Friday, May 28, 2010

DAYBREAK


"We live by faith, not by sight."
2 Corinthians 5:7, NIV

Provincial:  adj.  Of or relating to a province; limited in perspective. 

The hardwoods in my home are being refinished.  My choice of stain color is called provincial.  It is a medium shade and the sample looks so right when placed by the fresh, neutral walls and white trim.  Imagining the contrast of the walls and floors and focusing on the look, feel, and smell of new is now turning impatience to anticipation.  I hope provincial and all preceding choices will bring out the best in our home.

When all the work in our home is complete, our little 1941 cottage will be quite a different kind of comfort than it was before the fire, which was last November.  You may read about it here.

What was once a quaint, crowded, space full of vintage finds will be a cheery home of light and life.  Soft colors of beige, cream, yellow, ivory, and white now grace the walls.  Happy hues are a turn from the bright gold, rose, and deep taupe we had before.  I chose light colors because my heart cried for anything that would lighten our life and lend oxygen for a new beginning. 

The shock of the sudden, involuntary transition the fire caused for Jeff and me still bears on our souls as the final, remaining reparations come to a close and we look toward returning home.  In the midst of it all, we are and have been in awe of God's faithful handiwork and peaceful presence.  God is amazing in his detailed weaving of our life threads.  What began seven months ago as shock is growing into surrender.  Seven months of struggle becomes weary.  Seven months of stress-survival tells truth.  Seven months of waiting sizes up a lifetime of seeing.  Seven months of seized self moves once thought needs to the only desired compartment of the soul. 

In biblical terms, scholars often say that seven is God's number of completion.  "By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work" (Genesis 2:2, NIV).  "And the words of the LORD are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times" (Psalm 12:6, NIV).  Seven, in God's terms, can represent perfection.  The complete work of Adonai, God, who is flawless authority.

By any measure, as a Christian, I am not flawless.  If I told you I felt like refined silver, I would be lying.  In truth, I will not be perfected until my journey on this fallen sod we share is over.  I can rest in that fact, however, knowing God will continue his work of grace in every place he leads.  He has planned this earthly journey for me, and he owns its map and my provision.

During this short, seven-month season of my journey, God has provided moments of solitude.  Time is a gift.  And time alone, when tied in small sprigs, is like delicate baby's breath.  Fragile, elegant, and gracious.

These small sprigs of solitude were only the outer wrapping of God's gift.  The real blessedness of this seven-month season has been an awareness of God's presence and his peace that passes understanding. 

As we draw closer to closure of shock and aftershocks, God's mark on this unstable season becomes clearer and clearer.  His holy hand has left its imprint on the whole landscape.  And seeing his seal in the picture reminds me of my limited and God's unlimited.  The two are incomparable.  I, Andrea, very human, frail, full of questions, and short on vision versus God Almighty, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, complete in love and vision, infallible Savior.

Yet, I wrestle. . .

trying to find answers, to grasp rest, to see light on a dark path, to know how, to explain pain, to envision the finished work of grace and bear the rebuilding of our lives.

My own struggling has caused me to search the book of Genesis with wonder about Jacob and how he felt as he sent his family and all his possessions across the Jabbok River, while he stayed the night alone in darkness and wrestled with God until daybreak.   

"So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.  When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man" (Genesis 32: 24-25).

Jacob, the man who always took the initiative, who always made a way for himself, who always felt strong, who always created solutions, was, in his lonely, empty place of struggle, made helpless by God.  God dislocated Jacob's hip joint, which was the very strength of Jacob's ability to wrestle.  Jacob was then forced to face his human futility.  As he limped away, however, he was not dismayed.  Why?  He was blessed and had a new name for his new life that awaited him when he returned to his homeland.  Jacob had been  touched by God.  Eternally challenged and eternally changed. 

"Then the man said, 'Let me go, for it is daybreak.'  But Jacob replied, 'I will not let you go unless you bless me.'  The man asked him, 'What is your name?'  'Jacob,' he answered.  Then the man said, 'Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome' (Genesis 32:26-28, NIV).    

