"I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." ~St. Augustine

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Can you just sit and wait, Stephanie?

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It was 2 in the afternoon when the electricity went off.

Surprised, I got up and went in search of the landlady to let her know.

I had come away for a few days of quiet retreat with the Lord.  Staying in a tiny little cottage down the road from my house, I had been having a great time journaling and praying.  

Hardly even bothered about the electrics, I stuck my head out of the cottage and happened upon the landlady to let her know about the shut-down. She wasn't surprised; but apologetically explained that she would have it all sorted by 4----a few hours time.  No worries, right?  

The hours past quickly as I continued to worship, journal, read and pray.  I first realized the passing of time when I noticed the darkening of the room and I started to get a little cold (the heating is connected to the electrics).  I got up in order to start the kettle for a cup of tea.  ...no electricity.   Looking at the clock, it was now 5 PM...  and the daylight was quickly leaving.  My little cottage was starting to get dark and cold---and I just wanted a hot drink.  

So, slightly bothered now, I popped my head out of the cottage in search of the landlady.  She was no where to be found.  So, I ventured out...  finding the electricians hard at work by flashlight and lanterns.  Yes, darkness was indeed quickly descending.  

I politely asked them when they might be done working... and they assured me that it would only be another half hour at most.  As I turned away from them and began walking back to my dark cabin, I felt the strong urge to cry... sadness was welling up---hard and fast.  

Wow!  These strong emotions...for this relatively small thing, Lord...  What is this about, Father? I want to weep here.  What is really going on in my heart.  

I sat down and picked up my journal and with the trickle of light from the descending sun,  I wrote: "This is definitely not only about the electricity!" 

I spent the next few minutes crying and writing...  trying to articulate all the "small" and large things that have been frustrating lately.  ...the myriad of things that I am and have been waiting for.  

Waiting.  It is not an easy thing to do!  I am not a patient person.  ...and there is a lot of waiting and ambiguity in this life.  

The landlady said it would be working at 4:00... it was now nearly 6 PM.  I was cold, getting hungry, tired, and it was dark.  I was imminently loosing my the ability to do any journaling or reading.  

The next hour was spent in utter frustration.  In and out of the cottage, I went.  Making my annoyance known in small ways... I paced, I sighed.  I asked again--- when?  When will this be sorted?  I kept getting the same answer...  only a few more minutes.  Surely just 20 more minutes.  

The sadness I had been feeling slowly and steadily turned to anger.  Utter frustration.  

As I sat in the dark cabin... verses kept coming to my head, on after another.  Wait on the Lord.  Wait for the Lord continually (Hosea 12:6).  Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him (Psalm 37:7).  I wait for the Lord, my soul waits!  (Psalm 130:5)  

Just wait.  Can you just wait?  

Stephanie, wait on the Lord. 

At 7:15, I texted my husband:  Dark.  Cold.  Hungry.  Electricity is still out.  I am done.  I am so frustrated.  Waiting in the dark...  

He wrote back:  Do you want me to come get you?  

Clear as a sun-filled day, I knew in that instant the answer to that kind question from my husband...  
I knew.  I knew I needed to wait.  

I texted back...  I don't know.  ...No,  I think God is asking me to wait.  

He texted back...  Ok.  Wait it is.  Hmmmm...  Waiting in the dark.  Praying for you right now.  

Yep!  He knows.  My husband knows all the things we are waiting for.  

In that moment, I put my phone down.  I  walked over with distinct purpose and sat on the couch. With stubborn resolve... with a sorta-"fine, then!"-mild tantrum feeling, I sat down.

OK, Lord,  I am going to wait!!  I don't know how long, but here I am...  Here I am.  I am waiting.  Into the dark, I went and I sat. Hands on my knees, sitting with obstinate determination... I sat and chose to wait. In that moment I felt surrender.  

It was only seconds, hardly even a minute later...the lights came on.  

Just like that... as if with perfect comedic timing the Lord responded to my final surrender with: Good!  Well done.  Finally!  And, bam! the electricity came on.  

It was 7:30 PM and God had another life lessons for me...  Can you wait, Stephanie?  Just stop, sit down... be still and know that I am God.  Not the first time we have been here!  But, indeed, here we are again.   Just waiting.  

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Friend's Lament...Tears as Intercession

When I heard the news, I immediately burst into tears!

Tragedy struck my friend's family last weekend and I could barely believe my eyes as I read.  NO!  I can't possibly be understanding this correctly... No, Lord... NO!

