“Harbor me in the eye of the storm. I’m holding onto the love you swore.”
John Mark McMillan
When you have been in a state of hurt for the past couple of months, it is amazing how many things you can find identity in that are truly harmful. Be it identity in heartbreak, loneliness, or insecurity it is easy to slip into the wrong identity. It is in hard times like these that it’s hard to believe in the message of hope we hear every week at church, it is hard to believe in the Promise Keeping Lord I have read about in our Bible. It is hard to believe in the Love sworn, that God is relational and is here in the grief. The thing about it is, that no matter how hard it is to believe it doesn’t make it less true.
I have found myself in a time where the people I am closest with have become pretty distant, be it someone moving, or others being in relationships with amazing people, or me having to distance myself out of respect for their own troubles. I have found myself, at most times in my life, alone in crowds.
I met with a woman from my church today just to address these issues I have been having in my own life. She sat and listened to my vent for a little while, keep in mind she had never met me before today. She then smiled and gave me a couple of encouraging words, the kind of words that you can just feel are genuine. She also told me to look over the story of Moses and pay attention to the time after the murder and before the burning bush. An in-between time where God made a promise but had not yet fulfilled it.
If you look in a lot of stories in the Bible, the Lord does bless his people, but rarely in the way we expect, and almost never without causing us to grow first. It is clear that God wants to bless us, but not for any reason more important than to bless all those around us. God is relational and wants to bless us, but it will be on His own time and in His own way to benefit others as well as us. There is going to be pain, there is going to be confusion, and there is going to be question and doubt, but in the end there will only be a promise kept, maybe just not in the manor we want it to.
At my church in this advent season we have been going over the story of Abraham and Sarah, and how they went from a promise, to bareness, to a promise fulfilled. It is a story that has been resounding in me and has been deeply effecting me for the past four weeks. God makes a promise and waits a super long time to fulfill it, in that in-between time there is a lot of pain and confusion and question, and doubt. Then after all is said and done it there is the blessing. I think giving up is easy, I think that identity in hurt and pain is cheap and not what the Lord has for us. The waiting and testing is the hard part of life. It is important that during the in-between times we don’t lose hope and take identity in harmful things, instead we remember the promise and wait and trust that it will be fulfilled.
“We get robbed of the glory of life because we aren’t capable of remembering how we got here. When you are born you wake slowly to everything. Your brain doesn’t stop growing until you turn twenty-six, so from birth to twenty-six, God is slowly turning the lights on, and you’re groggy and pointing at things saying circle and blue and car and then sex and job and health care. The experience is so slow you could easily come to believe life isn’t that big of a deal, that life isn’t staggering. What I’m saying is I think life is staggering and we’re just used to it. We all are like spoiled children no longer impressed with the gifts we’re given - it’s just another sunset, just another rainstorm moving in over the mountain, just another child being born, just another funeral.” Donald Miller
“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”
There are few things as enjoyable as riding around in the bed of a truck at 1 in the morning. My friends Salar and Ryan Hetu had spent the night packing away Salar’s things into the back of his old Mercedes because, in the morning, Salar would be leaving Kansas City and heading to Nashville. After making a the final run to the dumpster in the bed of a truck we returned back to the house. We had spent the night joking around and laughing, but at the end of the night Salar, his brother Samon, Ryan Hetu, and I were left standing on a rainy sidewalk in Kansas City with nothing more to laugh about. Morning was coming quickly and each of our stories were to begin in a new direction. Because when one brother moves along it changes the course of each of his brothers lives.
Once we all had seemed to run out of things to say Hetu suggested that we pray about all of this. The four of us grabbed hands and began to pray. As we prayed over the situation I could feel something start to stir in me. I had been struggling with feeling just empty when I prayed and I was longing for some response from this Creator that was supposed to be as intimate as He was infinite. I remember each man seemed to speak so profoundly and as we prayed I could feel the walls that I had spent years building start to crack and for maybe the third time in my adult life I truly cried. As the tears flowed down my cheeks I thought about Salar and how he was following what he believed God was calling him to. I also thought about how we had shared some really hard times over the past few years as our friendship grew and how every challenge had strengthened him and led him right to this point, the point where God was calling him to be. Lastly, I thought about how lately things just weren’t really going my way, how fear and insecurity had seemingly taken over me. The past few months of my life had found me losing people I truly love left and right in one way or another, and I had been feeling abandoned. During this prayer these walls started falling, I began to realize the significance of Psalm 34:18
The prayer concluded, and we all continued to cry and we all hugged as we said goodnight. Salar had become a brother to me the past three years, and its never easy letting family go.
I think times like these are important, they change something in us. Through a broken heart I was able to truly experience the Lord in a real way for the first time in years. We need to carry these moment with us and draw from them when the next change happens.
So forgive me for feeling so strongly but I feel like we can finally agree that true lovers always end up lonely cause they know how good it could be — Dawes
I went to a wedding tonight and was reminded why they are so amazing. I was reminded of the significance of a wedding and what it stands for. As I sat in the pew and listened to the preacher explain how a wedding is a celebration and a wedding is work I began to realize that I cannot wait for my own. I cannot wait to stand there as my bride to be walks down the isle and think about every great night and hard time that led us to this place. I cannot wait see the woman I love and realize how much our Father loves us and how we are going to spend our days trying to honor him together. Weddings are so great because you get to stand in front of everyone you care about and proclaim Gods care for you through this incredible blessing that is love. As much as weddings are about the two involved, the main point is that God loves us and we are to honor him.
“The movement comes in slow It’s a tune we both should know But the walls are thin So we keep our voices low
You’re a bird with a pretty mouth You’re a bird with songs to shout And the same refrain continues, singing out:
‘If you love her let her go.’ She sings beautiful and slow A tune that only caged birds know” — My Love Goes Free by Jon Foreman
“For a good wife contains so many persons in herself. What was H. Not to me? She was my daughter and my mother, my pupil and my teacher, my subject and my sovereign; and always, holding all there in solution, my trusty comrade, friend, shipmate, fellow-soldier. My mistress; but at the same time all that any man friend (and I have good ones) has ever been to me. Perhaps more. If we had never fallen in love we should have none the less been always together, and created a scandal. That’s what I meant when I once praised her for her ‘masculine virtues.’ But she soon put a stop to that by asking how I’d Like to be praised for my feminine ones. It was a good riposte, dear. Yet there was something of the Amazon, something of Penthesileia and Camilla. And you, as well as I, were glad it should be there. You were glad I should recognize it.
Solomon calls his bride Sister. Could a woman be a compete wife unless, for a moment, in one particular mood, a man felt almost inclined to call her Brother?”
-from A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis
The prospect of this person existing in my world brings out the romantic in me. I do not want to settle for anything less then what is written above. This is not portrayed in television or the movies, this is real love. To settle for anything less would be to miss out on huge part of the human experience.
Perseverance is more than endurance. It is endurance combined with absolute assurance and certainty that what we are looking for is going to happen. Perseverance means more than just hanging on, which may be only exposing our fear of letting go and falling. — Oswald Chambers