Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Searching for Hope

Having a "published" blog is an interesting thing. It is 'interesting' because I find that each time I return to my words, from years past, I discover that the person I was, 5 or 6 years ago, is different than the person I am today. For example, upon recent visits to my older posts, I have been noticing just how much more confident I used to be. So much more sure in my words and opinions... and dare I say - almost wise? And, I find myself questioning the person I have become.  After all that I have been through am I better or worse than I was then? Mostly I settle on more humble. And I decide that's good enough for me. 

Well, lately I find I'm returning to my 'old self' in search of hope.
In need of perspective.
Desperate for the longer view

I won't lie - right now life is hard. And in this daily "hard" I have been tempted to despair and to lose hope. It feels as though the fog of sadness will never clear. I vacillate between feeling everything and nothing on almost a moment-by-moment basis. But it's the feelings of "nothing" that are, by far, the worst. When you feel nothing - you literally feel nothing.

No sadness or grief, sure.
But, no happiness or joy, either.
It's almost like everything that makes me human - my "humanity", as it were - is gone....

And so, I search.
I seek.
I listen.
And, I look.... 
And - eventually, I remember.

The Lord - our Lord - is faithful, friends. I know because He has been gracious to show me.  The Lord reminded me of my own words about Him. Words like:
... This post is about the other moments. Those moments when there are no easy answers... the picture doesn't quite come together and the "hand of God" is not so clear. When there is no 'divine intervention'-no miraculous conversion. When life seems just plain brutal... 
And yet-I sense that my God welcomes my questions. And that, perhaps, He doesn't want "his ways" to seem clouded and mysterious. You see, I serve a God who has gone to extraordinary lengths to make himself known....
...When I read my Bible, the God I encounter is intensely personal and overwhelmingly near. He's not afraid of my "Why"s nor does He wish to remain a mystery. He only asks that I trust Him... that I come to Him with my questions and then rest in the knowledge that He is good... (from 2013 When There Are No Easy Answers )

 And this:
...This war that rages is an awful one, isn't it? Lives are destroyed. Families dismantled and hope... well, hope seems out of reach. And, yet here I stand. Not defeated. Weary for a time but ultimately renewed. Restored and rejuvenated! You see, this war may be raging. And, raging hard. But it is already won!!  "I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NLT) Jesus has conquered this world (hello Easter!!) and we are living in that victory! :)  

But, if I'm being honest with you-some days that victory seems light years away. So, what does that mean for me? How do I find victory daily-when this war is ravaging and claiming those I love? I go to my Rock. The One who saved me. And, I lean on his Word and his promises. (from 2012 The War Rages On )
This:
...You see, according to God's Word-I am not blessed by making all of the right choices, having all of the answers or doing everything perfect...I am blessed by delighting myself in the Lord and meditating on His Word day and night. Only by staying "planted" in Him will I truly yield fruit of actual worth. ("What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his own soul?" Mark 8:36) And *bonus* I can't go wrong! (vs 3)
...When I am tempted to get overwhelmed by the responsibilities of marriage, children, and well, life-I would remember one thing. I have not been commanded to be the most educated; well-rounded; holistic; frugal; tidy;or perfect-wife/mother/person. I have been commanded by my Lord to: Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:4-5. Therefore, I need only remain "in-step" with my Lord and walking with Him daily to be becoming the wife/mother/person-He would have me to be. (from 2012 Sometimes "hard" doesn't even begin to describe it... )
But the most encouraging and life-giving words always come from my God:
You have searched me, Lord, and you know me You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand —when I awake, I am still with you. (Psalm 139:1-18)
Our God is both constant (continuous over time) and consistent (never changing; the same) in His love and care for us. My heart is still heavy and probably will be for some time. But God is near. And His love is more than enough for today. 

Loving and praying for you all, today.