Sunday, February 09, 2020

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Celerating who we were meant to be Part 2

From the discords of yesterday, resurrect my peace.
From the discouragements of yesterday, resurrect my hope.
From the weariness of yesterday, resurrect my strength.
From the doubts of yesterday, resurrect my faith.
From the wounds of yesterday, resurrect my love.
Part of Liturgy For The Ritual of Morning Coffee
from Every Moment Holy 

The above quote is from the lovely book of everyday rituals called Every Moment Holy.  I keep this entire ritual bookmarked to read every morning and while I love all of it (for I think morning coffee is one of God's great gifts), I especially read this section.  It refreshes my soul for a new day.

Last week I shared ponderings on how God uses our gifts, talents, etc. to mold us into the person we were created to become.  That doesn't mean we are to become experts in any one area or that we will ever be famous, it does explain why each person is unique... and uniquely qualified for where He has placed us.

This week I want to talk about something that can be difficult to understand and perhaps even unsettling to even the most faithful Christian.  That being the truth that God uses all of our experiences to mold us into the person He wants us to become, even the really hard stuff we go through.

Not having an infinite mind or way of seeing, I cannot answer the big questions of life like why God allows suffering.  Other than the fact that, if one believe the Genesis account and I do, we know that all was made perfect before sin entered the world.  We live in the consequences of a fallen world so there is death, sickness, evil, and yes... bad things happen to good people.

If I were to understand the big why questions of life, then I would be God.  Those of us with limited capacities, and that is every person who was created and not the Creator, can never comprehend God's infinite mind.  However, if we do not allow bitterness and anger to overtake us, we can certainly comprehend His grace and allow Him to take what the enemy of our souls intended as evil and weave it into a redeemed life.

I love what one of my heroes of the faith, Corrie Ten Boom, used to share.  Corrie survived a Nazi concentration camp but her beloved sister died in the camp. Corrie would show the bottom of a piece of tapestry and how it looked with the various threads appearing all tangled and ugly.  Then she would turn over the tapestry to show the beautiful image on the other side.  She reminded us that this is how God sees our life even if we do not understand the tangled threads that we view.

As I look back upon my life, I have realized that the lessons which shaped me into becoming more likes Jesus were those that were learned in the fires of adversity.  For you see, I learned to praise in the good times but it took the dark experiences for me to run toward Him as if my next breath depends on it.  I guess it is just human nature that way.

My childhood was pretty good until the day my father died suddenly.  I am the only child of both of their second marriage and both were into their 40s when I was born.  I had no idea that day how my world was to be destroyed, everything I had known.  I never ever recovered.

The wounds of childhood trauma are part of who I am but like all of our experiences, God takes them and makes something good of what was intended for evil.  I think often of what I would have become if the Hound of Heaven had not sought after me, as He did so many unlikely young people in the Jesus Movement.  I was about fifteen or sixteen when I stopped running and became His.

The founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network wrote decades ago that each time God made a major change in his life, it was much the same way Chuck Yeager described what his jet plane experienced as the sound barrier was being broken.  There was intense shaking of the plane, so much that he thought it was going to fall apart... and then peace once the barrier had been broken.

I could relate to that at the time and especially now that I look back upon decades of years lived in God's presence.  It seems that each significant change was the result of a major trial.  Even something that seemed so simple at the time as deciding to homeschool our son due to his ADHD symptoms and his difficulty at school.

I had no idea that the frustrations of those early years would end up turning into such a blessing.  It would change our life entirely and put us on a new direction that would result in new lifelong friendships for him... and a future homeschooled daughter-in-law.  Not to mention my daughter and son-in-law homeschooling their children.

No, at first I simply stomped my foot and argued with God (yes, I did) about why he gave me my "easier child" in my early twenties and my exhausting child in my mid-thirties.  It made no sense at all to a sleep deprived and very tired mother.  It didn't even begin to make sense until years would go by and I could better understand God's plan.

At the time, I didn't realize that the very same ADHD symptoms would cause my son to become the computer scientist/engineer he is today.  I still have no idea how he went from tears when we studied Saxon Algebra 1/2 (and that was me!) to getting A's in advanced math and physics at the University.  But God new that it would only take time for it all to come together.

That one decision changed the course of my life, no less than my father's death changed it. I know people who have had major life changes such as a medical diagnosis, a child born with disabilities, the death of a spouse or child, having to change careers mid-life... and so many more challenges that became a road to new opportunities while paved with grief on the way.

