Wednesday, March 13, 2013

my heart lately...ok...like more than lately.

I'm weird (or maybe I'm not?)

We've had a long season of peace and quiet in our home.
No real tragedy.
No deployments.
No sickness.
Nothing really really hard.
Nothing that makes me feel like I need to be peeled up off the floor by prayer.

And I feel bad about it.
And then I feel bad about feeling bad about it.

If you are blessed enough to have a conversation with me about this, I'm sure I've annoyed the heck out of you but it's truly a struggle.

An unanswered question if you will.
A question that God is choosing to answer in my life but a pace that I'd rather not go...slow.

I haven't said much about it publicly for fear of being judged.
I couldn't live with myself if I knew some one was saying, "well, la tee da!  aren't you sooo lucky!...jerk"
So, don't tell me if that's what you think, k?
Actually, no, do tell me.  I want this pot stirred.  It's why I'm finally writing about it.
Stir this pot with me....

From my journal this morning:
(these thoughts are not all inclusive about my question or struggle....ok...knowing that, now read)

Rev 15:3
Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.

"...when the fire of affliction draws songs of praise from us, then indeed we are purified and our God is glorified.

Singing in the fire! Yes, God helping us, if that is the only way to get harmony out of these hard apathetic hearts, let the furnace be heated seven times hotter than before..." 

(all from Streams in the Desert by Mrs. Charles E Cowman, March 13)

That was my reading this morning but I have about 1,000 other quotes just like it.
They are great.
I love them.
They are true and mean so much.

But.

I don't know.  Praying that seems scary.  You've had us in such a place of quiet and rest.  you've been gaining glory in our lives by teaching me to control and divert my anger, control and divert my focus of self to You, teaching me the joy of being a mom...not anywhere near done with those but I DO want to recognize many answered prayers, blessings and peace from you in those.

Seeing _______ (protecting my heart and others and just leaving the names out!) IN the furnace, seeing __________ judging others for not being in the furnace,

I beg the question - does life always have to have you in a furnace?

Are there some rules that say how many furnaces you need to go through to be godly?
Am I just being chicken and everyone else is being brave and godly?

I don't want to go looking for a personal furnace...that doesn't make sense but it is still the vibe I get from pop Christianity.

Look for Jesus.  Work for Jesus.  Obey Jesus...
And that will NOT always include a furnace or refiners fire or pain or suffering but that is not the message I get from....well, everywhere lately.

Maybe sometimes it will be praying on hill by yourself talking with the Father, interceding, worshiping.
GASP! How ungodly!!!!

Others might look at one persons furnace and see nothing hard at all.
Others might look at one persons peace and see flames blazing high.
(as in my case...maybe someone would shudder at the thought of four young kids, homeschooling, moving across the country, no local friends, no church....and I am struggling because I think that is too peaceful!)

How about we quit.  Just quit.

Quit talking solely about God being IN the storm.
He IS in the storm.
He IS in the peace.
He IS in the pain.
He IS in the healed.
He IS in the ______.

Let's not, in any way, use His Omnipresence as a ticket to ride it out in ease.
Great growth comes from furnaces...this I know and can point to in my own life.

Instead I'm saying: stop making the uncomfortable, the painful, the hurtful our goal to seek.
Because I am also seeing great growth from my time of peace!

He is the goal to seek.
He will sustain whatever the road holds.
Seek HIM.
Not the glory of how hard your situation is.

I, obviously, struggle big time here.  I put a lot of glory on the fire.
It gets you attention.
It gets you prayer.
It gets you ______.
I don't know what all it gets you but apparently I want whatever 'it' is and am thankful that God has been protecting me from getting 'it' because He knows.....He knows I need to get this....

It makes sense, in my sin nature, to put glory on the fire.  Fire is glorious.  It's beautiful.  It's warm.  It's consuming.  It's powerful.  It can destroy.  It can heal.  It's very serious stuff.

But, powerful as it is, elevating it to a place of worship?
Sin, Holly.
Distracting, stupefying sin.

Have Crazy Love, Help People So Much it ends up Hurting, Let Justice and Praise Become My Embrace...

but check what consumes me.

The act, the pain, the glory of the fire and hardship - or Jesus?

Am I seeking hard after the things in life that He's asked me too with no thoughts other than:
"YES Lord!"
"I trust You because no one else loves me with the passion and dedication that You do!"
"Everything I do, I do because you laid down your life for me"

...You laid down your life.

Now, my turn to lay down my life, if even a little compared to your sacrifice, in order to give my all to try and say thank you for doing so.

Lay down my struggle for glory in the eyes of others.
Lay down my struggle to be in more pain than the next in order to spiritually elevate myself (stupefying!).

Being in the furnace - can be a godly place to be.
Being out of the furnace - can be a godly place to be.

Why is it not that simple?
Why have we elevated suffering (or is it just me?)?
Am I missing something?

Scripture? Truth?
I don't want to miss this Lord...

Please keep talking.
I am listening.


6 comments:

jody said...

Beautiful and terrible things will happen.
Don't be afraid of either.

