Sunday, March 27, 2011

Nothing Yet

I wonder sometimes when things will go back to 'normal'. When I'll wake up and feel as though I actually slept, when I'll get up and feel as though all is right. Things haven't been right for a long time and I worry that they will never be right, or at least to my definition of right, again. I've never really had words of wisdom or words of faith and lately it seems as though those things are getting farther and farther away. And I'm not sure how to find my way back to the place of faith that I knew not to long ago. But in this part of my long walk through a dry and desolate desert, I hear these words "help me with my unbelief". I actually read them in a book written my a lifelong Christian going through a terrible loss and throughout she kept saying to God "help me with my unbelief", and so those words have been resinating in my head. I have went through a season where I was once again chosing not to believe, chosing not to want to believe and I can't honestly say that I don't have that season still at large within me. And still I hear "help me with my unbelief" constantly going through my head. Why, in a whole 200+ page book did this half sentence stick with me? And how in the world do I get it out of my head? I don't know if I can or anyone can remove this statement from resinating in my head and throughout my conscience, although I would love it to happen. I don't know if it will ever go away, the unbelief that I struggle with due to the fear that has mounted within me. I don't know if there is anything to do about the fear that feeds my unbelief except to live in it. I know my unbelief is real and I know that I still believe (how about that for an oxi-moron!?). And I know that the unbelief is going to stay for a while and may never go away but as long as I believe there is One who can fight my unbelief and knows that I am struggling with my unbelief, I will never be alone. I miss my previous life, I miss being a mom of 3, I miss my girls being little and I miss my son, "help me with my unbelief". Mark 9:24 "I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Obey or Not to Obey?

I actually wasn't going to do this today but then I read something this morning that prompted me to reconsider. But it actually all started yesterday morning. I received, as sometimes I do, an email from Lee with the TGIF (Today God is First) devotional that he reads. But this one was prompted with a message from Lee that sprang my curiosity immediately to stop what I was doing and read the devotional below. I'm not going to detail the whole devotional but it was named "3 Phases of Obedience" and the author detailed 3 phases toward altimate obedience the way that God desires us to obey. Doesn't sound that out of the ordinary..right? In paraphrase this is what was said:
1st phase: "When we first begin our Christian walk and spiritual journey, we base our obedience on the 'outcome' of the obedience." (i.e. if we preceive a positive outcome to the request of obedience then we obey based on the positive outcome; whereas if we preceive a negative outcome obedience is not as quickly acted upon.)
2nd phase: "However, God desires us to live an obedience based life. In order to transition us from an outcome-based life to an obedience-based life, he will bring a crisis into our lives. This crisis is designed to create pain which motivates us to seek him to alleviate the pain."
3rd phase: "Ultimately, God desires us to live a life of obedience and deeply rooted in conviction....During the crisis phase (phase 2) we discover the personal love of God in our lives which we have never experienced before."

This really, really made me mad! And Lee asked me if I believed what this author was stating and my response was this: "hummm...NO!!! NOT EVEN A LITTLE BIT!! i don't believe that God had anything to do without crisis, i believe that He is looking for a response to our crisis but i don't believe the He created a scenario like this- that would make Him unloving in my opinion, uncaring, unconcerned, and i say this thru issues of my faith but i don't believe this and i can't believe this because if i allow myself to think this way then why would i elect to believe in God? he would just be wrong all the time."
I don't believe that God, sits on His thrown and says "You know that religious looking family really isn't obeying Me the way I want them to; I think they need a problem to make them look to Me." And then causes some crisis in our lives. If this is the God that I have come to love, the God that altho I'm struggling right now I believe waits for my response, the God who says throughout His Word "love", "love", "love", and I am wrong in what I believe then who am I to witness to others about this author's understanding of obedience to God? I gotta say there is no way, not one moment in my life (pre or post being a Believer & Follower of Christ) that would make me be a witness if I believed that God "brings a crisis" in my life to draw me closer to Him! That doesn't sound like an all knowing God, who knows my heart, steps and future. It sounds like a god who determines 'who' he wants to turn to him and then puts that person in a crisis situation to give them no 'free will'. It sounds like a god I'd really not want to believe in at all because then he would be responsible for the current crisis I and my family are in, and he is responsible for every crisis in our lives. Hummm....what to do you think? I don't think so!

The reason I wrote this was because I read something this morning that portrays, to me, a merciful, loving God who knows crisis's and problems are created by Our choices and He offers and escape route, from the crisis that is created.
"Fear no, thou worm Jacob..I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth (Isa. 41:14,15) Could any two things be a greater contrast that a worm and an insturment with teeth? The worm is delicate...crushed beneath the passing instrument with teeth can break and not be broken..... And so the "worm" may take heart. The mighty God can make us stronger than our circumstances. He can bend them all to our good. In God's strength we can make them all pay tribute to our souls. We can even take hold of a black disappointment, break it open, and extract some jewel of grace... Christ is building His kingdom with earth's broken things...Heaven is filling with earth's broken lives, and there is no bruised reed that Christ cannot take and restore to glorious blessedness and beauty. He can take a life crushed by pain or sorrow and make it into a harp whose music shall be all praise. He can life earth's saddest failure up to heaven's glory."

