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Chips of the Soul

That cold look. The ugly email. The person who tries to stir up conflict again and again, all while claiming to be the victim. Chip, chip.

The neglect. The loneliness. The engulfing fear and lack of self-worth. Chip, Chip.

The verbal attacks. The blame-shifting and argumentativeness. The siren’s call of unwise habits. Chip, chip.

The state of the nation. The state of our world. The neighbor who hates you. The diagnosis. The call you didn’t want to receive. Chip, chip.

I feel the attacks as they try to chip away at my soul. I see so clearly those around me fighting the same battle. To not be defined by this broken world. To not be destroyed by broken people. But especially, to not let the brokenness within overwhelm and take over.

There aren’t always answers, or convenient ones anyway that you can tie a bow on and call something done. Or fixed. Or some version of normal. Sometimes, even faith falls short.

Ironically, none of this depresses me. If anything, it strengthens my convictions. That we live in a broken, fallen world that is full of fallen, broken people. Of which I am merely one.

Jesus’ wisdom rings in my ears:

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33b)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

“How great is the goodness that you’ve reserved for those who honor you, that you commit to those who take refuge in you—in the sight of everyone! You hide them in the shelter of your wings, safe from human scheming. You conceal them in a shelter, safe from accusing tongues.” (Psalm 31:19-20)

While I don’t always win the individual battles that I have to fight, I can say I’ve learned something incredibly powerful. Amidst the battles that strive to chip away my dignity and worth, trying to destroy my joy, my peace, my meaning. It’s deceivingly simple. Great growth, healing and power are found in the fight. And no matter how faithless or fearful I may feel, God is always faithful (2 Timothy 2:13).

I see it every time I watch my sons enjoying healthy relationships with their significant others.

I see it when I watch my daughter march forward with faith and dignity toward her goals.

I see it when my niece can confidently declare she is two months sober.

I feel it when my husband takes me in his arms, or when I pick up my precious grandson.

I experience it when I turn a corner in my life and reap the benefits of spiritual growth.

I proclaim it when my joy rushes in like a needed spring rain, flourishing all that is within me.