I can’t say that I’m too sad to see 2016 to go. Whew, what a whirlwind of a year! The first few months of 2016 seemed to be a never ending wilderness, followed by months of stirrings & confirmations, and finally months of waiting and limbo living. As crazy as the year was, there were many “stand out” moments, and among the top was one Matt blogged about a couple weeks back….
It was a day back in September when The Lord gave us both an unexpected little push at the home-going service of a dear brother-in-Christ. It was certainly not the message we were expecting to hear that day, but a perfect way to honor a faithful servant like Pastor Jeff and challenge those of us in attendance to go deeper still.
Since Matt had the privilege of helping with the worship portion of the service we were sitting apart, which meant I was on kid duty. We agreed from the start we wanted our three kids to be there with us. In the months and weeks prior, our family, as so many others, had prayed for Pastor Jeff and his precious family. We felt it was important for our kids to be able to witness first hand the celebration over a saint going home and the hope we have in Jesus, but also the harsh reality of the sinful world in which we live. Going into anything like this we try to give the kids a very clear picture of what’s expected from them, but even still, as the pastor began to speak, I found myself praying extra hard that my kids would be on their very best behavior! I knew this was something I didn’t want to miss.
As I sat there stunned over the words I was hearing, the tears began to pour and pour (Yes, this is a recurring theme in my life. My tears tend to flow very freely). And yes, this time my tears were over the loss and sadness I felt for this dear family but also over the fact that I knew God was speaking to us…..deeper waters, surrender, letting go. This was the exact same issue He was dealing with me over three days before. He was reminding me (us) to give up control, to surrender the farmhouse sink.
The Creator of the universe, The Maker of the waters, seas, and oceans deep was calling us out. After the beach trip and now the home going message, the lyrics of the song “Oceans” by Hillsong United seemed to be on repeat in my brain:
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
Pretty awesome, huh? And that’s just a small snippet! We had sung this one several times at church and each time I really tried to make it my prayer, “Yes Lord, lead me where my trust is without borders,” only now I realized it was actually becoming my reality. I could feel the waters rising.
After the service I made my way to Matt and with one look I knew he was feeling the same way I was ….holy cow! We were both trying to convey thoughts and emotions through a single look, desperately wanting to talk but knew it wasn’t the right time….. You know, that’s a really difficult spot to be in, wanting to talk but you can’t! It’s times like those that you realize really quick the only person you truly have is Christ Himself.
But even at 40 years old, no matter how hard you try to keep things secret, somehow, someway our parents always seem to know when something is brewing. This time was no different. Our parents had sensed during all the stirrings that something was up. It is truly a blessing to have been raised in a home by Christian parents! Even after we’ve left their nests, they continue to be our biggest cheerleaders and frontline prayer warriors. Since my parents were there for the memorial service that day too they heard first hand the challenge and charge.
On the way back home that evening, we were able to share with my parents some more about how we felt like The Lord was calling us out. To what? We didn’t know! But we felt like it would be something “new”. As I shared how God had lead me to the “new verses” (specially Isa. 43:18-19) during our time at the beach I heard my mom crying from the back seat.
She began to tell me about a time when I was six years old. One day during her devotion & prayer time The Lord took her to Isa. 43:18-19. It made such an impact that she wrote the verses down on an index card and tucked it away. Later that same week, their church was having a nightly revival that they attended. The minister asked my parents if he could pray for me, and after a sweet time of prayer he proceeded to quote Isaiah 43:18-19 to my mom!!!
Y’all!!! And now here we are 34 years later! I don’t remember or ever recall hearing that story before. She hadn’t told anybody about her scripture index card all those years ago. The revival minister didn’t have some magic way of knowing he was quoting the same verse she had written down OR it would be the same verse God would lead that six year old girl to many years later! Only God!!! All those years ago, even then, God was orchestrating the puzzle pieces that would ultimately impact today’s big picture.
God’s ways are so much different than our own. Just when we think we have it all figured out He surprises us with something completely different! Just as CS Lewis wrote in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” For now that’s what we’re clinging on to. He’s King, He’s in control, and He has a plan for our good. So, bring on 2017, I’m ready for God’s “new things”!
“But forget all that— it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”