Thursday, January 26, 2012

Fort Jenn

It’s no secret, for those who know me well, that I am queen of delayed reactions. It’s also my default to totally go into shut-down mode in times of incredible stress. Several years ago, I was told by someone else (in love) that I often and easily put myself into an emotional bunker. I always have a mental picture of myself in a military tank. It’s funny (well, not really) but, in all honesty, it’s true...

Well, over the past week, I’ve been trying hard to not go into bunker mode. I have been doing a ton of writing (be glad that most of it will never be posted) in an effort to process the recent whirlwind. In order to heal, we do have to feel, and though I can’t force myself to cope in an unnatural way, I want to do what I can, on my own, to prevent a nose-dive crash. I confess it’s easier to go into the bunker than it is to intentionally cope with grief.

Today was not a crash, thank God, but I wouldn’t call it a good day. In fact, it pretty much stunk. I think the recent circumstances have been mixed up in a big ol’ mental pot with other stuff that had been going on before Christen’s passing and some of the things that have come up since. I don’t know that I’d even begun to process the things before. So my pot of emotions slowly began to simmer today.

Thank God for His love and compassion. He hasn’t let my pot of emotions boil over or let me shut myself up in a bunker. Even in my funk, I’m aware of God’s goodness and how gracious He continues to be. I’m comforted by how David kept it real in the psalms (because I realize I’m not so far off when I say crazy stuff). He poured his heart out to the Lord and, even in his pain, David chose to give Him praise.

"Praise be to the LORD, for he showed his wonderful love to me when I was in a besieged city." – Psalm 31:21

"The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." – Psalm 18:2

When I’ve tried to protect myself in the past in my fort (with thick walls and a fat moat), it normally blows up in my face. But the interesting thing is, most of the time, I'm not even conscious that I go there until I get smacked hard by reality. However, even when I've set up camp in my besieged city, I am thankful that the Lord has always shown His wonderful love to me. The walls which seemed to be so thick were not too thick for God.

I am also thankful for how the Lord meets me when I consciously open my heart to Him. He is so faithful. The fact that He is revealing all of this is to me pretty major. The Holy Spirit is helping me to be more self-aware and less self-reliant which causes me to be more dependent on Him.

The Lord truly is a shield, fortress, and stronghold. I choose to hide in Him. He provides a refuge filled with love and compassion. He protects me from the enemy … and protects me from myself. I may not always be comfortable in this place but I’ll always be comforted. I'm running out of Fort Jenn and into His arms where I'm truly safe from all harm.

This is a weird season and it will probably continue to be so for a while. But it's inevitable to have such seasons on this side of eternity. There will be pain, there will be grief and, because of how I am, there will probably still be delayed reactions. Though I don’t enjoy the heartache and frustration, I do find joy in knowing that the Lord is near. He is my rock, in whom I can always take refuge.

Thank you, loving God. You are worthy of praise.

"O my Strength, I sing praise to you; you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God."Psalm 59:17

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