Now, for those of you keeping track... which is just me since this blog hasn't been advertised to friends yet, it's been too long since I posted anything.
I started this blog as a way to journal through my journey of spiritual awakening and abiding with God. Trust me, my blog doesn't show it, but it's been quite the journey.
In my last post I mentioned a group of Godly women that, for the time being, I firmly believe I couldn’t live without. We have cried together, laughed together, ate our weight in chocolate chip cookies and brownies together, and most importantly, we have studied God’s word together. And I mean STUDIED. Like, letting God really speak to you, having your toes stepped on by the truth of His word kind of studying. It’s been awesome! (Thanks, Em, Alicia, and Frannie!)
Right now, we’re working our way through the book of Ruth through a Bible study written by Kelly Minter. The past week’s lessons have been directly written to me. Have you ever read the book of Ruth closely? I honestly hadn’t. I’ve also glossed over it as the sweet love story. But, wow, is it ever more than that! One of the touching things Kelly brings up in her book is the idea of weeping forward- weeping while you walk. Ruth lost her husband, was in a foreign land, following her mother-in-law- no doubt bawling her eyes out the entire way. But she NEVER stopped walking. So, this makes me think… am I weeping forward or sitting in the floor throwing a 2-year-old temper tantrum?
Over the past few months I have been moved to tears by a song that I have heard a million times. My favorite version is by Newsboys. Have you ever really listened to the words of “Blessed be your name”?
When the sun’s shining down on me, when the world’s all as it should be, Blessed be Your name.
On a road marked with suffering… though there’s pain in the offering. BLESSED BE YOUR NAME!
Hello? Huge stuff there! The music geek in me is terribly frustrated at this song. The tempo is too fast and upbeat for a song of such deep lyrics. In fact, I think we sing it so fast it’s easy to gloss over some of the toughest words we’ll ever say.
In my experience it’s easy to Bless His Name when the sun’s shining and the world is exactly as (I think) it should be… it’s exceptionally difficult when the road is marked with suffering and there’s pain in the offering. If you’ve followed my facebook page, you’ve seen numerous updates and links to the blog of the Sexton 3. Benson and Kristin are incredible people who are truly Blessing His Name on a road marked with suffering and pain. Yesterday Kristin posted something that brought me more inspiration than perhaps any other thing she’s written:
“So many of you tell me that you think I am strong - and I will be first to tell you, my strength is only from the Lord. My flesh is broken and weak. I am a mother without her baby to hold and I have quickly realized that there is no earthly strength that is strong enough to get me through this on my own. All I can do is praise God that He is the lifter of my head and that He is near to the brokenhearted during this time.”
If that’s not Blessing His Name when the sun isn’t shining, I don’t know what is. I long for that kind of strength… Another incredible godly woman who’s been inspiring me in more ways than she knows right now is my dear Aunt Lesli. A beautiful, courageous, Jesus-lovin’ woman, she is currently undergoing chemo after a mastectomy. This precious lady laid the very first stone on my path to salvation. She made me Bible flash cards and would tell Bible stories in a way that they can’t be read. She made the Bible come to life for me and created in me a desire to learn more about God’s word. Another example of weeping forward and Blessing His Name on a road of suffering, check out this excerpt from her latest journal on Caring Bridge:
“The outpouring of love and friendships I am making/have made through this whole ordeal has been nothing but Supernatural. EVERYONE knows SOMEONE and they connect us, there is an instant relationship. Funny, how the Lord works these things out! Folks I never would have never encountered, conversed with, physically hugged . . . it is just unreal. There are walls that come down in the process. Healing continues, even for those that are cancer-free for years (just ‘met’ one that is a 36-year survivor! You rock, Terri!). This precious Spirit of healing and love and sisterhood just flows from one tender soul to the other . . . . and goes on and on and on.
Isn't that how things should be? Isn't THAT what Jesus was talking about when he said, "Love thy neighbor as thyself"?
Not wanting cancer is natural. Not wanting to be unhealthy is sane, too. But, there IS something to this journey that I am clinging to. Something that God has taught me (and YET continues to teach me, see note at bottom for Isaiah 30: 18-21) that I never want to give back. I own this because HE gave it to me.”
Funny how God works these things out, she says. Weeping and walking, giving God all of the glory that is due Him. SOOO, why I am raving about these women of amazing God-given strength and perseverance. Is my season of life anything like theirs? Healing after the loss of your precious little boy, fighting breast cancer… no, it isn’t even close.
As I strive to draw ever nearer to the Author and Perfector of our Faith, I need the stories of these beautiful women to encourage me to keep pressing on. When I am overwhelmed with life; when mortgage payments, debt and work seem overwhelming; when the constant barrage of hits to my self-esteem is crippling-I must remind myself that, as Kristin says, the lifter of my head is near and, as Aunt Lesli would say, there is something in this journey that I must cling to because HE gave to me in order that I might share it with someone else.
Today, I pray that you would rejoice over small things in life. Pray for Kristin (www.lukesexton.blogspot) and my Aunt Lesli (www.caringbridge.org/visit/leslimoser). Find peace in the promise that, as Proverbs 16:1 says, “We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer.” These women would not have chosen the path they currently walk… how many of us would?... but they keep walking nonetheless, even as they weep. This control freak, Type A personality finds such comfort in knowing that God gives the right answer, that my plans arent the ones I have to follow (praise the LORD!) because His are so much better… sometimes the road is marking with suffering,but it's always more beautiful, scenic and lined with the greatest success.