I have had some heavy posts over the past couple of weeks but recently I have sprinkled in some light fun stuff. Sorry, I am going back to some deep stuff here now. If you come to read the light, fun stuff than feel free to skip this post. And some of you may read this and think "religious kook" but that is ok, I rather like that term and it is my blog so here goes......
Last August when we got the news my husband was not going to be employed as of Sept. 15th, my world was rocked! I cried, I screamed, I threw some pretty good tantrums, I got mad, I was disillusioned, I withdrew, I was hurt.... ok, ok you get the picture. I met with God and I knew He had something planned but I didn't like it and I told Him so. From the very beginning I felt as if He wanted me to learn that He and He alone was enough. He is supposed to be our sufficiency. My head knew that and I prayed my heart would learn that too because I truly wanted to learn that. But oh that is hard! "God", I said, "We live in a world where you have to have a job and money and a house and food and health insurance and a car and blah blah blah blah blah!" Yes, this is true, very true. But the message still was "I know your needs but I want you to only want me, to be filled up entirely by me." I prayed about this, I continued to struggle with this, knowing all along in my head it was true but I wanted my heart to feel it too!
I began to slowly let go of "things", I could feel myself reluctantly letting go. The one thing I felt I was clinging tightly to was my house. I love my house! Let me rephrase that, my HOME. We live in a nice home that comfortably fits all 7 of us in a very safe and protected neighborhood. A true blessing! We have a very low mortgage on this home because my accountant husband is just good at that kind of thing and because we do try to live as debt free as possible. We do NOT live beyond our means. Another true blessing. We designed and built the house, from every little knob, door, beam, window. It is an expression of us. In a way it feeds my soul, not like God does but in a different way. I guess because I designed it to fit us and the things we like and do. And we have memories here. Lots and lots of great memories. We have handprints in concrete, marks on doorways showing children's growth, things my dad has built for the kids, and to borrow from Miranda Lambert's song "my favorite dog is buried in the yard." I can't tell you how many people have asked us during this time of unemployment if we were going to lose our house or have to sell it. Shocks me-on so many levels! And I have to say this irritated me as well-on so many levels. I felt myself clinging even tighter to my house when people asked this...out of pride I am sure. Another quality God does not want us to have. So you see I still had far to go on this "God is truly enough" scenario.
Months before my husband's job loss I was reading a book "Kisses from Katie". This is an amazing book if you haven't read it. Quick synopsis...Katie was 18 when she went on a short term trip to Africa and she ended up staying, skipping college, adopting 14 little girls and starting a school and feeding center for hundreds... as a 19 year old. She saw such pure joy in the hearts of these people that have nothing. And such generosity. She said she felt it came from the fact that they have nothing and so they have to rely on God to fill them up. I told Will I was jealous of those people as they get to experience God in a way we in upper-middle class America never will. Oh gosh! Maybe I shouldn't have said that.... as God then "blessed" us with an "interesting" scenario - no job! Now, please don't think I am equating our circumstance to those who live in utter poverty. We are STILL blessed beyond measure. But for the first time in my life I had no paycheck to rely on. And just what if all my "stuff", including my home were gone? Would I praise God, be joyful, generous and filled up by Him alone? I would like to say the answer to this would be yes, but sadly I knew it would be no.
He and I went to some deep, hard places over this past year. It wasn't pretty or fun. But it was good. I found Him on a much deeper level and I would not trade that experience. In fact, still jobless, I can honestly say I have thanked Him for this past year. I have honestly come to a place of peace, even though we are nearing 12 months and still have no job. Weird, huh? Its that "peace that passes understanding" thing and it is a much better place to be than that raving, frantic lunatic of 12 months ago.
While in China, I experienced the final transformation I feel He was leading me to all along. China is a hard place to travel to. I have always longed for home each time I have been. This time however, it was different. While I did miss some creature comforts and at times wanted to be seaside reading a good book , if I thought long and hard about it, I did not TRULY want to come home. I missed my family terribly though. I wish they could have just been shipped over-he he. The inconveniences bothered me to some degree but not like the other times. Why? Because I experienced Jesus like never before. I wish my words here could fully express this. It was beautiful. I found Him in the poverty, nothingness, pain, loneliness. He filled me up. HE FILLED ME UP! He was enough. He had showed me slowly and patiently over the past year that He could fill my deepest passion and desire...to long for Him and Him alone. I didn't want to go back to my land of plenty because we don't see Him as He is covered up by all our "things" and because we don't think we need Him. We don't need Him in our plentiful state. These little orphaned kids need Him and I felt Him, "saw" Him and "heard" Him....like never before. I told Will, if this earthly glimpse of Him filled me up, what must heaven be like? When we get to experience His full glory and commune with, and worship Him every moment? I wanted to stay there among them and serve them and be His hands and feet and experience more of Him. It was filling.
So I am home now. I am in my home that I love. Hmmmmm, what now? As I was running, the song by Mercy Me came on " I Can Only Imagine" and it spoke to me...God often speaks to me when I run, guess He knows I need the motivation-Ha! here are the words:
"I Can Only Imagine"
Wow! That is what my "glimpse" of Him felt like. I was instantly filled up with Him again. I am home, but my much loved home has lost its luster. I still think it is nice, but I would give it up for Him now. If He wants it, if we have to move, if we have to sell it, or heaven forbid if we lose it.....it is ok, because He is enough. He is far better than these walls, and door knobs and beams. Memories can be made anywhere we all are. He has shown me how it feels to be filled up with Him and I want to live my life like that. I don't want to forget this experience in my land of plenty. How do I hold onto that? Do I have to move to a land of nothing? Do I have to be among those who have nothing? I don't know the answer. What I do know is that being filled with Him is so much richer than being filled with the things of this world. He is enough. He is enough.......I wonder what the next lesson He has for me will be? I still have so much to learn! I share all of this with you because I want as many people as possible to experience Him in this way. If you could have been a fly on the wall over this past year and seen the very low state I was in, the lowest point I have been in my life I think, you would not have thought it possible for this revelation. To know my soul now and how truly I sing His greatness, it is transformation only HE could have done...and I want you to know it too. Hopefully, it will not require you to get to the valley I occupied, but if it does, do not despair, cling to Him, He will restore you to a new and greater depth and you too will sing His praises!