Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Bwessed Hope (To be read Princess Bride style)

So, it's been a little while since I've shared my heart. There have been many ups and downs since that time. I'd alternate between wanting to pour my heart out and not wanting to see my heart in print. I've had some really really bad days. And then I have days where I'm so hopeful my heart could burst. At the moment I'm full of hope. Five minutes from now could be a different story. One of my greatest weaknesses is allowing circumstances to dictate how much hope I have. I read a quote just a little bit ago that said do not doubt in the dark what God promised in the light. If that doesn't describe to a "t" how I've been dealing with life lately, I don't know what does.

Yet, I don't doubt the end result. I have full confidence that God is going to answer my prayer as I have put it before Him. I trust that completely. It's the road to that answered prayer that causes me so much heartache, and doubt and fear. When I step back and gain perspective, it seems silly to allow the daily issues to overshadow the certainty that God is going to grant me the desires of my heart. But in the trenches, it gets a lot murkier. My prayer is that God would grant me that same clarity that perspective gives, even when I'm in the trenches. I want my hope to come from the faith I have in God, not what is happening around me. That way, no matter how terrible things are, I have the same hope as when things are going great.

I belong to a God that works all things together for our good. But my flesh wants to see this immediately, or I begin to doubt. I'm so thankful for a God that is gracious enough to forgive our tiny little finite minds for doubting His awesomely amazing power and love. I have been blessed in so many ways even during the trials of the past couple of years. I have made so many new friends that I love so much, and cannot imagine life without them. My church family is becoming more like real family every day. I sometimes get tiny glimpses of Heaven when we are all together and fellowship and worship together. I have been blessed well beyond what I could ever deserve, and that's because my Daddy God loves me more than I can ever imagine. How can I ever doubt that He is working behind the scenes and creating something even more amazing than I could even ask for? Ephesians 3:20-21 are such beautiful verses. "Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us— to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."

I hear inside a small voice that says "I've got this, my daughter. Leave it in my hands. You'll thank me a million times over. Just. Trust. Me."

I'm trusting you, God. Through the good. Through the bad. Through the light. Through the dark. If again I'm tempted to begin doubting, help my unbelief.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Bewildered in the Wilderness

I came across a book recently that I put on my Amazon wish list. After sending a sample of the book to my Kindle, I promptly purchased the actual book. It's entitled "Wilderness Skills for Women: How to Survive Heartbreak and Other Full-Blown Meltdowns". The title was what first caught my eye, and for anyone following this blog you can imagine why. Here are some of the excerpts I read that told me this was a book I needed and needed now.

Throughout the Bible, a wilderness season is a time of testing, trying, and training an individual. It is often marked by a period of isolation, loneliness, temptation, sorrow, and waiting. Why? Circumstances that try us, train us. Situations that break us, shape us. Such is the wilderness. In the midst of the “dark night of the soul,” we are often miserable, but there, we are made. Transformed by the testing...if we pass the test, that is.

I saw a girl who didn't seem to have joy. A woman who didn't have assurance that the future was filled with hope, and, therefore, she was living in the pit of despair. I saw a pathetic, broken-down, miserably sad woman who obviously didn't believe that God was in control or had a purpose in her heartbreak. But I did believe—with all of my heart, by the way. I just wasn't choosing to live out what I believed; therefore, my emotions were ruling the day, and I was in the crazy place more often than I care to admit. And do you want to know the worst part? The real tragedy was my witness. My fretful and fearful response to my situation was speaking volumes to a watching world about my faith in my God.

That day, the breaking point, I cried out to God. I didn't want to live in despair anymore. Help me! I want joy again. Help me, Lord! I want peace again. Show me why I am an emotional basket case. Where am I failing to live out my faith?

I knew I had a decision to make. You see, walking by faith is a choice. I had to choose to believe who my God is, to believe what my God has said, and to believe what my God is able to do. Turning to the Bible, God taught me how other wilderness wanderers like me came forth triumphant from their seasons of testing in the wilderness. And He also taught me skills that I needed to learn from their experiences. These lessons are what you hold

Jordan, Marian. Wilderness Skills for Women: How to Survive Heartbreak and Other Full-Blown Meltdowns. B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

Reading those I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I was having a wilderness experience. I have known all along that God was using this to mold me for something, but it's easy to get lost in the pain and lose sight of His plan. I will admit I have spent much of the last week angry at God and questioning what He's doing and why He's taking so long to answer my prayers. I have prayed, I have fasted, I have begged, I have pleaded. I have thrown myself at His feet broken and hopeless. And in all this, I realize I am prolonging my wilderness experience, because I am no longer learning. I quit drawing close to God and instead got angry because He didn't jump when I demanded it. I'm reminded of the words He spoke to Job in Job 38-40. He is God. He is in control. It's time I start living like that is what I truly believe. Will life instantly fall into place? I wish... But I can trust that nothing I am going through will be wasted. Not one single moment, because God is in charge of them all.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

No More Fairy Tale

Is there anything more painful than watching your "happily ever after" morph into "once upon a time"? If there is, I don't want to ever experience it. I have tried several times to make myself write...errrr...type up this post, but I was afraid of being too transparent, or sharing too much. I decided I needed prayer more than I needed to protect anyone. I am shattered on the inside. I have watched my husband pull further and further into himself and build walls that I can't penetrate or climb over, and I have tried. I know that all things work together for good. I know that nothing happens to me that God doesn't allow. I know God is good. But I also know the awful pain of looking at the emptiness inside his eyes... I know the pain of hearing "I love you" less and less frequently. I know the pain of watching happy couples and feeling an ache inside that I can't even describe. For those of you that have struggled with infertility, you know the ache I am talking about. It's the same one you get when yet another friend announces they are pregnant, and you still aren't... It's the same ache you get when you're late but the test is negative once again. It's a pain that seems to be bottomless. Every time you think you get a handle on it, it comes out of no where and hits you like a ton of bricks. I never in a million years thought I'd be here... I keep hoping that I'll wake up and realize that it was all just a pizza and chocolate induced nightmare, but every day it's the same thing. I can lay right next to him but there's a gulf between us that I can't cross. We need prayer, desperately. I know God is going to turn this around, but please pray for us in the meantime.

I'm clinging to the promises in God's Word. His grace is sufficient for me - His strength is made perfect in my weakness - all things work together for good - I can do ALL things through Christ - the effectual fervent prayers of a righteous man availeth much - delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart - God is near to the broken hearted - He knows every tear I have cried.

I just read one that I am laying ahold of and not letting go of until I see it come to fruition...

Psalm 138:8
The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me...

I'm trusting you, God, through the pain. I lift my hands to you, and though my hallelujah may be hoarse, I will still sing your praises. You are good, even when life is not, and through it all, you work it out for our good. When the pain seems unbearable, help me to remember that I am not alone.