Friday, March 3, 2017

Each Day He Carries Us

April 12, 2012 Unpublished

I haven't blogged about this, but I have been feeling Jesus close and comforting these last few days. I am aware of how closely and lovingly I am bound up in Him and with Him. I feel this at night and I feel this in the morning and I feel it when I walk and when I write and when I call out to Him.

Yesterday, I walked and I felt myself to be strange, such a strange mix of naiveté and wounds, innocence and insight. I seemed strange to me, oddly broken, an odd mix of childlike nature and wisdom.

I don't know why this struck me as bad, but at the time, it did. It was like I felt unnatural. Anyway, I was feeling this, and I reached out to Jesus, and He was there. He was there, and He drew me into His embrace of comfort and love and Jesus said, strongly, I created you. He said it with clarity and authority.

It was particularly clear to me that I was not audibly hearing His voice, because I was hearing, instead, Oh Thou who preaches good tidings to Jerusalem, get thee up into the high places," and "Behold, your God."

April 13, 2012

Last night, Keith and I processed a lot of our emotions around the adoption. There are a lot of emotions that come up!

It was difficult to work through them. We had to process again our grief at not getting pregnant, and question again our decision not to further pursue infertility treatments.

We wondered- should we have continued? Will we regret it that we didn't try clomid again, and then again, and maybe artificial insemination? Should we put the adoption aside and try some infertility treatments? Did we give up on having biological children too soon?

These are excruciating questions. However, the result of our conversation was a recognition that this is the right way forward.

"This is something I don't think anyone can ever be completely ready for," my husband reminded me. So true.

But however one is becoming a parent, one is never completely ready. We just have to take a deep breath and jump in and trust.

We both have an authentic desire to adopt, which is apart from the complex questions about infertility treatments. That is, even if we had conceived, we still would have wanted to adopt.

Then, this was my verse this morning:

"Father to the fatherless, defender of widows- this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families; He sets the prisoners free and gives them joy... Praise the Lord; praise God our Savior! For each day He carries us in His arms."
-Psalm 68:5-6, 19 NLT

Is that not astonishing?

Hopefully, today the home study office will call and let us know if we were accepted into their program.

April 15, 2012 Unpublished

We didn't hear from the agency yesterday, so maybe we'll hear on Monday.

I read this verse recently and it struck me:

“Not to us, O Lord, but to You goes all the glory for Your unfailing love and faithfulness.” (Psalm 115:1 NLT)

The glory would indeed go to us, if we could earn or keep that love and faithfulness by our beliefs and actions. But I don’t think that’s how it works.

The way I understand God now, He won’t share His glory with another. There is no other Savior, there is no other Rock. He alone saves, and He laid down His life for all.

He brings life- He began and He will finish, and everyone’s mouths will be stopped, because what can you say to the unstoppable force of Love, your Creator, Redeemer, Lover- your God? What can you say to the One who brought you into being because He desired you?

Not much, that’s what. I usually end up throwing myself down at His feet in worship and adoration.

April 15, 2012 Unpublished

I never say everything I want to say when I blog.

When I recognize God, it is not a new recognition. I understand and know Jesus as the wellspring of myself, the Source of who I am. I know Jesus because I can't know myself apart from Him. Apart from Him, I don't exist.

Frequently, I worship God simply because I exist- simply because I get to be one part of this vast, gorgeous tapestry of life. Furthermore, the deeper I go with God, the more clearly I see the uniqueness and mystery and reality of everyone else. It astonishes me- the reality of other people.

I never experience this so deeply as I do when walking. I see God all around me. I feel as though I am walking in the center of life, that life spreads out from around me, not because of who I am, but because of Who is with me.

Everything that I see glorifies God, is God-breathed, and shimmers with His life and His creativity and His love. I know myself to be caught up in God, breathed through by God, delighted in by God- because He created me. I'm one expression of Himself, of what pleases Him.

