Sunday, November 16, 2008

A reflection on control (or my lack thereof...)

I've discovered that everything is really all about control.

The truth about control:
I've discovered first hand that God has it and has always had it.
I've discovered that for a time, and from time to time, I've been under the illusion that I have it. For the past month and a half I've been (am) learning to surrender it.
Tonight again I feel the crushing sensation of giving it up.

Every day it is giving up control again. Every day it is a realization that I am owed nothing, that I have no right to the house with the picket fence, the 2.5 kids, and the family dog. Even when we have those things, they are not OURS. Even the agonizing pain I am experiencing now, is not my own... it was God's purpose that Ben and I be refined by fire for HIS glory.

God's word says:
"Everything in the heavens and earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as being in control of everything. Riches and honor come from you alone, and you are the Ruler of all mankind; your hand controls power and might, and it is at your discretion that men are made great and given strength."
I Chronicles 29:11-12

So I find that my problems stem from a faulty belief... "MY possessions, MY dreams, MY friends, MY husband, MY child, MY family, MY job, MY education, MY future, ad infinitum..." And releasing these "MY's" is quite undoing... and painful and continual. While I know my faith is secure, and that I've been a follower of Christ since childhood, the undoing of "MY's" forms a different commitment, a painful yet necessary operation--- in which all of life is rearranged.

I have been pondering Howard Dayton's ideas on ownership versus Lordship:

  • If we are going to be genuine followers of Christ, we must transfer the ownership of our possessions to the Lord. "No one... can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions" (Luke 14:33). In my experience I have found that the Lord will sometimes test us by asking that we be willing to relinquish the very possession that is dearest to us.
  • It is important for the child of God to realize that his heavenly Father orchestrates even seemingly devestating circumstances for ultimate good in the lives of the godly. "I am the Lord, and there is no other, the One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these" (Isaiah 45: 6-7)
  • "God can't use a person to the maximum, until he or she has been hurt deeply." A.W. Tozer
  • God is the owner. He is in control of every circumstance, and He has promised to meet our needs.

I can not say that I am content, that would make me a liar. But I can say that my heavenly Father is teaching me much about contentment and I pray to be found faithful, even in my great, great weakness, failure, and mistrust. I often cry, "Lord I believe! Help my unbelief!"

"For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines... He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness." Hebrews 12:6, 10-11

Saturday, November 8, 2008

For Ben...

I'm pretty much convinced I have the best husband in the world. Through everything he has never once complained. I'm so blessed to be married to Ben. This song reminded me of his attitude and outlook even during some of our darkest hours. Without getting too sappy... our love has grown so much stronger because of this experience. Love you, honey.

I can't believe it's over
I watched the whole thing fall
And I never saw the writing that was on the wall
If I'd only knew
The days were slipping past
That the good things never last
That you were crying

Summer turned to winter
And the snow it turned to rain
And the rain turned into tears upon your face
I hardly recognized the girl you are today
And god I hope it's not too late
It's not too late

'Cause you are not alone
I'm always there with you
And we'll get lost together
Till the light comes pouring through
'Cause when you feel like you're done
And the darkness has won
Babe, you're not lost
When your worlds crashing down
And you can't bear the thought
I said, babe, you're not lost

Life can show no mercy
It can tear your soul apart
It can make you feel like you've gone crazy
But you're not
Things have seem to changed
There's one thing that's still the same
In my heart you have remained
And we can fly fly fly away'

Cause you are not alone
And I am there with you
And we'll get lost together
Till the light comes pouring through
'Cause when you feel like you're done
And the darkness has won
Babe, you're not lost
When the worlds crashing down
And you can not bear the cross
I said, baby, you're not lost

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Letting go...

Concretely, abandonment consists in seeing the will of God in all the people, events and circumstances present to you. If God tears up your beautiful game plan and leads you into a valley instead of onto a mountaintop, it is because He wants you to discover His plan, which is more beautiful than anything you or I could have dreamed up. The response of trust is "Thank you, Jesus," even if it is said through clenched teeth.

One of the greatest paradoxes of the Gospel is that surrender is victory. "The man who loses his life finds it." What makes surrender difficult is our lack of faith, our fears and insecurities, our need to manage our own lives and those of others, our little plans to which we cling so tightly.

You will trust God only as much as you love Him. And you will love Him not because you have studied Him; you will love Him because you have touched Him---in response to His touch. Even then your troubles are not over. You may still wrangle with God. You may cry out with Jesus, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?" Only if you love will you make that final leap into darkness: "Father, into Your hands I commend my spirit."

-Brennan Manning