October 28, 2017

I am No Victim

My life is all the music lyrics....
I pray with music.
I worship with music.
I meditate with music.
I ponder with music.

So when a friend introduced me to this song I had ALL the feels.  This is MY story.  

I am no victim.
I live with a vision.
He’s not just reviving.
Not simply restoring. 
Greater things have yet to come.
I do not wonder
If His plans for me are good.
If He'll come through like He should.

Cause He is provision.
and enough wisdom 
to usher in my brightest days.
To turn my mourning into praise.
I am defined by all His promises.
Shaped by every word He says.  

I am No Victim

I am NOT a victim.  
Ok.  I will admit that there are moments when I feel sorry for myself.  When life becomes overwhelming and I cry out to God, "I didn't CHOOSE this! I don't WANT to do this alone!"  

That when He gently reminds me in His compassion and gentleness, "My dear, you were never meant to do this alone."  

He is so good to me in those moments of doubt.  In those moments of fear and insecurity.  He makes His presence known.  In subtle ways.  In grand and glorious ways. 
But He always makes Himself known in ALL of my moments...simply to remind me....He is sovereign.  He is ONLY good. 

There are things only known in Heaven that I may never understand.  But can I trust that His plans for me are good?  That He WILL turn my mourning into dancing?  

Will I measure His goodness by my circumstances?  Or by His promises?

Recently I had come to the end of a really really hard day.  I sat in the floor of the shower, feeling the hot water wash over me and in my utter exhaustion I whispered, "God I don't WANT to do hard anymore.  Haven't I endured enough?
It was a silly question....and I wanted to withdraw my words as quickly and honestly as I spoke them.  "In this world....you will have tribulation....but take HEART....I have overcome the world."  

Life is messy.  Life is hard.  Life is unfair.  But if I get lost in the questions, the whys and what-ifs then I miss it. 
His promise to me.
That He has become victorious over this for me.
He is redeeming.
He is restoring.
He is making things new again.
But not JUST restoring.
Not JUST healing.
Not JUST coming into my darkest moments and bringing me a kind of comfort that only He can bring.
But His promise is that GREATER things are still to come.
There's still more. 
His story doesn't end with ashes and brokenness. 
You were created with a purpose.  For such a time as this.
And if He is going to finish what He started then your healing...your rescue is ONLY THE BEGINNING.

He is so kind and intentional and He's always gently leading us FORWARD to those greater things.  Towards Kingdom things.
The temporary grief of this moment doesn't even COMPARE with what's to come. 

No----we are not victims. 
We live with HOPE.
He is our Hope.
He is our Peace.
And there is always a future for those who trust in Him even in our darkest hours.  

October 14, 2017

I Will Restore Her Ruins

I will raise up and restore her ruins. Isaiah 44:26
This morning I was reading from Isaiah and stopped here.
I will raise up and restore her ruins.
Her places of brokenness and seasons of grief.  Her seasons of loss and tears.  Her dreams of tomorrows shattered into pieces leaving her with a future of unknowns.  
     As I read that verse over and over again I remember like it was yesterday the moment my world as I knew it crumbled and I looked at the faces of my children, offering them consolation that could only come from God's Word, and thought to myself, "What NOW? What are we going to do?"

And there it was, in black and white, on the pages in my lap.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

And through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you.  Isaiah 43:2

.....I was in over my head.
Feeling as though the grief would consume me, while my mind was lost in a sea of questions, doubts and fears.  
I am the Lord, the One who makes rivers in the wastelands.
I am doing a new thing -can you not see it? Isaiah 43:19

My tomorrows, full of doubts, fears and uncertainties, are NOW.  Today, THIS moment....I look around and see it.  The rivers in the wasteland.  

Sitting there, reading through Isaiah, I became so overwhelmed with gratitude.  That where there was death, what I thought would once consume me....became a tomorrow full of promise and blessings.  Favor and SUCH mercy.

I carried those thoughts with me in my heart throughout the day, feeling this quiet gratitude for NOW.  Gratitude for what was, and gratitude for what is NOW.
Nothing is as I thought it would be.....but at the core of all that is, is SO MUCH GRACE.
Driving down the road, making small talk with my oldest, our conversation turned to memories of daddy.
After talking for a while he said, "Mom....we are so blessed."
He seemed surprised....that this life that we are living could only be a miracle.  A testimony that God will heal broken places, and do impossible miracles. 
And there it was again....
I will raise up and restore her ruins.

