Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Is There Really A Need To Be Heard…Or Are God's Ears Where We Find Understanding And Purpose For Our Lives?

I have been completely invested in healing…I understand that what I am naturally is not is able to stuff injustice.  I loathe it. It frustrates me, angers me, inspires me and directs me.  In the past few years since I have been seeking my own healing from "injustice" I have learned a few things:  first and most important: whatever it is that causes us unrighteous pain God is already planning our "escape."  He is at work behind the scenes and His greatest concern is our growth for His purposes.  Of course He also wants us to be whole/healed and ready for all He has for us and therefore "there is no way to but through" which is something I have learned well.
The new language pattern that developed in me through any challenge from such crisis is this:  Lord, show me what I need to know and please have mercy so that I understand what it is you want to spill out of me as I am shaken.  Remembering that being shaken is something that reveals the real "me" and draws my attention to what I like and don't like about myself and therefore I learn what elements of "me" need pruned.  I can surrender to that or resist it, but belonging to Him is a reminder that while the process isn't easy, the end result is beyond beautiful.

I was reminded of this the other day when Olivia sent me her first college essay to proof read before she sent it off.  I was at a seminar, and I was busy/distracted and yet, I knew I had to read it.  When my kids ask for something immediately, I am more often than not inclined to make them wait, but in this case, I made time…and I am so glad I did.
It hasn't been easy raising a girl.  I too often sense entitlement (which makes me seethe and to see it rear its ugly head in any of my own kids at ANY time nearly blows me away), but I constantly remind myself that this attitude isn't always gender specific but it seems to be generational/and certainly something that will be broken and decimated as life in the "real world" takes root. I have confidence in this as I have been in abased places in my life and yet clung to God's promises and lived out my faith with no explanation of His provisions.

What I know is that Danny and I focus on those attitudes and yet there are too many times when we do not see our fundamentals for living in place as we have taught them and it makes us crazy and it is times like those that we remind ourselves that our time and investment is nearing completion at some level and we remind ourselves that we have been given a "job" and ultimately it is God who is responsible for the outcome.  Isn't like life overall? Another way I have begun speaking it is this:  we do our best and trust God with the rest.

So when I read Olivia's essay titled per request "Define the good life in telling a story" I understood that while I may not often see that she understands life at a level of matter that shows depth and purpose of her own, I realized that (like me) she will take her own journey and end up seeking Him for greater impact and healing herself.  I will share her essay (typos and all) because it is a reflection of pain becoming purpose which is why I write, why I share my heart, and why I know there is more to any battle than what meets the eye…and that purpose is beyond our own understanding as our own lives.  All challenge, when interpreted as being sifted from the hand of God Himself, is meant to encourage others as well.  As I see her in her raw emotion that lives in her heart, I am reminded that in due time she will seek Him at a deeper level.  She will ask Him for deeper understanding and He will be there…just like He is for all of us who ask for Him and believe Him to be our "refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble."  ~Psalm 46-1

After I read her essay I told her that she reminded me of me…having a difficult time living out what is in the heart because the pain is greater than what is known or understood.  She didn't comment.  It didn't matter.  What does matter is that God is in her…He loves her and He has clearly called her according to His purpose. ~Romans 8:28  THAT is why my life looks like it looks, why my purpose is what it is and why my hope proves what it proves.  I am blessed to be the vehicle God has used to allow this human out of herself.  Some ways of understanding His ways will never be understood.  "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. ~Isaiah 55:8

And while learning why/when and how we need to find His ways is not often something we seek without cause, seeing Him to be who He is, becomes magical in our desire to escape that pain/those challenges and we settle in to trusting Him.  There are times when we want our voice to be heard, but we find in this world of ours that our unheard voice becomes an opportunity for Him to do what seems unlikely or impossible.  I know that is one place I prefer to seek above any other.  If the end of the story is nearly anything as dramatic as the beginning, I will watch in eager expectation, wait with an open heart and trust with abundant faith.

We may never understand WHY but we can always learn more about WHO and given Who it is He is, there really isn't much else that matters.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” ~Matthew 11:28-30

Olivia's First College Essay:

In today’s society, the good life takes many forms depending upon one’s personal views of the world. How people view the world relates to experiences that, in turn, define who we are. Day by day our stories are written and personal experiences change who we become. Adversity takes hold in our lives, sometimes leaving scars, but it is that adversity that can have a powerful affect on someone. At the age of seven, I became a victim of the world and its harsh reality. That day, murder suicide took both my parents and my simple life took a turn when my brother and I were taken in by another family.
Adversity, in every form, can take part in creating a person’s character while developing their diverse views of the world. Adversity allows people to establish personal values and they come to find what is important and necessary for their own true happiness. Adversity has vested a longing for success in my future and a desire to find the “good life.” The good life is a different combination of a character’s personal values and what they find to be important to them. For many, the good life consists of money and luxuries but fails to include healthy relationships and fulfilling impression that unification brings. Adversity and life experiences have changed how I view the good life to be. In my new home, developing new relationships was not easy, but as a child I longed for those deep, unified bonds I felt was missing. My personal definition of the good life includes, like any other, having luxuries and those components that keep us satisfied. These could include a home, a car, and that “stuff” we all seem to need. My vision of the good life entails a stable family with children. These materialistic factors cannot be forgotten; as we are human, but I believe relationships are the most important founding detail.

During my high school summers, I have had the opportunity to travel to Jamaica to do service work at a deaf school in a very small, poor town. While there, I met many of the children that lived with their families at the school and many of the families in the surrounding community. Spending a week with these families allowed to me see that they all shared a common principle. They took extreme care of their loved ones; watching over them and providing them with care. The community as a whole was deeply united. What I saw was the concerning care for each and every individual. Strong relationships were the building blocks for happiness in these people. They did not have money, but they each expressed contagious joy and glowing happiness. My life experiences have encouraged me to evaluate my beliefs. Therefore, refining my core values; leading me to believe that the good life consists of a steady balance. A steady balance between material things and relationships that bring everlasting joy.