Christmas attempted to make itself into something that was really not Christmas at all. In fact it may be even blasphemous for me to mention it in this way. But that is truly how it felt. In fact the last months have felt that way.
My journey towards spiritual obedience is not one that has been full of white puffy clouds and rainbows. Rather the deeper I get the harder it seems to become. Before you think that I am searching for a pity party...It is really quite opposite. When making the choices that we have made and ending up in the valley that we currently reside in it sometimes feels as if the whole way traveled has been uphill. But I will still shout from the rooftops that I know with every fiber of my being that we took the right road that we have followed the right map. I know that we followed where God led. And I am constantly reminding myself that just because we are obedient and faithful does not mean that things will be smooth, easy or anything resembling perfection. No, sometimes the first step in obedience is simply more of it with a heavy dose of patience. It is strange though in the upheaval, disappointment and sometimes questioning I have never felt more at peace about life. I do not know why we are here yet or why we were called to leave our contentment but we were none the less....so it goes.
I feel as if I am always quick to search for a silver lining, to find a way to be thankful for the misfortunes that sometimes greet me. The reason for it is because I can't think of a single bad time that wasn't fixed at some point, that wasn't evened out with understanding and reasoning over time or made relevant and I mean that. And as many of you know I have been faced with a healthy handful of interesting life happenings. This move has been no different. Things have not turned out as originally hoped for, making for moments that I feel less than content. And the silver lining is far from being found but its the moments that I have experienced before that have prepared me for this and even for whats to come.
I love the poem from Mary Oliver, called the Uses of Sorrow.
Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.
This couldn't be more true. This whole life is a gift and I may not always feel like recognizing it but the truth remains. The joys that I am given on a daily basis are simple reminders that much grace is needed and much grace is given. Grace I do not deserve at all. Most of what I have really is undeserved...and earned I think not for I fall short daily of what it would take to earn the kind of grace I receive.
The fact that I have enough socks to wear two pair at the same time everyday and a washing machine to wash them has been a gift as of recently. Plumbing alone is a gift which I was reminded of over the holiday when we were without use of our sewer for 3 days while trying to celebrate the holiday. I am reminded daily as I drive the streets of downtown of what it means to have a warm home at all. There are many that have walls made of tarps out there. My children's innocence being spared through all of the recent tragedy is a mercy I have been granted for whatever reason, I pray for the others whose is lost. I think of all that I have that would seem like a luxury to much of the world, all the things that I take for granted completely forgetting that much of the world has no access to more than half of what I have. I could make a list a mile long that have nothing to do with my main circumstance that outweighs what troubles me the most. For it is in the small things where the blessings shine through the most. Sometimes our happiness and blessings do lie in what appears to be darkness. Sometimes that everlasting blessings come from what seems like the least hopeful.
So as it appears Christmas was something different this year. I am not sure I have ever been more focused on the Star of Hope and what was found underneath it.
It may take me years to realize why we made this move and why it has gone the way it has...yet it may take months or days, and at the end of this day what does time frame really matter. I am really not searching for an earthly gift anyway, its the eternal one I have interest in. And so the chiseling continues, and my main prayer is that God would find a way to use me in all of this, that he would find a way to make me more useful for his purpose in his molding. I never knew when I started praying for obedience and patience and trust that it would take me where it has. But it has and I am here and I will be better for it. And not better for me but for Him.