Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wonderful Counselor

The question I'm working through today, thanks to the awesome leadership of my local church family: How has Christ shown himself to be your wonderful counselor this year? OK, here is goes...

There was a day in May, when I was sitting on my mom and dad's patio, next to the butterfly bush, with a notebook and pen. (Note: You can always know it's intensely important when you see me going "old school" with paper and pen.) I was going through a really painful and difficult time - what I refer to as "The Curse" - and every thought and emotion I had was swirling around chaotically inside of me, and rather than ram into a brick wall over and over, I thought the more productive thing to do would be to write it all out. So I sat there for a few hours, and wrote 15 pages, front and back, of a lot of things I wouldn't want anyone else to ever read. But I didn't stop until every word was written, my ink-stained hand shook from exhaustion, and my heart felt free.

Over the previous weeks, I'd talked to every wise and godly person I could think of, and gotten a lot of good counsel. But spiritually, I still felt like I was suffocating... because when I'd open my Bible and try to read, nothing stuck, nothing helped, and when I'd try to pray, I couldn't formulate a coherent sentence and I couldn't hear anything but the noise of my own anger and sadness and despair. Ever been there? I've been in church long enough and read enough books to know that when there is "static in the line," there is usually sin in your life. But I was so bruised and bloodied emotionally, so tired and weak, that I did not want to admit I had anything to do with it. So I tried to focus on what had been done against me, how I had been unjustly accused, and how I was a victim. And it was easy to camp on that, because it was true. But I hated myself in the midst of it, and had no peace... Why all the static? Why the suffocation?

"...He will be called Wonderful Counselor..." (Isaiah 9:6)

Last week at church, Pastor Eric said a counselor is one who sets chaotic things in order. I like to believe I'm not normally an over-the-top emotional drama queen, but during "The Curse," I was a royal mess, and chaos seemed to hunt me down mercilessly. Any move I tried to make to bring order only added to the chaos. I felt the desperate need for a counselor... but not just any counselor - a Wonderful One. I resolved to throw myself down at the foot of the cross and not move until He did something miraculous with my mess. And since I couldn't pray, I wrote him a letter... 15 pages long.

And that Wonderful Counselor met me there. He ordered my chaotic thoughts so that my letter began with the honest but selfish pitiful feelings I had, and moved it to the facts of what happened, then to my role in it all - parts of which set me free from unnecessary guilt and parts of which convicted me toward repentence, then to my response to it all - what it had been and what it should be. Once my torrent of thoughts were subdued, He sang to me - reminded me of his love and faithfulness, his patience and kindness, his mercy and grace to me... and healing began. He laid out for me a short-term "emergency response" course of action, and a long-term, on-going restoration plan that is still in motion. He brought order to my chaos!

I've written more letters to my Wonderful Counselor since then, and it brings such peace and joy to know that he reads every word, and more than that, he knows my heart better than I can ever express it. He has given me wisdom and strength and courage and assurance and grace to face every difficult moment since that day on the patio. He helped me to forgive and humble myself to confess and be forgiven. He has never left my side, and has been constant, and mighty to save, and wise to lead me according to his way.

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