Ashley Gutierrez
Ashley Gutierrez

Ashley serves with her husband in Ensenada, Mexico with their home church and in the art and coffee community

The Lord is Our Refuge

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This month was the hardest month, but also the best month I have had in a very very long time. I have been learning what it means to say ‘The Lord is my refuge’.

It started really rough. In the beginning of February was the 2 year anniversary of the day my mom passed away. That week was pretty rough for me the last two years, but this year it wrecked me.

During the day I stayed busy, and kept a good face, but around dinner time, it started to sink in. Memories started to play in my head. At that moment I was at the coffee shop with a few friends, and one of them looked at me and asked me if I was okay. I told her I was sad and what was happening, and she looked at me, and with good intentions, she told me to cheer up.

So I did.
As much as I wanted to cry, I didn’t. I hid behind a smile. I laughed at a joke. But I didn’t feel anything except the nagging pain of how broken I was inside. But I was afraid of being rejected by people who love me. And I was afraid God would look down and see that I couldn’t handle grief alone, that He would see that I am weak, see that I am afraid and guilty and ashamed, and that He wouldn’t want me anymore.

You see, I think humans do this naturally to some degree. We have an experience, and we are uncomfortable or hurt, so we grab a brick of strength, or bravery, or smiles, and we start to build up this wall between us and everyone else.

I was doing that.

Here is what fascinates me:

I spent many years constructing this wall between me and God, and yet Christ pursued me the whole time.

When you build up a wall, you start to feel numb. You don’t really feel feelings. I look back on the last couple years, and I can remember moments of feeling REAL feelings. To me that just shows how much Christ continually pursued me, to show me that not feeling anything is not the life He has chosen for me! He has not sent His Holy Spirit to dwell in me so that I could live a life numb of feeling! And in those moments my eyes were opened to the beauty of real joy, but I was always quick to run back into hiding behind my wall.

Its funny that the very thing I was afraid of ( being vulnerable and admitting my weakness ), was the very thing that would bring true closeness, and healing, and make Jesus proud. 

This month I experienced the terrifying experience of having God tear down your wall, and all of a sudden you are forced to look Him in the face and say ‘Im broken.’

I experienced the, at times, overwhelming temptation to pick up the rubble, and rebuild my wall.

I also experienced the wonderful closeness that comes when you are broken before God. I understand now what all of those Psalmists mean when they say ‘Lord You are my refuge’.

When we feel weak, or we have a bad day, we don’t need to hide behind a wall we build for ourselves. We get to come to God and say ‘I am broken, fix me. I am sad, comfort me. I am afraid, give be courage. Be my strength.’

‘I cry to You, oh Lord, I say ‘You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.’ | Psalm 142:5