Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Retraction of Sorts

I'm about to get all confessional on you.

When I first began to face this transition there was a part of me that knew the challenges we would face, and so I braced myself, even tried to prepare myself mentally for them. I accepted the fact that it would mean saying goodbye and tearfully worked through many of those, even though I knew it would be painful. I knew it meant a span of days and energies poured into packing and sorting, organizing and then undoing it all again once we arrived. I knew that once we got here, the time it would take to feel at home would perhaps be lengthy, and that there would be things I would miss and suffer through the loss of until I found my new way. Always surrounding those thoughts was the assurance that this move was not our idea, and that we were led and cared for in it-- and there was comfort in that.

But there is a battle waging. In spite of all my attempts to prepare myself, to remain positive, to be comforted by the fact that this is the place we are meant to be, I am losing ground.

Normally, I would say that the idea of losing a battle should not be considered a good thing. But, in this instance, I am beginning to wonder if it is in fact the best part of it all. I've been fighting for the wrong things... I can see it in the things I've written in recent posts, in the thoughts that weigh inside my head all day, in the words that more often than not escape from my mouth. I miss the life I had. I am disappointed in what I've been given. So, I've been bemoaning it and fighting to find some way to keep it all.

It may seem to you in this next statement that I am over-spiritualizing something like my hobbies... but I have sensed over the years, at different key points in my life, when I have been pushing too hard for something, for my own way. I feel that right now. In something so small as a "photo challenge" or a project to foster my creativity, at least at this particular time, I have felt a prodding that perhaps I am trying too hard to grasp at something that is not given to me right now.

So, this may seem quite silly, but I am retracting, or cancelling my little "photo essay extravaganza" plan.

This summer I read the book "A Place of Healing" by Joni Erickson Tada. It spoke to me in many ways about my own heart condition, and I know a prayer of mine has been that God would give me a desire for the things He loves and cares about. I don't know all of what this time, this move means for us or for the people around us (God's plans are always much bigger and more complicated than just us), but I am sensing that He is emptying me of some of the things I have cherished. I don't know why- and maybe it is only for a season or maybe it is just me over thinking this move! But I believe He is working and perhaps part of that is by bringing me to a new sense of neediness before Him.

I'm pretty needy and all over the place. We just found out that we are expecting our fourth child in April. This was a complete shock to us, who felt a bit like two overgrown teenagers or something that naively believed some methods of birth control were one hundred percent effective. Shock and disbelief aside, I have been dealing with extreme fatigue in the midst of trying to "find my new way." Even the things I have always felt able and even gifted at doing, are outside the range of my capacities right now. It is almost like I've become completely disabled, or at worst- useless.

Wait, before you get as depressed as I sound-- there is good news. I am extremely thankful, and almost excited in an expectant sort of way. I believe this is God answering the prayers of my heart, and of our hearts as we've prayed over many different things in recent years. We are not the worlds best prayers, so that is not meant as a pat on our backs so much as a testament to the fact that I know God hears, and responds- and that He is compassionate and gracious and gives us much that we need and don't even consistently ask for.

I think he is doing some deep tilling in the soils of the way I think and know Him and live before Him. I am feeling humbled, and hungry for a growth in my faith through the Word of Christ. The study I am going through right now is hitting me in soft and tender spots day after day, and is filling me with hope and clearer vision as I am beginning to see breaches in my faith, weakness in my thinking, points where I need to repent and turn, and the God who brings me out of all those pits.

It sure does feel sort pit-ish around here. I just cannot get it all done. I can't do the things I love to do. I can't even think correctly about it all- I can't have a good attitude.

This weekend I was reminded in a powerful way that we are all of us clay pots. Broken and fragile, not radiant with any form or shape or beauty in and of ourselves. But filled with the knowledge of the glory of Christ, we can shine with his likeness. I think in all my can-nots, perhaps I can learn to see myself as I really am, and am being emptied in order to find healing in the inner places, where the glory of Christ can radiate with an unspeakable beauty, that brings the glory to Him alone. And what heart wouldn't sing with an inside like that?


  1. As we are currently in the midst of our own move and re-adjustment here in China I really relate to what you are saying. Last week was a very dark week for me, but I was seriously rebuked over the weekend about my attitude and although this week is having its own share of challenges, I am trying harder to be thankful. He is giving me grace. But I can't imagine the added difficulty of doing this with 3 small ones while pregnant. Doing it with 2 and not pregnant has been hard enough. I can't imagine that you really have any time to read, but 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp is a worthwhile encourager in learning to live thankful. I am slowly and painfully working my way through it. Thankfully we serve an ever-patient Father.

  2. So many thoughts crowded into my head when I read this! If we were together I think I'd hug you and cry broken tears that bring cleansing and joyful tears for the new babe.
    Through some very dark times of my own I have been comforted with words from Job that what He wounds He also binds up, what He shatters His hands will heal.
    Praying for you!