Friday, July 23, 2010
Dear Sweet Friends,
I have not left blogging or lost my heart for you. On the contrary, you are always on my heart. My scarceness in the blogging world results from overwhelming tasks and honest exhaustion. Be assured of my thoughts, prayers, and love for you, as I reestablish my home and try to recover. I pray Philippians 4:19 for all of you, knowing that our Father God sees you and loves you and longs to be your everything in every situation of your lives.
Your Heart-Partner in Jesus,
With a deep breath, and unabashed thanksgiving, I can proclaim that we have returned to our home. Yes, after eight months of separation from our own small piece of earth and earthly possessions, Jeff and I have crossed one major hurdle in this current race. I never expected our extended itineration from personal property. Yet, God in his sovereignty, knew and chose that we have that separation and return.
And, as you know, anything God allows, anything He touches, He makes good. For, "we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28, NKJV). Years ago, I heard Elisabeth Elliot, with her precious voice of humility, talk about the "good" in that verse. She said that it is not a particular state of happiness spawned by circumstances. The good, Elisabeth said in her wise way, is that God, with omniscient, Fatherly vision, does what is for our best. Our best is that which is for our eternal good, whatever draws us nearer to God's heart, whatever conforms us to the image of Jesus Christ.
His desire for our good is the condition behind all our personal trials. God views and weighs the pain, the process, and results: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and eternal.
In light of God's complete vision, He ordains and allows the events of our lives, for He knows what will purge us, renew us, and conform us to the image of Jesus. Because of God's grace and his Fatherly good, I can work through all the moments of November 8, 2009, the process of the fire, and the outcome, which is yet to be known.
Speaking truthfully, it has been very difficult to deal with the memories of the fire: watching my home in flames and my grandchildren scream in panic and cry with fear. The aftermath of petroleum fumes hovering in our home and attaching to our things continues to linger, and the pain of not knowing the final results of our insurance claim, along with the sting of anger for insurance adjusters and contractors makes me lean the harder on God and His grace. I stand in His grace and by faith alone as I try to grasp the idea of loss and what ifs, and deal with many other issues that are always attached to trauma and major life events.
Attached to everything are true feelings that are very human. But there is a divine issue greater than my human comprehension and fleshly experiences. To find peace in all things earthly, in all things humanly spoken, I must complete my thoughts with two words: but God.
I have always loved that two-word phrase that grammatically unqualifies as a sentence, but supernaturally qualifies as victory. But, God made, makes, and is making all things new and all things good. And just what the good of our experience is will be fully revealed in eternity, though yet even with my darkly glassed vision (1 Corinthians 13:12), some details are already tangible.
As I write, there remains a lot of physicality to our situation. Don't mistake me. I am thankful, ever so thankful for all God has done and brought us through. My thankfulness, however, doesn't change the leftovers we now face. Much is left to sort through. If I fix my vision on the leftovers and see only the mess of it all, I will miss the miracle of God's ability to multiply His grace and provision.
God is the faithful One, and One particular mighty provision lies amongst the chaotic condition of our home. It is powerful and eternal. It is exact and undeniable. The voice of God, with the power of all His names, speaks through current disorder and pain. Reigning above earthly mystery of things lost, piles of dishes, clothes, books, papers, pictures, and other residuals is the presence of my Shepherd. He speaks peace in this confusion. I therefore do not just see eight months of pain and more months of stress and work, I hear the mind of One most holy, who alone understands and knows me and searches my heart and is working on my will and vision.
Thus far, my Father has chosen to share a few truths that have captivated my heart. God has faced me down with all of them. His words are very easy to accept in my mind, but my spirit is weak and battles, though self will not win, for I am locking in on that divine voice of reason.
One truth I will share with you now. Perhaps it is the most prolific and the sum of all God's teaching sessions.
That mighty truth is new eternal perspective. Whatever my eyes see or my mind conceives is being framed with words that can comfort and heal, shatter and cleanse, or shake and refocus.
A chair is a chair. It has a purpose. It provides a place for one to sit. If it is a beautiful piece, then I am thankful for its aesthetic gift, but its form and presence are a very simple part of my life and have nothing to do with my joy or quality of living. Only God can give me joy.
And I may choose to receive joy in my life through things or through God. If I receive joy through things, my life is based on what is only earthly valuable. That choice makes for shaky faith and contentment that is very timid.
If I choose, however, to receive joy from my walk with God, my life is based on what is heavenly valuable. What is heavenly valuable will never depreciate. It will remain forever. I therefore have no fear of loss, and my faith has firm foundation.
Eternal perspective: seeing through eyes that look for eternal purpose in all things, in all situations, in all trials, in all relationships, in all joys, in all of life. It is a framing of grace only God can give, and I am finding it a process, not a photostatic change.
Thank you, Father God, for your patience. It is your longsuffering that pilots us to our knees. It is your grace that guides us so faithfully to eternal vision, for You know without it our conformity to Your Son is limited by our fleshly dreams.
I love you, friends!