Closed Doors, a Reluctant Ice Queen, and Frozenness

Confession: Having escaped multiple daily viewings of Disney's Frozen, I still like the movie. In a lot of ways, I live the movie.

Because I'm a human being and not a caricature, I fall in the ambiguous zone between fun-loving Anna and isolated Elsa, and sometimes the two within me are at war. Honestly, it would be sweet release to just let the Elsa in me take over. Fear, false freedom, and emotional distance seem easier somehow. But my inner Anna refuses to stay down.

The last four years have been a series of doors in my face. One after the other--bam! bam!--until I'm all but trapped inside a 16x72 mobile home on a little dirt road in the middle of nowhere.

I suppose the Ice Queen's heart must break before it can melt. 

So cut through the heart, cold and clear.
Strike for love and strike for fear.

The reverberations of the last door slammed still rattle my bones.

On Thursday, I ventured into 20 degree air to pick up Micah from school, and suffered my first reaction to the cold. While driving, no less. With my two preciouses in the back seat.

When my chest tightened, I concentrated on deep, slow breathing as I now do automatically during reactions, a technique which has calmed or delayed serious reactions in the past. This time, however, I was not relieved.

Thank God for Acute Rescue drops. But even they didn't keep my brain from fuzzing or my limbs from turning numb and useless. 

Driving while reacting with my babies in the backseat is pretty much my worst nightmare. I was scared, but I couldn't think clearly enough to be as scared as I should've been. Why didn't I pull over?

Graciously, God heard the desperate "Help!" of a sick mamma who couldn't think beyond that one word, and guided us safely home. Getting the kids inside and dropping into bed like a rag doll is a watery memory. Brandon was home soon after. Provisions all around.

The irony of being an obligatory "Ice Queen" who is bothered by the cold isn't lost on me. (There is always a laugh buried neath the snow even if it does sound hollow.)

The days since have been tired, achy days. January and I were getting along just fine this year, then this happened. And the world turned gray.

While it's okay to grieve, I must hold fast the truth--sometimes love is a closed door.

Sometimes love puts you in prison. All for good reason, of course.

God is not the author of evil or disease. He is good. He is Jehovah Rophe--the God who heals physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Complete health is my ultimate destiny. But that doesn't mean He shields me from every harm along the way. He took upon Himself the Big One, the one that would destroy me. The ones which will work together for glory and good, He lets through.

The arrows loosed from Satan's bow are aimed to kill, but God transforms them into surgical instruments and uses them to remove the cancer in my soul.

The hammer swinging down upon my head is remade into a chiseling tool which shapes me into the image of Christ.

The thorny messengers sent by Satan to prick and poison my heart against my Creator (2 Corinthians 12:7), God shapes into an inside-out hedge of protection, one that keeps the world and all its lover gods out and me in. With Him, my Ishi.

Therefore, behold, 
I will hedge up her way with thorns,
and wall her in....

(Hosea 2:6)

That may sound harsh, but my prison is no stark, lifeless place. He has magicked my "kingdom of isolation" into "a door of hope" (Hosea 2:15), delivering me in my affliction rather than out of it (Job 36:15). And I sing and dance about on high hills in broad places as if there was no restraint (Hab. 3:19; Job 36:16), until I no longer grieve the life I left behind.

I get there on my good days, but haven't figured out how to stay.

I often sing in minor keys.
I dance. I weep. Sometimes I dance while weeping.
I'm happy, sad, restless, and content all at once. It's exhausting.

That's okay, you know. God is honored by honest, trustful suffering. So go on and feel. Don't conceal. Let it hurt.

It's not "blessed are the tough." Nor "blessed are the strong or independent or happy." It's "blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted" (Matthew 5:4). Our blessedness is not derived from our emotional state, but from what God does when we live in honest relationship with Him.

Fight that frozen heart. Let them see you cry. You never know who you'll bless with your brokenness.
Soak that handkerchief if you need to. God counts and keeps your tears like treasures (Psalm 56:8).
Let 'em go.
Souls are worth melting for.

We aren't meant be ice queens. It's okay if we are bothered by the cold. Figuratively or in my case.

When Elsa stormed out of Arendelle, she thought she was free because she could finally open and close doors at will and do whatever she wanted. But options aren't always helpful. They weren't for Adam and Eve. They lived in a "garden of yeses," and chose the single wrong option. Left to myself, I do, too.

Do you know why God hedged Israel in?

So that she cannot find her paths.
She will chase her lovers,
but not overtake them;
Yes, she will seek them, but not find them.
Then she will say, 
"I will go and return to my first husband,
for then it was better for me than now."
For she did not know 
that I gave her grain, new wine, and oil,
and multiplied her silver and gold--
which they prepared for Baal....
"And it shall be, in that day,"
says the Lord,
"that you will call me 'My Husband'
and no longer call Me, 'My Master.'"
(Hosea 2:6-8,16)

God hedged Israel in to limit her options. They had given their dowry from the Lord to Baal, and thought of God as a slave driver cracking a whip when He just wanted a marriage, one in which He would do the brunt of the work. But Israel preferred to whore around with the real task master.

As Timothy Keller says, "We are all in bed with something." For one person, it may be money. For another, family. Sex, status, substances, whatever. You're spiritually sleeping with something, and that something doesn't have to be a bad thing to be dangerous to you.

Before I was sick, I was in bed with admiration. I was willing to do almost anything to get it, which is why my personality changed depending on who I was with at the time. But there was no way for me to know that until it was taken away.

How do you spot the alcoholic? When the rum's gone.

How can you tell if someone needs their wealth? When the stock market crashes.
How can you tell if someone's identity is rooted in being the good girl they always have to be? When they fail big (i.e. throwing Arendelle into an eternal winter, shooting ice into a beloved sister's heart, etc.).

A baal will never forgive failure and cannot satisfy a heart. It takes and takes and takes and never gives anything back.

Jesus Christ, our Ishi, will always forgive failure and never ceases to satisfy. He gives and gives and gives and only asks for our hearts in return.

"He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38), meaning there is always more of what we need in Christ. It never runs out because He never runs out.

My illness is not punishment for sin. Jesus paid my debt in full. I owe nothing. Rather, God has taken the thorns of Mast Cell Activation Disease and FQ poisoning and shaped them into a hedge.

Sing it with me! All my life has been a series of doors in my face. Then suddenly I bump into Yoooouuu.....

Notwithstanding nobody wants to be hemmed in with this guy.
Important life lesson: Beware [the overly compatible stranger with] the frozen heart.

My options are painfully, mercifully limited. And yet I'm free. God has hemmed me in with Himself so I can forget those Hans-like lovers of the past and we can go about the business of becoming one.

He has overcome my people-pleasing addiction by cutting me off and filling the infinite void with His infinite self as only He can.

That's what God does. He fills the voids.

True freedom is when you don't have to run from anything to be liberated and you don't have to succumb to emotional iciness to survive. It's not needing transient things to give you purpose. It happens when Christ is enough and you're free to feel and let Him fill you up. You're free to live. Closed doors and all.

One day when the bars of my little cell have served their full purpose, I'll rise like the break of dawn. This chronically ill, people-pleaser will be gone. I'll stand in the light of day for the first time in forever. With "actual real live people. It'll be totally strange."

Until then, I'm looking forward to summeeeeeeerrrrrrrr!!!!!!