I said I would try to update here as I felt I could. So much has happened. Some of it such stands out in my mind as clear as it happened only a moment ago, and some of it feels like such a blur. Much must be kept private. Much I'm pondering in my heart. Some I may share in time. For right now, I'm taking it day by day. Sometimes hour by hour. Knowing God will give His grace and that is all I need.
Among what have been the hardest, darkest days of my life, I have seen things so precious and so beautiful. In the midst of pain and uncertainty, during the nights so long and weary, during days where hopeful waves came when maybe it was only a bad dream and it wasn't really happening. God is there. As close as He ever is. Longing to be trusted and loved as He always is. And His presence has held me so close. As I see how weak I am, how lacking is my faith, He holds me, comforts me, and let me know He cares.
A dear friend of mine wrote me and said the Lord asked her to do something for the entire month of April...a sacrifice to Him. As she sought His face, dwelt in His Word and prayed, the Lord impressed upon her that maybe she was standing in the gap for someone else. And the Lord put me on her heart. And didn't let me leave her mind. And she prayed. And prayed. Before she even knew what our family was going through or maybe before I even knew, God placed me on her heart and she prayed. In days where doubts attack like a mighty army seeking to overcome, and I wondered if God even remembered me, she wrote. And I felt SO loved by my God. He did remember. He was there. He is in control and He cares so much.
The comments, emails, phone calls....when I think of them, my heart melts with the love and care God shows through His people. I don't deserve His goodness, and I know much of my life (and maybe to some extent still struggle) I feel like I must do more to be loved. But when I am so weak that I can't offer anything other than brokenness and tears and if it wasn't for a family that needed to be cared for, I would in vain try to get up from my bed, God shows me how much He loves me.
Psalms 143. When I thought I would die, these words brought life. It was 3 days after everything happened. Sleep I longed for in which to escape the pain wouldn't come. I checked the clock again- 3:43 am. I walked down the hall and collapsed in my husband's chair. I thought I should pray, but couldn't. I saw his Bible and thought I should read, but didn't want to. I sad there hurting, staring, with the feeling that all I knew had slipped away. I reached over, opened Daniel's Bible, and started reading. Psalms 143.
Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness.
And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.
For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead.
Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate.
Yes. That is how I feel. Oh, Lord, help.
I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.
And I began to remember. I sat there for almost an hour remembering. 10 years ago, we had a yard sale and sold most everything we had. I remember Timothy and Elijah had a lemonade and cookie stand at the sale. I remember they sold their toys. We were going to Mexico where God had called us. We took our 7 children, left our home, and moved into our travel trailer while we trusted God to bring us to where He'd called us. I remember the first home he gave us. A tiny house of 600 square feet that felt like a mansion after living in the 230 sq. ft trailer. I remembered trying to fit into a land where the I didn't understand the language or culture, where everything seemed so different, wanting so much to be used yet feeling so useless. I remembered time and time again where we prayed for God's provision and story after story come to my mind of the ways he supplied. Sweet babies added to our family. Illnesses, surgeries, trials. God brought us through them all. I remembered walking down these dusty roads with our little ones carrying two of them inviting people to come hear God's Word preached. Sharing with them the good news that Jesus did it all and they could have complete forgiveness and new life by faith in Him. The job of church planting was so much more than we knew. Tears, work, joys, trials, rejection, growth, changed lives. I remembered pulling our travel trailer onto this piece of land. No drainage, no power, only one water spigot. Digging ditches to put in utilities, morning sicknesses, wanting to go back home. But the Lord brought us here and kept us here. And what seemed to be impossible, He did. He gave us a home. He raised up a precious church full of men, women, and children who declare what great things HE has done for them. Lives so broken and hurting to lives full of joy and freedom. And I learned the language, and the things that had seemed so different to me, I grew to love. And my heart began to swell with love. Deep friendships. Hearts knit so closely. And this became my home. My children growing up here. This is their home. Seeing them learn the language (better than mommy!), their sweet friendships, serving the Lord in so many ways together. And as I remembered, the tears stopped flowing from hurt and began to flow from gratefulness and joy. God has been so faithful and so good to us! And rather than the overflowing ache that filled my heart of all I was losing, a flood of thankfulness overcame me for all He had given me.
I stretch fourth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah.
And so many times I have taught my children and the children in our church and the ladies in our church about surrender. That all we have comes from God and to always live our lives in complete surrender to His will. And right there I opened my hands, lifted them up to my Lord and told Him that I knew all I had came from Him, and He could have it. I give it to him. My life, my husband, my children, my home, all I have, all I do. It is His.
Hear me speedily, O Lord: my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit.
Cause me to hear thy loving kindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.
I looked out my living room window, and the sun was shining in. Morning had come. And the Lord had let me hear his loving kindness. And when for 3 days I didn't know how to "do this", I now knew. I didn't need to know. I just needed to trust. God would show me. He would lead me. He would sustain me. I'm again selling all I have, I don't know when we will leave, where we will live, where Daniel will work, and what will happen. But I know the One who knows. And I'd rather have Him and nothing than to have everything without him.
So many prayers have already been answered. I'll share more later.
So many more prayers being made. Seemingly impossible needs. But an unlimited, wonderful God who delights in a broken and contrite heart...that He will not despise. Sin hurts and has its consequences. But God's grace reaches farther than our deepest sin. In the dark, lonely valleys is where there the rich soil lies...and the sweet fruit can grow.
I love the Lord. And I love the husband He's given me. Forever. For Always. No Matter What.