Draw Me Nearer

I have joy. My struggles and the ache in my heart are real; but my joy is not swayed by emotions, it is not shaken by seasons of affliction. My joy rests in the giver of life, my rock and my salvation.

I have peace in His will, peace that He Himself has given me. He’s teaching me to love His glory more than life. That’s why there is an abundance of beauty on these tear stained pages; He is breaking me of my will and giving me a heart that longs after Him.

For several days now I’ve been trying to articulate the joy that has been given to me through suffering, through waiting on the Lord; words have been failing me, and then I read the following in a book that my mother gave me recently:

“I am amazed at the power that comes to us through suffering; we are worth nothing without the cross. Of course, I tremble and agonize while it lasts, and all my words about the beneficial effects of suffering vanish under torture. But when it is all over, I look back on the experience with deep appreciation, and am ashamed that I bore it with so much bitterness…The faithful Giver of every good gift distributes them to each of us with His own hand. Blessed be His name! Every cross He gives us is for our profit!” –Fenelon

He crushes us to give us life. Life in abundance (John 10), life everlasting.

Through tears I confessed to my mother last week that I wanted my struggles to mean more, more than just being drawn nearer to my Savior. My dear friends, there is absolutely nothing more that I can ask for than to be drawn nearer to my Lord. Nothing. My King requires nothing less than all of me and He will have just that, no matter what it takes, no matter what the cost. And I’ll praise Him for it.

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Beautifully Broken

Dear Reader,

It’s scary for me to share very much of my heart with you. I don’t want you to see me for who I really am because, well, because you may think I’m an emotionally erratic person that needs some mild sedatives–seriously. But, I feel the need to be honest with you and so, I must come clean…I meant every word of what I said in my last post. I do trust the Lord. I know His ways and His plans are best. BUT, when I wrote that last post, my heart was shattering. The weight of the struggle was becoming too much. I was breaking. That night I fell asleep on a tear stained pillow.

However, this is NOT a story of desperation. This is a story of waiting on the Lord and I’m sure you all know that waiting on the Lord is never easy, in fact, it’s anything but easy. I know it’s worth it and I have to trust Him to use my past to sanctify me; I have to trust Him to give me grace for the present and faith in the plans that He has for my future.

So, I’ll keep fighting for hope, because He fights for me and gives me grace and strength from His own storehouse. I’ll give Him my pain because I can’t carry it on my own. I’ll lean on Him to be my vigor, because I have none left. I’ll walk through the confusion knowing that trust doesn’t stem from understanding the situation, it comes from knowing the incorruptible character of my Savior who loves me with an everlasting and steadfast love.

And I will join my heart with the Psalmist in saying…

“Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord! O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy! If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I hope, my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with Him is plentiful redemption…” –Psalm 131

My heart and soul are being anchored in His word. I can find hope no where else, because hoping in anything outside of Him is deeply dangerous and wholly unsatisfying.

All of this, all of this waiting and struggling and fighting for hope and contentment is exhausting and painful, it takes my breath away sometimes, but as I write this I can see how over the last several months I’ve been relying on His word more than I ever have in my life. I’ve cried out to God with the Psalmists so many times I’ve lost track. All that pain, all that crying out, even my tear stained pillow, it’s all so incredibly beautiful. Truly, my Savior is refining, molding me into a reflection of Himself, He’s breaking me to make into something beautiful.

So, I’ll praise Him, in this moment, I’ll praise Him for the brokenness.

Plans

I’ve got some really good plans for my life. God honoring plans. Plans that stem from desires that He himself has given me. But, God is not cooperating with my plans. I know He got the memo–I give it to Him everyday. I know He hears my prayers, sees my tears,  and is intimately familiar with my hopes and fears. So, why can’t He just see the wisdom in my plans? I even have alternate versions for Him to choose from, I’m trying to be flexible here.

But, God has plans too. And His plans, while currently frustrating to me, are inexplicably better than mine. They may cause my heart to ache and my strength to falter, but that’s only so that I can place my heart in His hands and rest in His strength instead of wrestling with my weakness.

There is a line in a song that was sung at my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding that goes like this, “I can’t remember a trial or a pain he did not recycle to bring me gain; I can’t remember one single regret in serving God only, and trusting His hand. All I have need of, His hand will provide, He’s always been faithful to me.” I quite literally cannot wait to see what God brings of this time of waiting and struggling. For now I can rest in knowing that all He is doing in my life is for my good and His glory.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways

and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

–Isaiah 55:8&9