As I stared at that reflection the pain and realization hit hard. Who was this frail, fragile woman? When had those dark circles and sunken cheek bones taken over the cheerful, rosy cheeks, and bright eyes of the me I once knew? When had I let myself go? It didn’t take me long to realize that despite how I got here, I had to find the road out. The answer came pretty easy, I needed one thing…
Nourishment for my body, my mind and my spirit. The simplest, most well-known of prayers came to my heart and I began saying it over and over again. I think you might find it familiar, a little verse in Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV)
“Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one…”
This verse is familiar to many of us, known as the Lord’s Prayer. I remember truly learning this and memorizing it during junior high basketball, saying it as a team before every game. I had been saying it for years before those ballgames and as part of church services, but had I ever really taken the time to break down each element and understand in whole what this simple prayer means to us and for us?
Our Father has a life already prepared for us, things he has set out in order to bless us…and to feed us. To nourish us. We have a daily meal already prepared in the word of God, but we have to be willing to allow the feeding. That bread can multiply beyond all measure if we are willing to receive it. But in order to receive it fully we can’t just skip past that part about forgiveness and forgiving. That’s a big one, we are always forgiven by God, but do we always forgive ourselves and those placed in our lives? Had I truly in my heart forgiven all those who had wronged me? Had I even began to forgive Mr. Walkaway Joe introduced in the beginning of this story? Was I still allowing that bitterness to overcome the bread? Was temptation and evil taking place of my healthy supply?
Sadly in standing back and looking at that reflection again, the answer was a clear yes. I was opening up dating apps more than I was opening my Bible. Trying so quickly just to replace him to feel that spot I thought I needed in my life. I was continually swiping left and right, receiving “flirts” and “winks” more than I was receiving the Holy Spirit into my heart. I was ignoring that voice telling me that this wasn’t right, and those men weren’t the answer. I was continuing to let temptation and lack of patience take over God’s timing for my life and for my future. And it kept leading to the same dead end.
I kept staring at the same frail woman in the mirror. She was confused, hurt and lost. And she was tired of waiting. She was hungry for love and a life out of the fairy tales.
Although my heart felt so broken, I continually kept yearning for the feeding and nourishment to come from a man of this world. I want to say I was strong and it all came so easy in letting that guy go. That the moment I realized God had given me closure, I had received it and closed the book. But, the truth of the matter was, I’d opened up that guys phone number one to many times, trying to think of anything to get a response. Silence.
Eventually it was in the silence that I started to hear God more. It was as if the headphones of temptation had been removed from my ears, and replaced with a soft voice saying, “Let me feed you. Hear my Word. Accept this bread. Take this journey with me.”
And the clearest sentence of all. “Forgive him.”
But, but, but….
This is when I started to really receive the bread. It tasted much better than the bitter, and the sugar coated. And the reflection started to look a little better too. I had found faith in finding the filling. In filling the void.
And then it all happened again. I was back to going through the motions, losing myself as I searched for fulfillment from someone else.
God let me do it, and then He showed up like He always does, full of grace…and more bread.
And the story goes on…