray. I knew I was spiraling into a depression and my husband commented that he had never ever seen me so down.
I did have conversations with God but truly it was more of the whining and complaining nature. I don’t try to convince God to see it my way, I’ve learned better than that, but still I figured He could be reasoned with. Maybe if He knew all the “facts” He’d be inclined to put up some road blocks to stop them from leaving me. Yes, if I just whined long enough…
Yeah, you guessed it…God allowed me to have my tirade and my pity party and then He spoke to me through a book I was reading by my friend, Connie Cavanaugh, “Following God One Yes At a Time“. I had started reading the book in February but then Jaxon was born and I shelved a lot of my reading for a few months. Until in the depths of my deepening depression this week, I picked up Connie’s book and read the chapters on how fear, pride, guilt, shame, comparison, and doubt are barriers to following God. It was the chapter on “fear” that dropped me to my knees in my living room…the message hitting me right between the eyes.
“Fear can become a barrier behind which we cower, too afraid to say the next yes. Or fear can be the pathway on which we move forward, one yes at a time, perhaps slowly and painfully, but hand-in-hand with God. Every time we choose to believe God and say yes with our feet, a brick comes off the wall fear built and gets placed squarely in front of us to become a stepping-stone that takes us toward fulfillment of God’s dream for us.” (Pp. 150-151 “Following God One Yes At a Time”)
I realized that I was so fearful of losing my kids and my new grandbaby; not having them near me, that not only was I not saying “Yes” to their call, but I might be the barrier that might prevent them from saying “Yes” too. I was thwarting God’s plans and purposes for their (and my) lives by allowing human fear to overcome Godly fear. There is a difference you know and Connie makes reference to Kathy Howard’s Bible Study, Before His Throne:
“(Godly fear) is a spiritual attitude that will draw us deeper into our relationship with God…Although we normally view fear as a negative concept, the Bible, particularly in the wisdom literature, depicts the fear of God as a positive characteristic. In fact, God’s Word makes it clear that fear is the proper response to a holy God.” Kathy Howard, Before His Throne: Discovering the Wonder of Intimacy with a Holy God (Birmingham, AL: New Hope Publishers, 2008), p. 9.
Then this morning I read in “My Utmost for His Highest”:
“Whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth. How petty our complaining is!…”To them that have no might He increaseth strength.” God comes and takes us out of our sentimentality, and our complaining turns into a paean of praise…If you have the whine in you, kick it out ruthlessly. It is a positive crime to be weak in God’s strength.” – Oswald Chambers
So this morning not only have I been “mood-kicking” I’ve been “whine kicking” too. Yes, I’ve been getting in quite a spiritual work out! The result?…I phoned my sweet daughter and even though my voice cracked and tears were streaming down my face as we talked, I told her I would support them unconditionally as they followed God’s call in their lives.
Oswald reminded me “The fact that the peace and the light and the joy of God are there is proof that the burden is there too. The burden God places squeezes the grapes and out comes the wine…” (Note: not “whine” but “wine”!)
It’s not going to be easy to say “Yes” this time. I suppose that’s the whole point of leaning on God’s strength and not on my own. I’ll admit I’m still dragging a little, a little exhausted and a little weary (and I know I’ll need lots of prayer over the next few months as I prepare to say goodbye to my precious daughter, son-in-law and Jaxon), but already I feel a lightening of the load and I know God is supporting most of the weight.