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step up and bring it

Thursday, January 7, 2010

01-07 morning

01-07 morning

01-07 morning

with the start of the new year, i dusted off our one-year Bible. you know, the one that had been sitting on the hall bookshelf and on our nightstand and sometimes on the coffee table downstairs for the past few months of 2009, waiting to be opened and read. yeah, the one i haven’t been reading for quite some time. so, we dug it out and started on the first of the year with a bit of Genesis, a bit of Matthew, a Psalm, and a Proverb.

getting back into the Word is hard, but that’s only because i know that God knows why we’re doing it. why i’m doing it.

we’ve been out of the loop with each other, He and i. for a while now. for most of last year, if i want to be blunt and naked and honest (and why shouldn’t i?). i haven’t been interested and He’s been patient as usual.

of course, the thing is, once you start making the effort to trudge back in His direction, He meets you there. sometimes it’s like sliding into a warm blanket next to the fire and other times it’s like the crashing of a wave when the tide comes in—meeting back with God, that is. this time, there are definitely waves. icy cold and hard like concrete. taking my breath away.

while i can always seem to remember the good times and the good things God has done in my life, i somehow manage to forget that all of those blessings came with difficulty and hardship. it’s easier to remember the end result, and i’m sure that there are good reasons for that. i’m sure it’s my sin nature to forget that God grows us all through discipline and hard work, through toiling in the often overgrown garden of our hearts digging for weeds and thorns, through giving us things to strive after and work for. i’m sure it’s sin nature to cry out in the midst of adversity, “this isn’t fair! i’ve been gone so long! where are Your open arms?”

i know i’m saying that now.

however, if i take just a sopping wet moment, ankle deep in this sea i’ve willingly, longingly waded into, i can already see His arms are open. if i want to step up, He’s going to bring it on. life without God is hardly an adventure—it’s easy, empty, shallow. that’s where i’ve been. in easy. in empty. in shallow. life with God is the real journey—it’s hard, it’s full, and it’s deep. i know this. i remember the rough, fulfilling, rich times. yet, strangely enough, every time i let myself wander from the path, i’m surprised by just how out of breath i find myself when i turn back on it again.

still, the rewards are there. there is something to the struggle He puts us through, something that refines us from dirty ore to shining gold; something that strips away the chaff to get at the grain of our existence; something that tears the weeds out by the roots so the flowers can turn their faces to the sun; something that makes obedience more worthwhile than disobedience; something that makes the hardships of love blindingly bright with the glory of future promises.

yep, i know this.

but, my feet are cold and i’m out of shape. God’s seen my fledgling efforts and He’s come to meet me. it’s not an easy meeting. i am ashamed to be so unprepared for His love. if i want to put my feet back on His path, i have to be ready for what He’s got in store for me to rebuild our trust. i wasn’t, but i want to be now.

what lies beyond this unexpected challenge? well, in 11 weeks, there will be a new life. a new responsibility. an entirely new path altogether. there is only one thing to do, and that’s trust with assurance on His faithfulness. i may chafe at the bit and want to give up, but He knows what He’s doing.

He’s gotten me—us, my family—this far.

He’s totally capable of getting me—us, my family—the rest of the way, too.

i always say i want to see the rest of the script, that i want to see what God has planned, especially when i’m standing in the middle of a mess or a crisis or a hardship like i am now. but i’m always reminded that ultimately that spoils the whole process, that ruins the adventure, that makes our relationship one of convenience instead of reality. so, here i am again. ready for more of Him in my life, whatever the cost may be.

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5 Comments
  1. johanjoubert permalink
    Thursday, January 7, 2010 11:05 am

    Thanks for your post. I stumbled upon it and find it encouraging. As this is my first post on any blog anywhere, I hope this will serve as an encouragement to keep up what you now stepped up to. I am confident that a new season filled with meaning, blessing and fulfillment will follow. Regardless of the challenges the New Year may bring. 2010 appears to be, from my perspective, most exciting and promising! Hope you will enjoy all the precious memories this year will bring!

  2. homebird2 permalink
    Thursday, January 7, 2010 11:33 am

    What a great post, Tiffany. I understand this completely because I’ve been experiencing similar feelings of apathy for the past year (well, probably longer, if I’m being totally honest). I feel like it always takes difficult times for God to bring me back to Him. It’s unfortunate that I can’t learn to be faithful and interested in all circumstances. Maybe one day I’ll get it right. 🙂

    • Thursday, January 7, 2010 3:45 pm

      Yeah. It really sucks to be faced with what feels very much like a crisis when you’re not really in the right place to deal with it. It’s one thing to be living with spiritual apathy and all things working inf what look like your favor, and completely another to realize you’re already isolated from your only Help when the troubles become real. I suppose that’s why the difficult times are important, but they’re still far from easy.

  3. Thursday, January 7, 2010 12:30 pm

    I love that second picture. Very beautiful.

  4. Rachel permalink
    Friday, January 8, 2010 11:07 am

    Wow. Your article was very inspiring, yet personal. I really enjoyed it, and the photos tied in perfectly — the beauty of God’s creations.

    -Rachel-

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