And so is everything all around me. Everything all around me is lifting up their voice in praise and love to their Creator.

April 17, 2012

Still haven't heard from the adoption agency.

This is not a good sign. It means either that the adoption agency vastly underestimates the time they take to process any paperwork, or that we are not a viable candidate for adoption, and they can tell that simply from our application.

Maybe my application got lost in the mail. Maybe it needed two stamps, and I'll find it today in our mailbox, unopened and sternly marked by the local post office.

Okay, I just called them and everything is fine. We are in the program and setting up a time for our first meeting.

She recommended beginning the process with the placement agency at the same time- that is, right now.

I was considering simply doing one thing at a time; finalizing the homestudy, and then beginning with the placement agency, but I guess we'd better do both. Oh boy.

Last night I was reading in Job, Ecclesiastes and Proverbs. I always want to see God, and so I am often rifling through the Scriptures, looking for little glimpses and I got caught up in that particular section.

I ended up frightened and confused. I couldn't tell what it was talking about, half the time. In desperation, I flipped to the first chapter of John, and immediately the poetry of those lines were like waves on a beach, waves of deep, inexplicable peace:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

And then, I got to the part where John the Baptist stands there, in the crowd and he sees Jesus, and he cries out:

"Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"

Because of my previous reading, I heard that cry in a way I had not before, and worship and adoration just washed through me, beyond words.

After all I had read in the Old Testament, it was as though I saw Jesus, and knew Him all over again, only deeper, and with a profound sense of recognition and wonder and adoration.

So come to think of it, I guess I did get a glimpse of Him after all.


(This blog is the last one in my original journal collection. I stopped here, thinking that the main work of God in my life had concluded. I continued to write blogs, many of which remained unposted, but I did not begin writing in a journal again until December of that year. Between this post and that time, there were almost nine months where my spirit was resting and trying to absorb everything that had happened, and where I learned a great deal of difficult wilderness lessons. It was these blog posts in particular that made it difficult for me to obey Jesus when He told me to go back and publish the whole story of His work in my life. I did not want to be so humbled. The sharp contrasts between my backstory and my current testimony will only increase, but I will continue to share them as He directs.)

April 21, 2012

I had an accident yesterday, while running around the pool like a maniac trying to tackle my fun loving husband who had just pushed me in the water.

It turns out that those signs that sternly warn of running at a pool know of what they speak.

Oh, but it was glorious fun a short while. I was running like the wind, I was running as if I were ten years old again. I leaped nimbly in and out of the garden bed and swiftly rounded corners, ever gaining on my goal.

And then, out of nowhere, a blur of black Labrador- Abby, coming to Keith's rescue, or simply caught up in the excitement of it all.

She brushed by me mid-stride. I wobbled, I thought with relief, "Hey! I caught my balance. I'm not going to fall after all!"

And then the concrete was in my face and I was sliding along on my stomach at a frightening clip, arms outstretched.

Everyone was horrified. I was embarrassed, thinking, "Why can't I ever act my age?"

But I wasn't really shaken until I saw Keith's ashen face.

"I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry, Sweetie," he murmured. He attempted, gingery, to put his arms around my wet, bleeding and dazed self.

Eventually, I looked down and noticed that my hands were filling up with blood. I limped into the kitchen and tried to wash the blood off.

Layers of my skin had been peeled off and bunched up near the bottom of my hands. My left knee was swelling up and the skin had been scraped off the side of my left foot.

Keith took over emergency operations, both his training and his character came out in full force. There was no stopping him. He poured peroxide on everything, liberally applied band aids and then, for good measure, wrapped endless layers of ace bandages over my hands and loose socks over my feet.

This was difficult for me to let him do. Usually, I become like a wounded bear when injured. But yesterday, I was oddly docile and let him go to town. Partly because the poor guy felt so guilty, though it wasn't his fault.

I took off the bandages this morning; some of it had stuck to bits of the open wound that hadn't been covered by the extra-large band aid. Getting that off was not fun.

