Donny's Ramblings

For Me, It Takes a Toothbrush

20 Comments

Along the Sacramento River Trail

A view from the Sacramento River Trail: my favorite place to converse with my Creator.

Last night I wept, snot running down my face and dripping off my chin, for a period of about 4 hours. It wasn’t fun and I really didn’t like it. At least not then – not while it was happening. This morning I see it in a different light, because it’s times like that, when my soul cries out to God and to others, when I feel a toothbrush at work inside.

Some of those close to me sometimes question whether I’m fully letting Jesus inside to clean things out.  I know that I am. It’s just that I don’t think He wants to magically make everything perfect. I think He purposely works on issues slowly so that I understand them better. He isn’t just taking a fire hose and spraying the place out… He’s taking a toothbrush and slowly deep cleaning. I sometimes feel like others need to see fire hose evidence in order to believe a work is in progress, but I am more than overjoyed with the toothbrush. Perhaps you, dear Constant Reader, aren’t the type that needs to understand things about yourself like I do, but I want to know… I want to understand… I want to get it. I feel that is going to be a big part of any future ministry God may have for me: identifying with others who have gone through the same things I’ve gone through and maybe being able to be used to help others “get it”.  For that to happen I need to reach that place myself.  Slowly.

My cockiness is melting away.  I am realizing I really don’t know much.  I’m not nearly as smart as I thought.  I’m enrolled in Seminary and want to be used by God, but I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever have anything to say to anybody.  Perhaps that’s all for the best? Perhaps that’s the only way to be if God’s words are to be spoken and not my own?  I feel inadequate.

In the two weeks of 2006 between September 11th, when I knew I would no longer be in “the business”, and September 25th when I finally asked Jesus to take over, I wanted instant answers and solutions to all the anger and bitterness and questions I had about Him, Christianity, and people. I tried to strike a deal with God that if he brought those answers I’d give him my life. He didn’t respond at all. He was silent. On September 25th I finally understood that it wasn’t that He wasn’t willing to answer my questions, He just wasn’t going to do so all at once. He has been very faithful with slow answers. Some of them even in dreams. Most of them through something I read and then ponder, or something someone says to me that I ponder while prayerful, or through ideas that form when speaking with Him along the Sacramento River Trail, my favorite place to converse with Him.

This slow rate is purposeful, and I am loving the journey.  I am content in the knowledge that change will continue.  I am not asking for speedy results, because I am realizing the value of “one step at a time” results that really have a chance to sink in.  Does this make any sense?  It is lovely what’s happening.   But I do wish those closest to me would reach the place where they, too, realized that all these things they think I need to let God heal – the bitterness… the anger… the constant questioning – I AM letting Him in to heal.  Again, it is purposely slow.  And maybe some of you might even be who He uses to point out what’s next, but I need those who are close to please be patient, because this is a one-thing-at-a-time situation.  Lots of time went into the damage, and lots of time is going to be required to toothbrush it away.

20 thoughts on “For Me, It Takes a Toothbrush

  1. Donny,

    So, what made you cry? What were you thinking. I was concerned, I show up here and then you give a very vague metaphor about being cleaned……….

    Why were you crying?

  2. Donny,

    So, what made you cry? What were you thinking. I was concerned, I show up here and then you give a very vague metaphor about being cleaned……….

    Why were you crying?

  3. James,

    Last night’s blubbery was brought on by thoughts on how cheaply I sold out my ex-wife and little boy. It’s something I find myself regretting over and over and over again (yes, I know… mourning won’t bring anything back). And from there it went off into other areas. It was something that needed to happen… and will likely need to happen repeatedly. Through the brokenness, God mysteriously seems to work.

  4. James,

    Last night’s blubbery was brought on by thoughts on how cheaply I sold out my ex-wife and little boy. It’s something I find myself regretting over and over and over again (yes, I know… mourning won’t bring anything back). And from there it went off into other areas. It was something that needed to happen… and will likely need to happen repeatedly. Through the brokenness, God mysteriously seems to work.

  5. There’s a line from an As Cities Burn song called “Gates” that says: “Somehow, YOUR blood made You blind.”

    I don’t necessarily know what it is about brokenness either.

  6. There’s a line from an As Cities Burn song called “Gates” that says: “Somehow, YOUR blood made You blind.”

    I don’t necessarily know what it is about brokenness either.

  7. It is funny how God works. He knows us so intimatly. I understand the “firehose / toothbrush” example. I remember the day I was saved, July 18th 2006. God truly took a firehose to me. I recall telling a friend that in the weeks and short months to follow, I felt as if God as just washing me from the inside out. He was of course, but looking back, it was only a very thin surface wash, getting the dust off. What I have discovered, like you is that there was reason, deep within who I am that made me collect that dirt and grime in the first place. Looking back, can now see how polluted my mind and heart was. That being said, without question I will be saying that about the state of my mind currently, two years from now. I beleive that God, in His great wisdom does not show us all of our sin at once. He just exposes who we are, as sinners a bit at a time, peeling back layers of ourselfs. I have put off many speaking engaugements over the last year for some of the same reasons you have mentioned above. Having the perspective to share from a distance is so critical to giving a person a true path to recovery. My story is still being written. In many ways, I am still very much in recovery. In our weakness, He becomes stong. I want to be weak so He can work through me. I dont need or want people to see me like I once did, I want them to see Jesus. I offer no Salvation.

