I prayed last night as I was falling asleep that the Lord would give me words to write today. I haven’t wanted to write if I’m honest. The words just have not come. As I was leaving my house this morning to go to work I heard a large bang. It completely startled me. I looked over and I saw a bird flapping its wings trying to find its way out of our garage. One door was closed and the other wide open.
Confession: I hate birds. They scare the mess out of me. I have written before about birds finding their way into my room and being unable to escape. Leaving me in complete and utter panic. I confess my bravery has not increased over the years. I exited quickly to the open garage door leaving the bird to fend for itself. I know, animal cruelty. I’m sorry. Flight or fight… I’m flight every single time.
As I sat in my car waiting for my heart rate to decrease I felt the Lord speak in my spirit, “I want you to write about that bird today.” It’s crazy how much I disdain birds and how often God uses them to speak to me. I am completely aware that the bird that flew into my room in college and the one that flew into my room post college were different. I am also aware that the bird this morning was not the same as before. Yet, the message was the same. I can be the same girl that boxes herself in to the prison Christ has set me free from. I watched for a brief moment as that bird banged against the window looking out into a world he desperately wanted to get back too. I wanted to whisper “ sweet bird we have so much in common”, but I was too afraid it would hear me and come peck my eyeballs out (irrational fear).
I read Tamar’s story in 2 Samuel chapter 13 a few weeks ago and my heart was absolutely broken. I have read it before but this time it struck a sore spot in my spirit. I cannot imagine the devastation this woman felt. I cannot fathom her pain and shame. My heart breaks to think of my dear sisters in Christ that have walked this journey and been so terribly abused. The devastating effect of sin that rages in this world is so awful. I cannot compare my pain with their pain. There is no comparison. However, I felt myself relate to the actions that Tamar had after she left her brother Amnon.
“She was wearing an ornate robe, for this was the kind of garment the virgin daughters of the king wore. Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the ornate robe she was wearing. She put her hands on her head and went away, weeping aloud as she went. Her brother Absalom said to her, “Has that Amnon, your brother, been with you? Be quiet for now, my sister; he is your brother. Don’t take this thing to heart.” And Tamar lived in her brother Absalom’s house, a desolate woman.” – 2 Samuel 13: 18-20
She tore her robes, put ashes on her head and wept. It says that her brother silenced her and she lived her days as a desolate woman. Caged in her shame, alone in her pain and shut away from life. Her pain overwhelmed her. Her shame silenced her. Her ashes were never turned to beauty. For all her days she was a caged bird living a life of desolation. I imagine her watching the world from her window.
Webster's Dictionary says that desolate is:
deserted of people and in a state of bleak and dismal emptiness.
I was born with my brokenness, the effect of a sinful and broken world. Yet, I can chose to live in a desolate empty place where my pain overwhelms, my shame silences and my ashes are never turned to beauty. Or I can choose to allow Christ to break the bonds and live in His freedom. I can choose to let my pain fester or let my hope flourish. I can choose to watch the world from my window or open my life to His freedom.
None of us will live a pain free life. Some of us will experience more pain than others. Yet, Christ has opened the door to freedom and hope in the midst of our pain. It is available for all those that call on His name. I yearn for heaven often like a physical ache. I desire to be with Jesus and to be whole. However, I have to stop blaming my disability for the life I will never have. I must enjoy the incredible life I have been given. I refuse to live caged in a bleak and empty place.
Pain will either define or refine our lives. Lately, I have allowed my disability to define me as I look out the window into the lives of others. I want what they have and I want to be normal. Yet, Christ is refining me. He is gently guiding me out of the dismal place and into His sweet embrace. I don’t know where you are today, friends. I can guarantee that many of you have felt pain and will feel pain again. If you are breathing you have found yourself in a desolate place. Yet, we do not have to live there. Just like this morning the door is wide open to freedom… we must choose to walk through it.