Wednesday, September 21, 2011

'rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation'

I... (sob) just... (sob) am so (sob) tired (sob) and I (sob) don't under(sob)stand (sob) and I don't (sob)  know (sob) what to (sob) do...  etc. etc. etc. etc.

I don't often sob and I don't often ask the Lord 'why?' and I don't often cry out vocally to the heavens.   But the proverbial straw had broken the proverbial camel's back and an avalanche of built up frustrations came tumbling as I sat out just under a giant oak tree and a sunny sky in the middle of the boondocks. I had hurriedly stuffed about six pieces of Kleenex into my pocket before heading out for a walk, and by the time I got to the back of the property, I had used most of them.  There I sat down and promptly flooded out the last two remaining tissues and unburdened my heart to the Lord.  It's a good time to get-a-grip when you realize you're on your last Kleenex, which I was, and so I did... and then finished my walk.

Life is so peculiar.  So confusing sometimes.  So full of question marks, you know?

I read this in my Streams in the Desert devotional (from this entry ) the next day:

"Friend, you do not have to understand all God’s ways with you. God does not expect you to understand them. You do not expect your child to understand, only believe. Some day you will see the glory of God in the things which you do not understand."

Balm for the soul, that's what.

The answers we can't see, the pain we can't understand, the way covered in obscurity, it's all okay.   Some day, we will see the glory of God in the things we do not understand.  Right now, we know enough: His heart is good and His plans are perfect and pain is good for us.

The circumstances and hurts which are the Potter's fingerprints at work, while sometimes not near difficult trials compared to others, are painful and meant to inflict pain.  A friend recently shared with me this concept that C.S. Lewis wrote about in The Problem Of Pain (next on my reading list!): we tend to say that our trials are nothing compared to the starving in Africa... While there is truth in that and such knowledge ought certainly to keep us from the pit of self-pity, pain is God's tool, and to attempt to brush it off as nothing is to diminish the good work that pain is meant to accomplish.  At least I believe that to be the concept, although someone who has read the book might need to correct me.  At any rate, I thought it was a good one and worth pondering.

In summary: while we shouldn't wallow in our pain to the point of self-pity, we should accept it and let it do it's perfect work in our souls. 

Amy Carmichael wrote a poem I love a lot, For in Acceptance Lieth Peace:

He said, "I will forget the dying faces;
The empty places,
They shall be filled again.
O voices moaning deep within me, cease."
But vain the word; vain, vain;
Not in forgetting lieth peace.

He said, "I will crowd action upon action,
The strife of faction
Shall stir me and sustain;
O tears that drown the fire of manhood, cease."
But vain the word; vain, vain:
Not in endeavor lieth peace.

He said, "I will withdraw me and be quiet,
Why meddle in life's riot?
Shut be my door to pain.
Desire, thou dost befool me, thou shalt cease."
But vain the word; vain, vain:
Not in aloofness lieth peace.

He said, "I will submit; I am defeated.
God hath depleted
My life of its rich gain.
O futile murmurings, why will ye not cease?"
But vain the word; vain, vain:
Not in submission lieth peace.

He said, "I will accept the breaking sorrow
Which God tomorrow
Will to His son explain."
Then did the turmoil deep within him cease.
Not in vain the word, not in vain;
For in Acceptance lieth peace.

 Acceptance of pain, acceptance of circumstances, of direction or lack thereof, is where peace is found.  But we can only accept these trials, if we realize that in our hand is a coin with two sides... on one side, pain... but on the other, promises.  Beautiful, true promises that we can bank on.  Promises that the Lord is at work even when we cannot see.  That what Satan means for evil, God means for good.  That He works out all things for our good and His glory.  That it will be okay in the end because, some day, we will see the glory of God in the things we do not understand.

That is all we need to know for now and it is enough for today.

"Cling to what is good... not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer."  (Rom. 12:9b,11,12)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

~Labor Day 2011~

It's been a wonderful holiday.  One of the best days I've had in a long time, and for no paticuliar reason... except that the Lord is really good to me.

We have the rare privilage of a cool front in early September, so the weather was beautiful outside.  A much welcome respite from all the triple digit temps.  I spent as much of it as I could out of doors... I trimmed rose bushes, helped till manure in garden beds, steered an invalid tractor that was being towed, and drove around and a healthy one...I made two pies and a lot of hummus, swung on the swing and felt the breeze brush my skin, sat around the table with my family and grandma and talked about nothing important, and I washed dishes.  Lots and lots of dishes (the person who gets dishes on holidays is always pitied; today it was me. but I am thankful for two hands and Chore Boy brand scrubbies.)  To top off the pie coffee, and walk, we watched half an old movie about the life of Will Rogers.  Who says I don't live an exciting life?

 I carried a camera around with me, some of the time, to capture the day. 

Becs (17) enjoying both the swing and the breeze with me this morning.

I saw this beautiful butterfly sipping from the lilacs.  Butterflies are special to me... they signify new life and new things.

Muppet (21), and Laf (28) in the kitchen working on our festive meal.  We were tired of traditional Labor Day food and went for something a bit more unique... Greek food.  Yum.

Dad and I tried to get things ready for a fall garden.  We're determined not to let the cows and deer get the best of us.

Dad held (and used!) my camera while I moved the tractor.  I really really love driving the tractor.  If I could learn how to work on them (and cars), I'd *really* be a delighted.

Becs made homemade pita bread... I made the hummus.  It was rather good, if we do say so ourselves.

Coconut cream pie and chocolate cream pie.  I have to say, I used this recipe for the coconut cream pie, and it's highly recommended!  (I used less sugar than called for and it was still good)

We sat outside to soak in the weather, and enjoy dinner music brought to us by the way of an ipod and speaker.

Mom and Muffie.  :)
This is my grandma (Mom's mom)... true to the Italian Rules, she talks with her hands.

Grandma and Muppet

Laf and I.

The Lord sure does fill my life with good things.

This verse has been running through my head all day:

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  

"Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."  (Mat. 11:28-30)

That is true rest... and all the things that make us so tired (not the good sort of tired, but the worn down sort), perhaps it's because it is not a part of His yoke for us at all... perhaps it is expectations that either we place on ourselves, or that we feel our culture and society expects of us... Perhaps, if we really will come to Him and cross-examine what it is that's making us tired, we really will find rest for our souls.  And we will, because He promises.  It has certainly proven true in my own heart and I am thankful.

Goodnight all.  I hope to catch up with everyone via comments and reading  real soon.   Life has been hectic but this week will hopefully be slower.  Please pray for Texas folks... we're in a very bad drought and families are losing their homes in all the wildfires (some not very far from where I live)...  pray that hearts are turned to the Lord through it all, and for rain.

May the Lord bless and keep you!