"You have struggled with God and with men and have overcome."

"You have struggled" and you "have overcome."

"Yes!" God says to all who wrestle til daybreak for blessing, "You have overcome." 

Struggling means I am human.  Wrestling means I intend to conquer.  Wrestling til daybreak means fighting for a forever-changed moment.  It is holding on for a dawn of hope.  It is hanging in there for an appearance of light, and it is denying fatigue and accepting brokenness.  Wrestling til soft light is seen at a distant space means I have, in that night, overcome self.  Overcoming self means Jesus reigns greater in me now than he did in a time past.

I have a very long path of daybreaks behind me, and a very long path of perfecting processes ahead of me.   I will leave these seven months changed and a little more surrendered.  I hope to leave the provincial vision of my pre-fire life and reach to embrace new vision as we return to our home.

As future testing seasons approach, I, hopefully, will not see them with dim, limited, provincial vision.  I pray to see them with God's unlimited vision.  Yes, my eyes can see what he visions when I submit absolutely to God's creative voice and will.

I am merely human and within my own power, so limited.   We, who all originated from dusty earth, who depend on God Almighty to hold our world together, who trust his word for the air we breathe, can share the vision of our Creator!  Through Christ, we can have faith-vision, and faith-vision is what overcomes the world.   "For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith" (1John 5:4, NASB). 

Friend, we may have no answers.  No details.  No professional title.  No human help.  Little worldly stuff.  

But, . . .  we can have the eyes of Jesus. 

His seeing is not provincial.  His perspective is complete.  His focus is flawless.  His eyes are pure. 

Just lean back in his arms and rest your weary head and allow Christ's victory to strengthen you and be your strength.  You will soon find faith vision, and all sight will be new.

Praying you this day,

22 comments:

  1. Do I get the blessing of posting a comment first? Andrea, your words on refining in seven months time....a season of perfecting (though you have not arrived) made me count my season of refining. Seven months and still counting in many ways but I welcome it.

    I loved how you said, Struggling "is hanging in there for an appearance of light, and it is denying fatigue and accepting brokenness. Wrestling til soft light is seen at a distant space means I have, in that night, overcome self. Overcoming self means Jesus reigns greater in me now than he did in a time past."
    This has helped me be okay with my wrestling heart. I often think the action to struggle is resisting or rebelling. You have painted a different picture and so has God with Jacob's story. He lead a life of independence and taking control before his wrestling with God. This was made clear and God humbled him and made him dependent with that displaced hip. I relate with my injury that keeps me back from doing things I wish I could. My dependence on God has grown, has refined me...an overcoming of self...Jesus does reign more.

    Your entire post is my heart's cry as well. I so appreciate your friendship and kindred spirit. God has blessed me through you. I'm grateful that you are a willing vessel to be put through the fire of refinement to shine his reflection more clearly. This blog is a testimony to that fact.
    Love to you!
    Amy

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  2. The term "trial by fire" takes on a new meaning as I read your post. As devastating as the loss was, how great are new beginnings and fresh starts? I know God will lead you all the way through this.

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  3. Andrea, I have been enjoying your lovely blog. It was very sad to read the story of the fire. How amazing that your daughter in law and grandchildren were not in the car when it happened. Truly the Lord sent his angels to protect them. So sorry about the loss of home and etc. I can imagine how shocking and hard it would have been. Yes, we do truly wrestle in this life. May you be blessed in the new season you are entering into.

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  4. Talk about redemption! Here you describe how God has (and does) redeem everything in your life, and how He does likewise in every believer's life. "All things" do, indeed, work together for our benefit.

    I so appreciate your honesty & candor, and the fact that you exalt Him in every season.

    Thank you for the dose of light today.

