My sweet little one,
I’m sorry. I’m sorry that for whatever reason you couldn’t join us here. I’m sorry for all you missed and didn’t get to experience. I am so sorry I didn’t get to meet you, hold you, nurture you and watch you grow.
I rejoice in your life none-the-less. And I rejoice that you are knowing an incomparable LOVE in the eternal moment of Heaven.
Today I mourn the loss of your life, grateful that you are in the arms of your Creator. Yet I have hope. Hope that you will change the world; not by your feet walking the Earth, the power of your words nor the impact of your decisions. You will change the world because your existence changed me, hoping for you altered my perspectives. The presence of your life growing in my body showed me the power of our God and the fragility of life.
I will not know your personality or passions during my lifetime – but someday I will know you…I just have to wait longer than the few remaining months of my pregnancy.
I will not allow the shortness of your life lack impact on the Earth. Your life, though brief, will not be without meaning. You will never know breath in your lungs, the taste of sweetness, nor feel the tenderness of my kisses. You will never know the burn in your lungs when you run full force across a field for the ball or the exhilaration of jumping from the diving board into a pool for the first time. You won’t know the butterflies fluttering in your stomach as you fall in love nor the beauty and intimacy of marriage or the joy of having your own children.
Nor will you know disappointment, fear, anger, sickness nor despair. You will never cry. All you will ever know is LOVE, JOY and PEACE nestled in the HOPE we wait for.
You were designed to be royal and priestly.
You were knit together with a destiny and it will not go unaccomplished.
What He begins, He finishes.
Your LIFE marked me and I will never be the same. You made an impact. And because you changed me – you changed the world. To what degree, perhaps you can see now, but I will have to wait for.
We named you Hope. And now you live in our hope because of where you are. The remembrance of your life has become a declaration:
Our true HOPE is in Heaven!
I love you and can’t wait to meet you.
Today while my children and soon-to-depart husband napped, I spent time weeding an old flower bed in my yard. Two years ago we planted this bed full of tulip bulbs to bloom about the time our daughter would be born.
Once those beautiful and memorial blooms faded and died this bed became home to overgrown weeds and bugs. The following year only 5 or 6 of 60 untended tulips pressed up through the earth. With my new found success in the pot garden, I got inspired to tackle this weed filled beast and plant food producing plants. Cantaloupes (and maybe another zucchini) are in our future!
As I turned the soil, removed the weeds and discovered what insects were living there I was reminded of a passage. In Matthew 13 Jesus tells the parable of the sower in which the heart of man is illustrated as soil. In the parable some of the soil was beaten down, some was shallow, some was riddled with thorns and some was good – ready to receive seed and be fruitful.
I learned from my father who has gardened his whole life that even good soil needs to be turned and crops rotated in order to remain fruitful. For example, you wouldn’t want to plant tomatoes year after year in the same spot, in the same soil. The nutrients of the soil would eventually be depleted and the crop would dwindle or worse. Also time, water and pressure makes the ground hard and difficult for roots to grow in. Therefore, each season the soil needs to be turned up or tilled.
“How do you till the soil of the heart?” I asked as my spade dug a clod of dirt and clay. I clenched it with my gloved hand and crushed it. It fell to pieces. The roots of weeds were exposed and easily removed.
“The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. A broken and repentant heart you will not reject, O God.” Psalm 51:7 NLT
Tomorrow my husband will board a plane for a job in a foreign land. It will keep him away for a year. I am taking time at the dawn of this season to till my heart. Brokenness is easily found on the the horizon as I grieve his leaving. Taking the interpretation of repentance referring to direction rather than a word for apology, I pause to re-focus on the truths that hold my course on this journey. (Blog tip: Each highlighted line is a link to a related article.)
He created and knows EVERYTHING and still knows me, loves me and wants me.
Worshipping this morning I listened to this song. It would be the link to the one point above that doesn’t have one. “You Know Me” Bethel Music with Steffany Frizzell
I embark on this new season, to be honest, with a little anxiety…but a lot of hope too. Much is unknown and unfamiliar but I have anticipation for great surprises and a fulfilling adventure! If you think of it – please keep my family in prayer.
