Friday, April 15, 2011

I’m baaaaack. :)

If I really detailed all that’s been happening, this’d take
a while, but I’ll try to just hit the highlights.

First of all the big news. Last weekend we took the “kids” up to my parent’s house and celebrated 2 birthdays (Paul’s and Anna’s) and 2 engagements. Of course we didn’t know
we were celebrating two engagements when we left here, but my two oldest brothers had different plans. Seth is bringing Ashton into the family, and Paul will give Mishayla the Johnson name. We’re excited for them, and look forward to getting to know them better! (Though I feel sorry for them having to figure out how to handle the whole Johnson gang… maybe I can give them a few tips). Oh and they said this was public, but if they tell you the news themselves, you didn’t hear it from me.
The second biggest news is that Duane’s finally back to work. After two weeks of resting his back, he’s been chugging along in the truck since Sunday. He’s already been from Medford to Paso Robles, CA to Bakersfield, to Jerome, ID, to White City, OR, to San Jose, to Stockton, and tonight he’ll be home! That boy puts on the miles! And I’m thankful for it!!!

For some reason, I’ve been thinking a little bit about how we handle hard situations. I’ve had some pretty traumatic experiences, and then I’ve had those times where nothing’s really “Wrong”, I just feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the little things thrown together with no time to “process”. They’re so different, and yet so often God has the same answer.

I realized I was dealing with the lighter battle this week, with a lot of little things getting together to overwhelm me. There were really good things, I had my feelings hurt, I experienced normal changes of the seasons of life, I mourned a friend moving, and sometimes my heart just hurt for my friend who is going through hard times. By themselves I would have looked at each thing, realized that I could trust God in that, and then go on. Instead, I “stuffed” each thing as the next wave came. Eventually that ocean washed over me and I couldn’t handle anymore.

2 things I know in the physical realm that could have helped me handle this: making sure I was healthy both physically and spiritually. If I had done a better job of that, I’m sure God would have reminded me THEN of the truth he grabbed me with over the last couple of days. Though there are parallel passages, God chose to grab me with Luke 12:22-31. Here are the parts that I highlighted (read the whole thing from the Bible for the best context!!!): “…do not worry about your life… how much more valuable you are than the birds! And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? …why do you worry about other matters? …how much more will He clothe you? And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. …but your Father knows that you need these things. BUT SEEK HIS KINGDOM, AND THESE THINGS WILL BE ADDED TO YOU.” Again, context makes it even better, and I have the whole passage printed up and taped to the cupboard door in the kitchen. But think about it. 1. Worry won’t help and 2. My job is to
stay focused on HIM. And 3. He’ll take care of the rest. Many times I don’t even realize I’m worrying until I’ve already started the spiral down. But if I’m doing step 2, staying focused on Him, I won’t be spiraling so quickly. It’s SOOOOO important to stay tight with Him, and obedient to his commands.
But lets take the more intense kinds of situations. Those situations where all you can do is cry out with the only word you can even think to moan: “Why?” I’ve been in those spots. And I’m sure you have been too. For me, that was most vivid when I discovered the lifeless body of my elderly neighbor after he committed suicide. I knew he wasn’t in heaven, and I couldn’t erase the gory image from my mind even to sleep. I didn’t even need the answer
to the questions, but all I could do is moan “WHY?” That’s the image that instantly came to my mind when I read a portion from Elizabeth Elliot’s biography of Amy Carmichael “A Chance to Die”. As Amy was trying to process the death of a strong leader in their mission, on the heels of 2 other deaths, and preceeding 2 other deaths of those close to her (including her mother) within a year’s time, here is what she said.
Kind people, wanting to console, made the usual observation: “It is very hard to see how this can be for the best.”

“We are not asked to SEE,” said Amy, “Why need we when we KNOW?” We know – not the answer to the inevitable Why, but the incontestable fact that it is for the best.”It is an irreparable loss, but is it faith at all if it is ‘hard to trust’ when things are entirely bewildering?”
As I talked with some friends yesterday, I shared how often I pray for the grace of just a glimpse of the big picture: just enough to show physical proof that God is working in the spiritual realm. But as they reminded me, I KNOW that I have no right to see HOW He is at work. It is my job only to trust. But it makes me ever so much more grateful for those times when he chooses to bless me with that glimpse.
Another time I was called on to make a choice between two people I loved with all my heart. I knew that no matter how I chose, my heart would be broken, and my relationship with one or both would be ended indefinitely. To console myself I went to the one way I could communicate with or without words: the piano. As I played, I remember sobbing out the words from Job: whether I sang them or not, I couldn’t say, but my heart poured out through the music of the song “Blessed Be Your Name”

Can you honestly sing with me and find that same peace?
Blessed Be Your Name

Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

Will you join Duane and I as we prayerfully and honestly sing the last lines?

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

1 comment:

  1. Blessed be the name of the Lord, indeed.

    That was really good, Cora. Thank you for writing it.