Of course, it isn't always the big decisions that God uses to take us into a new direction.  It was one small decision when, at the recommendation of my daughter, I started a blog just so I didn't have to send out an informational family email.  I had no idea what a blog was when she first mentioned it.  The rest as they say... is history.

So what am I asking all of us to understand?  The Word says we see through a glass darkly, it also says there will be tribulation in this life (and we are not talking seven years, either).  However, we are promised that God is always on our side, always has our back, and that we have the Holy Spirit as our teacher and comforter.

God has a plan for us so that we can be His hands, His eyes, His ambassadors to a fallen world.  We will always be sojourners as we walk this path.  Heaven is our real home but on the way there, we have been given the gift of being Christ to those around us.

I find that the older I get, the more I have to work at being optimistic.  It takes soaking up God's Word, listening to sound teaching, and surrounding myself at times with music that leads one's heart toward Home.  When we persevere and don't give up, then we are rewarded with a crown or two but mostly what we look forward to is hearing "well done good and faithful servant".

Don't give up.  Don't let a root of bitterness be planted in your soul. Keep going toward the goal.  As long as you have breath, you have a purpose for being here.   Stay strong in Him.  You, my friend, or of infinite value and much beloved... and you may be the only person who knows Jesus to one upon your path.

Mentioned in this Blog Post
Every Moment Holy, more info... here.

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Deanna Rabe said...


Vee said...

Yes, agreed, while whimpering and stomping my foot a bit. It is way too easy to grow bitter, sarcastic, and jaded.

Case in point: I have never liked that Corrie ten Boom analogy about the woven knots on the backside of the embroidery~tapestry because a skilled embroiderer does such a fine job that it is difficult to see the difference between the back side and the good side. See what I mean? That is hardly the point. 😏

It is only in hindsight that the plan becomes plain IF it ever does in this lifetime. Nevertheless, we can trust Him. He loves us and wants the best for us.

My mother lost her father when she was 16. She never recovered either and I see so many of the choices she made in life were based on that loss. Yet, God is big on Providential Reversals. He’s good like that. He is weaving quite the tapestry.

Anonymous said...

I always take comfort in your comments about your son’s struggle with math. It gives me hope as I watch our grandson’s struggle. He has extra tutoring but still doesn’t seem to understand the most obvious things.

Suzan said...

Thank you for your words and insight. My son has ADHD and is on the spectrum. Every day I am thankful that he can hold down a job. He works as a chef and I often wonder how he copes with the noise and business of a commercial kitchen. It is wonderful to see how our children flourish and become wonderful adults. said...

Again, the nail hit on the head. It is a great comfort to read your blog, because so often you discuss what we're going through. Right now we have had several, ongoing, life threatening family emergencies these last few months. I wait with expectancy to see the good that God is going to bring out of our trials. Keeping my eyes fixed on Him, as He whispers for me to keep my eyes focused on the unseen eternal rather than the seen temporal. The comfort of knowing that we are going from strength to strength, that His strength is perfect in our weakness, that the outcome is in His hands as we are utterly helpless. And He is to be trusted with the outcome, however different it looks than what we think we'd like to see.
Ah, the absolute joy of His Presence!

Gretchen said...

Beautifully said!

I can't imagine how those who don't know the Lord get through the difficulties in this life. I guess many of them do struggle. I have seen the Lord work through afflictions in my life, even as at the time I "kicked at the goads" and cried, "I can't do this!". I couldn't, but God did.

Thanks for the uplifting and encouraging words!

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

another fine essay from you, Brenda....I do appreciate it. But I have to say, I was q bit confused for a while, never having been in the world of home schooling. You will think I am a bit dim, but I kept thinking, "Saxon Algebra! What can that be? How would their Algebra have been different from anyone else's?" (Would there be Scottish Algebra and Welsh Algebra?) I googled it and quickly found the error of my thinking, but it still makes me chuckle.....

lives in the woods said...

One of the benefits of aging (I'm 65) is to be able to look back at decades of God's faithfulness. Decades for me that is; He is eternally faithful and able to bring beauty out of ashes. Now that I am an 'older woman', I can use my trials to encourage my daughters-in-love, my granddaughters and other young women God brings my way.

You have encouraged us so beautifully in this post, Brenda. Thank you.