Copyright ©2012 makeitplainontablets.wordpress.com
Intimacy has been a large part of our conversations lately. We are planning to attend a Love After Marriage conference soon and have also been preparing for a long separation due to his job. In the midst of work, travel, study, chores and parenting we have also been feeling the need for a new and closer relationship with God. Intimacy.
We have been reminded that intimacy with God is so much more than devoting time. Sometimes it’s easy to go through the motions. We are taught that marriage is a model of our relationship with God. Often routines can become habits without heart, good morning greetings and kisses goodbye.
Sadly, as many have discovered sex can just be sex and not intimacy. Likewise, you can read the Word, raise your hands in worship, make known your prayer requests, or seek His wisdom for the current crisis. It can just be going through the motions. You can do all that and never have Intimacy.
My amazing husband shared a revelation with me last night. He was reading in Matthew and a familiar verse jumped out at him.
Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you.’ Matthew 7:22-23
Intimacy has nothing to do with how much we DO for God. We can even operate out His power, prophesy and do miracles. We can DO and DO and DO. We can even seek to know all we can about Him and have a dedicated devotional life. But did you see what He said?
“I never knew YOU!”
He wants to know us. He wants to have intimacy. He wants us to open up and SHARE ourselves with Him. Of course, God knows everything about us, even the number of hairs on our head at any given moment. But His desire is to go beyond his omniscience and engage with what we want to share with Him. He wants to know us. He wants intimacy. Like our own desire in relationship is that our lover would bare his soul with vulnerability, trust and honesty as we do the same. No coercion, no agenda, no pressure. Just Love.
I agree with Donald Miller’s reflection from Searching for God knows what “I have sometimes wondered if the greatest desire of man is to be known and loved anyway.” I believe in this bed of intimacy is the greatest fulfillment we’ll ever experience.
Are you willing to bare your heart, soul and spirit to the greatest Lover you will ever know? He is too.
Copyright ©2012 makeitplainontablets.wordpress.com
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
It’s been a long day. After a full nights sleep, you rose early, labored at the office for 8 hours or more. Maybe you got a chance to squeeze in a workout. You come home to dinner, time with the family and their night time routine. You have at least an hour of required reading you need to get done, not to mention spend some quality time with your spouse. Did I mention you’re exhausted? All you really want to do is put your feet up and find a good movie to veg out to. You don’t have time for a movie so you settle for 15 minutes of a a show on your DVR before forcing yourself to your books. This is a typical day. You desire a feel-good moment with no responsibility and a break for your mind. But what you really need is rest.
Not sleep, but REST!
We all need it. Our days are full and seem to be getting fuller. This isn’t the first place you’ve read that the more technology we acquire to make life easier the busier we become. In the part of the world I live in it’s popular to work and be busy. It’s not uncommon for someone to work 60, or more, hours a week. Not everyone has a family life, but if you do, these relationships take time and energy. (Hopefully, they are fulfilling and life-giving relationships but they still take energy.)
If you are a stay-at home type then you might be more tired because you don’t leave your “job.” Cleaning, cooking, planning, shopping, managing, loving, educating, did I mention cleaning. You get the idea. There is much to do. We have friends, volunteer work, ministries and homes to maintain. We’re busy, we’re full, we’re tired.
Are you not busy? Maybe bored? That’s another kind of exhaustion that also manages to drain us of energy.
Yet it seems like so much effort to “come to Him”. We feel too tired to receive the rest He promises. It may seem like one more thing to add to the to-do list. And the additional “work” drives us away to the remote control, the refrigerator or the bed.
We are bid to come to a promised place of rest. A place free of burden and worry. A refreshing place of peace. This place is full of everything we need: strength, healing, wisdom, joy, comfort, vision, creativity, LOVE. It’s where dreams are imagined and hope is born.
You don’t have to climb a mountain to find it
or look miles away in some meadow of flowers.
You don’t have to travel to an island’s distant shore
or paddle across an abandoned lake.
It’s only as far away as our next deep breath.
