Monday, May 13, 2019

Navigating the middle seasons of life

I wrote this post on my Notes on my iPhone, over Easter weekend. I never got around writing it here until now.

I've been in a season of deep healing. Really working out and understanding what and why God brought me to Isaiah 61 four years ago. He was trying to tell me then He wanted to heal my soul- wounds and set me free. I didn't understand what He meant, until now. It took some more time and pain to realize what He meant.

Up until now, I've been in the middle.

The middle is where I've always felt I've lived my life-I'm the middle child, I always find myself neither hot or cold, neither left nor right, but somewhere in-between.

And that is where the words for Saturday, the day in between Good Friday and Easter Sunday came from.

I sat praying and realized how many "Saturdays" I've had in my life.

Days of waiting.


Wondering what would happen.

How did I get to this point? Can I be saved? Be healed? How will life go on?

The middle-Saturday- is confusing and feels never ending. It is riddled with uncertainty, fear and confusion.

This is the in-between. All we can do is wait. We pray. We praise. We hope. We wait some more.

(Waiting is excruciating to me.)

We are caught in what was and what will be.

So here I sit on this Saturday, wondering where God is. Does he see my fears about the future?

How long Lord? I wonder.

Why does it have to be this way?

Even Jesus on the cross cried, "Father, why have you forsaken me?"

And yet, I whisper still as I wipe away tears, "Not my will, but Yours be done." I surrender all. There is no other choice.

Mine for His. Because He's always promised to work ALL things out for my/our good.

We can't see how.

But somehow He does.

Sunday comes and it all makes sense.

"I will rise again," says Matthew 27:62

All the waiting. Pain. Tears.

He was working. He knew what you and I  were going through and what we would need to carry on our journey and finish well.

 It is finished, indeed.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

In The Potter's Hand

"It's called grog when you take a piece of already fired clay, and break it and shatter it just right, and add those shattered pieces to the fresh clay. A really wise potter knows how to shatter that pottery that needs to be added - the grog that needs to be added to the fresh clay -  the potter knows how to shatter it just right. 
If you shatter it too much, it won't add structure to the fresh clay, But if it's not shattered enough, the pieces will be too big and too sharp that when the potter's hands form it, it will cut the potter's hands and they'll bleed." Lysa Terkeurst, First Five App weekend teaching (Dust in the Potter's Hands)
We've heard it said that God takes the broken pieces of our lives and puts them back together again, heck I've used that line in reference to myself numerous times this year.

What if God doesn't put the pieces back but instead makes something totally different and better than before?

Bigger and Better-I stopped the devotion and thought, "What if all this time God wasn't putting me back together but making something bigger and better out of my brokenness?"

Sometimes it feels like all that's left is dust, but as Lysa mentions in the devotional, dust mixed with Holy Water forms clay. We are formed from dust. And dust is what we'll be after we die.

I never stopped to think of the symbolism of dust before. But dust is exactly what God uses.

What we think of as unusable, broken, shattered, with God it's the exact opposite. When we give God our dust He forms, molds, makes. Nothing stays broken. Nothing stays dust.

Trust is a five letter word that always seems to trip me up. How can I trust God to make something beautiful when all I see around me is broken sharp pieces and a whole lotta dust?

I start right there, with my dust.

I get honest about my doubts and my fears. Some days I get angry because life was not supposed to look like this. My kids are hurting and mourning what was while grasping what is. I'm trying to stay strong for them while figuring out what in the world our future is going to look like now.

It helps to know, God sees our tears and in His sweet way, He uses them for the clay. He's molding and making us new.

And while we're still in the forming process and ready for the kiln (the final heating process of pottery. It changes the structure of the clay and turns it from weak to strong) I will trust Him.

I can't wait to see the masterpiece He is making out of us.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Will I Survive This?

"Make no mistake: You will be stripped down in the shipwreckBut you will not be lost." 

Jonathan Martin

Hey friends, it's been awhile. I'm not sure how many people are still around these parts, but that's ok. I'm not much of a regular here either.

I've been working through some messy life situations and every time I try to get on here and write I just stare at the white, blank page.

I don't know where to start or what I should say. What should stay private, what should stay in my journal, and what is safe to share?

I know I can't share too many details because the spin that life has taken not only affects me but those closest to me, in particular, my children.

Late last year I had to file for divorce.

I didn't want to.

But circumstances were out of control and my now ex wouldn't/couldn't get help. He chose his path and forced my hand to choose mine.

I could have stayed, I guess, and pretended his drinking and partying weren't out of control and lived in denial of what was happening. Pushed through and ignored the pain and hurt.

But I couldn't. I fought the internal battle for a long time. I waited and waited to see if things would change. Praying God would intervene. 

Why God? Why this way? What about my kids?

Time and time again He showed me in His word and in His spirit:

"Be still, I will fight this battle."

"You are not going to die, stay your ground and stand firm."

"I love your children even more than you, they are mine. I will protect them."

On the day I said "I do," I meant the words I said. Divorce wasn't part of the plan. I knew I would stay and make it work no matter what. I thought God would honor my obedience by making everything work out. I thought he would honor all of my prayers I prayed on my exes behalf. I believed God would save my ex. I believed God would open the eyes of his heart and he would grow up and become a godly man.

But He didn't. Because God doesn't force himself on anyone. You have to choose him. And my ex didn't. He's chosen a path that seems right to him...

Being married to someone who isn't a Christian presents its own kinds of problems, but when there is an addiction it completely changes the situation. I thought I was protecting my kids by staying when in reality I was only protecting myself. I didn't want to be a single parent. I didn't want to be alone. The enemy had put such a disparaging vision in my head of what life would be like, it scared me.

I know God heard my every prayer and gathered every tear and still, things didn't work out as I had hoped.

And now, I must put the past behind me and move forward. It's time. 

There has been a devotional that has stayed with me, it's from a book called, How to Survive a Shipwreck, by Jonathan Martin:

"During my own shipwreck, my long season of descent, I returned over and over to the story in Acts 27 of Paul’s shipwreck. The apostle was a prisoner in transport when God revealed to him that a storm was coming. Because Paul knows the Spirit, he is a man in tune with matters of wind and wave as much as the matters of the soul; and he knows the boat he is traveling on will soon encounter a terrible storm. Before the storm comes, he tells his captor companions a heartening thing: 

None of you will lose a hair from your heads.” (Acts 27:34) The good news is, you are not going to die. The bad news is, the boat that has been carrying you — the vessel that had taken you from port to port, place to place, the strong and stable boat that made you feel safe on all the oceans you’ve sailed thus far — the boat will be lost. They were not going to lose their lives, but they were going to lose the boat."

This was the message. I was going to lose life as I knew it, my boat, but I was not going to lose my life. This was going to wreck me, but it was not going to destroy me. 

There are days I sit and wonder, "Will I survive this?"

"On the other side of them (shipwreck), there is a stronger, deeper, richer, more integrated life.
That on the other side of the storm that tears you to pieces is a capacity to love without doubt, to live without fear, to be something infinitely more powerful than the man or woman you were before it happened. "
I have good praying people in my life who remind me God's plans are good and to trust Him. I believe it. And I know one day I'll look back and thank God for the storm that wrecked me. I grow stronger each day; so do my kids.

My faith has never been tested so much and despite Satan's attempt, I'm still standing. 
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,fear no evil, for You are with me;Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;You have anointed my head with oil;My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23:4-6)


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