I have been through the wringer, literally, and finally see hope coming to pass. Our Pastor said something today that really caused me to pause and stop (the biblical word -- Selah -- which means "pause and calmly think about it".) We are starting a new series called Cultivating a Life for God. It will be six weeks long, and the first two weeks are covering the topic of developing a Biblical Perspective. I think I have a Biblical Perspective, but today, I made the connection to a deeper contextual way of thinking about that perspective. In fact, I would say that today, EVERYTHING JUST MADE SENSE TO ME.
Our Pastor said that "God is more concerned with the journey and process of our life than the BIG EVENTS." We are more concerned with the BIG EVENTS, you know, the celebrations in life. We live for the weekend, live for vacation, and live to celebrate anything and everything. We hate the daily grind, the dailiness of our lives, and we do what we can to avoid having to "do the due diligence." I agree with this whole-heartedly, but I didn't really put it all together until this morning. You see, God has been telling me "Carol, all I ask is that you do the work assigned to you." I understood this to mean that I am to DO whatever WORK God brings into my life. And, while this is true because it does mean that too, really God has been saying to me: "Carol, I expect you to do everything the same way, with the same level of intensity, with the same focus, with the same intent. Do it all for My Name and My Glory -- no matter whether you are doing the dishes or working at Macy's. Just do the work, and let Me be Glorified." Yes, Lord, I get that too; I just didn't put it all together in such a nice way or in the same way as our Pastor (who happens to be an excellent communicator).
We tend to focus on the black and white aspects of God's voice -- we like it when He thunders at us: "Go HERE" (said in my best Charleton Heston God-like voice). But, often God simply asks us to do the work, to do the "due diligence" (as Bishop TD Jakes likes to say), and He doesn't make a big deal about it. It makes you wonder if He really cares about the little things. I hear people say that all the time, that God really does care about you doing the dishes. I get that too -- but today -- I also came to realize that God actually cares more about your doing the dishes then He does about some major appointment or life-change. He cares about those events too, so don't get me wrong; but it is in the little things, the miscellanea of our lives that God often speaks to us. I cannot tell you how many times I speak to God in the ordinary time of my life. I speak with Him, and He speaks with me when I am doing the dishes or walking down the street or sitting at the computer. God is all about the process of understanding, the process of change, the process of growth. This is what matters to Him, how we change inside, and how we turn out in the end. He cares far more about our spiritual growth and development than about any event we may experience.
As I ponder this fact, I am convicted of this truth: God loves me right where I am today. I don't have a full-time job (just a part-time job); I am in graduate school (struggling to read Chaucer right now); and my life is still not settled (marriage-wise, husband-wise, and relationship-wise). There is so much that is up in the air, yet in reality, so much has been resolved.
- I am convinced of His will in my life
- I have a new identity firmly rooted in Jesus
- I know where I have been, and I know where I am going (the journey, the process)
- I am content to be here today, and I know I will be content tomorrow
- I am actually happy, really happy on the inside and outside
- My life is GOOD because God is Good and He is part of my life
- Overall, I have no complaints
So here I am, unsettled and uncertain in so many things; yet utterly convinced of God's Goodness and His Presence in my life today. I am not afraid, I am not upset, and I am not lost or confused. I am totally prepared for today, for tomorrow, and for every day from this point on. I don't know what I will do tomorrow, but I do know that it will be Good (for God is a part of it, and therefore, it is always GOOD).
It is weird, really weird to think about it, but I have to say that the past three years have been joyful (oops -- did I really say that?) Yes, I will say it. I would not change anything that has happened to me over the course of the last year (or longer). The resultant change is a miracle, and the person I am today is a direct consequence of all that strife and stress. I am the better for it, and I am loving the new me. I see such hope, I know hope because Hope is who I trust in (His Name is Jesus). As I place my HOPE in the ONE who offers it to me, I am given precious JOY and an abundance of life-giving Grace. God has done this for me, God has made this change, and I am in awe of Him. I love change, and I love the process of change.
My journey is now complete. This phase of my life is over. I am ready to embrace the next turn, the next path, and the next part of this marvelous process called GRACE.