Media, food nor pillows (nor any other go-to subsistence) will ever give you the rest and comfort you are really needing. It may get you through. It may help you cope one more hour or one more day but it will never get you there. So, how do you get there? How do we come to Him?
How do we enter His Rest?
Desire REST over coping.
Take the drive and strength that we use to get things done and lay it aside. We have to take off our self-reliance and self-sufficiency like a coat. This is one of the hardest steps for me. Sometimes I feel like if I take off this “coat” I’ll fall apart – as if this coat is what’s holding me together. Jeremiah 9:23-24
Get quiet. “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
Have confidence that with your desire for Rest, the removing of self-sufficiency and becoming quiet that He will meet you. The place of rest is not a location it’s a communion. “In quietness and trust (confidence) is Your strength” Isaiah 30:15 (italics taken from KJV)
Lean on Him. Allow God to be the one to hold you together. Depend on Him for your strength, wisdom, and joy. Proverbs 3:5
Love on Him and receive Love. Share with Him, worship, listen, be filled. Psalm 36:7-10
This can be done in a few minutes or over long periods of time. Rest can be found in moments. He wants to give you rest. He wants to remove your worry and stress. He wants you to be whole, have vision and be filled with His strength. He wants to refresh you.
I am including a song below. The video is not much to look at – which is fine because you might do better to have your eyes closed. May it help you find that place of rest and remind you of His great love and promises that abound in His presence.
Copyright ©2012 makeitplainontablets.wordpress.com
Who are you? What defines who you are? We all wear many hats. Some wear more than others, but I can throw a list out and hit hats that many of us wear:
Nurse (or whatever your profession is)
and I am sure you can think of more, good and bad.
But, is this who you are?
Below is a story about me and the end of my first marriage. A story about a storm that changed my life and my heart. A storm where white lightening crashed against a dark sky and illuminated the end and the beginning of myself. An illumination that glowed bright until all I was left with was a brilliant rainbow of promise against a fresh blue sky of Hope.
I used to define myself as a good person, a nurse, someone who cares for others, the baby of eleven children, financially frugal, organized planner, homemaker, young, athletic, beautiful, thin, and at the very top of the list WIFE. And I looked forward to being a mother, having traditions in my family, and growing as a unit raising children for God, honoring Him with our lives. Sounds picture perfect? Exactly!
After being together seven years (married for four), my husband left me. It was like he took off a mask of the man he was pretending to be and displayed the man he was. He left our marriage, our church and all our friends. I was heartbroken, confused and scared. And although it didn’t happen all at once, each one of those descriptions that I defined myself with started to disappear.
If I was really a good person he wouldn’t have left.
if I cared for him well he wouldn’t have left.
If I was more beautiful,
if I was more athletic,
If I was someone else, someone better…
As time went by, he didn’t come back. I came to realize that it wouldn’t be long before I wasn’t a wife anymore. I hardly told anyone he left. I just kept going to work hoping he’d change his mind. I couldn’t eat or sleep. I dropped so much weight the doctors at work said I looked like I came from a concentration camp. I was an anxious mess. Three months later he told me he wouldn’t end his relationships with other women and that I shouldn’t call him anymore. And then the final blow: I needed to get on with my life and not base it on his. I hit bottom. I was so low and empty that very little mattered to me anymore – even God. And the pain that filled me was so great emotionally and physically that the best way to stop this, I thought, was to die.
So as I was lying in a ball on my living room floor one night weeping; physically ill, emotional drained, and spiritually disconnected and thought about killing myself to end the pain. I imagined what I was going to do. I would go into work, get the keys to the narcotics cabinet in the Operating Room (they weren’t computerized back then), and inject myself with that wonderful little drug they use to put patients to sleep before surgery. By the time someone found me it would be too late. But, then, I thought that killing myself would be giving up on God; taking away His chance to do something in my life. And because I thought that that was ultimate sin, without possibility of repentance: after I successfully killed myself I would go to hell and be physically ill, emotional drained and spiritually disconnected eternally. I felt trapped. I was living in my own hell with the only way I saw to get out leading to another hell that was worse. Or so I could imagine.
