Kara’s Collection: Struggling Attitude

from an article originally posted August 24, 2014…

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
— Psalm 51:10-12

I am really struggling this round of bad news. Typically I struggle for a time, a moment, a day, then I get on board with the plan and move into peace, joy, extending myself beyond what I feel able for the joy of each day. I still feel the momentary feeling of I’m here, thank you, but I’m struggling with the unfolding plan.

My attitude has generally been the pits since I heard the new plan. I have been hard hearted, quick tempered, fighting to withhold harsh words. When I first had surgery to get a port over 2 years ago I was naive, ignorant, unknowing of what it was. I am no longer naive. I remember eventually hating my port and wanting to claw it out. I would vomit as it was flushed with blood thinner. I would cry as they stuck the giant needle into what felt like my heart. My friend had a little boy with a port. He and I talked about matching. In the end of his treatment, he fought, fought, fought when the nurses came close to it. I understood. They are amazing ports. They are really a medical marvel—that my veins will be protected from the powerful poison. So I know it’s wrong to have an unthankful heart, but I’m struggling today. Struggling with the new treatments plan. Struggling with idea of being forever bald for the world to have entrance upon my battle in one glance. Now, now, I’m in this battle, but I get to choose with whom I share my story. Bald lets everyone know something is amiss. Bald brings a loneliness.

We ran away this weekend with our church. My most favorite thing to do was sit and watch new friendship grow. New connections being made. It was a beautiful 2 days of connecting with those I love. The kids had an absolute ball. Jason coined it church-action. It was a beautiful time of connecting for longer periods of time. But on the way up, on the curvy drive, my ugly heart was exposed. I became carsick and all my ugly edges came pouring out upon our hyper children. Jason quietly admonished me and asked me to kindly be more gracious to the children. I couldn’t find gracious Kara; I could only find the disappointed, ugly, angry Kara that wanted silence to manage the endless turns. I made jokes later over that Kara who showed up in the car, but I’m so grieved by my ugly attitude.

Here is what I know. Here is what I have always known: God loves, he loves, he loves me—ugly attitude and all. But Jesus also loves me that he has the strength of tenderness to move me to a soft heart. Oh, how I want a soft heart.

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statues and be careful to obey my rules. You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.
— Ezekiel 36:26-28

There is a part in all of us that wants to tell me I’m entitled. That my ugly attitude is okay, expected, right. But it simply is not. This I know to be true, I’m hurting, desperately hurting over our new path, the hard turn in our road. But I also know this: Jesus is able, perfectly able to extend me the grace needed to restore a soft heart to me. I cannot create it within myself. I can simply honestly say to my loves: I’m struggling, I’m desperately struggling to find that soft-hearted mama I love—the gentled-by-Jesus mama we all love. I feel all my edges, all this anger, all this hard is caving in upon me. I want, I want, I want a soft heart today.

So this morning I will limp into church, I will humbly sit in the front row and ask, simply ask for Jesus to change my attitude. I’m praying God would hear my silence confession and repentance and meet me with a changed heart. It will come; won’t you pray for me?

How is life painful for you today? How are you forgetting that Jesus is the one that can change our hearts? How are you fighting for better in your own strength? How are you suffering the disappointment of where your story is compared to where you have dreamed it to be? In that grief would you invite Jesus to join you? This is so often my grief—the grief of this is not the story I planned. My weak eyes at seeing the better plan, and receiving, receiving, receiving what it mine this day. The grace sufficient to live well today. The grace to live with a soft heart—it’s there. I must press deeply into the lover of my soul to find her, the follower of Jesus that grabs tightly to his robe and quietly waits for healing, not simply healing from cancer, but healing from my hard heart. I’m just struggling. I simply don’t want a port. I don’t want to return to face-down living, I don’t want big chemo, but more, more, more than all of that—I don’t want this cancer. So the battle continues for my life as well as my heart. It is a hard battle to return to peace; maybe it’s the hardest peace, maybe not. But I long for the peace that passes understanding to meet me today. I pray it will meet you as well.

Thank you for loving me and meeting me here mess and all. May you be beautifully met this day by the One that knows exactly where you are.