Yesterday was the first day I went out into town since the cyclone Aila. We were blessed in that the damage in our area was relatively small. Quite a few trees fell down, and some facades came off of shopping centers, etc, but nothing compared with what we saw in town or we’ve heard about in the outter towns and villages. Cars have been smashed by huge trees, resulting in injuries and deaths. Whole slums have been washed out, if not entirely then at least partially. Roads were blocked for cleanup work and parts of the city are still without power (we had power and internet through most of the storm and have only experianced short outages for repairs, thank God!) and clean water. We are looking into how we can help, so prayers are appreciated.
Today at parent time, my heart started hurting, so I laid down on the bed and Cherise prayed for me. After she was done, Jordan announced, “Mommy just needs a french kiss!” I was so surprized; all these thoughts start running through my head at breakneck speed wondering what movies he’s been watching, who’s been talking to him (or around him) about kissing, etc. I’m thinking “How on earth did my innocent five-year-old learn about the french kiss????”
Thankfully, before I started interrogating him, I realized that I have misunderstood my kids before (hey, it happens to everyone), so I ask him as casually as I can, “uhhh, what’s a french kiss?” To which my still innocent five-year-old replies, “you know, the kiss, kiss, kiss like they do in France!”
Ahhhh, the innocence of childhood!
Although brokenness brings tenderness and humility, not too many people like to be in the breaking process because it’s so difficult for the human soul to understand where it’s taking them. In that moment of darkness, feelings of loneliness and loss can easily take over your mind and soul. It’s not easy to go through. The human spirit rejects it. However, being broken is one of those experiences that brings out the best in you.
So come to Me in meditation and let Me give you the grace to go through the brokenness, to come out victoriously. Brokenness is not regarded as a very inspiring time in the natural, but in the heavenly realm it is seen differently. It’s a time when many in Heaven rejoice for you. They want you to have that brokenness in your life because they know the results will be good. They look forward to the future and they know that victory is at hand; they’re ready to coach you through it. Meditating on Me will give you that proper perspective, and will bring grace and faith to endure and overcome.
I’ve been pondering and meditating on the thought, ‘what does it mean to truly place something we love on the altar’? I might really be the only one who hadn’t really ‘gotten it’ yet as far as comprehending what it means for us, but just give me a minute to explain my thoughts.
Of course, we all know where the word picture comes from: Abraham being asked by God to sacrifice his one and only beloved son, knowing that he and Sarah were both far too old to have another miracle son. Yet, somehow he managed to believe God’s promise that he would have a son who’s seed would number more than the stars in the heaven and makes his way to Mount Moriah to obey God.
Recently, I re-read the book Two Tests and a Wish, because I’ve been trying to build my faith and trust in the Lord’s promises. I like the way Abraham explains it in a way that’s understandable and relatable. Of course, it wasn’t like God suddenly sprang this on Abraham either. There were years of trusting, of believing God’s Word before God could trust him with this big test. I personally think this is a key point; being willing to do what God asks of us, trusting that He knows best in every situation. Then, when things really look questionable, we’re able to take that step and obey. Abraham didn’t say it was easy. He struggled, he experienced pain that only a parent can feel.
I don’t know what I would have done in his situation, but that’s not really my point. My point is that often in my life, I’ve been asked to lay something ‘on the altar’ and give it up for the Lord. However, deep down inside myself, I often had the lurking thought that God did give Isaac back to Abraham. He laid it on the altar, but never had to kill him, he was restored and God’s promise was fulfilled. I think that too often, I’ve laid things ‘on the altar’ but then somehow waited around for God to give them back. Hoping, praying, that it would be over quickly so that the hurt would go away and God’s promises to me would be fulfilled.
But that’s not how it works, is it? Abraham had no idea God would give Isaac back, he acted on blind faith alone. I’m learning that God does repay, He does reward obedience and faith, but how He chooses to do that is entirely up to Him. Now the step is in surrendering it all up so completely that I’d be willing to never get it back in this life. Trusting God that He would fulfill His promises to me in His perfect time and way can be, at least to me, one of the hardest things to do. I have to imagine that the ‘Isaac’ is dead and gone, but God will still keep His end of the bargain and make good on all His promises in the Word. But, in letting go, in surrendering all to Him like that, there comes a peace, a certain understanding that I don’t need to understand everything, I don’t need to figure it all out and see the end from the beginning. I just need to trust. Like a child, just trust.
Like I said, I know it sounds like something I should have ‘gotten’ a long time ago, but it’s something that recently has been something I ‘relearned’ and it all makes so much sense to me now again. Maybe somewhere I had tried too hard to understand everything in the carnal or just wished so bad that things would go the way I wanted right away. That’s not learning though, that’s not going through the trial, that’s going around it, and sooner or later, I have to learn what He puts in my way and go with it and now that I think I’ve gotten the point, those things will be that much easier to deal with when they come.
Have you had any experiences along these lines? Write me, I’d like to hear from you, it builds faith to hear that others have gone through and come through similar things.
In honor of Cherise’s birthday, here are the pix from her birthdays. Looking through all the pictures was great fun. I should post some of their goofiness from years gone by, and also cuteness, of course! There are pictures from this birthday still to come.
Newborn: alert and cheeky, ha.
1: We had shaved her head to make her hair grow thicker–it didn’t work so well…this cheese cake was the first of the tradition I started for her’s and Jo’s collective birthdays.
2: still cheeky, ha. wasn’t she cute and chubby, though?
3: it must have been some kind of miracle that she had a pool party for her birthday in May. That castle cake was her wish and a disaster on my part. I did make a cheese cake as well, should have stuck with that, this one had to be rescued by a more artistic friend of mine.
4: must be global warming, it was warm this time, too. I remember her really wanting to pose for these pictures, it was such a warm day. Still has those chubby cheeks, want to pinch them!
5: Went out for ice cream, she got to chose her favorite flavor, looks like strawberry. I love how this picture depicts her love for food 😀
6: Quite the little lady…
7: The first teeth are missing, her first birthday in India. We celebrated while on holiday.
My little girl is growing up so fast! I can remember the day I brought you home from the hospital, so tiny and fragile. I remember how my brothers didn’t believe me about your thumb (it is one of those things ppl tend to joke about, I guess), the extra special gift you has. I remember you growing up way too fast, learning new things with a vengence and wanting to be so good at everything you did. I remember you first steps, those first bites of food you hated (any baby food was out of the question, banana couldn’t be mashed, it had to be in small pieces, yogurt was out as was apple sauce and anything mashed or ‘baby-like’), the foods you ended up loving–noodles, chapatis, crepes, and chocolate chip cookies, for example. I remember when you learned to bake the well-loved cookies. I remember the day you picked up a book and just started reading. I remember your first performance and how bravely you went back on the stage after your little pompoms got tangled and kept dancing anyway. I remember nursing you through whooping cough and how bravely you dealt with it. So many memories come to me as I think back over the 8 years we’ve shared together.
I love you, Cherise and pray for all the best for you this coming year. May your connection with the Lord grow stronger, may you make progress in your school and learning, may you be happy and fulfilled.