    Its been a great pleasure to watch you life Donny.

  8. It is funny how God works. He knows us so intimatly. I understand the “firehose / toothbrush” example. I remember the day I was saved, July 18th 2006. God truly took a firehose to me. I recall telling a friend that in the weeks and short months to follow, I felt as if God as just washing me from the inside out. He was of course, but looking back, it was only a very thin surface wash, getting the dust off. What I have discovered, like you is that there was reason, deep within who I am that made me collect that dirt and grime in the first place. Looking back, can now see how polluted my mind and heart was. That being said, without question I will be saying that about the state of my mind currently, two years from now. I beleive that God, in His great wisdom does not show us all of our sin at once. He just exposes who we are, as sinners a bit at a time, peeling back layers of ourselfs. I have put off many speaking engaugements over the last year for some of the same reasons you have mentioned above. Having the perspective to share from a distance is so critical to giving a person a true path to recovery. My story is still being written. In many ways, I am still very much in recovery. In our weakness, He becomes stong. I want to be weak so He can work through me. I dont need or want people to see me like I once did, I want them to see Jesus. I offer no Salvation.

    Its been a great pleasure to watch you life Donny.

  9. Donny,

    You and I were in the same boat last night and we did exactly the same thing, crying out to God, seeking his wisdom and truth..thank you for talking to me, and I love reading your blog, brings a new perspective to my thinking and my life…keep answering God’s call for your life, he will bless you enormously….

  10. Donny,

    You and I were in the same boat last night and we did exactly the same thing, crying out to God, seeking his wisdom and truth..thank you for talking to me, and I love reading your blog, brings a new perspective to my thinking and my life…keep answering God’s call for your life, he will bless you enormously….

  11. Donny, I am one who does not need to be convinced that you are changing. I know you are.
    I have cried reading your blog. I have leaped for joy, like when you gave your life to God over two years ago, on my brother Dan’s birthday. I have really enjoyed reading about your journey and it has encouraged and helped me in many ways; God is still working on me and I want Him to dig deep.
    Thank you for sharing your life here.
    And I would really like it if you were still my sister’s son-in-law, but that is in God’s hands.
    Crying is a good thing.

  12. Donny, I am one who does not need to be convinced that you are changing. I know you are.
    I have cried reading your blog. I have leaped for joy, like when you gave your life to God over two years ago, on my brother Dan’s birthday. I have really enjoyed reading about your journey and it has encouraged and helped me in many ways; God is still working on me and I want Him to dig deep.
    Thank you for sharing your life here.
    And I would really like it if you were still my sister’s son-in-law, but that is in God’s hands.
    Crying is a good thing.

  13. I’ve been reading your blog for the entire two years you’ve been following Jesus. At times (a lot, at first) you have frustrated the heck out of me, but somehow I sensed your soul and loved you anyway.

    Now, I’m so excited at the growth I read in your comments, I’m praising Jesus! Since all of us are on the same journey (growing up spiritually), I can rejoice with you at the progress. It’s an old saying, but God isn’t done with any of us yet. Keep climbing.

  14. I’ve been reading your blog for the entire two years you’ve been following Jesus. At times (a lot, at first) you have frustrated the heck out of me, but somehow I sensed your soul and loved you anyway.

    Now, I’m so excited at the growth I read in your comments, I’m praising Jesus! Since all of us are on the same journey (growing up spiritually), I can rejoice with you at the progress. It’s an old saying, but God isn’t done with any of us yet. Keep climbing.

  15. (((Donny))) Thank you for sharing your heart. I do believe God works through brokenness, and sometimes tears bring a little bit of relief from pain.

  16. (((Donny))) Thank you for sharing your heart. I do believe God works through brokenness, and sometimes tears bring a little bit of relief from pain.

  17. Just here to say hello. And hold on. And thanks for sharing, as always. Your writing is really, really good. From a technical standpoint and from an emotional standpoint. I love that about this blog. You’re in my prayers as well. I, too, have been reading for about two years now. Wow. I can’t really remember how I first stumbled upon your blog, but I know why I keep coming back. You’re sincere and passionate and your words really flow.

    Take care of yourself, Mr. Donny.

  18. Just here to say hello. And hold on. And thanks for sharing, as always. Your writing is really, really good. From a technical standpoint and from an emotional standpoint. I love that about this blog. You’re in my prayers as well. I, too, have been reading for about two years now. Wow. I can’t really remember how I first stumbled upon your blog, but I know why I keep coming back. You’re sincere and passionate and your words really flow.

    Take care of yourself, Mr. Donny.

  19. Hey Donny,
    I have to say that you touched on an issue I have found to be very real. Sometimes it just takes time.
    At the end of one of Rob Bell’s sermons, the benediction had a phrase, I hope I get it right, “…and ask who is God inviting (us) to become…”. Each person is unique, that is the way we are designed. And, our own journey is our own. And because it is a journey, it often changes.
    -peace

  20. Hey Donny,
    I have to say that you touched on an issue I have found to be very real. Sometimes it just takes time.
    At the end of one of Rob Bell’s sermons, the benediction had a phrase, I hope I get it right, “…and ask who is God inviting (us) to become…”. Each person is unique, that is the way we are designed. And, our own journey is our own. And because it is a journey, it often changes.
    -peace

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