April Motl is a pastor’s wife who loves to laugh, loves her man, loves to talk on the phone entirely too long and most of all, loves her Lord. Collaborating with the efforts of her husband Eric, the two of them share a ministry dedicated to bringing God’s Word into the everyday lives of married couples, men and women. April has been privileged through her own church and ministry outside her local body to share God's Word with women ranging in ages and stages, across denominations, and walks of life. April is a graduate from Southern California Seminary and has written for Just Between Us Magazine, Dayspring's (In)courage, and The Secret Place and also writes regularly for crosswalk.com, iBelieve.com and Women's Ministry Tools. For more information, visit Motl Ministries at: www.MotlMinistries.com
(Walls Down Wednesday posts are weekly entries based on Mary DeMuth's upcoming book: The Wall Around Your Heart: How Jesus Heals You When Others Hurt You)
When Jesus prayed, He gave His friends insight into how He walked so fully alive. Tucked within His prayer are secrets to withstanding conflict, letting go of turmoil, and seeing God in His proper light. - Mary DeMuth from The Wall Around Your Heart
Mary calls the Lord’s Prayer our “treasure map” to living in the fullness of the love and life we’ve been called to. Check out this great chart Mary made to give us a taste of how each point of the Lord's prayer can be applied to our relationships:
I love how she’s used the Lord’s prayer as a road map for relational healing. So let’s ask ourselves the first few questions:
- Do I mentally rehearse our pain more than I pray about it?
- Do I first remember that I’m defined by our Creator, not my wounds?
- Do I allow God to sit sovereign over my hurts and praise Him for who He is... or do I allow my pain to sit on the throne of my heart and call the shots?
If you started reading the book from the pdf. I linked for you last week, I hope got through the first little bit and began asking yourself these same questions.
I’ve been chewing on the wisdom and challenge in these pages and I also just came back from our annual women’s retreat. A bit of solitude and a needed focus are two ingredients for somethin’ good to happen!
The last few years have been host to a string of rather bizarre and intense events. I’ve reeled with them a little more than I would wish... I guess we all kind of wish that strong faith might equal less pain, drama, tears or stress. And it can. But even David cried and Jesus sweat blood. So, I’m not thinking we get out of this place without a few pressures and burdens pressing on our emotions. Anyway, as I sat in the quiet with my Lord I asked “What in me keeps needing this kind of thing? If you sit sovereign over my life, what is the purpose of these events? What’s the point of this pain? Do I just require regular crushing? I’ve tried so hard to have faith and follow You, Father. I just don’t understand. What’s wrong with me that I keep feeling this way and experiencing these things? What am I supposed to learn from this? Where are you in all this?” His answer came. I felt like my Father took my face in His hands and said, “You’re asking the wrong questions. It’s like being at the site of a tornado catastrophe and asking ‘Whose fault is this? FEMA or the local government’s?’ This life has pain. Unimaginable pain. Not all of it is anyone’s fault in particular. It’s the fallout of living in a broken, fallen world. You haven’t failed me... and daughter, I haven’t failed you.”
I’d allowed my pain to speak louder than my Lord. I didn’t mean to... I bet you haven’t meant to either. As I continued praying and unraveling this issue with the Lord (and later talking with my ever-listening, sweet husband), I realized I had a deep-seeded belief pattern that was at the root of this issue. All the way back to a painful childhood, I’d been told “You deserved that. That’s what happens to little girls like you.” Mix that notion with the facet of spiritual truth that the Lord does indeed sit sovereign over our lives and that He does indeed allow us to be shaped and refined by painful, even sometimes wrong experiences (1 Peter 2:20), and I realized I created a warped idea out of facets of the truth, but not the whole truth. A big hole in my healing process was my conviction that I deserved, and earned, my pain. I couldn’t let go of it all the way, because somewhere I’d stashed the belief that something inside me deserved it. Required it. It’s like I was taking those fiery darts of the evil one, plucking them out of my side and re-sticking them in and out and in and out again. What an awful cycle of crazy-making!
Occasionally, God allows us to meet consequences. Sometimes He rebukes us. But more often than not, He is gracious, loving, generous, protecting and kind. A lot of the pain we experience isn’t designed to be specific punishment. It’s like a tornado that rips through Kansas. The Lord causes “His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” Matthew 5:44-45. Sometimes we get sunshine and sometimes rain regardless of how diligently we've tended our garden. So I share that little ramble with you to encourage you to look over the hurts in your life and see how much pull they still have in your heart... pray for the Lord to show you why they still have that influence (if they do) and in the meantime, know I am praying much healing, peace and joy for you.
Download the fun image freebie from Mary DeMuth’s Wall Around Your Heart here. Mine is going up in my office :)
Join me for more Walls Down Wednesday posts (and some upcoming give-aways...woohooo!) at Motl Ministries or via email, facebook, twitter or Pinterest.