Sunday, February 22, 2009

He who promised is faithful

Here I am on another Sunday morning not at church. I have a hard time reconciling what I believe about God being in control of every aspect of my life and how much power Satan has to keep me away from the assembling of believers. Yesterday I thought things were pretty much back to normal. Dan and I were able to sneak out and have lunch together while my parents watched the girls. Delaney was finally feeling better, and I had promised to take her to the 3D movie, Coraline at 7pm. Going to the movies is a very special treat in and of itself but for a little girl who has a 7pm bedtime that rarely wavers it was a really big deal. As we set out at 6:15pm to head to the theater I could tell she was acting a little strange. 5 minutes into our 10 minute drive I asked her a question and didn't get an answer. "Delaney, are you awake back there?" I shouted. She answered quietly, "Yes, just wake me up when we get there." The pouring rain began to turn to snow and ice, and I could barely see. I told her how this costs a lot of money, and I really don't think we should go now if she is tired and can't enjoy it and reminded her how bad the roads could get in two hours while we were inside the theater. She insisted we must go. As we were sitting the light to turn into the parking lot she begins to cry, "Mom, I am going to throw up. I need air. I need to go home. Roll down my window." So, we made our way home without any throw up in the car, and I am thinking in my head, "God, I can't do it. I just can't do more illness. You know I need to go to church tomorrow. I NEED it!"

Here I am. Delaney is still under the weather. I missed church. I told my husband I needed to go to our room for an hour and finish my Bible study for this evening. I haven't been for almost a month, and I really need to get out of this house and be with people and be encouraged. As I opened my Bible to read the passage for this week I began to weep reading the words. Every single thing I was dealing with this week was addressed in the verses in Hebrews 10:19-25.

A Call to Persevere in Faith

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Wow. He is faithful. I can come with confidence through the blood of my Savior. My conscience should be clear and my life transformed by the washing of His blood and the changing work of the Holy Spirit. In John MacArthur's commentary of Hebrews he references Romans 5:10 and paraphrases it this way, "If His death could do so much to save me, what must His life be doing in the presence of God to keep me!"

As I studied each verse I became more peaceful. God was answering my doubt and fear and struggles of the week with His promises. The end of this passage was the best part. "Don't give up on church! You are right! You need this. Recommit yourself. Even when things are hard or impossible, your desire to be there is proof He is alive in you." Again John's words stuck, "The only place where we can remain steadfast until He returns is with His people." This is an area of my life where I have not fully obeyed Him. I am so thankful He has worked in my life to move me from believing that a personal relationship with Him was enough. He has healed many of my old wounds from past church experiences that Satan had used to deceive me into thinking I didn't need the body of Christ to grow and flourish. I have so much further to go. This month of isolation and discouragement is a loving prompt from my God that I need to be encouraged by other believers. I need fellowship.

Thank You for speaking directly to me through Your Word today. Thank You that You are a God who is faithful to keep every promise. Thank You for making a way through Your Son for me to approach You boldly and crawl into Your loving arms with a clean conscience and be at peace.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Keep Saving Me

It's been forever since I have sat down to write. There are many reasons for that, but I guess the biggest one is I often hesitate to put into words the really hard days because the gratitude is buried under physical pain and fatigue and a hurting heart. I haven't been to church in a month. I have probably been out of this house a total of 5 hours in the last month. I have been working more than I'd like and dealing with continued recovery from surgery and sick kids. All the normal life stuff that makes the days run into one another like an endless stream of gray. Believe me, I am still mining the drudgery and monotony and the ordinary for blessings, but I am afraid if I stop I might not be able to start again. So, the gifts are like spots of color, out of focus because of my frenetic need to keep moving and doing and working.

Of course, the most beautiful and vibrant gift, my salvation, also becomes distorted when I operate this way. Satan attacks me and tells me the lack of joy I feel and my waning desire for the Word and prayer is because God is letting me go. He knew it wouldn't last. I could never fight the good fight or finish the race. He tells me to let the gray turn to black and just give up.

On Wednesday morning I was just about ready to lose my mind. Dan was working 3-11 that day and Delaney was home sick so I told Dan I was going out to clear my head and get a cup of coffee. When I got in the car the song, "Savior Please, Keep Saving Me", sung by Josh Wilson came on the radio. Here's the thing. When I first heard this song I was a little bothered by it. I have always been taught you can't lose your salvation and somehow the main line from this song irritated me. For the first time I listened to the words and through tears I breathed this prayer,

Savior, please take my hand
I work so hard, I live so fast
This life begins, and then it ends
And I do the best that I can, but I don't know how long I'll last

I try to be so tough
But I'm just not strong enough
I can't do this alone, God I need You to hold on to me
I try to be good enough
But I'm nothing without Your love
Savior, please keep saving me

Savior, please help me stand
I fall so hard, I fade so fast
Will You begin right where I end
And be the God of all I am because You're all I have

Everything You are to me
Is everything I'll ever need
And I am learning to believe
That I don't have to prove a thing
'Cause You're the one who's saving me

My Savior is the author and FINISHER of my faith. He sits at the right hand of God and intercedes for me. He was tempted in all ways as I am but without sin. He began a good work and will be faithful to complete it.

Thank you for continuing to save me. Thank you for the light of Your love ever peeking through the clouds of the life reminding me to lay aside every weight, hold fast and endure, always celebrating so great a salvation.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I carry your heart

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
not fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

e.e. cummings

Thank you for the privilege and great blessing of carrying my Dan's heart for these eight years of marriage. Please, God, keep the tree of our love growing deeper and higher and may we never lose the wonder of this gift.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Puddle of sunshine

Almost nothing makes me happier than sitting in a puddle of sunshine. I am solar powered, and I need the light to be okay. If you could see my home you would see my chair (momma bear's chair) sitting by my bookcase and kitty cornered to a big old door with 15 panes of light reflecting glass, ceiling to floor, that create the warmest spot on even the coldest Ohio day as long as the sun is shining. This morning I am sitting here, and I have a million things I want to write about since my surgery and solitude, but I can't help but whisper a "thank you" for this warmth and light right now.

"I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." John 8:12