I always think hard about my blogs Once they are written I let them sit for a while..maybe a few hours, maybe a few days or weeks. I never want to offend and usually I think that no one reads them. But then recently I looked at my blog traffic stats and somebody is reading. Unless I have an obsessive 3 followers that check it 40 times a day, I've got traffic! So, I do well to think and pray before posting. This post was more for me, though. I write often to get things out and if it helps someone relate or encourages, then yay! So if anyone reads this, I hope it helps. It helped me writing what God is showing me. I have proof before my eyes that I am not stagnant, as much as I feel that I might be. Be encouraged.
I have a theme for this new year.
It starts and ends with a profound pair of verses in the Old Testament.
While blogs have been written about this (there are many, I've checked and researched more on the concept I am about to write about...) I think that to each person the context in which these verses will be applied will vary and be appropriate in different seasons. This is what it means to me.
Let me get to it and stop my preluding.
My 2012 theme a.k.a. Isaiah 43 :18-19
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
Simple enough motivating words for a new year. Out with the bad, and in with the new. God is doing good things and that is that.
Yes, to a logical person, perhaps.
I am anything but logical. I don't even know what that word means. Ha!
OK, I exaggerate but still. I feel. It is my logic. I think, yes a lot actually, but feeling and intuition a.k.a." spirit-speak" is more my language and my guide. I feel deeply and instead of poo-pooing it away as I used to, I now embrace it and let the Holy Spirit use that part of my fearfully, wonderfully made heart to compass me about. I am not saying my emotions are my guide. Those guys are not to be trusted. Especially post-baby. Yikes!
At first when I read this other person's blog on Isaiah 43, I said "ah-ha! Yes! 2011- It's over. It's done! This next year will be better ( will it??). I will look for those ways and streams" Easy, awesome and that is that.
"But wait!", says my heart, "it's not that simple!"
Just once I would like for my heart to leave well enough alone but, like I mentioned, I will not scorn this part of myself any longer. After my initial "really!? c'mon! I don't want to over think this. It looks pretty and inspiring on my chalk board. Good enough, God!" I began to see deeper into this passage. My heart is feeling. Dangerous! And He is revealing what ways and streams are all about. Lately, I do believe, we've got the deserts and wastelands part down.
I won't do a long exegesis here but let me explain:
Our 2011 is, as I mentioned to a friend, "the worst year of my life and the best year of my life. I want to forget most of it and remember all of it." I'm complicated like that.It kind of was a wasteland of sorts. A lovely Oasis named Dahlia amidst it helped us get through. God's timing? Perfect!
Look at other blog posts to be filled in. In short, strokes, cancer, long, painful, suffering, lingering deaths of loved ones and a miracle baby all in one year left us bewildered, questioning, thankful, worn out, sad and elated, empty and overwhelmed all at once. Those are pretty intense emotions. All at once, both our eyes and souls were crying.
A verse I cling to often Psalm 61:2,
From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety..
SO I did. So He did.
"No more pain! Please no more suffering! Our families serve you, we fear you. What more can we do!?Can 2012 be our safe year, Lord? We understand we don't deserve it but we really would love to experience your mercy in our families. Keep us safe! Safe from hurt and disaster. We don't think we can do this much longer"
And then, these verses, the ones up there in Isaiah are reminding me of what "safe" is: Ways and Streams.
Safe isn't painlessness it's hurt with God restoring and redeeming.
Safe isn't a year of jubilee, it's a year of famine with miraculous provision.
Safe isn't prosperity and plenty, it's a year with new mercies, as you need them day by day.
Safe isn't my life. Safe is His life laid down so I will experience new life beyond this place that hurts one day.
Safe isn't happiness. It's joy.
Safe isn't easy. It's a hard life with God and others helping.
I won't be forgetting the hurt of 2011 but I will be forgetting my old way of thinking of God's provision and the way I think he should be working in my life and in the lives of those I hold so dear.
I am done trying to be safe. It's too hard.
He asks me to SEE. "See I am doing a new thing.."
But my God knows me well, "Do you not perceive it?"
"Uh, no. I don't. I mean, I didn't but now, I think I will."
If I was making a translation of the Bible I would imagine that that portion would read like this:
"Open your eyes, Missy! I am doing what is best for you! Something new just for you. Why can't you see that?"
I'm not being down on myself.
I am not being melancholy.
(Although, one could say instead of Surrender Story this blog could be called The Melancholy Muse!)
I am just being real. And maybe even somewhat logical. Hmm. How 'bout that?
I miss his work,
It eludes me.
Or better and more clearly : I choose not to see it.
How could I when my focus is on the wrong things. I thought they were the right things.
Until I got a personal revelation from the Holy Spirit on this, I was clueless. I was completely in danger.
And I thought I was being safe.
No wonder I've been overwhelmed!
This is the wonder and glory of God, that he constantly helps the eyes of my heart to refocus even when I had no clue that I was myopic. How am I this privileged that He, Master of all the Universe, chooses to realign my heart, my mind, and give me hope? He makes ways and streams. Not just figuratively but also, quite literally. He leads me to safety. This time it was by way of much suffering, pain and sadness. But it was Him all along leading me out of the wastelands and deserts. He led me to safer friendships, is leading me to a better place in my marriage, he's restoring relationships, readjusting heart desires, he's empowering me to "perceive it". Suffering and Sadness seem to be necessary stops on the journey of a Christ-follower. I am not a believer in the gospel that says love God, and nothing can touch you. Say this verse, and that verse and magically you will be untouchable. Not true. But I do believe that those hard, hard places are just mere layovers, not destinations. My, I'm using LOTS of figurative language today!
Truth: He's true to his word. And as well as I might think I know his Word, I often miss it. Then, I read seemingly simple verses and he again, speaks to my heart in the way my heart best receives and starts making ways and streams in my own life, even when I didn't know I needed either. He makes a way by using grace and mercy. They are my way. They are my stream.
I Perceive it!
So what does this mean for anyone else? I don't know.
I know that if a relationship is failing, there are ways and streams that can be made. If you are overwhelmed by poor health, mental or spiritual torment, sadness or grief that it doesn't magically go away but a new thing is about to spring up, so you better perceive it.
Being stuck isn't an option. Cry out!
Cry out until you are hoarse. Don't be OK with your version of safe.
Cry out from your desert and be led out of the wasteland.
Breaking free from bondage is rough.
Breaking free from hurt hurts.
Choosing to let go of injustice is hard. Choosing to let go and not know a reason is not easy.
But by doing so, He does a new thing. It springs up. Right now!