Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Ache of God

I am reading Lyric's blog, often and following along as she reads "The Beautiful Ache". The more I read her "blurbs", the more I think I'm going to have to buy that book. The concept is not new to me. I was first introduced to it with the teachings on Captivating by Stasi Eldredge back in 2003. 

For many years of my life I didn't know I even had aches. I covered them up with busyness and service. I was a good "Martha". I knew how to work for God. In fact I would say I was the "Queen of Striving". For some unknown reason the message I got through "The Church" through the years was to work harder for God, to do all you can do." I remember the messages that said "If you love God you will put Him first by spending 30 minutes a day in the morning having a quiet time." For many years I lived that in guilt if I missed a day, trying to rationalize with myself when it was an "evening" quiet time instead of the desired morning one. I was the busy, striving, performing Christian woman. I did not ache...there was no time for aching. I didn't even know they were there. But God knew.....

God's isolation is the opposite of our isolation. He pulls us away to be alone with us in order that He might reveal more of who He is. We, on the other hand, isolate to hide who we are. I was never one to isolate. I didn't like being alone with myself. I stayed caught up in serving, unaware of it's isolation. I was not isolated from people, but from from Me being alone with, Me. God called me away to the desert to speak tenderly to me. He knew that I was so far from being in touch with who I was and who He was, that He had to pull me away. He removed all friendships in various ways and it was just me with God. It's love that draws you into the desert, deep, intimate love. He allured me there to speak tenderly to me, to turn my door of Sorrow into a door of hope, to remove the title of Master and replace it with the title of Husband (Hosea 2:14-16)

Alone with my kids, my husband and God, unable to serve in any capacity, I began to come to terms with the lie I was living. I had spent so many years working, trying to earn God's favor when all along He just wanted, Me. I couldn't give Him me because I did not feel like I was enough for Him. I was the older brother in the Prodigal Son story, working out in the fields trying to earn entry into the Father's house, when all along the door was open wide, waiting for me to just walk in and be with the Him. In the desert, He showered His words on me and told me who He was and who I was to Him. Life turned a corner for me. I am not the same.

In the midst of the desert the aches began to rise up within me. For the first time that I can remember my heart was aching with longings and desires that almost took my breath away. Why did it have to hurt so much to awaken desire? What was I supposed to do with them now that they were awakened? As the aches came I began to identify with God's heart at a deeper level. Did He ache for me like I ached for intimate relationship with others? I ached to live in intimacy with friends. I longed for companions who knew my journey as I knew theirs. I still ache for that. Life seems to keep everyone running ragged, living life, doing all the "stuff" with no real time to go to deep places of the heart with others. Where is the time or energy for deep, heart relationships, you know where you really let people know your joys and struggles, where you are hurting.. It makes me ache. Does God ache for me like I ache for deep heart friendships?

Some days the aches are stronger than others. The loneliness I feel, as the longings unloosed in my heart are left unfulfilled, are days that I identify and connect a little deeper with the heartbeat of God inside. I realize just a bit more that this place is not my home and that life is not as He had longed for it to be for me. And in the midst of pain, loneliness, heartache, I am comforted. He knows, He sees, He understands. It's in the aches that I realize that those things I ache for, are the things He longs for too. The aches of God within are a powerful force to be reckoned with, not to run or hide from, No they are there to drive me into His arms where He waits to speak tenderly to me. Where He holds me close and tells me how His heart aches too.

"Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. Hosea 2:14



©copyrighted 2008 by Julie L. Todd