My Vital Mortification

Humpty Dumpty

I have a great deal in common with Humpty Dumpty. Like Humpty, I just had a great fall. And all the King’s horses and all the King’s men couldn’t put me back together again. Part of me was broken into a million tiny pieces—and it was Mercy that orchestrated my breaking.

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 16:18 ESV

I grew up hearing this verse (who didn’t?), and it was always quoted as a warning against being prideful. Fair enough, because there’s definitely an inherent warning there. But for the first time, I see the unrelenting love, the promise of deliverance as well. Because I’ve just had a big fall…and the destruction wasn’t what I thought it would be.

Part of the definition of “humiliate” is “to mortify.” And mortify? “To destroy the strength, vitality, or functioning of…” Pride is not a gentle characteristic, to say the least. I have never successfully removed my own pride through simply choosing not to be proud or haughty. I’ve prayed many, many times for God to deliver me from my pride, to smash it and make me a humble woman. I don’t think that I previously connected my fall with that prayer, but I do now. The mortification of my pride is God answering my prayer for humility!

Pride is so natural to me, and so pervasive that I cannot always see it. That’s the gift of a fall – it’s hard to miss a great lump of pride once you’ve tripped over it and gone flying off a cliff, you know? With every divinely orchestrated humiliation, more of my pride is utterly destroyed – its strength, its vitality, its very ability to function. God loves me so much that He mortifies the intractable, entrenched pride everywhere He finds it, because pride always stands between me and God.

So as I said, I recently gave a spectacular shout-out to Humpty Dumpty with a terrifying fall. My pride did go before destruction, but the destruction was to save me. I had a standard that I was holding onto in pride, and I believed that this standard was not only right, but absolutely necessary for God to be pleased with me in any way. And when my complete and total failure to maintain that standard was utterly exposed, I felt the agony of humiliation and shame and fear. Part of me very much expected the world to end right then, and in a way, it did. I had put a face on God that didn’t belong to Him, and the world that was governed by the God-mask I built was destroyed.

A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up…
Ecclesiastes 3:3 NKJV 

That prideful delusion had to be broken into a million pieces, utterly destroyed. As long as it was in place, I couldn’t see God as He really is—I just kept seeing the mask I put over His face. My fall was orchestrated by His love. He wants me to know Him AS HE IS, and anything that stands in the way of that is fair game.

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    • Tammy

      What is it that causes us to have to learn the “hard way”? I suppose thinking/believing we know better than God. What gets me is how blind I am to the enormous reality of that sinful mindset. Praise God for His light and gift of repentance!

      In reading your blog Jen my reactions remind me of several things…

      As I read my heart ached for you. Aching because you have suffered.

      Then God reminded me (of some things Chambers tells us) that “Nothing touches our lives but it is God Himself speaking.” “We disobey God by becoming amateur providences…” “…if you try to prevent the suffering in another life, it will prove an obstruction between your soul and God.”

      So, I hand my heart ache over to Him repenting for my wishing you hadn’t had to suffer through this season. And, I rejoice that the “Mercy that orchestrated [your] breaking.” has taken you to the other side of that suffering.

      I’m also reminded of how I used to joke with friends about the “Calgon” commercial. You know, the one where the lady in the tub says “Calgon – take me away!” Our response was – be careful what you wish for! Personally I wouldn’t want to be taken away from the privacy of my bath to anywhere clad only in bubbles!

      God uses everything if we give Him our will. When I “thought” I needed to pray for more patience in my life He reminded me of this crazy commercial. My prayers for patience quickly became praise for the patience He’d already imparted. Who wants more situations that require more patience!? Phew! Makes me cringe just to think about those prayers! Oh that I would live and breathe only in worship and praise!

      As I type this I feel quite certain that He’s smiling warmly as He sees all the “holes” in my mindfully calculated post and will get my attention concerning them one way or another.

      Praising Him for the unseen adventure of it all!

      Thank you for your heart and sharing it with us.


    • Irene

      Jennifer, reading your posts reveals God’s Word to me as a diamond; multifaceted! Your ability to turn the words in just the right way, allowing the Light to shine through, produces brilliant insights. I have never looked at Proverb 16 the way the Holy Spirit revealed it to you. I am rejoicing with you as you continue to renew your mind and are being transformed by His Life.

    • Mac Dumcum

      WOW! Great word!

    • Tina

      I am so thankful that God is God and that He does it all, has done it all, and will do it all, in us all!

    • Majaunta

      Jennifer , I wept as I read for one reason. I have felt the Father “cut me off at my knees” (my description of His rendering me helpless to my own strength so I might be totally given over to His ). I understand “falling” and I understand God’s absolute annihilation to our frames we build that hold His love and mercy inside of our own expectations. (does this make any sense??? ) I love you….have never forgotten my phone conversation with you… are precious to your Daddy!!!! DON”T FORGET THIS!!!!!!

    • Pauline

      “My pride did go before destruction, but the destruction was to save me.” I can half-way identify with you on than, Jen, because I also had a fall due to pride and it did go before destruction. Only the destruction did not save me, it alienated me. It did, however, bring about two positive things: gratitude and cherishing Father’s forgiveness and no longer caring what judgments are made against me.

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