It amazes me sometimes that man, us, we, can take the word 'obey' or 'obedience' and make it into a demand, a thing that is going to happen whether we want it to or not and make a walk that is to be of love a walk of fear. That's what it is in the first author's description a walk of fear. Isn't he really saying "Beware! There's a crisis in your life coming if you don't obey properly!"?

I chose to believe in God, I chose to believe in Christ's salvation, and I chose those because of His mercy, not because I blamed all of the crisis's in my life on Him and He drove me to Him. He showed me love without condemnation; He gives me mercy and peace without requirements; He offers me an opportunity for grace and mercy through Him. That is God, giver of life and lover of me, caregiver and holder of my pain and sorrow, the One who knows my heart and my future and my numbered days by Him and He knows all in and of me.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Dark

The dark is a scary thing, it's a thing that I really want to avoid and it just seems to keep coming around. I've been doing a good job of avoiding it as of late, trying to stay out of it as much as possible, and yet its pressing in on my heart. I just can't get away from it! Anyone with an answer why? I started running almost a year ago and I'm still running only now its getting harder to keep ahead of it and I'm not doing well trying to accept the dark that I need to go into because of fear of what's in the dark. Last night and again this morning, I had 2 things come up that referred to the dark:

"The quickest way for anyone to reach the sun and the light of day, is not to run west, chasing after the setting sun but to head east, lunging into the darkness until one comes to the sunrise."
I've quoted this before and I still don't like it.
Exodus 20:21 "Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was."
"Hast thou a cloud?
Something that is dark and full of dread;
A messenger of tempest overhead?
A something that is darkening the sky;
A something growing darker bye and bye;
A something that thou fear'st will burst at last;
A cloud that doth a deep, long shadow cast,
God cometh in that cloud.
Hast thou a cloud?
It is Jehovah's triumph car; in this
He rideth t the, o'er the wide abyss
It is the robe in which He wraps His form;
For He doth gird Him wigh the flashing storm.
It is the veil in which He hides the light
Of His fair face, to dazzling for thy sight.
God cometh in that cloud.
Hast thou a cloud?
A trail that is terrible to thee?
A black temptation threating to see?
A loss of some dear one long thine own?
A mist, a veiling, bringing the unknown?
A mystery that unsubstantial seems;
A cloud between thee and the sun's bright beams?
God cometh in that cloud.
Hast thou a cloud?
A sickness-weak old age-distress and death?
These clouds will scatter at thy last faint breat,
Fear not the clouds that hover o'er thy barque,
Making the harbour's entrance dire and dark;
The cloud of death, though misty, chill and cold,
Will yet grow radiant with a fringe of gold.
GOD cometh in that cloud."
I don't like this poem, not really because its telling me to do something that I don't want to do and am resisting. I wish, truly wish the dark would just go away and this journey would be easier than it is, softer than it has been and turning into. I still don't know if I am strong enough to handle things, I know I'm stubborn enough to avoid those things. I don't know who reads this and I don't worry about that but if you have said prayer for our family, I love you and want to say that I am not praying having an issue with that communication with God. But I know that someone is praying and I love knowing that, thank you for praying us through this season.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Quicker Than Expected

Quicker than expected as life contracts and goes by
Sitting on this couch watching the days ebb more quickly than a foxes sly
Quicker than expected this life will not give even a bit
And I struggle it into focus and force it to fit.
Quicker than expected I became a mom and wife
Working thru growing pains with more than just strife
Quicker than expected I lost the between control and peace
Huddling in the corners of my mind looking for a release.
Quicker than expected the tides of time withdrew
And now I find myself in this place and looking for You.

I've been looking for something and truthfully I think I lost it many, many years ago (no not my mind!). I was looking for scriptures on stuff that happened quickly and I found a lot of them but not any that 'spoke' to me. This morning I was looking for something for my daughter and, on what I call a fluke, I typed in "restore" and found the something I was looking for.
1Peter 5:10 "And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make strong, firm and steadfast."
I've been struggling with 'finding' God again - I know how crazy that sounds but its a true statement. And it seems as though when I am 'searching' He is nowhere to be found. When I came across 1Peter 5:10 the words told me a story, I know crazy that one sentence can hold a story but it does and here it is. I was 'called' believe it or not, out of the life that I was in up until I was 36, by God and things were great, things were unbelievably great. I was walking in a full forest with a clear single path - finding the way cleanly and without trouble. Then the forest dwindled away and a hard harsh land was revealed to me. The ground - cracked and dry and the path lead for a short time and now is gone from sight. Now for a little while, I am going thru a suffering that I'm struggling thru and looking for something to get me thru this time. The path is gone and the desert that was once flat has produced sand dunes to climb and struggle over still with no path. And I search for something that I thought was very close to me and now I am finding has eluded me. But I hope - somewhere in the future- He will restore my path and the desert will disappear. I don't know when I don't know how but I hope. Because right now even tho the desert and sand dunes seem long and drawn out, in His eyes it is for just a little while and He will restore me to a path maybe not with trees and full of flowers but a hopeful path - someday I will not be in the unpathed desert. See I told you that one sentence had a story - and I bet you didn't believe me. I'm not liking this plan not one bit or even milli-bit and yet here I am right in the midst of it, quicker than expected.