Monday, April 11, 2011

Last week spanned long.  Emotions electric, tension high.

Crossing those bridges of change never comes easy. 

Even the idea of a turn can cause one to trip.

 All weekend I struggled with sanctification and obedience; Christ in me.

 I did the very thing I judged in another.  I winked at my own sin; defensive, justifying.  I heard God telling me one thing and I did another.  And I made excuses out loud.  And I have lacked trust and joy and gratitude.  I have been white-knuckling.

 Today I read Ann Voskamp: topic - joy and gratitude.

So, now finally, house hushed, though messy, I have made it here.  I am  Finding Time to Create

And I'm thankful for women honest enough to bestow not only wisdom but also an admittance to struggles. 

This creative thing I do with words and time, is work and fun.  Food and soul. 

And so when last week ParenTeen class turned into marriage counseling, needed, because I try so hard in my own strength to be chaste and reverent but fall short in demonstrating joy or peace and I'm twisting pretzel shaped in my chair, typical closed-off body language just wanting it all to end, the talking, the honesty, the sharing, and the beautiful, soft, class leader, another honest woman who gives confirmation and wisdom, says, "Nicole.  Blog when you get home.  You think well with your fingers"  then I know.  Know that this means healing for me.  The confessions, the thought process, the time away with God.  This is healing.   

Monday, April 4, 2011

Hope Deferred

Hope Deferred is the current working title of a book I've been writing for, um, six years now? 

Hope from the Hebrew word, which among other things, means; to wait, to be patient, to be pained, to trust.

Deferred,of course, meaning,delayed, drawn out. 

It was no coincidence that when the idea for my novel materialized,it was upon the arrival of my first daughter.

The daughter I struggled to conceive.  The daughter I feared I would never have.

 It was only after the Lord brought her to life, and into my life that I was able to tackle the topic of what that waiting feel like, in the context of fiction, of course. 

But I haven't worked on the book in a long while. 

And I've learned contentment.  And acceptance

And there's nothing I want so badly at this point in my life.

Lately, however, the significance of this Proverbs is taking hold of me again as I watch people I love encountering these delays in their own nonfiction lives. 

Proverbs is a book with boundless wisdom and profundity.  But the teachings are often short one-liners.  Tiny golden nuggets.  I wish they were at least blurbs.  A little more expanded on.  When I looked in my concordance I noted that the word deferred is used only in this way once. In this Proverbs.  The other time its used in the Old Testament is in Genesis and it has a different root, meaning more, to procrastinate.

The Proverbs meaning includes;  to develop.

If our hope is in God, then it helps to recognize that He is not just procrastinating in His timing or His answers.  He may be delaying in order to develop.

The truth is though, God can make us wait so long, we literally feel ill.  We may fall into depression, even.

And I think what happens with this phenomenon, and why we feel so sick, is because often what we are hoping for is Godly.  Psalm 37: 4 says, "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart."

I remember being so angry with God when He was denying me what I thought, was a Godly desire.  I spent many nights telling him that He promised to give me the desires of my heart. So why wasn't He?

However, I certainly wasn't delighting myself in Him.  I was too angry at Him. 

But I don't believe He was withholding as punishment. 

No, what finally turned around was that I said, "OK."  I gave it over.  I said, "You know what I want.  I still want it.  But I'll learn to be content without it." 

And then I got my beautiful little girl.

It doesn't always work out that way.  And this is not a sermon.  In fact, I'm not even here because I have answers. 

I'm just hurting and relating with those I know who feel like giving up.  We know that it rains on the righteous and the unrighteous alike but that doesn't help when we see our prayers of a Godly nature go unanswered for extended periods of time. It can begin to feel like God doesn't care about what we care about.  We can begin to doubt God's motives and even existence. 

The sermon yesterday was about satan and his lies.  And I think in our moments of hope deferred we are under even greater temptation to fall for satan's lies. 

The pastor pointed to four steps the enemy uses:

His first tactic is to bring about doubt. 

And then a challenge.

Next the appearance of a better alternative.

And finally, the perception that you can't trust God. 

I know that when we are hurting and feeling abandoned by God, there is great temptation to abandon Him.  And we need to guard our hearts against this. 

There are no hopeless causes.  God can change anything.  Keep praying.   Keep hoping.  And keep praising.

Ask God to reveal His heart to you.  And to reveal your own heart.

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
-Matthew 6:33

And here's my confession:  I have not entirely learned contentment or acceptance.  There are things I've given up on.  There are areas I've stopped believing in and for.  My hope has been deferred so long, I've moved on. 

I need God to reveal these things to me daily.  I need to examine my own heart and motives.  I need to make sure I love God best and mean it when I sing, "this world has nothing for me."  And I need to begin again to believe that there are no hopeless causes.