I lost my mind this hot season. Became unglued. Went a little nuts. Whatever you want to call it. Yes, everyone’s crabbier and more uncomfortable this time of year, and it would be mighty convenient to blame my meltdown on the heat. It would also be unfair, for I can’t in good conscience blame the external temperatures for my roiling internal mess.
I’d been angry at some disappointments in my life for a while, and it was spilling out into irritability and rudeness with my husband and children, who did not deserve my unkindness and snappiness. I refused to talk to God about these things because I was convinced He couldn’t change any of the circumstances anyway, and I didn’t want to be even more disappointed by His lack of intervention. So I just kept getting angrier and angrier, more and more irritable, and more and more distant from God.
One Sunday morning I hit a breaking point. I sat down with the question, “How did I become such a whiny witch?” (You can substitute more colorful language if you want; it would still be true.) I actually locked my door so my kids couldn’t walk in on me. I got down on my knees — something I rarely do while praying — and confessed and repented to God.
Then I did something I hadn’t been able to do for weeks, because I’d been staying too angry: I cried. I cried and cried. I lamented the terrible person I still am, how ugly my heart still is, how much sin I still have, how badly I was reacting to seemingly everything. I implored God, “What are you going to do with me??” His immediate reply: “Forgive you.”
Forgive me?? That’s what He was going to do with me?? He wasn’t going to give up on me? He wasn’t going to punish me? No, He said He was going to forgive me. But I suppose there’s nothing else to do with a sinner like me, but to forgive. I almost couldn’t believe how badly I needed absolution. When I received forgiveness, I suddenly found I could forgive those who had sinned against me. And my evil attitude toward my family dissipated.
In the end, I found it was unforgiveness that was keeping me from God. I had been avoiding the pain of repentance. Feeling the weight of my own sin hurts. I’d rather stay angry at someone else’s sin. But I was continually frustrated by my angry outbursts towards the people I wasn’t actually angry with. I kept asking myself, “Why can’t I get it together?” The answer was simple: because I hadn’t gone to God.
Going to God was such a relief. It’s the only thing I can describe it as. It was a relief to know that after all these years when I act like a witch for weeks on end, God still forgives. A relief to know my sin was not the end of me. A relief to know that no matter what, I can go back to the Cross, back to my Savior, back to my Lord. I got off my knees a forgiven person, lighter and freer, and ready to live again.
And so it was that this spring I experienced the truth of an old Keith Green song:
My eyes are dry, my faith is old, my heart is hard, my prayers are cold
And I know how I ought to be, alive to You and dead to me
What can be done to an old heart like mine? Soften it up with oil and wine
The oil is You, Your Spirit of love, please wash me anew in the wine of Your blood