What a man desires is unfailing love; Proverbs 19:22
I participated in a mixer not too long ago where we were asked to introduce ourselves to each other using just one word that best describes us. Being of the introverted contemplative nature, I’m not very good at social gatherings (they are actually painful for me), and for the life of me I could not think of a descriptive word appropriate enough to share with strangers.
When it came time for me to share my word I was tongue-tied. I could not say anything. I had many words floating around in my head…forgiven, uncomfortable, beloved, unworthy, dolt, tired, embarrassed, thankful, sinful, saved… but nothing would come out of my mouth. A friend came to my rescue and supplied a word for me…
I ran into that same friend the other day while shopping with another friend, and in our introductions she used that same word when describing me. And then she jokingly added (too which I wholeheartedly concur) “Sometimes she’s so sweet it’s sickening.” I am thankful for her honesty.
It is not good to consume too much honey… Proverbs 25:27
I have recently come into the knowledge of why I have to be so sweet, and it ain’t pretty. I have been diagnosed with borderline OCD – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. In seeking out wise counsel I have found that I am this way because I grew up in a home with a sometimes sadistic father who was not the most wonderful disciplinarian. I was the fourth child born of six, and I saw my Father discipline my next-oldest strong-willed brother on a regular basis. His favorite form of punishment was either fist, fan belt, or the ever-so-demeaning buzzing of the hair. His punishments were always cloaked in
rage wrathful anger. As a matter of fact most of his life was cloaked in rage.
“Many times I struck your gardens and vineyards, I struck them with blight and mildew. Locusts devoured your fig and olive trees, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the LORD. Amos 4:9
As my Godly friend always reminds me, “Hurting people hurt people.”
My brother liked to take his
rage anger out on me, probably because I was of the female weaker persuasion. I tried to avoid him because he would constantly stomp on my exposed toes, pull my hair, bully me and pick on me any chance he got. He would steal from me, and my bedroom was his favorite target. I even hung a beaded curtain over my doorway so that I could hear him when he would sneak in to steal something.
My parents never came to my aid.
Can you imagine a shy introverted little girl growing up in this environment? I felt like I was living in a den of bears, constantly walking on eggshells, and the only way to survive was to make sure that I was
sweet good enough so I didn’t get my father’s wrath directed at me, which didn’t really work.
My Mom even asked me one day, “Do you know why you get yelled at all the time? When I shook my head she continued, “Because you’re the only one who listens.”
One day, when I was fifteen, my brother grabbed me from behind by my ponytail. I had had enough! I remember my eyes flashing with anger, and whipping around I knocked his hand away from me, pointed my finger in his face, and sternly told him, “DON’T YOU EVER LAY ANOTHER HAND ON ME!” He never touched me again after that.
Even as I type this my hands shake with suppressed emotion and tears fall from my eyes.
To this day I have such a strong heartfelt desire to just be sweet and good.
Do you know what I have learned over the years? Being
sweet good doesn’t gain me anything. I am not really sweet good anyways. Ask my husband and son. Everything I do is tainted by original sin. All of my sweetness is like filthy rags in God’s eyes.
God saved you through faith as an act of kindness. You had nothing to do with it. Being saved is a gift from God. It’s not the result of anything you’ve done, so no one can brag about it. God has made us what we are. He has created us in Christ Jesus to live lives filled with good works that he has prepared for us to do. Ephesians 2:8-10
You know what? I am okay with my past. You know why? I have been taught that no matter how sweet or good I am, I will never earn what I most desire…unconditional love. That’s why it’s called unconditional.
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. Jeremiah 31:3
What a sweet relief!
People of Zion, be glad and find joy in the LORD your God. The LORD has given you the Teacher of Righteousness. He has sent the autumn rain and the spring rain as before. The threshing floors will be filled with grain. The vats will overflow with new wine and olive oil. “Then I will repay you for the years that the mature locusts, the adult locusts, the grasshoppers, and the young locusts ate your crops. (They are the large army that I sent against you.) You will have plenty to eat, and you will be full. You will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has performed miracles for you. My people will never be ashamed again. You will know that I am in Israel. I am the LORD your God, and there is no other. Joel 2:20-25
Abba Daddy, You love me. Your word says so and Jesus showed me on the cross and then again when he rose from the dead. You can’t lie. I thank you for the years the locust devoured. They have brought me to this point in my relationship with you. I would not change one thing because you know better than I. Use me, Lord, despite my sickening sweetness (insert finger in throat and gag). Bears love honey, God. Help me to show my Dad and brother your unconditional unfailing sweet and good love. They need your love, just as I do, Lord. Let not their years of locust invasion be wasted. In Jesus name, Amen.
and as for Satan…”DON’T YOU EVER LAY ANOTHER HAND ON ME!”