“We all build internal sea walls to keep at bay the sadnesses (sic) of life and the often overwhelming forces within our minds. We build these wall stone by stone over a lifetime. One of the most difficult problems is to construct these barriers of such a height and strength that one has a true harbor, a sanctuary away from crippling pain, but low enough and permeable enough to let in fresh sea water that will fend off the inevitable inclination toward brackishness.” Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind
I have built sea walls around my heart and around my human condition based on my life experiences. Some have been taken down and others have been reinforced. The older I get, the more sturdy my sea walls seem to be.
Before I developed a relationship with God and I became His bride, I made inappropriate choices in male partners. As a result, I was taken advantage of in a variety of ways, and I’m certain I took advantage in return in my own way.
I did not know how to be in a loving, healthy relationship until I allowed myself to receive the unconditional love of God. By then, no one matched up to His love, His peace, His grace.
“I have told you all this so that you will have peace of heart and mind. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows; but take courage, for I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
My sea wall is high when it comes to love relationships: I admit no one compares to God and His gifts. Yet I also see myself returning His love sporadically and in ways which are not His “love language” but mine. If I cannot return love consistently with Him, how could I possibly do this with a man?
My sea wall is steep and towering around my brain illness called bipolar, with good reason. I have watched people with bipolar wither under denunciation and insinuation of media and relatives, causing stigma in public and shame in private. My sanctuary allows in only the closest of friends who I can count on the fingers of one hand.
Christ tells me I am a daughter of God, sinless in His eyes through His extraordinary grace and scandalous, unconditional love.
My sea wall is nearly impenetrable around my spiritual life. I have been burned too often by people who call themselves Christian attending brick and mortar churches. While I continue to read and learn from spiritual authorities, I no longer allow others to sway me or tell me I’m a sinner. For Christ tells me I am a daughter of God, sinless in His eyes through His extraordinary grace and scandalous, unconditional love.
God respects my sea walls and, when appropriate, extends them. He teaches me when they limit me by being too close. He restores my heart so I can let go of the stranglehold I have on my walls. He allows me to lower them, brick by brick, to see over them until I am ready to take a portion down.
He informs me when my walls need to move closer or higher to protect me. He transforms my heart and mind so I am able to see what He sees. I can more clearly discern and distinguish uncertainty from jeopardy, and pull my sea walls around me at the slightest hint of danger.
“The Father is sending a great Helper, the Holy Spirit, in My name to teach you everything and to remind you of all I have said to you.” (John 14:26)
Even though I don’t sit with Him in my prayer corner every morning, or read my devotionals or Bible every day, I am with Him, abide in Him and am aware of His presence every day. I know I am never alone, never abandoned to my temporary trials or sorrows. God is with me, within me, and I can look within my sea walls and tap into His wisdom and power. I can depend upon His compassion and comfort.
When I allow my sea walls to become permeable for Him, He becomes my safe harbor. He rushes into my heart and mind like the ocean, and I drown in His love, in His grace. It is a good drowning that fills me with His plenty, His wealth.
“I will restore you…You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame.” (Joel 2:26)