The fire that comes with death burns with such intensity, if you have any cracks in your foundation, the heat will expose every weakness.
And the scorching heat of the recent death of my daughter Goldie on March 5 not only exposed all sorts of buried cracks, but sometimes I feel like I'm having the reoccurring naked dream where you wind up at school in just your underwear. As a former perfectionist who lived petrified of anyone finding out my shortcomings for fear of rejection, I'm finding that this new, vulnerable Christa is positioned with great advantage while my weaknesses lay uncovered around me.
As the broken places of my heart are being exposed by deep pain, they now have the beautiful opportunity to be healed. Permanently.
I would be lying if I didn't say that at times over the last six months, my marriage felt like a jet ski voyage scaling a tsunami wave. I would be lying if I told you that my fingernails haven't been chewed down into the quick. I would be lying if I told you that I haven't avoided certain people at all cost, hibernating because I couldn't deal with their ‘stuff'—barely knowing how to survive my own. At times, my words have been harsh, I've yelled more times than I can count, and some days, life has seemed like an overwhelming circus ride that never ends. But most importantly, I would be lying if I told you that I could ever successfully walk through the ugly parts of my heart without a heck of a lot of help.
Several months after Goldie died, at 36-years-old, I did the unthinkable. My little Gifford family moved in with my parents in Abilene, Texas to be close to family while we attempt to heal properly. Not only was I dealing with the unfathomable fires that burned at my heart from losing a child, but I was now living in close proximity with two of my favorite people……who just happen to trigger me more than anyone in the world. For those of you who have incredible parents like I do, you understand that even the best ones have the ability to hit your sensitive spot, getting right under your skin to drive you batty.
When my mother would say something that triggered some of our old, unhealed mother/daughter dynamics and I'd fly into a full-blown rage—my current mountain of grief, death, sorrow, and old pain would erupt like a volcano ready to burn anyone around. I'd run to my room and collapse into sobs, wailing to Jesus and screaming, WHY AM I ACTING LIKE THIS?? THIS ISN'T WHO I AM JESUS! WHY AM I HURTING SO BADLY THAT ALL THE WOUNDED PARTS OF MY LIFE ARE BLEEDING ALL OVER THE PEOPLE I LOVE!!!
“A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”
Have you ever felt like you were two people at the same time? One minute, you're living out of your TRUE heart experiencing peace, joy, hope, and love—assuring people of what you truly believe—that the Healer has come to bind up our broken hearts and proclaim freedom to every prisoner. Then suddenly, in the very next breath, you're living out of a part of your heart that hasn't fully experienced His medicine quite yet.
The division inside my heart has been exposed on many occasions in the past six months, and instead of shaming myself for being ‘less than perfect' like I would have in the past, I have an amazing family around me that's helping to bring EVERY part of my heart into the hands of the most skilled Doctor in the universe—one who knows the intricacies of my heart much more than I ever will.
“I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.”
Ezekiel 11:19-20 (NIV)
Living from a whole, undivided heart is completely possible. In fact, it's why Jesus came—and I'm determined to find out what it means to be in wholeness even while walking through the unpleasant moments of life. I'm taking this great opportunity inside of my deepest pain to look at everything arising from my life—the good, the bad, and the even uglier—and throwing every weakness on the man that I'm yoked to: Jesus. But even though Jesus is more than enough in Himself, the church was HIS idea, and there's a reason why we need other people while walking into healing. I, for one, need a lot of prayer, counsel, and ministry in the process of being put back together—in fact, we all do.
When the church acts like the church—unconditionally loving the broken back to life—miracles begin to happen in the hearts of the wounded, and there are miracles happening in my heart every day. And as my pain has lashed out on those that I love in the past six months, those very same people are the ones throwing their arms around me, taking the punches, and committing to help me heal.
Is weakness a bad thing? No way. It's the very place that God promises to be perfected in our lives. And the cracks and weaknesses in my foundation, even though they're sometimes hard to face, need to be uncovered for the sake of permanent removal.
So today, if your weaknesses, insecurities, struggles, less-than-steller character, sins, addictions, jealousies, and anger arise from a heart that might still be divided between the truth and the lies, take a moment and simply thank Jesus that he's not overwhelmed with how imperfect you are. In fact, He doesn't even have any condemnation for your behavior. He simply wants to uncover the mess, put amazing people around you to help out, and love you into wholeness.
Ps. If you're late to the party, you can still join us for the 10 Day God Loves Ugly Study Guide Challenge! Just subscribe to my email list, receive the first two chapters for free, and receive daily video clips of me coaching you through the pages!