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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Looking through the Rearview

Psalm 68: 5-7
5
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.
6 God sets the lonely in families,
he leads forth the prisoners with singing;
but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land. 7 When you went out before your people, O God,
when you marched through the wasteland,
Selah

Recently. I had the privilege to read Passport Through Darkness by Kimberly L. Smith. To tell you I was convicted would be an understatement. I felt almost as if the book were just pressing down on my heart and engaging my mind to things that I had no clue about. I felt pathetic and puny in my relationship to my reality colliding with the truth of Gods word. Sadly, as I evaluated my sacrifice for the Lord and my love for Him I would say that sometimes my talk didn't match my walk. The book is a must read for anyone with a pulse. Am I called to go to the Sudan and work in an orphanage...not necessarily. God has us each gifted in so many different ways and all of our callings are equally important. Yet I could not read it without assessing the sad state of my own soul. Am I wigging out in sin right now? No...but at times have I settled for what is mediocre...a resounding yes would beg to bellow up from the depths of my being. I have indeed been content with less than Gods best. There is a world out there starving for the truth and salvation of the gospel as well as basic human needs and here I am tonight opening the fridge 50 times hoping that the Lord would fill my refrigerator with a mirage of goodies because I have been to lazy to go to the store.
I am not trying to put anyone on a guilt trip this is a personal assessment of mine. I truly feel like our Western Civilization has spoiled us and we have deceived ourselves into thinking that we deserve all of the best that this world system (and a polluted world system at that) has to offer. We pity others and we pity ourselves so much so that we enable hosts of people to stay in their bondage when freedom beckons their name...yet they won't come because this life has dealt them a raw deal. After reading that book I realized that I really didn't grasp what it meant to show kindness to the poor and the widow of this world. Most of us in America are technically not poor. I am just saying. Some of us have no idea the atrocities that are out there in the midst of human life. There are real orphans out there that don't even have orphanages to go to. There are people that can't get a job because their civilization is so corrupt that they have no jobs available. I could go on. I will not be able to look at America in general under the same lens after digesting that book. Not to get into politics but when Morgan registered for kindergarten the first thing all of the kids received was a form to get free and reduced lunch. So many of our handouts are pure enabling yet I am not discounting the fact that there are people who are in true need. Please don't misunderstand. I know a family that had three kids who were abused mentally, emotionally, and physically. No child deserves that. Anyway, the three girls took three different paths. The first one decided to brush it all under the rug. This IS NOT biblical forgiveness...to pretend like nothing ever happened. This person seems like she always has a front up, she doesn't deal with real issues of the heart, and seems like the star at the masquerade ball. She misses the chance to testify to the grace of God in her life and the power of full redemption. The second person chose wild living and played the victim card. Nothing is her fault it is everyone else. This person lives their life feeling sorry for herself and trying to get others to feel sorry for her. She forfeits the grace that God gives when He says that we can be more than overcomers. The third person was extremely determined to deal with her junk and chose to see that what people in her life meant for harm God turned around for the good. She chose to testify to the truth that there is resurrection power in the life of the believer that He can bring what is dead back to life in the empty places of the human heart, soul, and mind. She chose to try to help others be free from the victim mentality and in choosing so, she chose to cling to Christ as the Author and Perfecter of her faith. The Lord became her Father, her husband, her friend that sticks closer than a brother.
All this is to say that I think we spend so much time looking at ourselves and focused on self and how we can work things out in our cracked pot of a life that we lose focus of our Lord Jesus. It is such a paradox but if we lose ourselves in Him by steadying our weak knees on the path of His word and fervently seek to obey it we find life and strangely we find healing. Instead of greed and giving to others only out of our abundance we can sacrifice and actually have joy from it.

