December 11, 2010

Pilgrimages & other stuff

Me and my eldest Haley

Me and my Max
Long time no blog. I’m not sure why October was my banner month for blogging but I seem to have hit a wall in November. Going to try to redeem myself in December I guess. :)
So here’s what's been happening while I’ve been blogless.

Well I celebrated (ha!) a birthday in November. Birthdays these days aren’t as much fun or as anticipated as they once were. This year, because of some circumstances in my life at the time, I admit I faced my birthday with a fair amount of dread. Silly, I realize. I even realized it at the time which made it that much worse. I knew that I should be very grateful for my blessed life and even for my age. But the melancholy persisted so I took it to the Lord and as promised, He heard my cry and answered me. I ended up having a very pleasant day, with a thankful heart for the life God has given me.

But afterwards as I contemplated the emotional contortions I'd just experienced I had to ask- what was that all about? And the answer I came up with was basically this: hope deferred. Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” I think most of us have had our own personal ‘hope deferred” at one time or another. We’ve all had dreams not fulfilled, crushing disappointments, that particular something we’d hoped for that didn’t come to pass. I’ve definitely had my share throughout my life. But as I once again marked time with another birthday, it just seemed to hit me that my dreams were becoming more unlikely with each passing year. The cushion of time that kept me hopeful in youth, was now gone. No, I’m aware that I’m not ancient and those older than me will probably say, “Good grief, get a grip woman, you still have lots of time!” Okay, okay, I agree. But this dawning realization of my own mortality was not an overall negative thing in the end. It just birthed a curious determination in me to understand some things once and for all. And although I know that the enemy of my soul was right there in the midst of my birthday angst, whispering despair into my ear, I believe the Lord DOES sometime allow and lead us into seasons of contemplation and sober evaluation.

I guess I'm in good company because King David also pondered, "Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God."Ps. 42:5.

I have had to ask myself- what is my hope? I mean really? I know the answer to that of course but I'm at the point of wanting to not just know the truth but to really experience it. I mean, I want to know Him in all of His glory and to walk in His fullness, experiencing His resurrection power. I want to be aware and in awe of the fact that the Uncreated lives inside of me. I want to take Him at His word, to really trust Him, to live out these promises here on this earth and not just in the sweet by and by. So that’s where my birthday blahs led me: to set my heart on a pilgrimage for TRUTH.

Ps. 84: 1 "How lovely is your dwelling place, LORD Almighty! 2 My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.... 5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. 6 As they pass through the Valley of Baka (weeping), they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.[d] 7 They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion."

Well, for my birthday I got a plane ticket to go see my kids in St Louis for Thanksgiving. That was really great. I was gone an entire week from my sweet husband and my two youngest, so that was hard, but I really had some time of sweet fellowship with my older two and with the presence of the Lord. The Lord is really visiting Faith Chapel (my kid's church). His presence is tangible. I know we throw that around a lot “wow the presence of God was really there Sunday, blah, blah, blah”, but I mean to tell you THE PRESENCE OF GOD WAS THERE! I mean… really! Okay I know God is omnipresent, but there’s a weightiness of His presence at times that cannot be denied. In His manifest presence, I find that faith arises in my heart. I find that anything seems possible and my worries seem insignificant. There’s just no place I’d rather be. And this is how I long to live.

Anyhow I had a great time celebrating Thanksgiving in St Louis. I am so excited to see what the Lord is doing in and through my children. Lest you feel sorry for Keith and the twins for being home alone while I was off gallivanting in Missouri, waste no pity on them. They were having the time of their lives at a hunting camp in Texas. They celebrated Thanksgiving in their element- outdoors, surrounded by wildlife, in camo and with firearms. Yea boy- hate I missed it. :) But needless to say everyone had a great Thanksgiving doing their own thing. But we will all be together, under one roof once again for Christmas. It should be interesting with seven people and three dogs. I can’t wait!

Speaking of Christmas- here it is again. Every year, despite my resolve to not get so caught up in the stress, I still somehow to end up there. I am not going to lie and tell you that I have succeeded this year in keeping Christmas simple and centered on Jesus. But I have at least longed to marvel at the miracle of Christmas. I guess that is an improvement. I mean we’ve heard the story our whole lives and for most of us it has lost its wonder. But oh that we would be awakened afresh to the miracle of the incarnation.

That we would marvel at the Uncreated One sending His only Son Jesus from His home in glory to become one of us. That we would celebrate Jesus, born of a virgin just as it was foretold by the prophets; born to die for our sins. That we would be filled with wonder that He shed His blood and died a painful death on the cross for us; reconciling us to the Father, who was fully satisfied with His sacrifice. Oh that we would be amazed at His resurrection and His triumph over sin and death and His ascension to the right hand of God. That we would get excited that He is coming back for us. That we would weep at such love and be confident in such authority. And that our reasonable response to all this would be to present ourselves to Him as a living sacrifice, recognizing that we are not our own. We’ve been bought with the precious blood of Jesus. We are His. And it all began for us with Christmas, when that sweet little baby, fully God and fully man, was born in that manger in Bethlehem. A tangible, personal revelation of this is my prayer for myself, my family and for all of you. Because there WILL come a day when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord.

"He's not a baby in a manger anymore. He's not a broken man on the cross. He didn't stay in the grave and He's not staying in heaven forever"~Misty Edwards

And for those of us who have chosen to believe Him and to give ourselves to Him, when our eyes finally look upon Him in that day, we’re going to realize that He's all that's ever mattered! May we set our heart on a pilgrimage to know that and live our lives in light of that TODAY. He truly is the reason for everything... including Christmas :). Anyhow, may ya'll have a blessed, safe and awe-struck celebration.

Merry Christmas friends!

How Keith and the twins celebrated Thanksgiving :D
Hannah's Thanksgiving buck

Josephs Thanksgiving buck

Keith's big buck


Keith said...

Awesome blog. Very well said. Enjoyed it.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful truth, Kayla. Thanks.