It's late on a Thursday evening when it finally dawns on me what day it is. And that one thought?
It's enough to make this overburdened heart beat a little giddy with relief.
The new month's still a couple hours from being born, but I'm not climbing into bed until I've turned every calendar in the house. It's the one hanging on the fridge, though, that I'm most aching to turn--the one emblazoned with Truth Names for every month of the year.
And I might've once been foolish enough to think I'd chosen those names myself, those pieces of scripture adorning all the pages. But January wasn't even finished before it was plain as day that God's the One speaking promises over the months of a life.
February's lived up to it's name and who says the shortest month can't hold the longest days on the hardest roads? All this waiting and hoping and holding on and being brave and taking heart when all you really want to do is run. Hide. Bury this hurt and this hope and stick your head in the sand and your heart in a box.
February's been a fight to keep breathing, keeping hoping, keeping holding on to the One Who Holds when everything else just falls to pieces.
And what comes next?
I'm just about weeping when I turn that calendar to March and read those words I already know are there:
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.
Could there be anything more joyous for the weary-boned and the weak-kneed and the wounded-souled than this? That what's coming next is different than what's come before? That God's making a way through the impossible dark and He's breathing life right into the deadest place?
It's three days after the turning of the calendars when we're about to take communion and I'm playing this familiar song about a mighty cross, singing of how the dead wood can become a Life Tree when a Savior's been nailed clean through it. I know all the words and I've sung them a thousand times, but this one phrases catches me off guard and I can barely keep going: "Love held Him there..."
It wasn't strength or determination or willpower or anger or even desperation that kept Christ on that cross. It was love.
For me. For you. For all of us broken ones.
Love held Him there. And love holds me here, too.
In the dark days of change and loss and struggle and uncertainty, it isn't strength or determination or willpower or anger or even desperation that keeps me from packing it in, throwing in the towel, and walking away from this whole mess of a life.
It's only love.
Love holds me together and love holds me in place. This place. Where He's asked me to stay, to wait, to hope, to be brave in the face of everything I fear.
And I say Yes because I'm loved and I'm in love and who wants to walk away when Love's asked you to stay? Who can bear to say No when you've waited your whole life to say Yes?
Yes to being loved and being held and being in love.
Maybe the first week of March still feels a lot like February. A lot like Winter and wounding and waiting. And maybe I'm still buried in the dark, hoping and praying and expecting something new.
But when you know it's Love Who holds you here, you also know this: Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
And suddenly the quiet dark begins to feel less like a prison and more like a refuge.
More like Home.
Faith Jam is on hiatus for the moment, but since I missed posting on the topic of Love a few weeks back, I thought I'd write anyway. You can read everyone else's posts on Love over at FaithBarista.com.
There is hope in these words, friend. May the Lord indeed show you the way in the wilderness and provide plentiful refreshing streams from which you can drink.ReplyDelete
That song is new to me, but how majestic it is. Thanks for that.
Grace and peace to you in Jesus, dear one. You are right: He is your refuge and truest home.
@tinuviel: Yes, Friend. Hope indeed. In need of a lot of refreshment this week as I battle yet another virus, so I'm happily picturing those streams you've referred to and trusting God to provide sustenance in my hours of weakness. Waiting to be made new is hard. Breathing in, breathing out, and giving thanks for you and your faithful prayers. Praying you, too, are recovering from illness and regaining strength. Love to you tonight, Friend!Delete
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
(sorry about the deleted comment above; i left off the end of it by mistake!)
long days and hard roads indeed! and not just this February...my sense from your posts is that it's been a very hard start to 2013 after a 2012 replete with trials. in those circumstances, there must, as you say, be such a temptation to "bury hurt and hope"--to trade a heart of flesh that's not only "frangible" but broken, for an unbroken and infrangible heart of stone. if you can resist that temptation, then--despite your troubles and your anguish--you are blessed! if in the midst of "change and loss and struggle and uncertainty" you can hold onto hope and to love, then you certainly are held in His love: to paraphrase 1 John 4:19, if we keep on holding onto Him in love, it is (only) because we are still held in His love.
may the God of all comfort and hope protect and encourage and bless you--
@chris: Ah, yes. I try not to "add up" all the hardships from the last months and years because it really is a bit daunting remembering everything I've been through. But you are right--it's a huge part of what makes the road so difficult. The fact that *this* hard road comes right after the other hard roads it took to get here. But I can say without hesitation that *this* hard road is less devastating than the previous ones because I am resting in being Loved and being in love with God--taking refuge in Him while the storms are raging just across the threshold. Perhaps not the path I'd have chosen for this new year but one remarkably full of hope and growth--and for that I am so very grateful. You are often on my heart, my friend across the world, and I pray that you are well and finding Him faithful along the way.Delete
Your calendar and your words. A daily blessing in my neck of the woods.ReplyDelete
Like you, my brave, brave friend...a bloomin' beauty in the valley.
I'm so proud of you,
@Bernadette: Thank you, Dear One. Always. For love and hope and prayers and hands held across the mountains and the miles. You call me brave and it makes me want to *be* brave. For you, for me, for all of us broken ones. May we believe it deep down that bravery's not found in fearlessness but in resting in Him when we want to pull away, in standing and staying when we want to run and hide, in grabbing the hands of our fellow travelers when we want to isolate and shut down, in shouting the name of Jesus when we've got no words and no strength and no courage at all. Yes. You, me, all of us on the hard road. We are brave. In Him. For Him. All because of Him.Delete
Wow, Courtney... The verses on your calendar.... I love how God has drawn you to His Word to show you the way through this phase. Each of the verses seems to building on the others. Knowing the plans that God has for us and trusting that they are good. Waiting on His timing with confident expectation. And watching Him make a new way. Only God could do such a thing and He is good in all He does. Praying for you, and I'm fully confident that He is up to something big and beautiful in your life. We know in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose! (Another fave, Romans 8:28)ReplyDelete
@Kim: It's been humbling to realize that several months before 2013 even began, God directed me to the exact verses I would need to hold onto in each month of this new year. I was foolish enough to think I was choosing them to reflect the seasons--of the earth, of our lives, of spiritual growth--when in reality they are telling the story of my life. Yes. Only God. Grateful and humbled and, in spite of the hard days, confident that He's up to something amazing. Thankful for your prayers, Friend! And Romans 8:28 is the verse for September--yep, God really is doing something great!Delete
PS--I hope to be feeling well enough to catch up on your blog in the next day or two. Always encouraged by what you write, so I'm looking forward to settling in soon for a catch-up session.