Thursday, April 23, 2015

when peace isn't like a river

I would like to preface this post by simply saying this is literally an overflow of my heart. The past months have been the most challenging times I believe I have ever endured...and I have been through a lot in almost 25 years. But what I have known, still, in the midst of my own chaos and chaos in the lives surrounding me, living and walking with me, is that my God is still here, and when I rest in His name, He fights for me and my brothers and sisters, when we can hardly cling to the truth. 

Hope is coming, sure as the dawn. Darkness will continue to pierce and attempt to bind us, but together we will stand in the fullness of His glory and wait on the day when we'll see His face. Sin will not overtake our hearts, it may knock, but it will be bound from us. Joy shall return. 

So, here is what I want to share about where my community is. Maybe this is where you are too:

Tragedy cuts us all so deep. On our souls, the air weighs heavier than any physical weight we have ever been challenged to hold. Our hearts have been beyond broken...they're shattered, they look helpless. Peace has escaped us and our cries echo into the darkness that grips, fights to rush through and overtake us. We have torn off our clothes of delight and joy, and have become wretched...all we can do is weep. This world looks so ugly and it fiercely screams that it and all in it are against us.

In the furthest depths from sight, clothed in all of our own agony and pain, a small flame flickers and it grows. The fire is fueled by our weakness, by our utter pleas for something, anything to take shape within the mess of these empty caverns once filled by a simple, fragile heart. We can't see it, or feel it, and we are far from any hope of understanding what the fire means, but the fire is fighting for us.

We are all facing giants. There's an utter inability to understand why, or how at once we've all been tested and attacked. When it seems like all we have are one another, and it is well, we're hit, individually so deeply and again a fear pervades our minds that says we are suddenly alone.

These moments that are drown in feelings we can't name or place, are suddenly quenched by the fire. I still can't truly feel the sparks that I know by now have been ignited into a flame, a wildfire that cannot be put to rest. But I have begun to hear. It's not a booming clap of thunder that spells out pretty illustrations of what I've anticipated life to be. But it is the voice of Truth.

In my despair, our despair, our misery and drowning sea of darkness, we are suddenly all together, and holding us, all with our burdens and brokenness, is a Mighty Conqueror, a Beautiful Savior and a Risen King. Here, in this desolation, seeking our hearts, when the depth of our wounds is too great to even, simply cry out His name, is Jesus... And He is standing in victory!!!

Praise His name that we have all had one another on this road. That in a season where we have literally taken blow after blow of bitterness to our own individual souls, we've still had room to unwaveringly cling to our sisterhood. We can't comprehend how we've continued to even put one foot in front of the other, even within we have faced hardship and strikes against our unity.

But all of these things, all brokenness, fight, persecution, suffering, sadness, darkness and gut-wrenching pain have been a test of the prize that is coming to us. Our faithful commitment to selfless and relentless loving of one another has earned us valuable ground in the rings of this fire that is the only thing keeping us going.

And suddenly we realize that together, and with the Son of the Living God in our midst, we are champions for His glory and the mess is stripped to reveal women bathed in righteousness and redemption and perfect, overwhelming peace and rest. It surpasses all of our human understanding long and far, but we know this is alright.

We sit and reflect and realize together that some of us were quickly overtaken by the fire. Others of us have endured the agony for what seems an earthly eternity. But we share in this prize of a faith that has become likened to pure gold.

We no longer see weak and wounded girls, falling quickly as prey to a fierce enemy, but we now stand as women brave and strong, staring headfirst into a destiny commanded by the One who was, is and is to come. And He doesn't just look upon us, He is in our company,  giving shelter and courage to fight back towards the battle that will simply always rage.

He looks upon us with kindness and as daughters who were worthy of His own trial and test. He sees us as fit for a journey more remarkable than those before and He takes us into this beautiful unknown, with the abiding promise that above facing this world together, we're facing it with Him, hand in hand.

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