Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The nagging Question in my mind

There is a haunting question that constantly rattles around in my head. It's not a small thing that just pops up every so often. At times it can become an obsession to me. It is a somber melody that plays at the back of everything I do. It plays when I rise in the morning and pray. It sweeps into my days as I live and attempt to give thanks to God each day. It plays when I meditate on His goodness and all that He has done for me and given me. It become a roar as I read about struggle and lack and hardship for others all over the world.

Job 1:9-11

9Then Satan answered the LORD and said, "Does Job fear God for no reason? 10Have you not put(A) a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have(B) blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11But(C) stretch out your hand and(D) touch all that he has, and he will(E) curse you(F) to your face."

This passage is always at the back of my mind. It is not b/c I am afraid that God will give me Job's treatment. It isn't a question of justice or God's right to do such. It isn't even about understanding why.

It is this thought. Do I love and serve God because He has blessed me beyond measure? Do I delight in His will and grace because in my life His will is easy and His grace is pleasant?

You see I am sooooooo blessed. He has given me so much. He took that broken, hateful, confused, lost little punk girl off the streets and over the last 19 years has dramatically changed me. He has healed me of more than I will ever even really comprehend. And far more than most of the people I know can begin to grasp. He has untangled layer upon layer upon layer of lies, confusion, programming, fears, insecurity, self loathing, anger, hopelessness, abuse, addiction. I could go on for the rest of the year and not run out of things that He has lovingly stripped me of and removed. He has taken a high school drop out and given her a degree, several professional licenses and the opportunity to now become a nurse. He took the fatherless, extended family-less girl who felt like an orphan and given her an amazing family with her in-laws who who loves and accepts the small broken family that she has. He gave me the love of the most amazing husband ever created. He is kind, gentle, faithful, patient, committed, calm in the storm, and ever devoted to our family. He took a broken womb which should have never been able to conceive and brought forth 3 beautiful, amazing children. He has healed me so that I could mother them without continuing the cycle of abuse. I have a house, a job, food, clothes. I can read, and go to school and even be given money from the government so I can attend school. I have never had to hold a child who is starving to death and wonder how I was going to feed it. I don't have AIDS, hepatitis, TB or any of the other diseases that my drug addiction would very well have given me. Nor do I have a child who is sick because I gave them one of those diseases. We have two cars, 3 sewing machines, 2 refrigerators, a microwave, an expensive bike, a stove to cook on, heat, hot running water, AC in the summer, I have legs, eyes, ears, lungs that work, a heart that beats, a brain that sends nerve signals down my spinal cord to all my extremities. God made me creative and intelligent, driven and passionate.

I think I have made my point. I am no where near finished. I could keep going on and on and on. But I think everyone gets it.

He has been so good to me. I am blessed beyond measure and every day the blessings are multiplied. Every day He makes me more like Himself. Everyday, He faithfully meets me in my bathtub, listens to my prayers, and speaks life, hope, and unspeakable delight and joy into my heart. How could I not rejoice in His will and grace? What choice do I have but to be overwhelmed and brought to me knees before His grace and glory. He loves me, protects me and fills me with Himself. I contain all the riches of heaven. He is everything I need and more than enough. He is my greatest good, my highest joy.

So back to my question. Do I love Him because of His goodness, blessing and protection? What if everything I love was removed? What if life became harder for me? What if His grace became a hard grace as opposed to this beautiful grace I know that is blessing beyond all measure? Would I still love Him? Would I still serve Him with all of my being? Would I still trust and delight in His will no matter what it looks like?

Or is the grace I know cheap grace? Grace is so easy to believe in and delight in when it is what you want and how you want and free of tests and trials. What if grace suddenly became hard grace for me? Would I still be hopelessly in love with Him? Would I continue to rejoice in Him and attempt to shun evil? or, if the hedge was taken away and I lost it all, would I curse God to His face?

This is the haunting question always at the back of my mind. It is a melody that ebbs and flows and moves through me.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Back in the saddle again

It's been about six months since I wrote on my blog. It has been such a busy and crazy few months. I would like to start writing again and record this journey toward the goal God has put in my heart. Then as I go to school to be a nurse practitioner and eventually work to provide medical care for the desperately poor in Ethiopia, this blog can serve as a place to deposit the lessons, thoughts, and hopes along to way.

