i miss all too often what God has done. not just what He has done for me, but simply what He has done. my heart is so prone to complain, or simply wander from the sweet truth that somewhere deep down I still hold oh so dear. but life takes over. pain takes over. busyiness and stress takes over. and somehow God is not so big anymore. trials seem bigger. responsibilities seem bigger. work seems bigger.
I was thinking the other day about when God arrested my soul. He captured me from my path… a literal path of destruction. I should thank Him every day for that. my heart should weep in amazement and awe just like that first day I realized that my sins, all my sins were ALL taken away. most days I do thank Him. but some days i just get busy and forget. what has God done? He put a new song in my mouth, He directs my step, He set my feet on a rock, He has been my fortress through many storms, He is my Guide, He is my hope.
i long for that passion back. most days lately i find myself blessed if i can simply survive the day… encouraged if a migraine doesn’t consume my every thought. passion? not really there. an overwhelming desire to be with my Lord? typically my world revolves around what I’m doing as opposed to the amount of time I’m sitting and simply learning from Him.
tonight the ladies from our care group got together. it wasn’t anything formal or official. it was just a group of about 10 of us talking about what God has done. and how we forget that and give in to the sin of discontentment. “God, once you… then I’ll…” sound familiar? i try to bargain with the all-powerful Creator of everything. How foolish. What mercy He gives to me. What undeserved favor.
In everything give thanks. its a command. in migraines give thanks. in singleness give thanks. in the middle of bills that never seem to go away give thanks. through sleepless nights give thanks. in whatever i’m complaining about right now, CHOOSE instead to give thanks. why?? Because of who He is. because of what He’s done. in any situation, whether in prison, like Paul when He first wrote those words, or today when I’m reading them… thank the caring and all-sovereign God who gives and takes away.
He is amazing. He is patient. He has blessed me in unfathomable ways. He saved my soul. He died for me. But in His amazing love, He didn’t simply stop there. Even if He had, that would be more than enough for me to praise Him every day I have breath. But it goes on… He’s placed me in a church like no other… He has given me a family of over 300 folks who care deeply for my soul. What a gift that is. What a joy they are to me. What an amazing evidence of God at work in our community – that He would bring us together from so many backgrounds in such a spirit of unity that I’ve never experienced before. If God ever asks me to leave this place, He will have to grant me extra grace for that journey because in my heart I never want to. But yet again, He didn’t stop there…
In everything give thanks… Ok Emily, what does that mean right now? What has God done? He’s given you a home, with two amazing roommates, decorated beautifully with a kitchen of your own where you can cook as much as you want (which today was almost all day!!!). He’s given you an amazing piano and though your fingers don’t play as beautifully as what your mind hears, He’s given you an ability to praise Him in song. He’s given you health. What?? this is health? um, yeah. He’s given you a body that is somehow able to function on surprisingly little sleep. look around (not for comparisons sake but to open your eyes and learn a little). there are days that you don’t suffer that badly. even on your worst days, remember it could be so much worse than it is. and even when it feels that that’s not true, remember because of the cross, this world is the worst hell you will ever know. your Savior took the other one so you wouldn’t have to. yeah, there’s so much to praise Him for!
God is good. I’m glad that even when my heart doesn’t cling to that, that God never lets me go. Even when I doubt and question and cry, He is good. Even when I hurt and beg for it to end, He is good. He grants new mercies every morning. He grants grace in my oh-so-abundant weakness. He grants forgiveness for all my oh-so-abundant sins. Every day. every one.
I want to learn to sit. I want to learn to learn. My whole life learning has come easily for me. I think this year is the first year that learning has hurt so deeply and cost so much. But oh, the things I’ve learned. My heart used to doubt that God was good, that He loved me, that He really chose me. After the last 10 months, I don’t doubt that anymore. He IS good! He DOES love me! He DID choose me! And that’s amazing. I think I can honestly say that I would actually choose this again to be so unwaveringly sure of those three things like I am now. He’s taken my health and instead given me a God who healed my soul. He’s taken my arrogant self-sufficiency (or at least in part) and instead given me weakness, but through that, He really has shown Himself to be my strength. A help in time of need. He’s made me very needy this past year. But He has been more than sufficent help through each need. What grace!
I feel like I’m looking down into a pool of water. Not a swimming pool, but a beautiful deep, clear-watered lagoon. God’s greatness is like that. There are depths of Him that I’m unaware of. I’m splashing on the surface. How I long to know more. John Piper says all the time “don’t waste your life.” By God’s grace, I don’t want to waste mine.
God, help me. Teach me. Instruct me in Your ways. Guide me. Let my heart’s cry be, my only boast is you.
So, at the doctor’s today, I found out that my illness is not due to a heart issue. Its not a brain tumor. Its not a major abnormality in my blood. I’m not diabetic or anemic. I don’t have lupus or MS. It seems it might actually be as easy as a vitamin deficiency. My vitamin B level was only about 10% of what it should be (even with the supplements I’ve been taking for months!). My doctor thinks that once we bring that level up to 100%, I should actually see some relief from the migraines and should even start sleeping again. What? a possible cause? For 10 months, each visit has been nothing. And after so long, to find out its possibly just a vitamin? What kindness from God. I could be dying. Instead, i need a vitamin. What amazing kindness.
Or the doctor could be wrong. It could be something else and might never go away. But you know what? I’m okay with that. Honestly. God is my help, not the absence of pain. God is my hope, not a pill. God is my refuge and strength, not physical strength. The Lord is my Shepherd, He directs my path. I will not fear. Never. Even if this never changes. I’m hopeful that my Great Physician will heal my weak body. I’m confident one day He will. That’s hope enough to keep going. To keep sitting at His feet. To keep learning of His kindnesses. To keep trusting His leading. Because through it all, He is the One keeping me.