With my nursing education, I knew that fantasizing about suicide along with a tangible plan was a very bad place to be. So I called my sister in Las Vegas who is a Christian and lay counselor. I asked her, “Can you come here? I need help.” It turned out that after trying to make arrangements to come she couldn’t. But she flew me to Vegas instead. And I went for five days.
Before these five days I did not believe in the spiritual world the way I do now. I didn’t believe we could hear the voice of God or that the Holy Spirit was involved with our daily lives. But I couldn’t deny that God spoke to me in Vegas and what He said changed me.
It’s difficult to reason with a person in depression. Though my sister tried to tell me the truth I just couldn’t see it. I was lying on her bed sobbing, trying to convince her that I was unlovable and there was no hope for me. That my life was over. All my dreams were crushed, unrecoverable, trampled in the mud. From the outside, this sounds ridiculous. But when it’s you and all you feel is pain and powerlessness it couldn’t be more resonable.
My sister would go in the bathroom and cry and pray for me. Her words didn’t seem to make a difference. One morning she put a worship cd on and left me there in her bed to go take her son to school. I was exhausted. I nestled into the huge down filled bed and listened to the music. I can’t say I heard an audible voice but I had a conversation nonetheless. As clear as I have ever heard anyone speak He said,
Don’t you know you are the daughter of the King of the Universe? I love you! Why would you let anyone else define you?
My sister returned 15 minutes later. I was up, dressed and going outside for the newspaper…to find a job! She was shocked and asked what I was doing. I said, “I’m moving to Vegas!” God did not cure my depression in that fifteen minutes. That was a healing that came through time and process. I had many beliefs in the core of my being that had to be unlearned and replaced with Truth. But what He did do was remind me of my identity. He reminded me who I was, He reminded me who HE was!
I came back from Vegas with new eyes. Everything looked different. Lying in that bed in Vegas I learned the most important thing a person can ever learn: I AM THE DAUGHTER (or SON) OF THE KING OF THE UNIVERSE! I was empowered and I had direction. I had given power to the physical world to define my worth and value. Because he didn’t love me – I was unlovable. Because he tossed me aside – I had no value. No man or job or friendship or anything deserves the right to define us. We mistakenly give those things that power. And those things are inevitably going to fail miserably at defining us. Who better to define us than our creator? Not to mention the value He gives is so much better than any other. Spouses, bosses, children, friends, church, tradition, culture they can all make us feel insignificant when we give them the power to define us.
Why would you let someone who is bound to fail because they are human tell you what you are worth when you can allow God to say, “I created and formed you. Fear not, for I have redeemed you: I have called you by name, you are mine. You will pass through deep water and I will be with you in the rivers you will not drown. You will walk through fire, but you shall not be burned; and the flames shall not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, your Savior. I have given much as ransom for you. Because you are precious in my eyes, and glorious, and I love you. I gave my life in exchange for you. Do not be afraid, for I am with you. I have chosen you to know, to believe, and understand that it is I, the Lord, there is no Savior, but me.” (paraphrase of Isaiah 43:1-8)
Who are we to say that God wasted the blood of the Lamb on us, that we are not worth His sacrifice? Who can say that God is wrong? Who can challenge him and remain standing? What does it say to God when we give others power to define us, even ourselves? Do we not make them a god in a way? When my self talk is demeaning am I not saying to God, “What do you know?”
So I decided I will no longer allow perishable things to define me. Not people, position or possessions.
I am an eternal being. My life will never end. And because of the blood of Jesus that was used to pay my ransom, I will spend my eternity in Heaven! When this is true how significant is anything here in the physical world? Nothing matters except Him! There is no marriage in Heaven. There is no parenthood. There is no money. There are no popularity or beauty contests. That doesn’t mean these relationships and things are not important. How we treat each other and ourselves and steward our possessions is how we show God how grateful we are and how much we love Him. But these things can not be our goal, they can not be our dream and they can not be what defines us.
