Saturday, January 3, 2015

delighting in the ordinary (from Rebecca)

"Lord, You have assigned me my portion and my cup, and have made my lot secure." You have made my lot secure."
- Psalm 16:five-

In early summer I (Rebecca) shared on my personal blog that there had been a "change in the wind" within my little heart. Like many things, it was hard to exactly describe or put into words what was taking place deep within my heart.  

As the months had progressed (and are still progressing)it became obvious that this health journey that I was on was far from over. Truthfully, there was a deep unrest that began to grow in my heart. At first it was a tiny little seedling but it quickly grew to a very wide weed that was threatening to choke out the life within my heart. I alluded to this on my blog but as I felt everything within my life completely shift and change I struggled to fight to save who I had been. I prayed more than I ever have for healing and prayed that I would be able to quickly return to the life that I loved and the life that I envisioned was my future.  (For those of you who don't know my story well... I went from being a completely independent gal who loved her job, loved ballroom dancing (and competitive ballroom dancing), serving in my church and community, and living life with others. I also went from feeling useful for the Lord to feeling completely useless. (I hear this a lot with those whose lives have changed completely due to illness.) It has been one of the must humbling parts of the journey. 
And for a while this was honestly one of the hardest parts of the journey. The heartbreak, the pain (physically and emotionally), and the knowledge that things are not what I ever envisioned. All of this part has been a huge journey to walk.

In the summer I felt a shift in a good way in terms of acceptance (often quoting Amy Carmichael's  "In acceptance lies peace" to anyone and everyone *smiles*) but as I returned to the south and my health shifted to more difficult times I have to admit that it has been harder and harder to find "joy and acceptance" in these painful circumstances. This fall often felt like one health disaster after another and the tears fell way more than laughter ensued. 

This summer I had found peace in "delighting in the beauty of ordinary" but I have to admit that these past few months I was longing for anything but ordinary days. Illness and pain that occur day in and day out are so hard aren't they? I don't know if you are like me but I love the verse that talks about "God's mercies are new every morning"! And everyday I wake up hopefully and expectant that those mercies include healing for the day. Sometimes I feel discouraged that the mercies for the day don't include healing. (I hope I am not alone on this!!) 

But over the last couple of months as I have cried till I have no more tears I have returned to the verse that brought me so much peace this summer: 

"Lord, YOU have assigned me my portion and my cup, and have made my lot secure." 

The Lord has assigned me my portion and my cup. 

I have also been thinking about Mary (Jesus' mothers) last words recorded in scripture. She said: "Do whatever He tells you". What an amazing thing to say. In these simple 5 words we hear trust, belief, but also acceptance

And y'all I am learning once again that acceptance changes everything. Absolutely everything. It changes the way that we view our circumstances, our lives, and the way that we approach everyday. Acceptance in a circumstance is defeat, but acceptance in Christ is victory. Acceptance not of an illness or chronic pain but acceptance in who God is and His strength and mercy for each new day. 

And as I have worked through all of these things and the tides of changing emotions my faith has grown exponentially. I have cried tears of pain but also tears of joy. I have seen (despite the bad) the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. I can testify without a shadow of a doubt the truth that the Lord is close to the brokenhearted. I can share His love more freely as I have seen in new ways the Lord's abundant love for me. 

I have learned a whole new way to pray as I have stepped out and seen the ways that the Lord has answered time and time and time again. I have seen His mercy in the most difficult moments and His beautiful grace in the good moments. I have seen His incredible love through so many people including my family, my best friends, and strangers. I see His goodness in the miraculous and also in the ordinary moments of each life. I trust my little heart with an unknown future to a God who is known and makes Himself known everyday.

In this acceptance has come a greater peace with the Lord then I have ever found. As I have abandoned my plans, my dreams, my expectations and have exchanged them for knowing the Lord I have found a greater joy then I have ever thought possible. 

"Lord, here I hold within my trembling hand this will of mine, a think which seemth small. Only Thou, O Christ, canst understand how when I yield Thee this, I yield my all. It hath been wet with tears and stained with sighs, clenched in my grasp till beauty it hath none. Now from Thy footstool where it prostrate lies, the prayer ascendeth: Let Thy will be done."

Once again I can honestly say that His unfathomable love has become the greatest and most important thing in my life (even more than getting better) and with that has come a confidence in the fact that while I might feel useless, it is the Lord that has assigned me my cup and portion and I am content for His will to be done.

And I am learning, as I said this summer to once again delight in the ordinary. Because while the ordinary might seem useless or not as "exciting" or "useful to God" as I think, He has placed me right where I am and that is enough. 

The prayer below from Betty Scott Stam (a missionary who was a martyr for Christ) has become my the prayer of my life and heart:

"Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes, all my own desires and hopes, and accept Thy will for my life. I give myself, my life, my all utterly to Thee to be Thine forever.Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit. Use me as Thou wilt. Send me where Thou wilt. Work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost, now and forever."

As we take this day before us sweet friends I hope you will join me in making this the prayer of our hearts and let us pray for each other too. The days are long sometimes friend but take heart sweet friends, the Lord is near and whatever your "ordinary" is is important. 

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