The new year has found me standing precariously on the edge of the unknown. There is no way back. Wild emotions rage around me. Fear, pain, tears, and anger join the brewing storm as it threatens to engulf me. No matter what direction I look there are dark, ominous clouds. Even going forward promises to meet with strong wind, pounding rain and countless heartache.
Forward is the only option. Backwards just can't be done. I have tried. I have grown weary trying to retrace my steps. My heart has twisted in agony as I entertained the thoughts of what if I had gone a different path, what if I had not chosen this journey at all. I can't change what has happened. I can't change what will happen. I can only press on through the storm to find the one who waits for me at the end.
Truth is that he is not only waiting for me at the end. He is walking beside me, cheering me on. He is leading me through the treacherous path because he has walked this way before and has prepared the place where my feet will pass. And on those days when fear overwhelms, exhaustion sets in, and the tears are blinding He lifts me up into his strong arms and cradling me to his chest carries me on to the other side.
That is where I have spent the past three days. Clinging to the one who holds me close to his heart. In the arms of the only one who can shelter my bruised heart from the raging storm. Only here in his arms, resting my head on his shoulder like a trusting infant can I hear the truth he so gently whispers to my heart. Of course there have been numerous times in the past couple of days when I climbed out of the safety of those arms and felt the sting of the storm as it left me disillusioned and angry at my Lord. Lashing out at him in anger, screaming the painful lies that have held me in bondage- kept me from those loving arms.
What a gentle lover the Lord is. Able to see beyond the bitter words, he speaks into my broken, crushed heart and calls me to come. He holds me while I fight against him, holds me when I finally break, holds me while the tears fall. He holds me. In the end that is all that really matters. No matter the intensity of the storm, no matter the pain, no matter how many tears fall- none of it can stop the Savior from holding me.
I really don't know what this new year holds. New Years Eve brought a little glimpse of what might be in store. Jonathan's brain is just not working the way it should be. We will find out in a couple of days if the tumor has begun to grow or not. Regardless of the outcome, the reality is that his brain is just not going to get better. For the first time on New Year's Eve, a doctor gave me permission to choose what makes Jonathan happy and comfortable and not necessarily what will "fix" him. After a week of taking temps, documenting every weird symptom, I was encouraged to instead watch my child...is he happy, is he coloring and able to do what he likes?
Then stay home and let him be happy and comfortable. So after much prayer and thought, my focus is changing from fighting to keep Jon alive to fighting to give him a life fully lived.
This of course has brought on so many thoughts...
First, my desire is to make this year a new adventure. To live each day fully and intentionally. Jon may have years left with us...but living like today could be the last will not be something I will regret should he surprise us all. There are so many things to experience together as a family. So much to be learned and explored. I don't want to get caught up in the stupid things that distract us from what is most important.
That thought led me into another important thing that the Lord reminded me of on Friday as I scoured my old journals to be reminded of the ways the Lord has worked in my life. I was reminded that as we follow the Lord he may ask us to do things that don't make sense to others and that others may totally oppose what we are doing. We have to know fully what the Lord has spoken to us and not let go of that no matter what.
I found this in my journal from September 4, 1993 and it is an excerpt from a book written by perhaps my most favorite person of all time: Amy Carmichael (from the book or writing entitled " One Step at a Time" )
You and I maybe called again and again to walk right into our own "rivers". Whatever they may be- to wet our feet in them. We may be called to do what nobody understands except those to whom the word of guidance is given- and with it his promise too. But understand this: The word must come first and also his promise. You and I must be sure of what we are called to do with an inward conviction that absolutely nothing can shake. In my own case, again and again, I have had to wet my feet in the water... only God and those who have walked in that path know how hard that kind of faith life can be. But He does know. And when the people around us don't hear the words and and the voice that we have heard, and only say, " It thunders..." then he comes near and we know him as we never knew him before....If only the next step is clear, then the one thing to do it take it! Don't pledge your Lord or yourself to any steps beyond what you know. You don't see them yet.
There are somethings on my heart that don't make sense to others...even those closest to me. But I will choose to cling to what I know the Lord has spoken to my heart. A dear friend reminded me of this the other night. He spoke of putting up my shield of faith when those thoughts of doubt, guilt, condemnation come. I find it quite funny that the very next day after he said that I found an outline to a bible study I taught about the shield of faith.
Here is a glimpse into this study...
Roman Shields were 2 feet by 4 feet and a soldier could hide completely behind it. It was made of wood and then covered with cloth and leather. It was then dipped in water to extinguish fiery darts. ( Metaphorically, the word of God is the water that our hearts and minds are bathed in to distinguish the darts)
The shield protects us from fiery darts. Darts are often thrown when things are great and we are not relying on the Lord. Some of these darts are:
Fear- allowing it to linger causes it to spread and destroy out faith
Doubt- about God, questioning our faith, about other people and ourselves
Words- attacking our will, our mind, our heart, and our conscience
When properly used and in place- the shield will protect us from all darts.
This is my favorite part of the shield- they were designed to lock together with those shield's of other soldiers. Together the shields would create a barrier wall and great strength. Sometimes we are wounded in battle and forget to take shelter under the shield of faith. How great that the Lord has given us other people to stand beside us, lock their shields with us, and stay with us until we are able to stand again.
So I am choosing to hide behind my shield of faith, allowing it to distinguish the darts flying fiercely toward me right now.
I know this is a random collection of thoughts and if you are still reading I am quite impressed!!! I just didn't want to loose any of the memorial stones the Lord is giving me right now as this journey begins.