So now what? I tried to live out my dreams, accomplish my will and I failed and found myself devastated. And I want you to remember that I did all those things thinking I was accomplishing the will of God, being a godly wife and friend, being a “good” person. But I was still trying to accomplish my will, trying to make myself feel good, trying to complete myself. Lying that day in my sister’s bed I heard God give me a choice. He said,
“You tried to live for your (selfish) dreams and look what happened. Now, do you want to live out My dreams for you or do you want to try it your way again?”
He gave me the free will to choose and would love me either way, but for me, the answer was obvious.
The rest of the story:
Despite my efforts to try and make my marriage work it ended. Nine months after my husband moved out we were divorced. I did move to Las Vegas, got a job and an apartment. I became part of my sister’s church, went to support groups and was surrounded by friends who showed me what love and life looked like. I came to know God more and what He was really like. I learned how to forgive and found healing for my soul. I became an amazing me that I loved and I learned to dream with God.
Copyright ©2012 makeitplainontablets.wordpress.com
*** If you are reading this and find you relate to the thoughts of depression and suicide PLEASE get help! Talk to a friend, pastor, or doctor. If you don’t know who to call or how to get help please click here.
I grew up in religious home. I went to Catholic school for nearly every grade level including college. And yet I didn’t believe in God. I have limited memories of my childhood but when I was young I did adopt the faith of my mother. I remember walking arm in arm with her through the woods of Calaveras Big Trees talking with her about Jesus. But that didn’t “stick.” I am not sure when it happened. I suppose it was about the time normal teenage angst begins. When developmentally we separate from the beliefs of our parents and seek to discover our own convictions. I decided I didn’t believe there was a God. Religion was dumb and going to church was a pointless waste of time. Because I still lived under my parents roof I was required to continue attending church services with them despite my vocal disdain for such practices.
Hindsight being what it is I think I always believed there was a God. But I was so angry about life, and there was so much I didn’t understand, that I turned into an antagonist and later a self proclaimed atheist. When the rest of the “Religion” class in high school was quietly watching the minutes tick by I would argue with the Priest about the return of Christ. I wrote papers about atheism and how we just need to believe in ourselves. Oh, that poor teacher. But he was wise in his feedback – never giving me the fight I was looking for but praising my passion and exploration.
Later I went off to college and met a young man I thought had hung the moon. On several occasions when we would have deep conversations about the world and life he would declare with certainty that there was a God and that he was going to hell. Despite my supposed disbelief in God this statement bothered me tremendously. If I didn’t really believe there was a God and afterlife what would it matter if he thought he would go there?
After taking me on a date one night we laid the seats back in his car and gazed up at the stars through his moonroof. We talked about aliens. Interesting date, I know, but we had just come from seeing a movie, “based on actual events,” about a guy who got abducted by aliens. The conversation ended with me conceding that there could be aliens. And he questioned if I could believe there might be aliens why couldn’t I believe there might be a God. Logical or not, it made me think. Why didn’t I believe in God? What if He did exist?
It was in my college Anatomy and Physiology class that I first began to believe that God existed. It was the day we studied the beginning stages of the reproductive process or how a baby is made. As I looked at the slides and heard the descriptions I sat amazed. I thought it was simple: have sex, sperm and egg meet, 9 months later a baby is born. But on a cellular level thousands of factors must align. The maturity of the egg and sperm, the body’s pH, the timing of the meet up. Then once joined they create a single cell that divides and grows. One cell becomes two, two becomes four, four becomes eight and so on. By the fifth or sixth day of this process the one cell has become a 64 cell unit called a blastocyst. Inside there are undifferentiated cells, you may have heard of them called embryonic stem cells, anyway, these cells which divided from the ONE cell already know what they are to become; a brain cell, a muscle, an eye, a heart. One sperm with 23 chromosomes and one egg with 23 chromosomes join making a perfect cell of 46. And from that comes a fully grown baby! It’s utterly amazing. I sat in the class floored by the details of design and in that moment resolved this doesn’t all happen by accident. I began to believe in a Creator.