(Or that's at least what helps me handle this tension).

Courtney said...

from someone "in the fire/furnace/all those things you said" right now...

if i hadn't had Him in the peace, calm and still...i would be dead right now. as it is, i feel like i'm drowning. but the ONLY reason i'm not is because He was in the calm.

He is always working...in the fire and in the rain (i read her post - AMAZING!!!!!) and in the calm, blue sky days.

Missy said...

I ditto what Courtney said. I definitely feel like I am in a season of "fire" and the only thing sustaining me and keeping the flames from turning me to dust is Jesus. Being disciplined to turn to Him daily in the calm is what equips you to lean on Him in the storms. Scripture makes it clear that we're not to wait until we're in the furnace to seek Him. We are to seek Him BEFORE we ever enter into battle.

I find it equally frustrating that we can not simply live our lives as what they are without the fear of others judging us. Of course I am a massive hypocrite! I judge people all the time, especially since moving here. Ain't no point in lying about it, Jesus knows my heart, and it's as black as they come. But I have also held back so much of my life since moving to Burkina for fear that people back home will be judging me thinking, exactly what you said, that I am "glorifying the fire". I mentioned to a friend that I don't share a lot because I don't want people to think that I am playing the martyr card. Or that I am "spiritually elevating" myself. But, we shouldn't hide the truth of our lives out of fear that people may or may not judge us because of it. Whether in the fire or not.

I just wish that we could all come to a place where we can freely share and find support and encouragement and grace regardless of our level of suffering. I wish we were perfect. Instead of a bunch of sinners. :~)

Julie Pearson said...

When I was in high school I felt similar like everything was going so well but I knew it was in the fire or hard times that I grew with God so much so I stupidly asked God for a trial! This is something I would never recommend because boy did I receive one, He listens to what we ask for! I would just say to not forget the Lord in the good times as it is so easy to do. Just keep taking it day by day and ask for God to keep bringing you closer to Him!

Missy said...

One more thought....okay maybe more than one...I MISS THESE TALKS WITH YOU!!!!! Wish I was at your table discussing this as opposed to half a world away....anyways...

I don't think we necessarily elevate suffering. I just think that SO many people ARE suffering, they are the ones that get the attention by default, not because they are seeking it, but because they are hurting and seeking HELP. In comparison to the people in a furnace and those who aren't, I think the percentage is drastically minimal compared. More people are suffering as opposed to those who aren't. Simply because we live in a broken world all jacked up by sin.

If you had a choice between a broken marriage and a happy one, you'd pick a happy marriage. Or a life unbroken by cancer. You would bring your spouse back from the grave if you had the chance as opposed to living in grief. You would choose food instead of starvation. You would go to a job everyday as opposed to being unemployed. You would win the battle over your addiction.

I don't think it's the people living through the fire who are elevating their suffering. If they could get out of the furnace, they would. I think it's other people imposing judgment and quite frankly getting self righteous and defensive that those suffering are supposedly in some kind of imaginary lime light who end up creating the glory for them.

You said in your last post that you are living in a "season of simplicity" and that it makes for a "boring blog but a happy heart." Well, (stay with me here)....you are the one who said your blog is boring because life is simple and calm and devoid of any fire right now. :~) No one else said that. I don't think your blog or life is boring because you're not living through a hardship. You imposed that thought on yourself...and then projected it onto everyone else...when we don't feel that way. At least I don't feel that way. I don't read your blog and think, "Geesh! How boring! She needs some problems to make her life more interesting!" No way! You see. I think it's us who make up stuff in our heads and project those thoughts unfairly onto other people.

At least, that's what I think. :~) Thoughts????

i'm beccy. said...

This is such a good conversation... I agree with M. That a lot of people are suffering. I think a lot of people admire others who have suffered and gained from it, but really would never want to walk that road themselves. I don't really get what you are saying about elevating suffering. I don't really know anyone even talking about it in my life right now, but it is a huge biblical principle that I have been working through inrecent years. I have found personally that as a girl I overheard saying to her friend once said "things grow in dirt." But also, when I have been in the fire/storm, I sometimes have not found God there. Sometimes He has been in the still small voice AFTER the storm. And only because of his past faithfulness, and because He is clearly allowing the storm/fire I hold on. I have also found that he gives seasons of quiet and refreshing, often before major challenges, and looking backwards I can see His oerfect timing and what a gift those seasons are. I have tried to run from suffering because Inhave fiund it to be the most lonely, isolating experience in life, but God is slowly teaching me to look to him alone and always instead of to others. Holly, I think you are right about things being suffering for different people. I read a verse last week that said that God also granted us to suffer with him! It is a gift. That is a hard pill to swallow, but as I have been thinking about it I realize that God has used suffering to heal some deeply sinful or wounded places in me that no calm place would ever be able to touch. I wish I could hear wach of your voices sharing your heart on this as I have been thinking on suffering and why God promises it, why other cultures accept it joyfully as James says we should, and why we (at least I) try to avoid trials and suffering. I still haven't gotten to the consider it our joy part, but I am working on it. :o).