Lord, I’m struggling right now. I know you see me, I know you hear my cries. Please help me! I’m sorry for all of the times that I’ve doubted your strength. You have never been weak and you have always been enough! It is my own weaknesses that fail me. Help me to place full trust in you and your awesome power and faithfulness! Continue to break me in order to create in me a heart and a spirit that glorifies you. In Jesus’ name I pray this, and so much more. -Amen
You know those days when you feel like your heart is struggling just to beat and your mind is whirling at category 5 hurricane speeds? When all of the dreams and visions you have for your life seem so far out of reach and that God just doesn’t want you to have them? Then, just as you’ve reached, what you feel like, the lowest point this time, you hear a message that gives you some direction and slows the storm a bit. That was me the past couple days. It felt like one thing after another over the course of the past 2 weeks. Everything piled on top of heartbreaks that have been with me for so long that I don’t know if they’ll ever go away completely. But the recent heart breaks are so intense and the ones that bring me to my knees and crying out to God for help. For comfort. For an answer.
Then eventually an answer comes. Not the one I hope for or dream about, but an answer and I know it’s His answer. Today in church our pastor spoke about Daniel. About his character, his faith, his morals, his INTEGRITY. This sermon stuck out to me this morning and I believe it was God’s answer to my suffering heart. It was Him asking me, where is my integrity? I have been broken for so long that I still need to grow some and form this mysterious thing which I feel I have never had. I believe that I am on my way to having some, but I still have a lot of growing to do. Our pastor also posed the question of “what will your epitaph read?” As a sort of analogy as to what our integrity looks like.
With the struggles that I have had in my past I have been asked by many to look at and think about my death. Death has been a very real thing to me for many years. Between struggling with an eating disorder and being on the brink of death, working as an EMT for years and seeing the unexpectedness of death, of fighting with alcoholism and realizing that I was soon going to die if I didn’t seek help, of sitting in church a year ago and knowing that I wouldn’t go to heaven if I died that day because I did not know Jesus as my Savior….I’ve thought a LOT about my own death. This morning, though, he had me thinking about my epitaph, my legacy, my integrity. What would my headstone read? What would people remember me for?
My heart knows that I should be remembered as a person who sought to love Christ with a fervent heart and continually tried to follow Him. My fears, my insecurities and my experiences say something a LOT less nice. They say “Your headstone will read your name, date of birth and date of death. That’s it. Because there’s nothing much anyone this side of heaven has to say about you.” Or, when talking about you, your husband will say, “I’m so glad I don’t have to deal with her anymore! I’m finally free to be myself after all this time. I hope the next one will be better!” My children, and maybe even my few friends, may miss me for a bit but after a while they’ll forget everything about me. Needless to say, I wasn’t proud of the legacy I was leaving behind.
Most of my life I have been seeking the approval of others. To make my father proud of me, to make close friendships with people who accepted me for the weirdo that I was. For people to see my beauty from within and not to make fun of my weight. To like my art work, my singing, my writing…the things that have brought me the most joy. To have a marriage that was full of joy and laughter with an undying desire to be with each other when we were apart, a friendship that continually grew and a freedom to have our own individual same-sex friends that we got to enjoy time with. To share our whole lives with. To be my unorganized, artistic self that loves books and handbags without being made ridiculous for having “too many.” To be understood that I enjoy cuddling except when I’m hot or you start breathing in my face. That my sense of style and hair changes constantly and that my list of aspirations is unending, so when I ask what you like, it’s not me just trying to be something I’m not. I just want to try them and maybe add some things to my list of favorites whenever my other “weird” things get to be too much at times.
Before I can get anyone to understand all of that though, I need to solidify my integrity. It starts with loving Jesus and wanting to walk closely with Him. To stand up for my beliefs and to share my testimony. To help those that I love to have the joy in Christ that I have and KNOW that they too will be going to heaven one day. For my children to know how much I love their father and support him and that I want them to have a close relationship with him, even when he’s away. That my family can come to me with anything and they will always feel welcome and valued. That my friends will know that I will always be willingly help them in any way that I can and that they too are valued. That my life was lived for something greater than myself. To let others see the joy, love, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, patience, peace and self-control that I have in my heart but keep closeted for fear of hurt or insult.
I pray that each of you, dear friends, live a life of integrity and are known for your convictions in Christ and your faith in a loving and caring Father.Tags: Character, Conviction, Daniel, Epitaph, faith, Integrity, Jesus, Joy, Kindness, Legacy, life, Love, Prayer, Struggles
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