Once I considered there was Intelligent Design I wanted to know more. I considered myself a rational and logical person and I truly wanted to understand. I started looking for answers and eventually attended a church service with a girlfriend from school. There I heard something my mind needed to hear. The preacher was talking about Creation and he said, “You want to believe in evolution, ok. You want to believe in the Big Bang Theory, fine. But you must remember one thing: In the beginning God…” And something clicked. I didn’t have to know everything and have it all figured out. I didn’t need to have all the answers. I just needed to know that in the beginning God. Before anything else was God was. I could figure the rest out later.
It didn’t all make sense to me. It would be a few months before I knew about the Love of God and what Jesus did for me. But from that moment on I couldn’t get away from one fact and He hasn’t left me since.
In the beginning God… Genesis 1:1
Copyright ©2012 makeitplainontablets.wordpress.com
I felt I was entitled to it. I mean I am blessed right? I have the favor of the Lord. I am the daughter of the King and He has promised his blessings and inheritance to me. There is no reason why this wouldn’t work out in my favor. I sought His wisdom before I started – no resistance was discerned, no indication that He was against the decision. Prophetic words were given over and over that this was in my future. I stood on that. I stood on His promises. I declared His Words. I walked in faith. I bathed it in scriptures.
Hope was high.
Everything in the natural seemed to be lined up in my favor. I spent months of proclaiming, declaring and standing. So when the news came that it didn’t work, I was shaken!
We had been married for about a year when my husband and I decided to have a baby. After several unsuccessful months I decided to go in for fertility testing. I had been tested years before and was documented to have infertility but I had hoped I was healed and that it had changed. When we didn’t get pregnant right away I suspected it hadn’t. Testing confirmed my fears. For anyone who has wanted to get pregnant and couldn’t you’ll be familiar with the emotions of fear, anger and desperation that quickly assaulted my thoughts.
“I’m never going to have a family.”
“Why is this happening to me?”
“What’s wrong with me?”
“How come all these people who don’t want to have babies keep getting pregnant?”
“Why, God, why?”
“Will I ever have a baby?”
“Is there something I can do?”
After much discussion, research and prayer Jonathan and I felt God gave us the go ahead to pursue “alternative” methods to getting pregnant. We saw the doctors, discussed all the options and due to my type of infertility pursued the only medical option we had: IVF (in vitro fertilization.)
Jonathan and I believe life begins at conception so we didn’t enter into this decision lightly. The process of IVF means that life for our little ones would begin in a dish. The potential of there being way more lives then we planned on adding to our family had to be discussed. We agreed that how ever many lives lived in that dish would be the number we would have. If that meant we had 7+ children, then so be it. We also made “embryo adoption” plans in our Wills for our little ones just in case once their lives began – ours unexpectedly ended. We tried to foresee and cover all the moral obligations we could to protect and care for the lives of our children.
With Jonathan’s overseas deployment quickly approaching we pushed to get the ball rolling before he left. Our hope was I would get pregnant and be nearing delivery when he returned to the United States. It sounded easy. Count these days, take these shots, have this procedure and BAM – you’re pregnant!
If only that were so.
Jonathan completed his part of the procedure and off he went to “the sandbox” as they call it. My sister joined me for my procedures and Jonathan attended by phone. They were able to extract nine eggs from me and placed them in a dish with Jonathan’s “little swimmers.” And “ta da” nine little lives of our family began. But on the third day of their young lives only four remained. We grieved for the five but remained hopeful for the remaining embryos. By day five these four remained strong ready for a continued chance to live. The doctors said they couldn’t have looked better. We decided to have two implanted – hoping for twins – and two frozen to join our family later. Modern science is amazing!
After 20 or 30 minutes reclining in an office I had these two amazing lives within me. It would be two weeks of waiting to confirm they were nestled warmly in my welcoming womb. These two weeks were the longest most anxiety-filled weeks of the whole process. I thought the shots and the procedures were the hard part – little was done to prepare me for that agonizing wait. Unclear expectations added to the tension.
Two weeks passed. Blood was drawn and hours later the dreadful call notifying me that I was not pregnant came. I had to notify Jonathan of the disappointing news by phone. Then I went back to my room and cried. I didn’t understand what had happened.
