Thursday, April 26, 2012

1000 Sleepless Nights...

I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I’ve posted anything here. First, things were busy with a move out of state. Then… the things that most occupied my mind weren’t things I could readily share.  Truth was, they weren’t mine to share. They’ve impacted my life and my faith immensely, though, so I am going to share that… because I am simply amazed at what God’s doing in me.... 

Ten years ago I faced some hard circumstances in my life.  Those circumstances have in effect shaped me this last decade – while I still believe, it’s been difficult for me to always trust; to always have faith.  But the last several years have had their own set of difficult circumstances as well – hard stuff… really hard stuff.  To be honest, prayer wasn’t always my first response.  I’m a “fix-it” type person and so my inclination is to try to figure out what I need to do to, well… fix the problem!  In recent months, though, I've been slowly coming to the end of myself and I’ve found myself praying more and more.  I’m actually beginning to really understand that whole “pray without ceasing thing!”  I've been praying when I'm not even fully conscious!  Yet… I’ve still been trying to figure it out as well – what action of mine will help to bring the desired results?

One night earlier this week, as I was thinking and praying about it, I suddenly had this thought come to me:  the “fix” wasn’t going to be anything that I say or do.  Whatever was going to happen, it was going to be God showing himself through the situation – totally out of my control or abilities. The next day, though… with some other things going on… I still thought that I might have some impact.  It didn’t happen.  The day was a total roller coaster.  Any hopes I had were pretty much crushed. 

That night I found myself sitting on the porch swing over-looking the lake in the dark, remembering the “thought” from the night before, and crying out to God in total surrender… surrendering things that I hadn’t been sure I could ever surrender.  But I did.  I gave Him permission to totally break my heart… praying, “Whatever it takes, God – go ahead and do it.”  I knew the “whatever” could be – and probably would be – pretty awful to go through. I can't begin to explain how awful.... But I was convinced that the thought from the night before – that it would only be God showing himself through the situation – was truly God speaking.

So... I’m now going through each day knowing that nothing I do or say is going to matter in this situation – that I can’t “fix” it. That knowledge shouldn’t be freeing, at least not by the world’s standards. Yet… it has been. My heart has been lighter, a weight taken from me.  Every once in awhile my mind still starts churning on ways I can try to fix it, influence the situation in some way... but then I turn around and remind myself – it’s not up to me to fix it! I just have to turn it over… lay it in God’s lap... trust... and love with everything that I have.  My heart lightens again.

I’m not saying that the situation is anything different than it was… or that I’m any happier about it than I was.  But…  I’ve found freedom in trusting God.  The storm hasn’t changed... but... I have…. Which…  considering how much I’ve struggled with faith and trust the last decade… maybe there was something to all those sleepless nights….

… what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst
this world can’t satisfy

And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise
- Laura Story, “Blessings”

BTW – I know... it’s not really over... it’s going to be a continual struggle to keep surrendering... especially for a “fix-it” type like me... ;)   So… don’t expect perfection from me just yet! ;)


Addendum/Clarification:  I don’t believe in any way that God brought this situation into our lives simply in order to change me. I don’t believe He works that way. Sin and a fallen world have brought pain and suffering into all our lives. But God has used it -- will always use it when we let Him -- to bring something better... in this case growing/restoring my trust and my faith.