Monday, November 23, 2009

Leaves in the wind

So I did it, trembling with a racing heart, I got up in front of the entire church and gave this "speech". I do NOT like speaking in front of people (who does seriously??) but I find myself accepting opportunities and hoping for more. Weird? I never said I wasn't;)

Anyway, a few different people came up to me afterward and said the best thing ever...they said God spoke to their heart through my words...I'm so completely humbled!!!

So, this was edited from the first version.

Just this morning I woke up to a beautiful song. I love music and these lyrics really spoke to my heart. The song is by Among the Thirsty and it’s called “I’d Need a Savior”

How many names can I use to explain the love of my Jesus,the life that he gave and so many times will I raise you today.I lift up my life ‘cause you’re always the sameAnd my offering to you I bring

Last week I was not in the best mood for preparing to say what I’m thankful for. I sat one morning with my cup of coffee and peered out at the blustering day (I do blame the weather). I saw some terrified leaves fall to be swept to a place I couldn’t see from my window, and in a moment of melancholy I realized that I kind felt like one of those leaves being tossed to and fro in the raging wind, only taking detours from my final destination…the ground. I know! Don’t ever let me complain about my girls being overly dramatic!

This year has been tough and last year was tough too. Trials have come one after another and even overlapped each other on several occasions. I’ve become accustomed to moments of brief rest before the testing of my faith begins yet again. I know that testing grows us, but honestly I’ve wondered how much “growing” one person can possibly need…you don’t have to answer that!

There’s been plenty of inspiration on Facebook as so many people are typing out things that they’re thankful for. I also read over my family’s Thanksgiving letters from last year. I usually have everyone write a simple note of what we’re thankful for but I don’t think I’ve ever actually gone back to them until this week. There is something to remembering what we have and counting our blessings. I laughed to see that three out of five children were thankful for candy (probably old from Halloween) last year and the rest were sweet and doing so definitely helped to improve my mood. At the time last year we were struggling with the shock of our situation. Being in the building industry we were hit early by the economic downturn and most of what I wrote in my own letter focused on what we had left. I was thankful that we had our health and our home and family and friends.

As this financial trial has continued, honestly becoming more of a “life” trial, the feeling of defeat and the loss of hope have definitely settled upon me. And that’s where this sorry leaf analogy comes in. I’m definitely in a different place this year and I haven’t decided if it’s better or worse.

Throughout the week I’ve had another song in my head. “I will arise and come to Jesus”. The lyrics that I love are these:

I will arise and go to Jesus,He will embrace me in His rms;In the arms of my dear Savior,O there are ten thousand charms.

Come, ye thirsty, come, and welcome,God’s free bounty glorify;True belief and true repentance,Every grace that brings you nigh.

Come, ye weary, heavy laden,Lost and ruined by the fall;If you tarry till you’re better,You will never come at all.

You see I know what I’m supposed to do. I know what the bible says. The bible says to trust in Him, look to Him, keep my eyes focused on Him, and for the weak and weary there is no shortage of promises, in fact every answer we need is there in God’s Word. But keeping faith and keeping focused are not easy to do when things are pressing at us from every direction. It’s not easy when the possibility of things turning around slips farther and farther away. Honestly there comes a point of giving up on circumstances and lettings things go.

In the middle of my leaf word picture I realized that there is something that I hold onto when everything else is hopeless. I might be heading down to the ground, but God is an expert at raising things from the dead. He takes dead things and breaths life into them, infuses them with His power and His glory and when He resurrects something it is eternally better than how it was before.

Jesus was crucified, but He rose from the grave, He conquered death for all of us and He is living in His glorified body. He saved us by that atoning work and when I think about what He has saved me from, I want nothing more than to serve Him daily!

He saved me at a young age calling my name and for that I am thankful. His grace filled the gaps in my dysfunctional family as He comforted my pain and covered my shame. My despair and unbelief led me to a life of parties and drugs and He saved me from the destruction that I was running towards. I was alone and He restored to me a family with ample room for grace to be lived out daily. I had dreams as a little girl of having a wonderful husband and lots of children and He restored that dream (we have five kids). He took me in my brokenness, in my depression and despair and continues to turn those ashes into beauty.

What I am most thankful for though, is that while I may feel blown around in the wind and while I may lose faith, give up, lose sight of the Truth, screw up, fail, you get the point, God does NOT change. And His power is made perfect through our weaknesses. Not in spite of them, but THROUGH them! That’s grace! The same power that conquered death is in us!

Something that remains on my list from year to year is my thankfulness for my family and our friends; people lift us up when we are lacking faith, speak truth to us when we need it, people who feed us when we are hungry and clothe us when we need it. And people who give us that opportunity to be in their lives so we can do that for them as well.

The last thing that I want to share is that I am thankful for this day, because really this day is all we know that we will have, right? And if we have lost hope and faith for a little while or lived for years running from God one way or another, we have this day. God’s compassions never fail. Lamentations 3:23 says “they are new every morning; great is [His] faithfulness”.

I’m just going to finish with the rest of the lyrics to “I’d Need a Savior”:

How many songs can I sing to proclaim
your wondrous love and beauty so great?
What would I say if you brought down the rain and
I walk through the pain my heart would still

Chorus: Your name is Jesus. Your name is

You’re the Wonderful, Counselor, my Friend.
You’re what I hold on to; I know that you brought me through
All the days of loss, to the cross you knew
I’d need a Savior.

You’re what I hold on to; I know that you brought me through
All the days of loss, to the cross you knew I’d need a

I’d need a Savior
I need you, Savior

1 comment:

Megan said...

You're very brave to get up and speak in front of a congregation!! Wow! But this is awesome, Jewel. You have the perfect words and I'm sure you touched many hearts. =)


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