Tuesday, October 22, 2013

To you my future is a memory

I have been really bad about writing on this; sorry about that. Lots of personal stuff going on that is taking precedence (as it should).

But I wanted to write about something God is showing me. Something I probably won’t be able to explain.

It comes in the form of, surprise, lyrics:

“When I’m lost in the mystery, to you my future is a memory.”

It is from the song “Already There,” by Casting Crowns.

Now, I am not a big Casting Crowns fan – nothing against them; they’re just not my style – and so I often change the station when a song of theirs comes on. But one day a little while back, that song was on, and for whatever reason, I didn’t flip from it.

And I actually heard that line, for the first time.

I will start by saying this: I have tattoo plans. ;) ;)

God has promised me many things. It is easy to believe them when I am focusing on him, looking at him, seeking him. When I am trusting him, truth is clear, and the lies are ridiculously silly. When I glance away – look at the waves, the darkness, the mountains – I start questioning, wondering if I heard him correctly. I start falling to the lies that start with the whisper, “Did God really say?”

I know that God is the beginning and the end, that he exists outside of time, that time is his creation.

The promises he has given me, he hasn’t promised those in the human way. Human promises, truly, are subject to change. No matter how deeply a human wants to keep a promise, no matter how sincere they are when they give it, humans are fallible.

But God is infallible. Perfect. Incapable of lying, for he doesn’t simply tell the truth, he IS truth.

When God tells me that he is going to restore us, that he is going to heal us, that he is going to create a garden from ruins, he is not merely giving me a hopeful prediction for the future, he is not merely telling me his proposed plan (a plan which may change).

He is telling me what he sees.

He is standing at the end of my earthly life, looking back on it, and giving me a few glimpses of what he sees. What he KNOWS will happen. What he – from where he is – has already brought about.

He is telling me pieces of my future because to him, my future is the past. It is a memory. It has already happened.

Does that make sense? Even remotely?

It’s like, God knows the end of the story (because he wrote it), while I am just starting it. And I am struggling with it, with what is going on in it, with where things look like they are going. I’m not sure I want to turn the page, not sure how I can continue reading the story, because there isn’t much hope here, and I don’t want to read a tragedy. I want something redemptive.

And he is giving me hints of what is to come, promising that I’ll like where it goes, that it will be beautiful. No spoilers, because he isn’t saying HOW, but he is essentially telling me, “Hey, R, it is a happy ending; I can promise you that. It might look dark and hopeless now, might be full of pain right now, but let me tell you, it is a beautiful tale of redemption. The ending isn’t the only thing that’s good – there is a ton of joy along the way. It gets so much better; you can’t even imagine where it goes and what happens. All of the stuff right now – it’s just making it a better story, with a better journey, and a better ending. So buckle your seatbelt and keep reading.”

Friday, October 4, 2013

Heart on your heart and my eyes on yours

My world collapsed on Sunday.

In an instant, everything changed.
In an instant, everything broke.
Or, rather, revealed the brokenness that was already there and has been there.

There is so much I want to say, but I cannot yet go into detail. I apologize to the curious ones (I’m sure there are some of you; it can’t just be me!).

I have been asking God to move for a while now. I don’t know exactly how long. A few years.

And he has promised that he will come, and won’t delay. That he will break open the skies to save us. That he is strong enough, that his grace is more than enough, that his plan will stand and he will do all that he pleases.

And for most of that time, he has told me to do one overarching thing: “Wait. Be still. Trust me, and love him. JUST. WAIT.” (That is one; it all goes together.)

I am resisting the temptation to say that had I not waited, had I not been still and silent, things could have been avoided. Resisting the temptation to feel how I felt before – that I misunderstood God, that I got off course somehow, or, worse, that he lied to me, deceived me, promised something and then changed his mind.

No. That is what Satan would love me to do – torment myself with the “what if’s?”

There is no life, or freedom, or hope there. It doesn’t matter what would have happened if I – or others – had done something differently, because we didn’t.

And that is not the point.
I am not sure what the point of this is.
I’m not even sure if I will post this – though, if you are reading this, then clearly I decided to.

The point, I suppose, is that I have been broken.
And more to the point, my husband has been broken.

And this breaking has opened up doors that have long been shut (and moreover, locked). It has opened up hearts that have been so hurt and so encaged. It has forced us to open our eyes. It has forced us to start bridging the divide that we allowed to creep in between us. It has forced us to examine ourselves honestly, forced us to come face-to-face with our own fallen-ness. It has forced us to seek God, to lean on him; to throw ourselves upon him, continually and increasingly.

It has forced me to open up my Bible and read it for hours.
It has forced me to trust God in ways I have never had to trust him before.

It is forcing me to surrender utterly and continually to his will.

Because I really have nothing else.
And I can do nothing else.
At this point, there is no option but surrender.

And in this, I see that this is what needed to happen.
God is answering my prayers, and he is moving – not as I thought, not as I wanted.

But this is not our story.
This is his story of us.

Yes, in many ways, I wish I could go back – not to last Saturday, but to years ago. Back to the beginning. Before we started slipping into “ordinary,” back when I thought we were “extraordinary” and always would be because we were just that special, we were just that different. (Oh, how I drip with pride. Yuck.)

But God, truly, has been so sweet, so consistent. On Sunday night, as I wept openly before him in the glorious darkness (such a country girl, I am), as I listened to music and sobbed as my phone shuffled to the songs I needed to hear and to sing, he gave me shooting stars. (Which has been the sign for several years now that he hears me, that he sees me.) The most I have ever seen on a given night is, I believe, four.

But this time, he gave me seven.

Seven – partly because I, in my anal-ness and obsession with numbers, asked for seven. (Yes, God loves me enough to both understand, and indulge, my weirdness. He’s a keeper! ;) )

And seven, I believe, as a promise of his hand in everything. (You can read about the meaning of the number seven in the Bible here.)

And then, as I finally headed toward the “hotel,” my phone shuffled to the song that is the cry of my heart, the song that has been the cry of my heart.

I do not want to go back.
I do not wish for things to be as they have been.

I want transformation.
I want restoration.
I want full redemption.
I want healing.
A new focus, a new purpose, a new everything.

And I believe – truly, truly believe – that this is the birth of that newness. This is the dark before the morning, the hurt before the healing. The storm that will yield the explosion of life. We will look back on this and see the fingerprints of God all over it, redeeming our choices, restoring our love, and transforming everything.

And using it, inexplicably, overwhelmingly for his glory, his renown, his joy.

Nothing is over.
For there is still life for us.
There is still beauty for us.
There is still hope for us.
And there is still so much joy ahead – and the pain we are feeling now will not even be able to compare to it.

The best IS yet to come.

Because God is for us.
And he is making all things new.
And nothing – NOTHING – will be wasted.

From the deepest wounds will come the truest healing.
From the darkest night will come the most glorious dawn.

And from the long-devastated ruins will spring a garden.

I’ve seen it in my head.

Now, now we will live it.