The promise that even in the midst of your darkest places, there is this HOPE.  This promise....and that He will do something new.

So I shared my heart with my son because I too wanted him to see it.  
That only God could breathe something new into the ruins we find ourselves in.  That when we find ourselves in over our heads...He promises it won't consume us.  To cling to him with every bit of strength we have left and know that the same Grace that took us through yesterday is still with us in this moment and will carry us through into our tomorrows.  And that those tomorrows are full of hope and promise.  

As we were talking I remembered our pastor praying over my husband not too long before he passed away.  He looked at my husband and said, "The Lord wants you to know that He WILL fulfill His promises to you and your family.  When those around you look at you they will marvel at the GOOD things He has done."

God was making a promise to him that day......that everything was going to be okay.  He WOULD NOT abandon the works of His hands.  He WOULD FULFILL HIS PROMISES TO US and our family would be a testimony to the Goodness of God.  

I looked over at my son and he was crying.
He could see it too.  The rivers in the wasteland.  The Lord making a way in the desert.  Provision, favor and blessings.  Beauty where there was once devastation.  Joy in the places of deep deep sorrow.  Clothing our hearts in thankful praise in exchange for resignation and despair.  Isaiah 61

Turning our mourning into dancing.  Beauty from ashes.
It's who He is, my friends.
What the enemy meant for my undoing, God brought restoration, and did a new thing.  
And here we are today....a living, breathing testimony to the goodness of God.
That He is Healer, He is Provider, He is Restorer, He is comforter, He is our Peace.
In our yesterdays, in our todays and in all of our tomorrows.
HOPE for a future full of GOOD things.  

When the Lord restored us, we were like those who dreamed.  Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of Joy.  It was said among the nations, "the Lord has done great things for them!"
The Lord HAS done great things for us and we are filled with joy.
Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy Psalm 126

October 3, 2017

Enlarged in the Waiting

All you see now is NOT all there is.
What was once summer and alive and blooming is now falling from the trees, dying, and decaying.  The dreams of summer are beginning to go dormant.
But all you see NOW is not all there is though this moment is necessary.
This transition.  A silence.  A season of what was once alive to be buried beneath the cold and quiet snow. 
There are seasons.
But we begin to lose hope when our seasons last longer than we thought they should.
Or when it doesn't LOOK like we thought it should look like.
We grasp for signs of life.  Signs of what COULD be.
But what if we could just BE in this moment here?

Once upon a time when I was in the middle of a significant transition a stranger said to me, "Don't resent the process".
Process means PROGRESS.
I had been stuck in this moment, thinking this uncomfortable place was a permanent place of residence for me.  This restlessness I was feeling was never going to end.
But it was a process.
In the process he was preparing.
He was making ME.
There were things He was fashioning within me that prepared me for the things that were ahead.  He was preparing the place I would come to.  Rearranging the circumstances in perfect order for when the time came to move into the next season.
It didn't LOOK like spring.  What it looked like was the death of dreams.  I was grieving what was.  I was fearful of all that was ahead.   I didn't feel the warmth of summer.  It was quiet.  Lonely and cold.
But in the transition He had a plan.
He ALWAYS had a plan.

My friends.....He ALWAYS has a plan.
Can you trust Him in the process?
Can you hold on to Him KNOWING there's SO.MUCH.MORE to come?  That what you see now.....is not all there is.
And we are enlarged in the waiting.
Hope is increased.
Faith swells within us as we wait.  We rest in that hope.  We TRUST in that hope.  Knowing there is a new day dawning.  Spring always comes.  But this moment here is NECESSARY.  We can kick and scream and fight it or we can embrace it knowing there is purpose even HERE. 

And there is goodness here.  Because HE is here.  It doesn't look like what you thought it would but there are other things happening.  Those things which you cannot see, happening beneath the surface.  And those things which you can see. 

He can be trusted. 
He is good.  He is KIND.  And every thing is does comes from the kindness and goodness of our loving Father.  He can only BE good.  In all of our seasons.  No matter what things look like.