It's late Sunday night and we're all packing the last of our things into suitcases, scrambling to find missing shoes or belts or hair-ties. You're wandering from room to room, watching the flurry of activity, and it's obvious you're curious what all the excitement is about.
Tomorrow we leave for a week of Bible conference, and as always, our home is buzzing with anticipation. Each night this week we'll enjoy different speakers and special music, and we'll listen to reports of what God's been doing in the churches in our fellowship spread throughout the Northwest. Each day we'll hear sermons as well, and spend time with friends we haven't seen since last year...your siblings' best friends will be there, and Mama and Daddy's too. This annual trip is in many ways like a big family reunion for us. It will be a time of refreshing, a week of renewing.
And I so need to be renewed, Lily.
It's been a long month for me, and in spite of the grace of God, and the love and encouragement of family and friends, I am longing for refreshing. I'm just being honest, sweet Lily...I am desperate for healing.
Is it weak to admit that I'm weary of the waiting, Lily? Does it mean my faith is less real because I'm worn down by the days that seem to pass like years, an endless cycle of praying that things pass quickly and wondering please when will this chapter be over?
Then so be it. I've tried pretending in the past that things don't hurt, and found that the result is worse than the pain of admitting...I'm not all that strong. So I'll say it here, and say it with both honesty and relief, and in so doing surrender the last desperate ounce of pride that remains: I'm broken.
And as strange as it may sound, dearest daughter-of-mine, that's a very good place to be. Because there's no room for haughtiness in a broken spirit, no place for self-righteousness or vanity or pride. There is no confidence in the flesh when the spirit is bruised and broken, and as humbling as it is to admit...in my weakness His strength is made perfect.
And maybe that's not inspiring in this day and age, when self-sufficiency is worn as a badge of honor, and reliance on God is often seen as a crutch. But I've lived life both ways, and if there's one thing the trials of life have taught me, and taught me well, it is this:
A bruised reed He will not break and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice. Isaiah 42:3
My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
There is peace in surrender. There is hope in knowing that the God who created the universe is not too big to see a bruised reed, a crushed spirit, my hurting heart...
For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance.
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away...
I'm going to soak up all I can this week, Lily. It's going to be a week of hope and renewal and refreshing, and although I'm entering into it all with a broken and hurting heart, it is a surrendered heart, and I do believe in a God who sees all, a Father whose eye is on the sparrow.
He has made everything beautiful in its time.