The Lord knew that I needed a topical detour for my posts, so He lit a fire in me to write down my experience dealing with parents. And I’m so very grateful that He did, because I needed a regular reminder of God’s faithfulness – and the unfathomable mystery of His ways and timing as well. Because it’s been a rough couple of months, folks.
“Wilderness” is an understatement for where I’ve been since I quit smoking. Apocalyptic wasteland feels closer to the truth. Now, let me say up front, that the great “bleg” of it all hasn’t been unrelenting. God is merciful and He knows better than I when an oasis is needed. I have been loved and held from start to finish, but this has been a Gethsemane season such as I’ve never known before.
Nobody likes to wait, but addicts make self-indulgence an actual discipline. And I’m an addict, so waiting is an agony. And somehow, without my cigarettes, life is one big wait. Ha! Waiting for the craving to pass, waiting for the tears to subside, waiting for the rage to ebb, waiting for the Life to rise and bear all the waiting that I cannot.
Better is the end of a thing than the beginning of it,
and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
Ecclesiastes 7:8 Amplified
To give you an idea of where I’ve been, when I first read that verse, my response was, “Shut up, Solomon, you old goat! What do you know about it?!” Then I had to repent, and then I realized that Solomon might know something about it since he was an addict, too. If his women were cigarettes, then Solomon would’ve been the Marlboro Man.
So, like the Israelites, I’ve been delivered out of the slavery of cigarettes and I’m in the apocalyptic wasteland en route to the Promised Land. I have been provided for and loved in such abundance that I can’t take it all in, also just like the Israelites. That’s as far as the analogy goes, because I don’t know if what the Lord’s doing with me is what He did for the Israelites. God is teaching me how to live as a “free” woman, because all I’ve known my whole life is slavery to my Self.
I don’t know how to cope with my life. I don’t know how to move through each day without “my fix.” Cigarettes were my answer to all that ailed me, and I don’t remember how to BE without them. It’s taken three months for me to even SEE what He’s doing with me. God is parenting me – teaching me, encouraging me, disciplining me, nurturing me – and showing me what it means to live free, dependent only on Him. It’s the paradox of being free only when God is the One who owns you.
I don’t know how to live as one owned by Love. I’ve only ever been enslaved. But I am beginning to welcome the abject desolation of all character and achievement and knowledge that He brings me to, without shame. Of course I don’t know how to live! It’s lunatic pride that says I should. Only when I’m broken down to the bottom does God have an EMPTY vessel in me. And only then can I be alive and free and LOVED the way I’ve always wanted. So the wasteland has a purpose, and though the suffering is real and terrible, the reward is greater still.