Chocolate Covered Bricks

“I know I am in the shadow of His wings,” She mumbled under her breath.
“Say it again.” I whispered.
“I hate you,” She said as her eyes started to fill with tears. “That’s ok. Say it again.” I said, kindly.
“I know I am in the shadow of His wings.”
“Again” I whispered.
Tears finding their way down her cheeks. She hesitated. Looking at me as if she could bore a hole in me with her eyes.
“I know I am in the shadow of His wings.” Eyes closed. Crying now. Beginning to let herself believe the very words that she had fought so hard against. Words she knew to be true in her mind, though her broken heart wanted nothing to do with it. I wished at that moment I could see with Spiritual Eyes - to see His symbolic wing coming around the corner to comfort her.
“Once more….”
Sighing as if she had finally surrendered. Breathing softly now as if she were covered.
Wiping the tears away. “I know I am in the shadow of His wings.”

Its been years now….she started with unintentionally mentioning how better she had felt that week because she read something that reminded her: That she was in the shadow of His wings. She said it flippantly and quickly – sliding it in front of me and hoping I wouldn’t bite. I did.

I seem to be in the midst of many lately who don’t know what to do with God. They either don’t know if He exists, don’t know if they trust or believe in Him, or, honestly, simply don’t like Him very much (or maybe they confused the Heart of God with the Humanness of His children. Maybe it is US they don’t like very much : ). I am convinced that when we feel a distance from God, it is either because we are upset (disappointed, angry, confused, or disgusted) with Him OR we feel He is upset (disappointed, angry, or disgusted) with us. On one side of the wall you will find us hiding in our shame. On the other side you can see us pouting in our anger, frozen in our bitterness, or simply confused because we can’t make all the pieces fit..when maybe they aren’t supposed to.

During the greatest times of distance from God, I can often visualize us surrounded by bricks and mortar. Building up the wall between our selves and the heavens. Brick by Brick. Bitterness built on shame, anger mixed with disappointment, guilt stacked on confusion. We build and we build and we build. Later feeling this distance between our selves and our Creator and not understanding why we are so exhausted from our fabulous mortaring abilities. We either BLAME Him because He did not answer our prayers in the way we wish they would have been answered, or we HIDE from Him - being immersed in the thoughts that He is disappointed with us. The funny thing is that if we didn’t love Him – we would actually care less to think that He didn’t love us back. Often we think we don’t believe in Him when really we just don’t think He believes in us - or maybe we don't believe in ourselves. We all know one of the worst things is that look of disappointment from our Father.

But what I have realized is this. Just as there is no way I can STOP being my mother’s daughter (biologically - it is simply impossible). In the same way (times infinity), I can never STOP being my Father’s Child. Nothing I can ever ever do could make me any less the daughter of my Lord. Nothing you could ever struggle with, nothing in your past, nothing in your present could ever make you LESS His son. It simply could never happen. Never. Impossible. Nothing we could ever do could ever make Him love us less. While Salvation is conditional, Love is not. But we don’t realize that – so what do we do? We build. We stack. We wall ourselves inside The Wall of Shame.

What happens when we don’t like ourselves? We look away – hoping everyone else will too. What happens when we are caught up in something that we are ashamed of? We hide our nakedness behind the trees of the garden. What happens when there is something that happened long ago that we can’t accept forgiveness for? We, in the secret places of our hearts, constantly feel small and ashamed. Funny - the LAST place we want to be is the VERY place He desires us to rest: In the shadow of His wings. You see, in God’s infinite wisdom, He actually designed the end result of sin to bring us closer to His heart rather than further away from it. When we sin, God’s ultimate desire is that we come before Him…kneeling at His feet….asking for forgiveness. But more importantly, asking Him to teach us from our failings – ultimately to be chiseled away to look more and more like Him as we grow. But, often, instead of choosing to kneel, we choose to run. Far away. Tucked behind the leaves of shame. Hiding. Covering our face with our hands. Covering our ears as His whispers become beckonings….

”Come, my child. Come let me love you. Come let me teach you. Come let me hold you. Come. ”

And what about the other side of the wall? Lets call this one: Anger. We trusted Him. We believed in Him. We bought into what we thought were the “lies” of “all things are possible with God – He will take care of our every need – He will give us the desires of our hearts - We can do all things through Christ”. But what happens when you can’t? What happens when she has cancer and you prayed for healing, but she dies? What happens when you pray for your marriage to be saved and it isn’t? What happens when those you trust end up hurting you beyond repair? When you actually CAN’T pay your bills, when you have disappointment after disappointment and you pray for the Lord to take the pain away, but He doesn’t. What then? Often…….we go into the Masonry business. Suddenly having a fondness for the feeling of a brick in the palm of our hands. Dipping it into chocolate as to make it appear sweeter than it is. Dare I say – justified? Slowly, as we build, being shadowed by the wall of distance rather than the shadow of His wings. Brick by brick – we isolate ourselves and distance ourselves from the only true sense of Soul Warmth we possess. Why? Because we simply, painfully, and in all of our justified disappointment …….didn’t get what we wanted and aren’t receiving what we wished - even with the best intentions and purest of hearts. We were not granted what we so desired. His answer was nothing we had hoped for and everything we hated. And so in our anger and bitterness and resentment, in our feelings of “if He LOVED me He would GRANT me” syndome…..we spend our time stacking bricks and building walls rather than tearing them down with the strength of Humility and learning the Art of Accepting Not-Understanding.

She said she hated me. She was adamant about it. Why? Because she was not unlike many of us…. In being forced to tear down her Wall of Shame and Anger that she had so painstakingly handcrafted between she and her Lord; she was forced to Ultimately and INTIMATELY look into the eyes of Her Creator – Her Savior – Her Lord. Just a girl and her God. He – melting her shame away by His Grace-filled eyes. She – putting her anger aside in exchange for a Trust of the Infinite she did not completely understand. Amends Made. Forgiveness Accepted. Graceful Immersion. Love Allowed. Walking away amidst the rubble of broken clay, cluttered confusion, and scattered shame. Walls down – Hand in Hand – Bricks Broken. She was – In His Shadow once again.

(Yes, permission was granted, and no HIPPA laws were broken : )