And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara; for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. Ruth 1:20 KJV
I am Mara!
I try to laugh every day and try to keep my negativity from getting the best of me. When someone has an idea (including me), I have the ability within moments to (in my head) come up with several reasons that idea should never see the light of day. When I hear news (good or bad), I immediately have several thoughts about how the good can turn bad and the bad can turn to worse. I fight it all day, every day. The only way I can combat my natural tendency to do this is to think of at least one positive thing for each negative thing that comes to mind. Over the years of making myself do this; I have been able to turn the tide of my natural tendency towards bitterness into a studied habit of positive thoughts and actions.
Widowhood has not made this natural tendency towards bitterness easier. Bitterness is an emotion that I fight against almost every day since my Bill’s home-going, or promotion, as I like to call it. Some days it just seeps from my pours and during others it is a shadow in the room of my life that I can refuse to step into.
On the days it seeps from me, I find myself just wanting to wallow in my anger and pick fights on innocent victims. People who are driving on the road with me…my pets…my daughter…my friends. Thankfully, these days are few and far between.
I am three years down this road called Grief. I still have days of sadness and loneliness, that make me bitter sometimes. I wanted to walk this journey fast and get through it and be healed and move on. I don’t want to take time and wait. I want to be loved again. I want to go to a restaurant and ask for a table for two in a quiet corner to just spend time with someone special. I want back-up when I have to discipline my teenager – a voice louder than mine that reminds her to “respect your mother and my wife”. I want to go on vacation and let my left hand drop from my lounge chair by the pool only to be caught by a strong, right hand and held. I am bitter…Mara.
Then my loving Savior whispers into my heart, “I am here and I love you!” I am reminded that Christ chose me; not at my best, but my worst. He died for me for the sole purpose that I could spend eternity with Him because He wants me.
For some strange reason, He needs me to walk this journey. He doesn’t want me to be sad, angry or bitter. He wants me to take those emotions off like heavy coats and leave them with Him. He wants me to lean on Him for being wholly loved; to discipline my daughter and know He will lovingly guide her because she has Him in her heart too; and to walk the beach while on vacation sharing time with Him.
When I lean on Him, everything just seems to fall into focus. My loneliness slips away; my sadness diminishes; my heart is full; peace is with me; contentment is part of my wardrobe; and everything is ok. I am even ok with being asked to walk this journey and some days, people see Christ in me and say I am inspiring. (I know this is not me, but Christ in me.)
These are the days when that bitterness is a shadow that I don’t step into. These are the days when Mara is not my name. These are the days that I am surrendered and lay my head down at night feeling accomplished in Christ with a smile on my face.
I’m not there yet, but I am still on the road. And it is on this road that I am finding that Mara is getting further and further behind me and the name Joy is one I wear when I am surrendered and Christ is shining through me.
I cannot encourage you enough to leave Mara behind and choose to be Joy. Mara is a season, not a destination. Joy is a destination that we are all working towards.
Dear Lord, I am so thankful that You allow me to have my Mara moments and love me through them. I am so thankful that You love me through those moments and bring me into Joy-filled moments. I cannot think of a more fulfilling love than the love I have in You. Thank You for being with me on this journey and may I have more Joy moments in You. I love You! Amen