Saturday, February 11, 2012

Journeying Toward Destination

What do we learn as we wait on God?

Speaking from personal experience, and more than I could have imagined as well as beyond what I could have imagined, I have learned that waiting requires a stoic patience that replaces our own agenda. The process of anticipation swells and retracts, much like waves against the shoreline. Within each swell is a sense of urgency and excitement that is often fueled by circumstances as well as a temporary denial that disappoints us at the core of our being.

As we trust our God to lead us, we realize that His leading requires a relinquishing of every mode of manipulation that we have previously used to advance our cause(s). Somewhere between the justice and the injustice of the process, we learn that in order to advance our mission (which is the ultimate furtherance of our hopes and dreams…at least those that are driven by the heart rather than the flesh), we had to begin where we started, endure the agony of the challenges within, and WAIT for God to direct (as well as redirect) the path toward our freedom that is found within the restrictions of our bondage. I just thought of something that Danny said to me a few weeks ago that I find myself repeating almost daily in my head:

…"We are like the Israelites and have not yet reached our promised land. That is why we feel the way we do." I appreciate so much my husband's perspective as it was mine that carried us through his sickness and the further challenges within our family while he rallied in a very different but equally necessary way to sustain us. But to finally hear his words match my heart is a gift that I recognize as a portion (gift) from God to supply what is needed as we toil toward our goal of advancing our mission and our family through the stages that we have for the greater purpose of legacy.

I know that purpose fulfills us as well as makes a difference in the world we are called to live within (whether it is a home, neighborhood, community, stage or platform of teaching or leadership or beyond), and therefore requires the emptiness of ourselves so that we can be filled by those things that remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. ~1Corinthians 13:13

As God heals my hurts and my sorrows, I am exposed…mostly to myself. It is a vulnerable place to admit the reality of, but it is necessary for my healing as well as for who I I am first called to support my husband and nuture my children before I can share the pain which has led me to where God leads. I wait for that time but I no longer wait with restraint of my emotions or a dissatisfaction of my circumstances, but I wait with surrender and I follow what He reveals, which is usually something "hidden" within my heart and has been shut off to not only myself but to others as a way of protecting myself. I have learned that God will leave me right where I am or allow circumstances to wane unless I admit where I am struggling and accept my responsibility within it as He leads the process of change.

I often hear myself telling my kids that they are to be an example to the younger ones (particularly Simon, who in our home is a force that creates much opportunity…and he knows it. Just last evening he was spinning in circles for over 10 minutes and saying that the force of God was with him and giving him the ability to do what he does…whatever it may be at the time). And while Simon may be their challenge for growth as well as a model for faith in our home, raising 5 children and difficulties beyond our control have certainly been mine. Every time I tell them how the result (Simon being less problematic in their world) could be achieved, I realize that I am also needing to heed the advice I give: that love is the greatest virtue to exercise in life for EVERY objective and while faith and hope I have mastered by proportion, learning how to love has been what God has revealed to me to be where my greatest wounds lie…and He has given me plenty of opportunities to approach my challenges with His direction (which is from a spiritual perspective), rather than from one that protects myself from becoming vulnerable to those that do not care whether or not they hurt me and often have and do intentionally. While no one wants to receive pain, I have learned it is the catalyst that God allows to further our purpose.

The natural inclination to protect myself exists from wounds in my childhood that are wrapped in pain and isolation and peppered with rejection. A few of my own children (while they do not yet understand it), have this within them as well due to circumstances beyond their control. As they get older it becomes easier to identify as well as discuss but nonetheless it is still something THEY have to deal with and because God loves them so much, He already has given them through their own "healed" lives even more opportunities to let Him do so. He has also given me to them to use as an example. I would even suggest that we all have this place that we detach ourselves from and place on a shelf because the process to release it is not pleasant. In some people it is much more easily understood due to the circumstances in their lives and it is more evident to understand why it exists. And as I have learned, God uses the broken to heal others, and He doesn't allow those that He uses to be left in stagnation, but He requires us all to also be healed so that we can truly serve a hurting world…which is only done successfully through our love...and therefore the process is a painful one for every one, but what exists on the other side is restoration and a legacy worth more than we can quantify.

So while we all recognize that this journey we call life stretches our patience, reveals our ugliness and redeems our futures, let us also realize that we serve a God who is the Master of redemption and the Manipulator of circumstances that while "... we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. and hope does not disappoint us…." ~Romans 5:3-6

Hold on tightly to your hope…it will not disappoint you…that is not my promise, but HIS!

“The strength of patience hangs on our capacity to believe that God is up to something good for us in all our delays and detours.”
~ Piper