New Story. New Season. New Wine.
I received this plaque from a dear friend of mine that says “New Story – New Season” about 8 months ago at an event for a Women’s Conference that I led worship for. I had the privilege of singing the song “New Wine” which if you haven’t heard it before the words are :
“So I yield to you and to your careful hand, I will trust you when I do not understand. Make me a vessel, make me an offering, make me whatever you want me to be. I came here with nothing but all that you have given me, Jesus make new wine – out of me”.
I remember feeling at the moment that both the plaque and the song were prophetic for my life but I couldn’t quite figure out why.
Fast forward a week later, I broke my ankle in two places, two weeks later my husband suffered major complications from a burst appendix that threatened his life and fast forward 8 weeks later we moved out of our home due to circumstances beyond our control. This was not the way I envisioned ‘new wine’ being realized….but I don’t know how else I expected it to come forth considering wine is made through a crushing and pressing. I had been praying for quite some time about some circumstances that we were enduring that were heartbreaking. Praying for changes, praying for healing, praying for change. There is a familiar saying “The cycle of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result”. We were here. We were expectant and hopeful for edifying change but peace is not one sided. I was praying for change and praying for peace…I didn’t expect it to come this way. I didn’t expect it to come through such brokenness in a variety of forms but it did…because it had to. This was the only way.
I think a lot of times we expect our peace or confirmation of our circumstances to depend on others. Sometimes the Lord will allow you to trudge through thick mud before your heart catches up to the realization that change must take place in order for peace to follow. In our situation we stayed in a situation that was messy and toxic longer than we should have because of fear, because of loyalty…but it didn’t honor God, it didn’t protect our kids and it didn’t fix the situation. A lot of times I feel like we stay in situations because of guilt, because of tradition, because of expectation but can I just say loud and clear that toxic relationships are never never okay – bloodline doesn’t excuse abuse, friendship doesn’t excuse abuse, employment doesn’t excuse abuse, mental illness doesn’t make it ‘okay’…I could go on. When we start parcing out abuse into categories of what is okay or not okay we become a condoning participant. Abuse is never okay. There are NO situations in which cruelty is okay. We made excuses for the situation that we were dealing with for a very long time until one day my daughter looked me in the eyes and said “mommy I can’t live like this anymore, it’s to hard”. My heart broke. We had to leave. We didn’t want to, it wasn’t a popular decision, it was scary, it was heart wrenching but what was more heart wrenching was realizing that if we were to stay knowing what would never change we were willingly condoning harmful behavior towards our children that would affect them the rest of their life. The thing about leaving…or removing yourself from a situation that is ‘the cycle of insanity’ is that you will never see clearly when you are to close – up close it’s blurry, fuzzy, distorted. Distance gives perception and objectivity that you cannot see when you are to close. There is a clarity that comes with the change of distance. In our situation we could not see things clearly or change them up close. Today I grieve the things we could not see or change up close but I also rejoice in the things that were able to be exposed and the clarity of heart that has come with the distance. I rejoice in the healing and peace that has come to us because of our ability to remove ourselves from what could not and would not change up close.
At first I was numb to all of the things that were happening around and in our family. Next I was angry. Now…I’m grateful. I’m grateful for the new story that God is creating in spite of the heartache we wrestled and continue to wrestle through. It means the pressing has a purpose…all of it. The mud we trudged through in our physical circumstances with Kevin’s health and my broken ankle were merely the tipping point that God used to allow us to reach the end of our rope. We wouldn’t have made the necessary decision to make huge changes in our life had we not been taken to the brink of feeling completely and utterly out of control. Sometimes God will use exterior circumstances to fall apart around you to take you to a place where you look deeply at the interior and it is there that you are faced with the choice to make a change. We all make choices that will gravely affect ourselves and those around us. God gives multiple opportunities if we notice.
The past several months God has shown me that He exposes things and that when He does so it offers us all a choice to notice the things He is exposing. He often exposes the things in and around our lives that are wounded and offers us to choose to treat the wound or put bandaids on it and ignore them. The ones we ignore get infected…the ones we attend to receive healing. God is always in the business of exposing that which needs attention to if we open our eyes wide instead of closing them because it’s to painful, to scary or to difficult. He’s gentle. He doesn’t gouge out our weaknesses with sharp instruments, He gently shows them to us but if we choose to ignore them they will spread and ooze everywhere and into every facet of our life. I’m grateful for the ways that He has held our hands through all of the weakness, all of the infection, all of the hard things.
There are some things left undone and unfortunately life isn’t always tied up in a pretty bow however I am confident that the story we have walked into will change the legacy that goes after us. Our season was hard but what was harder was enduring a situation that was counter to peace. What was harder was pretending things would get better. My kids have thanked us profusely both in words and actions these past few months for changing our story. Calling out things that are not healthy for the sake of truth and love is soul changing, generation changing, peace changing.
In all of it I’m choosing to see the good, continuing to ask the Lord for open eyes and ears to see His truth and hear His voice. Thankful for new stories..thankful for a new season. Thankful that in the crushing…in the pressing He makes new wine out of me.