Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Great Awakening

I had a friend in college named Marc.  I remember that during my Junior year Marc read The Grace Awakening, by Charles Swindoll and he raved about it.  It had a profound impact on his life at the time and he was of the mind that everyone should read it.  I tried to – I really did – but it bored the socks off of me.  I just couldn’t see how he got past the third page without losing interest. 

Several years later I picked the book up again and was captured by it.  My heart was ready to soak up the Truths found there.  Key phrase: “heart was ready”.  Do you ever experience this? Your mind knows you need something but you find that you aren’t ready to hear the message? Your mind might acknowledge that the words are meaningful but your heart is hard and you may not even know it.

I am living this all over again right now.  It’s been 8 years and just under four months since our ectopic pregnancy.  Our baby would have been 8 this July – wow.  I didn’t realize just how mad I was about this for so long. 

It has been 6 years and four weeks since we found out Little is missing a part of her brain.  Six years and one month since we heard that our dreams were shattered and His plan was not ours.  I knew that scripture teaches His ways are higher than our ways, but my heart was NOT ready to hear it.

It has been three years since our Bubs was diagnosed as being on the Autism Spectrum.  No matter how many times I read Proverbs 139:14 and claim that the Lord knit Bubba together in my womb, I have been unable to wholeheartedly believe that His plans are to prosper us and to give us a hope and a future (Jer. 29:11).

I wonder if my heart would have been softer sooner if it just hadn’t kept coming?  A new sadness every 2-3 years is a lot to take in such a short time.  Over all these years people have tried to be kind and attempted to encourage me but my heart would not have it.  It wasn’t a purposeful rebellion.  Truly, there was no animosity for the folks who put themselves out there to be true friends and the family of God.  There was just a mental roll of my eyes and a flatness in my heart as it drowned in disappointment, doubt, and disillusionment.

As of late I feel as though the Lord has said, “Ready or not, here I come.”  The preaching we hear each Sunday is dripping with Truth of His love for us.  My heart is being transformed by the words I am hearing and the Holy Spirit is changing my heart.  I am seeing my need for my Savior in every moment and how my lack of faith and my sadness can only be dealt with in Him.  I am not sure what that is going to look like over time, but for now it means that my heart is stirred by my frailties, convicted by His undying love, and a hunger is beginning to creep into my soul.

How do I know things are changing?

A couple years ago a friend mentioned the book Disappointment With God by Phillip Yancey.  She has a daughter who is wheel chair bound, doesn’t speak, and needs constant care.  She said that this book really changed her life and set her on a road to healing.  You would think I would have run right out to get the book and devoured it promptly.  In reality I thought, “That book won’t help me.”  My heart wasn’t ready.  Two weeks ago I “accidentally” stumbled across it in our church library.  It was the last book on the bottom shelf in the far corner.  I checked it out and brought it home with the thought that I might be ready for the words written there.  After seven chapters I am seeing that my heart is open and more often than not I find myself saying, “Oh My Word! Yes!” instead of “Yeah, right.”

About the same time I heard Laura Story’s song “Blessings”.  I was speechless and tearful as I heard her sing, “What if your blessings come in raindrops? What if the trials of this life are your mercies in disguise?”  SERIOUSLY??? If I had heard that song two years ago, I would have turned it off with a “that’s nice” and spent the next ten minutes feeling sorry for myself.  Thoughts like, “Raindrops? What about thunder storms? Blessings can’t be found in hail!” Instead the song touches my heart and causes my eyes to look upward at Him.  My heart is ready.

The real wake up call for me to realize that God is at work in my heart and changes are being made came last week in church.  Our pastor preached on the passage in Matthew that deals with the Canaananite woman whose daughter was possessed.  She comes out and begs Jesus to show mercy.  The entire service was wonderful but the sermon was super.  Mark said things that were hard to hear but the evidence of change was that my response was, “Yes!” instead of “But. . .but . . .but.”  My heart is ready for. . . .what?

Ultimately, I don’t know what the Lord is about doing in my heart right now.  I can say that I am open to certain Truths that I haven’t been open to for some time.  I pray that His truth will penetrate this heart of mine and turn it soft and that He will use me to be a source of encouragement to others who are ready and a presence and listener for those who are disappointed, doubting, depressed, and just darn tired.  I pray He will work in me and change me so that I can say and believe that His ways are higher than my ways and His ways are not to harm me but to give me a hope and a future.  And not just me, but the family He’s given me.

Blessings - by Laura Story

"We pray for blessings; we pray for peace.
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom; Your voice to hear 
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near 
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love 
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough 
All the while, You hear each desperate plea 
And long that we'd have faith to believe 

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not our home

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise?"


lauren said...

thank you for sharing that, becky. very beautiful and very encouraging.

amy said...

you need to go and get the song "beautiful things" by gungor. it is 99¢ on itunes. totally describes what God is doing in you right now. love you! (or, you could just go to my fb and watch the last video i posted about japan. the song is on there)

Allison said...

So very encouraged! Thank you for being real and sharing your heart and hurts. Makes me want to continue pressing in and hold tight to Him through my disappointments as well. I have to tell myself a lot- "this IS His BEST for me- His perfect plan for me." and though my head knows it my heart is much slower to believe it!

Marcie said...

I'm so thankful for the work He is doing in you, friend. Thank you for sharing it.

Beth said...

This is wonderful. HE is wonderful. Thank you for being so candid! This lesson of His "harsh mercies" as I call them, is one I have to learn and relearn...a hard one, but SO much peace...peace in believing that ALL that comes from His Hand is good...Thanks for writing this. I found you through Christian's blog.