Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bitterness

Today at church we started a new series. It's called Let Go Hang on. Today was about letting go of bitterness and hanging on to forgiveness.

It was actually a tough message for me to hear. While I believe I worked through the bitterness I experienced on our road to parenthood, I realized today that there is a seed of bitterness beginning to grow in regards to unemployment. Ryan and I were talking about it on the way home from church and I spilled a lot about what I'm angry/resentful/bitter about these days.

I don't even think I realized it all, until it suddenly came pouring out of my mouth like a flood. To be honest, a lot of it has to do with the fact that our life has been 'on hold' in many ways for 16 months: home improvements, decorating our home (which I hadn't really gotten around to prior to unemployment because we had two newborns the first two years we lived here!), cars, vacations, planning for the future, etc. This is the stuff that begins with envy and resentment and eventually turns into bitterness if I don't stop it.

It's all so superficial and materialistic. And many people haven't been able to enjoy those things their entire lives, much less for 16 months.

And I know that.

But it's still there.

Oh the ugliness in one's heart is almost too much to take some days.

Take it Lord....take it all.

It's times like these when I can claim the promises that God will create in me a clean heart and I am a new creation. I can leave all that comparison, envy, bitterness, and resentment behind, and daily accept his gift of grace.

During my talk on Friday I shared about how I dealt with bitterness in regards to infertility/miscarriages. After hearing the message at church today, I think the Lord is telling me that it might be time to do some surgery on my heart again.

Isn't that just the thing?! You can deal with bitterness once, but life keeps happening and you need to continually do a check of your heart.

Ug.

Here we go again Lord. Have your way. Have your way.

Here's the excerpt from my talk:

In June, a few months later, my friend asked me how I was doing with my infertility struggle and I told her that I had a real issue with pregnant women. She responded, “Do you think you should do something about that?”

To be honest, I didn’t want to do something about it. I was comfortable and secure in my shell of bitterness and anger towards pregnant women who were achieving their dreams while I waited. I had chosen to wait, but in the process I had let my heart be hardened.   

That summer was gut-wrenchingly painful. I harbored bitterness in my heart and needed the Lord to do surgery.

I dealt with some serious issues of bitterness, anger and doubt in my heart toward the Lord and toward other people. God helped me work through the pain of infertility, the pain of miscarriage and the pain of waiting on Him.

Proverbs says not to letter a bitter root grow, but I had done just that. A bitter seed had turned into a full-fledged root and had taken over my heart.

Through this work of dealing with my bitter root, I came face to face with God and I will never be the same. He brought me healing. He restored my soul. He gently took my tear-streaked face in His hands and turned my eyes to Him.

Hebrews tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith. That’s what God asks of us: to fix our eyes on Jesus. Not look to the left or the right or at what those around us have: better behaved kids. A more stable income. A bigger home. A stronger marriage.

But instead to fix our eyes on Him and He will replace our bitter root with something beautiful.

Remembering
As I write this on the anniversary of 9/11, I must also take a moment to acknowledge the very personal anniversary that this date is for me. Three years ago today I mourned with great anguish and grief when we were told that our second baby had died in my womb. Today I remember 9/11 2001 but I also remember 9/11 2008. People often say, "time heals." I completely disagree with that statement. I don't believe time heals. God heals. God binds up the brokenhearted, brings healing to our deepest hurts and sets the captives free. To all those in my life who have suffered heartache and loss: may the binder of broken hearts meet you today and may the healing begin.


4 comments:

Traveller said...

Thanks for this. I'm struggling with forgiving and bitterness, finding I need to continually lay things down, but not too successful sometimes it seems. So...I'm thankful for any reminder, and pointing to the sermon series. I'll take a listen...and, let go of this stuff.

cybil said...

I think it's very important what you say. Nevertheless, I hope you'll be out of this season of unemployment very soon!!!

Traveller said...

So...can I ask a question? How exactly did you deal with the bitter root? You talk about 'fixing your eyes on Jesus'--meaning--spending time with Him talking about it? or were there some other specific things you had to do?

In processing the pain and forgiving I need to do, I wrote one blog post (http://enjoyingjourney.blogspot.com/2011/08/all-i-can-do.html) basically saying...all I can do is keep bringing myself before Jesus. I'm still doing that. Sometimes there are specific other steps--not giving in to wrong thinking, refuting lies, recognizing what is love, what is not, choosing ...

Just wondering if you had any more specifics of what you had to do. Thanks again for sharing.

Stacy said...

Traveller,
Thanks for your honesty and for your willingness to share how difficult of a struggle this truly is. I think you are correct in that a lot of 'dealing with a bitter root' is about daily bringing yourself before Jesus and asking him to reveal what's in your heart and asking him to help you clean out the yuck. I will think on this more in the days to come and write another post about this topic. For now, you might want to check out a number of posts from July 2009- I wrote a series about this very topic. The dates are: June 30, July 1, 2, 3, 6, and 9.