By: Cindy Stepanek (Guest Blogger)
My mom has been gone for over 26 years. I can still hear her telling me, “Young lady, sit your butt down right here until you change your attitude.” I soon learned what the changed attitude looked like on the outside, but I didn’t deal with the inside. This tactic led to a lifelong mission to avoiding heart issues. I learned that no matter what the loss or stress, it was time to put on a new face, hunker down and work harder.
When I became a follower of Christ, I brought along my constant companion Work Harder. I also fell in love with Isaiah 6:8, “Here I am, send me.” My friend and I got to work. I will be honest; I have been blessed with many amazing experiences, but I am not sure the Lord had always sent me. I think I might have sent myself. At this point I don’t think it matters who sent me because when you travel with dysfunction you are headed for the fall. That is just what I did.
I thought it was my daughter’s last deployment that sent me over the edge. I found myself needing to pull away from friends and conserve my energy for my immediate family and getting through life. One day I was talking to a friend when I asked her about a mutual friend who had breast cancer. I knew this was a terrible time for our friend but I didn’t seem to have the ability to call, text, e-mail or send a card. I thought about her; I thought about sending her a card or something, but the thought never seemed to make it into the action stage.
My friend looked at me with concern and said, “What happened? This isn’t like you. … It’s as if you are mad at God.”
She was right; but her question angered me. I wasn’t upset with my friend, I was angry with myself because she could see the truth. I was angry, but I didn’t know what I was angry about. I knew I was angry with God because He wasn’t the God I thought He was. I was angrier with myself because I could no longer hide the anger and hurt on the inside. I was so angry with God that I struggled going to church. I read the Bible because I promised God I would read the Bible. Every chance I found, I let God know just how I felt. I found myself in a vicious cycle I couldn’t seem to break.
After weeks of throwing a tantrum for the Lord, I decided to listen to our pastor talk about my favorite Bible verse, Isaiah 6:8. He talked about different mission fields. Some people might be sent to another continent while others find their mission work in their family, neighborhoods or work. I smugly thought, “What if you don’t like where God is sending you? If everyone serves, then who will there be to serve?” My answer came later that week when my friend delivered three containers of soup from our friend with breast cancer.
I learned that sometimes we are sent to a mission field that allows others to serve us. I feel as if I have been exiled to the Land of Need for an unspecified time. It is as if the Lord is saying, “Young lady, sit your butt down right here until you deal with those painful places you have been avoiding.” Although I hate this place, I know that there is no hiding my heart issues by changing my outward appearance; He knows my heart. I will be here until He says it is time.
I would just like to say, “Lord, I do not like it here one bit, not at all. How long do I have to be here? Can I get out of here? Are there any rest stops? Are we almost there yet?”
He whispers, “No, because I love you.”