4/30/14

God's Provision, pt II

This is the month that my life changed in a lot of big ways last year. Job changes and church changes and relationship changes and city & state changes. Enough change for a whole lifetime, thanks. I think I'll resign from changing and become a statue.

It's been a year, and I think that even amidst my wondering "how long, O Lord?" I've always thought it wouldn't be too long. I've always had this idea in my mind that, once I figured out what God was trying to teach me in one season, He'd move me into the next season. I'd end up at my destination and look back and say, "It was all leading to this!"

But I've learned a lot in the last year, and my season remains.

Yes, most of the fluctuation has ceased (thank You, Jesus). I have a job and I live with my family and things seem to have finally settled down for a little while. The part of physical bewilderment around every turn has ended.

But the part where I'm still not sure what my purpose is or why that had to happen or what I am supposed to do and where I'm supposed to go from here, the part where I've been stripped of everything and it feels like I've taken 50 steps backwards with no known reason why...that part of the season I'm still in. I still have no answers and no real direction. I still feel like I'm in a wasteland of sorts, very far away from (and sometimes unsure if there even is) a "destination." I still deal with shadows and echoes of pain and loss.

So I write this post because my most-read post last year was one about God not providing. I don't know where you are, you who read that post last year. Maybe you're out of that season, or beyond it, or just beginning it, or still in the middle of it. Wherever you are, I wanted to touch base with you.

I emailed my friend Justin with lots of facts about my current life, like random puzzle pieces dumped onto the table in hopes that maybe he could piece some things together and give me at least an idea of the picture they're supposed to make, so that I could make sense of what I'm living.

No pressure.

Instead, and thankfully, Justin said this:
It may seem like everything you've come through looks like it's not the right fit - but it may not be the right fit because God needs to change your shape instead of the situation. God changing you is more important than God using you....We can't discount the fact that God puts us in remarkably frustrating situations sometimes not to change them, but to change us. Surrender in these situations looks something like, "God, I surrender to a season, that while I might not be able to change the circumstance, I will allow you to let it change me."
I have been praying that prayer a lot. A lot.

Because during the first part of this season it was all I could do just to endure, to simply hold on for dear life and pray I make it through. But now that I've endured and had quite enough of this season and am ready for the next one and am ready for it now, I find I must surrender.

The new Bethel album has a song called "It is Well." They sing, "Through it all, it is well." I listened to the first half of the song and admitted to the Lord, "I have not thought much of this last year has been 'well,' Lord."

But then I realized that singing "it is well" does not mean "I am happy with this." God doesn't ask you to be "happy" when He leads you through suffering and difficult times.

Instead, I think "it is well" is a prayer of surrender. The same as "so be it" or "not my will, but Yours."

Even if everything I don't want to happen, happens, it is well.
Even if I am somewhere I don't want to be for longer than I want to be there, it is well.
Even if I don't know where You're taking me and You will only light one step at a time (or sometimes just ask me to hold Your hand through the dark), it is well.
Even if I have no idea when this season will end, or if it ever will, or what the purpose of it is, it is well.
If you want to change me, transform me, break me, and reshape me, it is well.

The second half of that Bethel song goes like this:
Let go, my soul,
and trust in Him
the waves and wind
still know His name
So this part II of my "what if God doesn't provide?" question from so many months ago is not a "be encouraged, friends, because I have arrived and God provided and He'll do the same for you!" post. 'Cause I haven't arrived. I'm still very much adrift at sea.

But be encouraged, friends, because the waves and wind still know His name.

Be encouraged, friends, because there is no one more trustworthy to be surrendered to.

And be encouraged, friends, because this is what the Lord speaks over me, and He speaks it over you, too:

I'm not done.
This isn't a mistake. 
You didn't mess anything up. 
And you aren't messed up.
Nothing is beyond My redemption. 
I've known from the beginning where I want you to be and what it'd take to get you there. 
I'm working on it. 
I'm not done.