I had to grow up extremely quick in my opinion. Our real dad was out of the picture by the time I was four or so. I remember being so contemplative as a child and also feeling the deep pangs in my heart over rejection experienced at such a young age. I was an extremely fearful child and I don't have a lot of great memories of my adolescence. I never really felt loved or cherished. I thank the Lord for that because it became a gift in the sense that the Lord allowed it to turn into a desperation for Him, my one true love...the Lover of my soul. I felt very ugly as a child, I was ashamed of my clothes, my hair, and the things I felt that I didn't have. I wanted to be popular, a cheerleader, have boys like me, and be all of the things that popular kids were. But I was just a dork really that never fit in much anywhere. As misfit you could say. Friendship was so important to me. I will never forget my best friend in the 5th grade. We spent all kinds of time together. I mostly went to her house and we would stay up and giggle and play games until late in the night. I loved her with a friendship kind of love but I am sure I cared more about the friendship than she did. As time went on she changed B.F.F's and I didn't get invited over much and slowly the friendship faded out. I remember sitting at lunch by myself with a tight lump in my throat because I had lost my best friend. At that point I began building walls of protection in hopes of not getting hurt like that again. Rejection is an ugly beast isn't it? Something about it just sends us into a tailspin emotionally speaking. This wasn't the last time this would happen either. I hated my insecurities and I sure didn't have much of a foundation with the Lord at that time to help me get through my hurts. I really didn't know how to articulate them myself. Yet now as if I am almost looking through a rear-view mirror over the shoulder of my past, I see where God was orchestrating the friendships in my life and the paths that I would take to get me to where I am now in relationship with Him. The people I was friends with (with the exception of one) do not seek the Lord at all. They are missing out on the bridegroom. Why can't we sometimes step back and try to see that maybe in our rejection we are sharing in the sufferings of Christ but just maybe in our rejection we are being protected as God continues to mold us like clay on the potters wheel. On my last post I mentioned that I have been going through some very personal trials and the Lord gave me clear instruction to persevere...to bear up under the load and to keep coming to Him to unburden my heavy heart and disappointment. Even if the mountains don't move in the hardships of life I will trust that even if not in this lifetime my suffering will not be in vain. It will not be wasted. The Lord will redeem it and help me to turn back and strengthen the brethren.
Now all of that leads me to say that my precious baby girl has had a hard time lately making friends. It physically hurts me when she hurts, yet I know that she is not so innocent either. I have seen her be rude and hurtful to people that want to be friends with her. I almost cried this week when Morgan told me that she wasn't going to wear a gift that had been given to her by another little girl because the girl told her that the item that said bff (best friends forever) was something that her mom made her get for Morgan because she is not Morgans bff. I felt as if a dagger was about to go through my heart...and then I remembered again that while we may not understand things at the time God is working out all things for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose. This life is so short and so many of us are staring in the face of great hardship, rejection, fear, loneliness, loss, regret, guilt...but instead of wallowing in the mud of it all let's choose to be brave, to be strong, to be courageous and entrust ourselves and even our children and family to the One who neither slumbers nor sleeps.
I love the verses at the beginning because they are in reference to a desolate place being inhabited. We know that God had an allotment of land (that is still being fought over to this day in the Middle East) for His chosen people, the Israelites now referred to as the Jews, and He did not mean for it to be barren or uninhabited but thriving, flowing with milk and honey, and inhabited by His people. So I come to say, because I know it to be true in my life, whatever you are lacking He is the answer. Even if the answer isn't fulfilled until you cross your Jordan. Life isn't fair so can we just accept that and continue to persevere and pray like crazy that we will know Him all the more in our affliction and pain.

Defender of the widow.
Father to the fatherless.
The One who places the lonely in families.
The One who leads forth the prisoners with singing.

Oh please let Him break the chains that are binding you. Lord, please put a new song in our hearts in what seems to be our own personal Babylon, the land of captivity. Help us to remember that we are strangers here and let us be unpolluted by this world. Help us Lord to take up the case of the widow and orphan. Let our hearts be like Yours. Let us get lost in You instead of trying to figure out who we are so much so that in our attempts to find ourselves that we lose this small stretch of time here on planet earth and become lethargic and complacent. Rain down on us Lord.

LORD, we are in a battlefield and the enemy has taken many casualties. Help us like the writer of Hebrews says in Hebrews 12:12-13 "12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed."






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3 comments:

LSOF said...

Oh my sweet friend...I had absolute tears in my eyes reading this.
You know it hits close to home for me too. Ya know, I used to look at my life so differently as a child to now, and the dreaded BFF stuff, oh how I despised that stuff. Remember the 3 or 4 BFF hearts in one.
It is so sad, it teaches kids to single people out as a favorite.
I do have my "favorites" but they are not my best. I have a BFF that she's been called that since highschool, but half of highschool I wasn't even sure that I was her BFF due to my own stupid insecurities, tell ya, I would never want to go back and relive those ages, HOW horrible they were.
But I look at the fact that God saw it all, and He picked us up out of it and brought us close. He reminded us how much that He cherishes us, and how precious we are to Him. We have value to Him, and He loves us more than anyone could ever in our lifetime.
I am so proud of you Jen, I've known you for wow, a good few years now, and I know how much you've overcome without you ever really sharing, I don't know, God just let me know...and He let me know because my story is so similar. You are one of my favorites, because you've overcome, because you know you would be nothing without Him.
Love ya girl!

Angie

jennyhope said...

Girl you are always such an encourager! Seriously! Let's keep seeking His face. I am so thankful that He is not just words on a page to you but your life and the length of your days!!!!

Jessica said...

You are an amazing daughter to our King! : ) {and soo sweet, to boot!}