To Carl: “I feel deep unexplainable joy…”
To Helen: “Don’t you think it is time?!…for both of us!”
This exchange of words…thoughts…reality… occurred about a week ago…I was seated on the couch and Carl leaning over the back of a chair…face to face…heart to heart…shared life to shared life…
There is much I could say…details that I could share that would throw light on our family’s path…parts are not my story to share…even if some of those pages turned over into my own story…but each one of us has details we could share with one another because life takes sharp and strange detours for all of us…I am not unique…this is a shared condition, all too common to man.
If you have read this blog for any length of time or if you know me personally…then you may know that the last 5 years have been life altering…faith shaking…faith rebuilding.
Revisit one of my first posts on this blog…actually an assignment from a writing class entitled Faith…it was evident that I was trying to grapple with faith in the midst of trials…I knew that trials would touch my life…but not THESE kind of trials…and trials that seemed to multiply…how desperately I wanted to reestablish my faith yet I wanted it to come within the confines of smooth waters.
I was asked a few weeks ago, if I believed any good had come from the hard stuff. It is so easy and sometimes instinctive to spit out a litany of all the right things to say…I had to pause for a moment…take a deep breath…and see what truly resided in my heart…
As devastating as some of the past years have been…in many ways the most shattering reality was that my faith had been built on faulty doctrine. Did I really believe that if I did all the “right things” and “followed the rules” that it would somehow exempt me from suffering? It was not something that I would broadcast but in my heart of hearts…I believed it. My list of “goods” was long…good daughter, good sister, good wife, good mom, good friend, good worker, good volunteer, good neighbor, good citizen, good pet owner…all tied together by the bow of being a good Christian.
Do you remember the MC Hammer song…Can’t Touch This…and how he would do that little dance where he was scurrying along the stage…as if to say…you can’t touch or catch me…just look at my moves…I’m GOOD!
I think I lived a lot of my life as if to say…Bad stuff…it can’t touch me…you can’t catch me…well, I am here to say…it can touch me and it did catch up to me…the good girl got tagged out by life.
The good girl learned that He alone is Good.
I have read that when we look at Jesus’ relationships…this should be a model for us as well…He had a multitude of followers…this would be our broad scope of acquaintances…they may know some basic info about you but not the nitty gritty….there were the disciples…this could be a smaller group of family and friends that are close to you…then there were the 3…Peter, James and John…this was the inner circle…His closest companions…I suppose this for us could be comprised of a spouse, parents, and intimate friends…those who see us with “bed head” and mascara stained cheeks and love us…and then there was His fellowship with His Father…this too is to be our deepest relationship.
This would accurately depict my relationships during this past season…some that knew things in part…those that knew a bit more…those that walked with me day in and day out…those that had no words or answers but prayed and sought God for me…for us…then there was my man…so strong in Him…the one God picked for me to walk hand in hand on this journey…he never wavered…never ceased to look me in the eye and let me know he AND He were steadfast and sure…never losing his sense of humor…and thankfully there was God…my tender Friend…Refuge…Hiding Place…Comfort…Shield…Ever Present Help…Redeemer…Companion…Rock…Sure Foundation…my Hope…
There are things that only He and I know…not secrets…just moments that are contained in the Secret Place…
A friend that was walking through the pain of her husband’s cancer said to me once…we used to just believe all those scriptures that we claimed…now we know that they are true…I feel the same.
It is interesting to look at the progression of scriptures that the Lord reveals to me. My verse for 2005 was:
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.”
Isaiah 43: 18,19
Three years later and I feel like I am just beginning to see a trickle of water on very parched land…can you see it…how water isn’t easily penetrated by the soil at first…streams are formed by mere drops of rain…drop by drop…verse by verse…He is beginning to saturate all the hard and thirsty places within me. Sometimes I think this is where relationships are so key…friends remind us of Who God is…or they give us scriptures to cling to…and at first we may not be able to grasp the truth in the reality of our pain but slowly…drop by drop as I said before…it soaks in…friends…family…loved ones…friends in the blogosphere…you are so important…so vital…so encouraging…never underestimate the power of an apt word…I am forever grateful.
The verses I have memorized over the last few weeks:
“Surely he will never be shaken;
a righteous man will be remembered forever.
He will have no fear of bad news;
his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
His heart is secure, he will have no fear;
in the end he will look in triumph on all his foes.”
Psalm 112: 6-8
“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls is faithful and he will do it.”
I Thessalonians 5: 23, 24
“May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope.”
Romans 15: 13 (AMP)
These verses lead into the verse I alluded to in a previous post for 2008:
“God will let you laugh again;
you’ll raise the roof with shouts of joy.”
Job 8: 21 (MSG)
I am beginning to laugh again…and it is because of God…Who He Is…not what my circumstances declare. I can’t wait to raise the roof with shouts of joy…I hope they happen down here and not only in Heaven…I trust God that the happy dances are coming…the bubbling is starting…
As I end this post today, I am reminded of the opening line that I said to Carl and it seems so familiar…
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
I Peter 1: 6-9
Tenderly God whispers to me that I don’t possess an original thought, which is alright by me if it means that I can begin to possess more of His mind than my own faulty one…how amazing to be able to express all of that in 4 verses instead of many paragraphs!
Life today is not perfect…there is still much that I am waiting for God to accomplish and complete but in the midst of it God is my joy and because of this I can say “the joy of the Lord is my strength!”