In an effort to try and keep myself on track writing I am committing to myself to write at least one day a week, and to keep myself from saying I am too busy I will commit to set a timer for an hour one day a week and write then post what I wrote. If I have other time to post then I can be free to post more, but this way at least one day a week I am committed to write and not use the excuse that I don't have time. I can set aside at least an hour and guard that time as time that I have committed to share the journey.

For today, here is what has been rattling around in my heart. It has been such a hard month for me due to overburdening myself with commitment. Working at Starbucks, Six Flags, and going to school have been more than I really thought it would be. Going back to school has not been easy on me. There have been times I have thought to myself, "what am I doing?" The work hasn't been too bad; school comes pretty easy for me. Statistics has been pretty challenging, but again not too bad. What has been hard for me is losing free time to do the things I love. I miss reading. I have traded reading books that shape my soul and make me more like Jesus for books on Biology and Statistics. Now, don't get me wrong, I love Biology and enjoy learning about it tremendously. I just miss being able to read other books. I miss having time to sit and journal my thoughts and meditate on the Word listening to what the Lord would say to me with no real pressure to hurry and cut it short; just enjoying the leisure of being with Him and my journal. I really miss being able to be creative; I miss sewing and painting and the process of seeing an expression come to life.

It seems like the pressure is always there that something needs to be done. Sometimes I would like to go back to just going to work at Starbucks and coming home to do whatever I felt like doing that day (cleaning, cooking, creating, etc.). Part of me thinks this is too hard; this a lot to undertake. Life was so much simpler when I wasn't in school trying to become a nurse. The thought of this pressure and limit on my time for the next 8 years makes me cringe somewhat. This is a long journey I am on; this is a pressured and challenging journey I am on. The rhythm of my life has changed dramatically.

I pray and ask God to help me be faithful and glorify Him while I am on this journey. I pray for His grace to carry me through. I pray for His help to understand and learn the concepts. I pray for Him to help me not get to focused on the end destination that I forget to make the most of the journey. I pray and ask Him are you sure that this is what you want me to do? Why not just go to Ethiopia and love the orphans now? Why are you asking me to do this long process before I get to go? You see I have no problem leaving everything I have here, moving my family and serving Him by serving them. I would pack up tomorrow if He would say, "Go now." The problem is that He has asked me to do this other thing first. He has asked me to give up my free time and become a nurse, so I can do more than just love on them. He has asked a little more of me. He wants me on His terms, His way, not mine.

So as I have struggled and basically tread water for the last month, wondering what in the world possessed me to say yes, He sent me a reminder as to why.

I woke up early last Sunday morning before time to get ready for the day at Six Flags and decided to peruse the blogs I follow (another area that has suffered at the hands of school; I have not been able to keep up with the blogs I normally read faithfully- there are quite a few.). I came across this one and God reminded me why He asked me to do this. He helped me remember what this was all about. If I was just trying to get a new career so I could make more money and we could live more comfortably, I don't think I would be able to keep going. I think it would be easy to just stick to the status quo. The way life was before He asked me to be a nurse and I said yes, was so much easier and so much less complicated. Because, however, this is not about a new job and more money, giving up is not so easy and not really an option. Because my Father gave me a brain that learns so easy and a drive that helps me go places that others might not want to push themselves to go and ordained for me to live in a country where school is an overabundant option, He in turn asks me to take all those privileges and gifts and use them to obey Him and say yes. He sent me this blog to break my heart yet again and remind me that I am on this journey b/c there are children and mothers who desperately need for me to say yes and finish this part of the journey so I can give them medical so they can live, have health and become what He has called them to become. That is the part of this beautiful tapestry of the Kingdom of God that He has asked me play. Read the post below and maybe you can see where I am going and why; and maybe, just maybe, He will use it to ask you to play a part in this beautiful tapestry. Your part may well be difficult too, but the rewards He is offering far outweigh the cost.Link