The title of this journal entry, is a short phrase I figured fit the best when describing what I feel like I’ve faced the past few months and particularly in greater force recently.

Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am faint;
O Lord, heal me, for my bones are in agony.
My soul is in anguish.
How long, O Lord, how long?
Psalm 6:2-3

Though those are David’s words, I feel like they are my own for they describe perfectly some literal verbal conversations I’ve had with God lately. Particularly the questioning – “How long, O Lord, how long?”. The questions have not been in short supply.

‘Why is this happening? Why am I so tired but I’ve barely hit anything truly tragic in this life? Why are You so silent right now? Why do You have to remind me of these difficult things? Why did You send me there and then put me through this? Why couldn’t you take that person home on a different day? Why did it have to be that day? Why did you tell me to LOVE and then shred my heart with that situation? Why this physical agony from an internal struggle? Why can’t I just be where You are right now?! What am I doing here? How can a human heart even survive this life? Why is there so much pain? Why so much tragedy surrounding us?’ – I can go on and on with so many more that I’ve asked Him.

My heart feels like it’s been shredded over so many months, but a lot in the past few weeks. The stress that’s been on it made it to where I could feel the physical effects of what it went through. I’ve wept so hard I could hardly breathe and felt my heart was going to pop. I’ve hit my knees a lot and have stood outside alone on frozen ground shedding hot tears as I questioned and cried out to Him for answers. Some questions He has answered in His own mysterious way and I’m gaining an deeper understanding of knowing Him… others, I have to be patient for and may never have answered.

I’m re-learning to trust Him. I know that losing Him will cost me everything, so I’d rather lose everything and never have questions answered if it means I’ll gain Him.

Back to the heart shredding though. It’s not really a delicate process I’ve come to find. It’s pretty messy (at least from my end) because I’m realizing I’m actually very stubborn. I don’t let go or lose things easily. I keep a tight grip on my sinful nature, because it’s what I know and am comfortable in.

Let go of FEAR and walk in the truth that I am perfectly loved by Jesus (and perfect love drives out fear – 1 John 4:18) and I then have no more excuses not to follow Him to anywhere He calls me to or say the things He needs me to. Let go of ANGER/RAGE and that means I have to be joyful, kind, gentle and peaceful even when I’m mistreated or beaten. Let go of SELFISH AMBITION and that means my importance is no longer wrapped up in what I do or achieve and serving becomes the name of the game. Let go of BITTERNESS/HATRED and that means that I’d have to show mercy and forgiveness and forgiveness is more like losing yourself and dying for that other person (Jesus did this) which doesn’t feel good. Let go of JEALOUSY/ENVY and that means I have to be content and secure in who I am and what I have by the grace of God, then I can’t complain.Let go of DISCORD and I have to show patience and self-control.Let go of PRIDE and that means I’m saying I’ll walk in humility and full submission to Jesus and truly love others and see them as of higher importance than myself (Love is not proud – 1 Corinthians 13).

What human “in their right mind” truly likes living this way and letting go of those things? I ask this sarcastically. This leaves you open to neglect, abuse, and being taken advantage of – doesn’t it?

During the past few weeks I had this strange pull to read Galatians 5. I hadn’t read it in so long… and when I read it, it was intense how deeply it applied to me and how I have lived… and the stark difference between life by the desires of my sinful nature and life by the Spirit.

I like to say that I want to let go of my sinful nature, surrender it to the flames of Jesus’ baptizing fire and the Holy Spirit. But as the Lord has been sending my heart through His purging grater to shred it, I’ve seen that sinful nature of mine surface and the shredding has revealed just how deep, dark, and hard these areas of my heart are to let go of. I had blackened my heart by attempting to cover them up with my own ideas of love. And the light of Jesus and the shredding of my heart showed how miserable my own ways only produce failure. This is a hard thing to swallow when you have a heart full of pride like mine.

So these many months have proven to me an intense depth of my desperate need for Jesus Christ and the blood He poured out on the Cross. So if it takes the shredding of my heart to see this, if it takes sorrow, if it takes more of this mess to ultimately surrender it all and be cleansed/healed to change my heart… then may God be glorified and His will be done.

I know I am all over the place, this is all so raw and fresh in my heart. I’m sure I’ll touch on this a lot more later… but read Galatians 5. Let His blood and love change your heart… it isn’t easy, but He’s worth it.

Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 54:4-6