Last night, I was thinking about Mary Magdalene running to the disciples and declaring passionately that she had seen Jesus, that He was alive.

I thought about how that might have gone over, how John might have come up and put his arm around her shoulders, because:

"But these reports seemed to the men an idle tale ([c]madness, [d]feigned things, [e]nonsense), and they did not believe the women." (Luke 24:11, Amplified)

"Mary, Mary," John might have said. "Poor girl. I know it's so hard, we all loved Him. We all want Him to be alive. But you have to be reasonable. He's gone."

And Peter might have added, "Are you sure you weren't just imagining things? It was probably someone who just looked like Him. I thought I saw Him yesterday, in the crowd near the Temple."

It would have been easy to discount Mary's story. After all, she was a woman, she was clearly emotional, and everyone knew her history.

Then, when the two disciples who had met Jesus on the road shared their story, they would have met the same reasoning- because it is so reasonable to think that way. In fact, some of the Twelve might have even gotten angry at that point.

"He died!" maybe Thomas declared with angry grief. "He's gone! Wishing that He's here won't make it less real! You didn't even recognize Him half the time you were with Him. Your story makes no sense. Clearly, you just want Him to be still alive, so your mind is making things up. But it's over. It's finished. They even took His body away from us.

"Now we have to start over!" maybe Thomas would have continued. "We have to carry on His legacy as best we can, but no one will listen to us if we go around talking like crazy people. We have to come to terms with what is real."

I was thinking about these things, and I remembered what Jesus said to them, when He finally appeared to them:

"Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”

And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:27-29)

Or, to put it another way:

"Since God in His wisdom saw to it that the world would never know Him through human wisdom, He has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.

"But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength." (I Corinthians 1:21-25, NLT)

April 22, 2012 Unpublished

I woke up this morning and automatically braced to "meet with God" to get myself in order, as it were.

Then I remembered that was simply not necessary and the tension melted away and as it did, I felt Jesus presence, loving and close.

"Hello," I said to Him, with delight.

April 24, 2012

You know you're a writer when you're leaving blood smears on the keyboard, but go on typing anyway. I just cannot process my life the way I need to if I can't process it with the written word. Today I'm not bleeding on the keyboard because I'm sporting the very latest in band aid technology.

I woke up today feeling melancholy. Probably because I still can't take a shower or go for a walk, or wash dishes or lift heavy things.

Last night, Keith said, "Honey, I didn't realize just how much you do. You keep me going- you are the fly wheel to the big wheel."

That's what sweet talk sounds like from a Tank Commander from Indiana. It just so happens that the fly wheel on his ATV is currently broken. Without that little gear, the rest of the engine doesn't start.

After more then six months of blogging about my personal experience of God, my perspective on it has changed. I'm still processing this change.

At the beginning, the wonder of it just swept me off my feet. I wanted to hold on to the experience itself- every day, every moment.

However, over time, I began to understand, in a way which is beyond words, that God is deeper, more vibrant, more real, more present than I could ever possibly know or understand through even those personal experiences of Him.

In Him, we live and move and have our being. This truth transcends any momentary experience of His presence or His love; it's the unchanging context for how we experience Him in the moment.

Yesterday, as I was walking through the kitchen, I saw a pattern of morning light against the wall, and through the window, the wash of light and green leaves outside.

This sight filled me with joy, and in the next breath, my joy deepened, or expanded into the understanding that Jesus was there, that in His light do we see light, and that He is the source of all joy. His life is the light of men, and that light shines out, always.

There are no words for the tenderness of His love for us. It surrounds us and upholds us all the time.

There is so much mystery and beauty in life, and Jesus Himself- the Living Word of God, our Creator and our Beloved, is at the heart of it.

"I will honor You as long as I live,
Lifting up my hands to You in prayer.
You satisfy me more than the richest of foods.
I will praise You with songs of joy."
-Psalm 63:4-5, NLT