I had planned for the trip, anticipated a great outcome. I packed my bags, bought my ticket and boarded the train of my bright future. I had mapped out my course; seeking the Lord’s wisdom all along the way. The train departed the station and began to pick up speed. I was on the way to my destiny when suddenly, somehow the train I thought I boarded changed course. This new route did not seem to have my best interest in mind as it barreled down this unknown track!
What happened? I couldn’t explain this. This shouldn’t have happened. I followed my negative thoughts from initial denial to shocked disappointment, from disillusionment to despair.
After not being able to discern whether or not I was “fine”, I determined indeed I was NOT fine. I found myself in bed, in the dark, sobbing. I couldn’t figure out how I got here. Following my normal tendency to take all responsibility onto myself I tried to find out where I went wrong. Did I misunderstand? Should we not have done this? Did I allow the enemy to sabotage by not having enough faith in the promises of God? Had I forgotten to repent of some self-imposed curse? I was so angry for getting myself into this situation! I was hurting. I was angry.
Then I began thinking I wasn’t worthy of my planned destination. Not qualified. Not ready. I had been labeled with “Less Than” – less than everyone else who booked and made the trip. I thought, “God – what’s the deal? I thought you were good! I thought you loved me! You promised me! You said this was my destiny! I did everything you expected of me! What went wrong?”
I was exhausted – the tears overwhelmed me and my head was hurting from the pressure. I decided that I couldn’t do this anymore – I couldn’t live my life this way. I started to reason that I had it wrong all this time. I thought, “Faith in God is a waste of time and effort. It doesn’t work.” I began to question if God and all my beliefs about God and Christianity was all in my head. I began to question everything.
As soon as I started down this path of thinking I became afraid. Because while in the moment this felt safe and reasonable, when I projected into the future of living without belief in God and Jesus and faith, life looked even darker and uglier than it currently felt. I knew I was in trouble and needed help. Praying to God wasn’t working because all I could hear were my own reasonable thoughts or worse – silence – which felt like confirmation. So I called a trusted friend…but she didn’t answer the phone; adding the sense of aloneness to despair. But only minutes later she called me back and I could barely speak from all the crying.
All I could say was, “I can’t do this anymore…”
“Do what?” she asked compassionately.
“Have Faith,” my voice choking on tears, “It’s too hard…and it doesn’t work!”
I felt like such a failure. I was so angry and disappointed in myself because the test of my faith had come and I failed. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t persevere. I couldn’t muster up the strength. Years of being a Christian, a strong Christian, a leader, teacher, counselor, Bible school graduate and now licensed reverend all to come to the test and fail.
My good friend said many things; all with gentleness and wisdom. She reassured me that it wasn’t the performance of my faith that obligates God to favorable action and that sometimes we just don’t know why these things happen. Thankfully she didn’t offer me common cliché’s like “God has his perfect timing – Just be patient” or “All things were going to work for my good” or that “I could do all things through Christ who strengthens me” and she didn’t try to reassure me that this was an opportunity for growth that later I would be able to minister from or tell me to “Just continue to pray it through.”
But she did tell me that I didn’t have to prove my faith right now. That there were plenty of loved ones around me that were praying for me and can have the faith that I couldn’t have. She suggested I didn’t have to do anything and that God had enough Grace for me in this moment. She asked me if I could allow God’s Grace to be enough. I suddenly had a picture of a great big featherbed, a featherbed of Grace, and all I had to do was fall into it. And then the pressure came off – and I thought, “Yes, I can do that.” Faith seemed like so much work, so much pressure, but Grace – Grace didn’t require anything. Trusting in Grace didn’t require me to proclaim scriptures, declare promises, or even walk in accordance with any stipulation that illustrated my beliefs. Grace was something only God could do – it didn’t require anything of me. Grace became the lens through which I could see God clearly again. In the midst of despair, exhaustion and confusion Grace became the harnessing knot at the end of my rope and later would become the springboard for the rest of my life!
Of course this isn’t the end of the story my Bio page (along with most of my other posts) lets that cat out of the bag. But the events that led to those amazing miracles is a story for another day.
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