Even after all these years, it never ceases to amaze me when – at just the right moment – I stumble upon the EXACT thing I need to read or hear.
That happened to me earlier today when I opened a little devotional booklet that I like to read in the mornings, and read these words:
“I AM trusting God with the desires of my heart. He knows what’s best for my life, and I give Him complete control over all I am and all I have. Any worry, fear or frustration, I turn over to Him. I’m at peace knowing that He will get me to where He wants me to be, and I will never be disappointed. This is my declaration of who I am.” (From Joel Osteen’s work, “I AM”.)
I like to spend some time in contemplation and prayer at our little kitchen table in the mornings, journal and coffee at hand, with a candle burning. It’s a time for seeking God’s Will and His Presence, and something I started doing 30 years ago as a new mother. There have been seasons when I neglected this precious practice, or when the nature of that time was something other than it is now. I noticed that life doesn’t flow as smoothly, that my burdens seem heavier, and my attitude crapier when I miss these moments. It is something I always come back to at some point. My default position.
One of the blessings from the breast cancer journey I went through is a renewed commitment to my personal spiritual life – a Coming Home, if you will. I’ve winnowed out what works and what doesn’t work for me, what spiritual ideals and practices fit and which don’t. Certainly, I don’t fit the mold of a typical fundamentalist Christian, and I’m good with that. I am a believer in, and a follower of, Jesus the Christ and look to the Bible for much of my inspiration and direction. After all of the miracles I have experienced, after all the times when I literally felt the supernatural touch of God on me, I couldn’t be anything else. And I’ve tried.
In this Season After the Fire, when my “New Normal” is being normalized, I spend even more time than usual thinking about, talking to, God. For of all things that I desire – it is the desire to live out God’s Will that burns within me the hottest. Whatever that may look like, I am completely surrendered.
I think. (smile)
But deciphering God’s Will and plan for my life isn’t always easy for me. Sure, there are times when divine direction is so obvious, I just want to slap my forehead and say, “Duh!”
Other times, however, the direction isn’t as clear, or doesn’t feel like it is showing up at all. and I am left contemplating the idea that what DOESN’T happen is the Will. I am being led by what prayers AREN’T answered (or, perhaps, were answered with “No”.)
Times like when interviews prove fruitless, or the promises made to me by others don’t come to pass. Other times I end up hitting brick walls, when the path I am on leads “nowhere”.
I’m in one of those times right now and it’s like trying to find my way out of a maze. My view is obstructed and progress seems as at standstill. It’s hard not to feel trapped. Lost, even.
But I know – from experience – I am anything but.
This is a time when my faith is being stretched. My desires, honed. Growth often takes resistance, and I’ve learned that struggle isn’t a sign that I’ve blown it. It could be that the struggle is producing the strength I need for the next part of my journey, much like a butterfly needs the struggle of exiting a cocoon if it is to be healthy and strong.
After months of Maze Walking, it was a real comfort to received a Word from the Lord this morning assuring me that His Hand is guiding me. That His plans and purposes WILL prevail in my life. It is important that I keep this in mind I can’t let discouragement weigh me down, or worry to steal my peace.
I just need to be patient and allow myself to be led through this season one step at a time, and trust that He is with me and that His plans for me are good.
The shift IS coming.
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way that you should go. I will counsel you and watch over you.” – Psalm 32:8