It’s a new experience for me writing a blog. I’m beginning in a season of my life that looks nothing like I ever thought it would. Doing it this way wasn’t my plan. After almost 9 years of living, growing a church and being part of what God was doing on the North West Coast of Tasmania he moved us to Hobart. We always thought we’d be moving interstate or overseas. Yet we knew this was exactly where he wanted us. I knew I needed a rest. Although I’m big on maintaining spiritual discipline caring for myself, when there is stress on all fronts it just not enough. I was caring for my husband as he recovered from illness, continuing ongoing nurture for our 4 children and running a household in a home that was being renovated(!) and working as one of the ministers in the church plant we were part of. I was exhausted and my body was sick. I love being a mother and there are many elements of ministry that are life-giving but my body doesn’t cope with a whole lot at the best of times.
I have lived with chronic illnesses for most of my life. Pain and fatigue are what I know as normal. I have known what its like to be near death and be completely incapacitated. I know how it feels to be unconscious, but hear people praying and have my spirit soar within me. Yet now I am in a season where I can rest but coming to terms with that has not been easy. My husband (Will) is enjoying his new ministry role, our children are thriving and peaceful in their new schools and I’m grateful.
Then why do I feel as I do? I have felt intense sadness, lost and even abandoned. In a place where I can barely get through each day, I have no fight (not like me at all) and at times I’ve wondered where God is. Through years of God walking with me through the rugged places, dry deserts, the pain, dark lows, many tears, physical weakness and angry inner storms I have learned that no matter how I feel or (the numb state) when I can’t feel anything he is real and present. His word is true. God has taught me to focus on blessings. The sweet and positive things. The things my kids do and say, the beauty of a sunset, music, birds, the smell of rain and walking in it, loving people, the glories of God’s creativity…
Scripture never promises the life of a Christian will be easy it says that ‘rain will fall on the just and unjust alike’ (Matt 5.45) it doesn’t promise to keep us out of the fire but God promises to be with us in it. And in knowing him in the fire, he refines us into his likeness. He promises that his love is wider, deeper than any hurt or suffering we can imagine Rom 8.28, etc I’m blessed. I can declare ‘Blessed be the name of the Lord’ and worship him no matter what season I find myself in. He is God no matter what sort of rain seems to fall. I’m a child of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords – that’s true blessing. I live in the hope and blessing that this present earth is not my eternal home and I long for heaven.
I have the blessing of approaching the throne of grace with confidence in the rain of disappointment and tears. Climbing on my Fathers knee and pounding on his chest, knowing that he has gone through so much more, that there is safety and security that he’s bigger than any of it. That is real blessing.
I came across a song recently by Laura Story. She would be more well known for the song ‘Indescribable’ (most people would know it sung by Chris Tomlin) which she wrote while her husband was going through brain cancer. Her song ‘Blessings’ speaks with authenticity and rich depth as one who know’s God in hard times and has come to know them blessings of a different kind. Blessings often don’t happen as we think they should or plans happen as we would like but what we learn in the knowledge and love of God is a sea of blessing.