Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Squishy on the Inside

Yesterday, Sophia (and Ella) and I were in the waiting room at the orthodontist as Natalie got her braces and expander adjusted.  Sophia made a comment about her that stuck.  She was telling me that Natalie was "delicate," which I took to mean she meant sensitive and got her feelings easily hurt.  She, of course, then asked me what delicate meant.  I told her it was like soft, breakable.  She looked at me and said,

Yeah, she is squishy on the inside.

What a peculiar way to describe her older sister but so true!  Of the older, Natalie is definitely the most sensitive.  She is in tune with herself and others in a way that is remarkable.  She is thoughtful and carries a certain air of confidence and humility that I admire.  She is so sweet.  Well, they all are, but Natalie is uniquely sweet.  She is also the ultimate big sister and oldest child, meaning she is a pleaser and likes to be pleased.

But that goodness she was built with carries its own struggles, as I've been finding in the last couple of weeks.  We've been talking a lot about forgiveness because she is struggling with words people have spoken to her that hurt.  She's confessed to me real feelings of pain and disappointment at the cruel words of other kids in her life.

Sophia had it right: she is squishy on the inside.

When I look at my own insides, I see I can be the same.  I have a few more years on Nats, so I can filter the things that come at me.  I can write off what most people say pretty easily.  But when it is someone close to me, however - oh, boy.  I get squished.  My insides hurt for a long time.

What bothers Natalie doesn't bother Sophia.  What hits me below the belt doesn't bother Dave.  I know you have examples of what gets to you  We can all acknowledge people hurt us.  But this life is about faith, so we have to know what God says about hurt when it comes at us. 

1. He Knows How We Feel: If we say that we are made in His image,  so our feelings are modeled after His.  His insides get squashed too.  After a time of His glory on display in John 6, Jesus turned to His Disciples with a broken heart, asked them, "Don't you want to leave too?" (v. 67)

2. He Is With Us In Our Pain: Hundreds of times Scripture tells us that God will never leave or forsake us.  He can't, as New Testament Believers - He is part of our squishy insides!  He makes His home there (Eph 1:13), so He definitely is present when squashing happens.

3. He Gives Us The Tool To Get Over It: He doesn't want us in pain, so He gives us a way out.  Staying hurt actually makes it worse, like a pig wallowing in mud (or worse, Prov 26:11).  Hurt is poisonous, so the sooner we get the toxins out of our system, the better.  He wants us to bring it to Him (1 Peter 5:6-7) and let Him teach us how to forgive as we have been forgiven (Col 3:13).  We draw from His strength, not ours, to get it done (Phil 4:13, Rom 8:26).

4. He Will Bring Good Out of It: This good may just be your own spiritual growth, but there will always be good from pain.  That's the promise and result of redemption (Gen 50:20, Rom 8:28).  We are practicing our eternal purposes here on Earth.  There may not seem much point at the time, but when we can look with a larger lens, we will see God's handiwork.   

He may have made us delicate and frail in our sensitivities and we weren't meant to experience emotional pain, this is the result of the fall in the Garden.  That's the bad news. 

There is Good News, though.  Christ redeeming the world and us with it.  He isn't leaving us in the weeds.  When (not if) your insides get squeezed, remember God knows how you feel.  Focus on Him because He is right there with you, hurting.  But look to Him to help you to get over it. 

It seems so simple, but I find the simple things are the hardest to make a reality in my walk of faith.  And it is only by faith that I will accomplish it.  But today is another chance to let the Lord heal you of the hurt. 

My prayer today is that the Lord will help my squishy girl grow in this truth and His love so she can continue to find all He has for her, and know in greater measure the freedom available in His grace.

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