As we continue to look forward into these next Ten months, let us remember past Truths that have been revealed and concentrate on opening our hearts to the new ones God so loving and continuously presses upon us because of the beautiful gift of Grace. Oh the many Truths He has for us, age old to Him, but shiny and new to us as we walk in faith ever learning how Jesus's Spirit seeps into every part of our being constantly changing our inner dispositions. He is our simple answer in the midst of the complicated world, the one who gave us "time." Today lets hit the big stuff, listening for God's call and walking in it, and expecting the unknown all the while trusting we are completely Known to Him.
"People are always telling you that change is a good thing. But all they're really saying is that something you didn't want to happen at all...has happened." ~Kathleen Kelly
--Just hearing those words from Kathleen Kelly a.k.a Meg Ryan's character in You've Got Mail immediately gives me the great desire to put on a trench coat, curl up in a bed, stare at daisies, and get lost in that iconic movie.--
Change has different faces, and while we each have our share of graciously given exciting ones, we each know too well the scary and disappointment that can come when something we didn't want to happen, happens.
Almost 4 years ago, something I didn't want to happen, happened. Life was shaken up, any control I falsely thought I had was completely stripped away, and I was left with no other choice but to look up, to see that all I really needed I already had in Christ, and with that the promise that I would never be left, never forsaken. I can expect, and even welcome, the unknown, because I am fully known
Through that single experience, and the massive amount of ripples that came with it, life as I know it now is very different from what I was imagining for myself. However, in many ways it is beautifully, mercifully, similar as a loving Heavenly Father, my husband, children, and certain friends are still here, next to each other, bearing burdens, living life as children of the King, better and closer and able to tell of His goodness.
All is not roses and rainbows, many scars still remain and many idols are still being unearthed as work that has begun is still in the completion phase, but the heart within is changed and, while still being renewed daily as inner dispositions continue to be formed, has a new trajectory, a clearer purpose, that would not have been possible without that change.
Any good that is here for me, and for you, does not have come on our own terms, by our own hands. It is something we are not able to create, but is instead masterfully created.
I know this because even still, when confronted with the new hard things, there is an almost immediate desire to let it consume my emotions, forcing me back to the past memories of frustration, exhaustion, confusion. Because I know, I know, how hard HARD can be, I know how energy sucking it is. I know how vulnerable you feel through it as your heart is laid completely bare. I know the doubt that swirls around within when your world is suddenly a very different place. Even with the litany of positives that have come, even with the humbling honor of walking with others through their own Hard, even with the encouragement that we should feel joy when facing trials of any kind because of the mature faith it brings (James 1:3-4), I am tempted to ignore His faithfulness and promised comfort and reach out for the comfort of the world. Even if your events are much different than mine and those others around you, do you still find yourself in this same place at times? Embrace your weakness. Say a prayer of thanks that you can not go on on your own.
In our own strength, we are weak. In our weakness, we are made strong.
It's our fear of appearing weak that keeps us from following those places we are being called. Fear of failure, of admitting we might have heard wrong, of what we may have to sacrifice to go forward, of what others may think, or what might be assumed by our inability to accomplish the goal we thought was a sure thing. After our church closed it's doors last year I was meeting with our then pastor sharing my confusion about different choices I should have made, could have made. During my should I have done this, could I have done that, his response was eye opening, heart opening. "Just because the outcome is not what you wanted, it doesn't mean you made the wrong choice."
The trophy at the end is what we all want, but it's the experience of the journey and the hearts touched through it that God is really after.
As someone who relishes being told the right answer, knowing the exact right thing to do and steps needed before proceeding, it is somewhat painful for me to tell you that no where in this sharing will there be anything resembling a "How-To" in regards to knowing what you are called to. It is in fact bad blogging form to not give you a "How to hear and listen to God's call in your life in 10 easy steps" kind of advice. But it's not something in my power to give. There's no rote answer, sorry to all those fellow type As out there. If you want a map of where to go to find out the answer I can draw a simple line straight to the foot of the cross. If you want a map of where that will take you next, consider instead to stare at the abstract drawings of a two year old with all their chaotic swirls and overlapping lines.
In his book The Will of God as a way of Life, Jerry Sitser says "No matter what our circumstances, we can enter right now into God's will for us--the will of a wise and loving Father who knows how to weave all of our choices into a redemptive masterpiece."
For 8 years of my husband's childhood, his family were missionaries in France. When my father in law was asked how he knew it was the will of God to be a missionary in France, his response was along the lines of "well when I was standing in the middle of a French airport I figured God must have wanted me there."
There is no perfect way of knowing, there is only a perfect One to follow.
If I would even attempt to give any kind of advice to you as we seek out our next ten months and forever it would be to do two things, Abide and Obey.
Abiding is sitting right there in the shadow of Christ, the safety of His wing, getting to know Him better and as that knowledge grows the wisdom will follow after. Obeying is hearing those still small voices and saying yes to them until gradually you are able to hear the bigger ones that come, not worrying about the ending as much as relishing in each now He is giving and what it is giving to others.
We can't screw up God's plan for us. We're not that powerful. Abide. Obey. Do not fear that you will do it all wrong, you might possibly will, but trust that the Holy Spirit will always guiding us towards what is right.
I'll be praying for you, pray for me.