The stream of tears surprised me.  Tears, like I have said before, are not a norm for me... and yet, they came like a torrent.  I wept for my friend.  I wept for the loss of a brother.  I wept for the children. Very few words... only tears.

It was as if the Lord was allowing me to feel, just a small tiny bit, of what she and her kiddos must be feeling when they heard that their father was gone.  ...in an instant.  One car.   One moment.  And, his life here on earth was over.

The shock.  The trauma.  The confusion. The pain.  ...oh! the grief, Lord!

While, I know, we don't grieve like those without faith... (1 Thessalonians 4:13) We have a great and enduring hope!  I am certain, without any shadow, where this man who loved God is now living--- oh! the glory of the resurrection! 

BUT, while we don't grieve without hope; we do still grieve.  We must grieve.  We must lament. We turn our hearts and our tears into a Psalm to set before the Father's heart.   When I read the news, I wanted to wail, to rend my garments and put ash on my head.

Our hearts are made for eternity.  Death is a separation that cuts and bleeds and tears at our very God-made natures.  We know we are made for more... for always-togetherness.  Death feels like a harsh blow in the now.

For days now, I have been carrying this friend.  Night and day.  As if I am walking so very closely to these dear ones.  It is like I can hear their hearts, feel their cries.  I have been feeling deep and profound sadness for days.  "When one part of the body hurts, the whole of the body hurts."  (1 Corinthians 12:26)  I know I am not alone in this pain-carrying.  I see it on social media.  Others are affected by this loss of a friend, a brother, a mentor.  We grieve and we pray.  We worship and we try to lend a hand.  What else do we have?

I believe that God gifts us with this grief-intercession in order to bear the burden and lighten the load. Jesus Himself is the "light" yoke (Matthew 11:28)--- and we are His hands, feet, mouth, and His eyes as we cry.

Lord, may my tears to you be an offering---an intercession.  Would You count all our tears as we grieve and would You have mercy and hear our cry?  We know this world is not our home.  We put our trust in You alone.  We believe that You are the God of all comfort; that you, Jesus are a man of sorrows, well acquainted with suffering.  Oh! How this mamma and those children need You right now.  We ask, ...we know..., that you will come alongside and cover.  Just as their daddy once covered... would You be their shield and their rock; their strong tower in the midst of this time of trouble.  

~~To support and carry this family, please consider giving to their go-fund-me account. We can lend a hand and lighten the load, even if only slightly.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Defiant Against a Dark Morning

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There are just those days...  

There are mornings when I wake up and it feels really dark.  ...the sun is shining and the sleep was fine---but, the cob webs are thick in my brain and my heart feels heavy.   A dark cloud hovers.  I just feel very tired.  Sad.  Dark.  Do you ever feel this way?  

This morning I crawled out of bed with a hovering weight and exhaustion...  wishing for more hours in bed.  As I sat down, methodically following my stubborn routine of "God-time first", I opened up to Psalm 25. And, there it was... 

There it was in black and white print---life on a page.  An invitation.  Light to be had.  ...an offering:  

"In you, Lord my God, I put my trust"

On dark and difficult days, I have a choice.  Do I open up and let the light in?  Do I lift my face and speak truth to my soul?  

This morning, as I read these words, I knew there was an invitation.  Trust Me.  

Trust me for your enough again today.  In Me you have all you need.  Trust Me for all you need.  Trust that I am bigger than it all.  

In exhausted surrender, my head fell back into the arm chair, face raised... 

I can only whisper these words today---  You are bigger than it all!  In, You, Lord my God, I put my trust!  

I sat...  for how long, Lord?  I sat and I asked.  I prayed.  I listened.  In You, Lord my God, I put my trust!  

Into my heart began a faint song...  words that rang true and echoed life.  "We are more than conquerors through Christ"   (song here... do have a listen, if you can...such beautiful truth in this song!)  

I found my phone and listened on repeat--- these words becoming my prayer.  

There will be dark days...  we have them.  We all do.  The heavy dark speaks lies to us and makes us feel we are separated from Him in some way.  This is not true!  We are never separated from His love.  Never.  

Seek Him first...  open His word, looking for His heart and His invitation of life and light.  

For, indeed, we are more than conquerors through Christ!  
"In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us!  For I am convinced [that nothing] will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus, our Lord!" (Romans 8:37-39)
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