    Kathleen

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  5. dear andrea..i saw you over at vicki's and so i came over to say hi..
    and i am glad i did.
    i feel bad to read about the fire too, especially that by the looks of things some of your precious history things are gone.
    you have such a great attitude about it all and a willingness to keep going on...your treasures are in heaven but i am sure that the lord will give you some more earthly, homey treasures on earth to enjoy before he calls you to your heavenly mansion or even better still if he comes for all of his dear children and takes us home all at once! what a glad day that will be!....god bless you..with christian love, terry[teresa]

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  6. Andrea:

    2 blessings for me in your post this morning, no actually 3! First... watching your heart and faith grow during this time has been a testimony, even on the days that you may not have felt it. Second... YAY!! You are almost ready to have your home back!! and third, it touched me and blessed me to see dad's book on your bookshelf.

    Love you my friend, and as always, I love your heart!

    Sonja

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  7. Your faith and ability to overcome is very inspiring.:)

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  8. You have changed so much since the fire... and if that is one of the blessings that this seeming unfortunate event has brought about, then it is indeed a blessing in disguise.

    Plus a chance to remodel your lovely home, give it a make over.

    Plus many spiritual realizations that you and jeff have received.

    Plus another story to tell, another historical and spiritual marker... plus...plus...plus

    WHo knows how many wonderful things God intended for you which your human brain could never comprehend until we all reach heaven's shores!

    But definitely I agree with every word you wrote here. You almost seem to be writing my own story, in your words and perspective. There are so many things similar to what is going on in my own heart these days!

    Blessings on your new season, as you reach the seventh month after the fire.

    Then comes eight -- a number which stands for new beginnings!

    Love
    Lidj

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  9. Thank you for the encouragement Andrea

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  10. Andrea,

    God Bless for this beautiful message! You have touched my heart this morning dear friend. These words are so true! God is faithful and good! May we all have faith-vision in everything we do:).

    Blessings,

    Kim

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  11. God bless your faithful heart, humble spirit, and uplifting voice...may your coming months reap sevenfold all that was lost....

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  12. I have no doubt that God will eventually use these past seven months of your life in remarkable ways for his kingdom gain. You cannot see it now, but you're closer than you were even a week ago. You're coming to terms with your past seven months, and all will be settled and in good order very soon. It doesn't mean that another "seven" aren't waiting for you, or for me, somewhere down the road. It just means that another season is soon to start, and you're going to be fully prepared for whatever comes your way.

    Head into it with the full confidence and assurance of our Lord. He is our refuge, our strength, and our very great reward. Walk forward in victory, sister. I'm walking with you, as are so many others.

    Love you.

    peace~elaine

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  13. Faith vision -- I like that!

    I pray your new season will be blessed. Somehow, I'm sure it will, for you seek to see with His eyes.

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  14. You'll soon be all snuggled in. Adjustments. I always forget to lend them some patience.

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  15. My sister,

    This sharing of the heart is RICH in JESUS...filled with faith, transparency, renewal and restoration. Aww, the redeeming power of our LORD.

    GOD is at work even in the midst of what was a very difficult experience (the fire) to say the least. Look ahead in Him and continue to trust HIM.

    I am praying for you right now.

    Much love!

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  16. It's hard to believe it's been seven months--I had no idea it'd been that long. In our house building process, I can understand the struggles you've been going through. Endurance will lead the faithful to a glorious finish--of your earthly home and your eternal home in heaven. Keep looking towards the eastern skies, towards another beautiful daybreak.

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  17. Rejoicing with you in the future God has prepared for you...that shock has faded into surrender...pain turning to peace...darkness to light.

    I KNOW these words are only the outward expression of a work God has done and continues to do in your life. He will bring it all to a GRAND completion in His time!

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  18. Praying that your new season will be blessed! Thank you for a beautiful and thought provoking post today!
    Blessings

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  19. Thank you for your wonderful words of encouragement. Love your blog, will be back to look around.

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  20. Andrea, I loved the fact that mentioned God's number - 7, meaning completion. God is doing a good work in your life and I love your honesty through it all.

    Thank you for sharing.

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Thank you for visiting. I cherish your thoughts. You are special to me, but most of all, you are special to God, who loves you with everlasting love. May your life be swept into His joy and peace.

In the Wonderful Love of Christ our Savior,

Andrea