As I promised: Here’s my Water-Walking adventure for 2016.
Due to the nature of the event, and the difficulty of the relationship, I determined that I would not “run” away, and avoid the problem. My counselor told me that I should count this person as a worthy adversary. That was about 3 or so years ago...I think he was spot on. In addition, since I haven’t run away…and I have considered the situation a worthy adversary…but…well…Now I’m done! DONE! D-O-N-E!
My journey this year has been anything but boring. When Christmas was over last year, I vowed, “I will skip Christmas this next year. That would be this past Christmas 2016. I will be gone...gone...G ...O...N... E! I just won’t be here. I will find somewhere to go so as not to endure the drama i.e. the boulders that are spiraling into my life. I toyed with the idea 3 years ago, and said it again the next year, but didn’t do it...but this year, January 2016; I began to inquire about a place I might be able to go. I began asking friends...have any ideas...I don’t either, but…no; I will not be here this Christmas. In the past, long about October, I would discover myself aching for January 1. Can we, just please skip November and December? Since I can’t do that, the next best thing is to make plans to leave. Alrighty then! Sounds like a plan! Maybe running away, has its merits after all...maybe!
Jesus said, “love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you...And then Peter tells us in I Peter 2:21 and following that Christ left us an example to follow in his footsteps.
“When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”
Wait…maybe there is another… Really?
Now I’m finding peace amid difficult circumstance. I’ve had my moments of peace, but this is different. God has been faithful to work on me as I count this trial a worthy adversary...I’ve come to realize this comment was very, very true. What is God up to that he wants to change in me? I find that little part of I Peter where he said Jesus entrusted himself to “Him who judges justly...” I must realize there is something much bigger going on here with much bigger truths to learn. What is it...really, that God wants to teach me?
Well, I’ve given up my dreams before, buried, them in a coffin, watched them slip through my fingers, or go up in smoke as I frantically attempted to rescue them with my own manipulation tactics, much like Sarah when she was sure God wanted her to have children through her handmaiden. But then I let them go and I laid them on the “Isaac Alter.” God resurrected some of them and gave them back to me. That was a water-walking event for sure.
I’m reminded of the story of the widow woman whose only son had died. Jesus headed into the city of Nain while this funeral procession is exiting this city to bury this widow woman’s only son. I think there is a heavy-duty truth here. No, let me rephrase that…if it is in the Bible…There is definitely a heave-duty truth here. Let me see, the story says she already lost her husband, and now her only son. I can relate...dead husband, broken family. I’ve been expecting God to show up and resurrect family as they continue to disintegrate right before my eyes. Expecting...did you catch that? Expectations and demands that look very much like something I think I should have…Is that too much to ask? Job was in the “pit” for quite a while, but he expected an explanation from God about what is all this about?! When he got his face to face with God, it wasn’t as he expected. Early in the year, I realized I was living with fear shrouding my thinking. “What if” scenarios were running rampant. What if I never get…? I suddenly realized that fear had taken root and was growing. I reminded myself that Jesus did not die for me to live in fear. I made a decision to take off the grave clothes of fear. AAh….that feels much better. Goodness! Why did that take me so long?
However, Satan wasn’t through! He brought another “fear” shortly behind that one. “What if I die before….?”What if I never get to experience family again?” “What if…?” I realized that too was another tactic and I made a couple of serious decisions. I'm reminded of the scripture in Matthew 6:27 where Jesus asks, "who of you by worrying can add a single cubit to his life span? Ouch! So I decided: 1) God knows, right? He knows the beginning from the end, and all of the in between. Remember the old insurance commercial? “You’re in good hands with Allstate?” I know I’m dating myself, but I decided my dream would be in good hands if I gave it to God. “Here God, I’ll give my dream back to You to do with it what you will.” It is less painful than watching it disintegrate before my eyes. I think it is safer in His hands… This dream was getting much too heavy for me to carry. Ah, there, I sigh with relief. That does feel much better.
October arrives and this is when I normally begin to dread the holiday season. Suddenly, I noticed that I wasn’t dreading the holidays. In fact, as I sat with myself and contemplated the change in my heart, I realized I was actually looking forward to them. Whoa! How could that be?
My family is still broken, but there have been small movements along the way. That was nice. Then another event that had not happened in two years. Then I spent Thanksgiving with someone I hadn’t in three years. Small movements count.
December rolls in and the weather turns very cold…freezing cold. Suddenly I found myself anticipating Christmas again. That is very, very different and something only Jesus could do! I’ve dreaded the holidays, first because my husband decided to go to Heaven and spend the rest of his holidays with the Holiday Giver. I had not recovered from that when Satan pulled the rug out from under us. Needless to say, it has been a very long and difficult 10 years. This December I find I actually enjoyed Christmas shopping and did it earlier than I usually do. I put up my little fiber optic tree with enthusiasm, and wrapped all the gifts early. Wow! Amazing. I think God is working overtime…Grace flowing, grace received…The "pray-er" is changing!
There is something about letting go. There is something about giving your dream up to the Dream Maker. Before, when I let my dream die…it disintegrated…and a part of me died with it. I struggled over the death of that one. It was the first dream to die. It died a long slow painful death.
This time, by giving my dream back to the one who created it in the first place, I opened myself up for grace to flow. I’m reminded of John 7:38 when Jesus said,
"To the one who believes in Me, it is just as the Scripture has said: "streams of Living Water will flow from within him."
What is your dream? What are you praying for…longing for? For what does your heart ache? God knows your dream. He is the one who gave it to you. Are you holding on so tightly to that dream that it is beginning to weigh you down and wear you out! Are the tears you cry, washing away the very being of your soul? I read about freeze-thaw. It’s what created the Grand Canyon. Water seeps into the cracks in the rock and freezes. The result is that it cracks the rock and water washes away the pieces. Are the stress and tears wearing you down as your dream gets heavier and heavier. Taking with it the very fiber of your soul? Your body is feeling the stress in many different ways. Maybe your are, or maybe you are not feeling it so acutely right now, but it will take its toll on you as you continue to carry the heavy weight of a broken dream. Is this your Isaac? Is God asking you to sacrifice your dream on the Isaac Alter giving it back to him as a sacrifice of love and surrender? There is never any guarantee that you will get your dream back intact, but God does guarantee to give you something in its place. Can you possibly do what my counselor told me to do, count it as a worthy adversary? Can you wonder what it is that God wants to teach you through this difficult period of your life? Will you trust Him enough to give your dream back to Him? I gave mine to him, and I’m doing a little more than water-walking. I’m dancing on the water, in the midst of the Desert.
I decided I really want God more than I want the dream. How can that be possible? The amplified Bible states it this way in.
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. Philippians 3:8
I have spent a good part of this year meditating on James 1 and following. However, I will save that for another blog. Right now, I’d like to challenge you to consider opening your heart and letting go of that dream that you are holding on to so tightly. Can you give your dream back to God and let’s see what he will give you in its place. There will be tears. There will be death throes. There may be begging and pleading, maybe even some bargaining, or some perpetual screaming that it isn’t fair. I can promise you, God wants to do something unbelievable in your life. His is in the business of conforming us to his son. He tells us that if we diligently seek him, we will find him. God will not expect you to tear down the house you may have built on the sand. It will fall down on its own. However, he will show you a rock ready to rebuild on if you will be willing to give over that which you want to hang onto so tightly, demanding and being entitled to your dream. I think I’d rather be on the water with Jesus than in a sinking boat or the shifting sand. What about you?