Guest writer: Don Milam. Last night I had an epiphany. I have been on a journey the last few months, ’til I reached this moment in time. I had to get here. It was important that I get here, though I had no clue where I was headed.
Grace, an Intoxicating Revelation
I’ve been intentional about my journey as I have posted on Facebook since Micki’s passing. I did it for me and I did it for you, hoping that my little journey would help others. Occasionally, I have shared about my struggle with loneliness. Reflecting back over my life, I have no recollection of facing the emotions I have gone through in the last few months.
These feelings come and go and I never know when they will invade my inner space. Sometimes, it is just a nagging feeling. At other times, the pain is emotionally sharp and its force pulls me down, though I try to resist it. The temptation to flee presents itself. I seek solace from others and cry out to God to fill what seems like such an empty space in the deep recesses of my inner life.
I have six or seven books on a nightstand by my bed. Two of them I am reading. The others sit there waiting for me to pick them up. They are the books that I often turned to in moments like this. Last night, I picked up the one book I have probably turned to the most, Shame and Grace by Lewis Smedes. I thumb through the book reading the highlighted portions.
In a flash of a moment, a light shined into my inner space that was seeking answers and solace.
The light took me back to a time when shame was my constant companion, a shame that had little to do with what I had done, but how I saw myself, unloved, inadequate, weak and lost.
I had my way of dealing with those shameful thoughts. Bury them. Ignore them. Fill my life with other things to avoid them. It wasn’t until 1994 when grace infiltrated my life with its wonder and power. On that day, my cluttered soul, a result of all the buried feelings, was cleansed as grace cleared the room so that I could hear the words of Father, telling me of His great love for me.
Last night, a truth revealed itself to me. There is purpose for this season I am in. Though I wondered if I had made a mistake, God knew. Evidently, I needed a refresher course in learning how to be alone with my thoughts and feelings. Wrestle with them. Explore them. Consider them. Do not bury them. Shame taught me the craft of skillfully burying my thoughts and feelings.
Grace taught me to open the window and let the world take a peek into your soul.
Shame is a huge weight, pulling me down into dark pits of despair. Grace defies the law of gravity and lifts me up into places I have never been. Grace makes self-knowledge bearable. Grace gives me courage to accept who I am.
“Grace is too unpredictable, too lavish, too delicious for us to stay sober about it. What can you do with such unchecked generosity but smack your lips, slosh it around your tongue, and savor it with joy?” – Lewis Smedes, Shame and Grace
I am reminded of that fact that I taste Grace every day.
“It is the sweet taste of family and friends, of new acquaintances, but also in learning to be alone. Grace teaches me to be grateful for what I HAVE and not focus on what I don’t have. The journey never ends. It is not a straight line. It can zig zag here and there. It can be chaotic, at times. One thing is sure. Grace is always there.” – Don Milam, Author
by Don Milam (posted on Facebook Jan 15, 2016)