Tuesday, January 9, 2007

When The Waters Are Troubled

The waters are troubled. A deep, quiet bubbling…churning…boiling…in the secret places of my heart is the cause of an ache that is yearning to be soothed. There are questions longing for answers, my spirit’s burden longing to be lifted. I struggle to hear His voice, to know with certainty that His will is as I believe it to be.  Only by grace could I obey this voice, just as it is by grace that I think I am hearing…

I recently read several reviews of a book, (here and here), perusing them without a blip on my radar. The time had not yet come, apparently. After an experiment this December with an uncharacteristic-for-us frantic schedule, I was drained. Road weary and battle-scarred, I felt as if our spirits had been assaulted through the constant running…going…hurrying. While we were yet sinners, he died for us…and while we were yet striving He spoke to us. In the midst of the commotion, an acquaintance loaned us the same book. It’s time had come…and I was ready.


Only one other book, Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss, has ever affected me even remotely as profoundly. (You mean, it is normal to not be perfect overnight, and that sanctification is a process?) My reading of Henry and the Great Society left me alternating between weeping violently, worshipping passionately, but more often a chorus of both. Confirmation to me of how well my Father knows me and the deepest cries of my heart, I was relieved, oh, so relieved…so delivered from a burden that I had been carrying. One that I had been carrying for so long that my only notice of it was a whispered doubt that, “This is not the way God meant for me to live”. 

Henry is a normal guy with whom we journey into his entrance and entrapment in the “Great Society”.  Based on 1Timothy 6:6-21, his story is woven to show us that the subtle-but-sure lies of Satan in the Garden are still at work to destroy us. The book assumes that most of those who read the message will not “get it” (without eyes to see), and of those that do, most will change nothing (hearers but not doers), so don’t be alarmed if you come away wondering what all they hype is about. Mr. Visionary had me order a case of them to pass out, and I am expecting to get that reaction almost exclusively. But for that one…or two…the exceptions…it could be life-changing.

If you are intrigued, you may order Henry and the Great Society from Cumberland Books. After you read the story of Henry, go back and study the chapters that follow ~ and have your Bible handy. No matter your opinion of the author’s brief mention of the Rapture, the rest is gold, and much food for thought. And prayer. Gut-wrenching prayer. 

Now I am convinced that the nagging fear that I was the problem (this is not intended to discount my sin nature), that my failures to function ‘just like everyone else’ was false. My years spent trying to find ways to make it work are over. By His grace, I know that the system itself is flawed. And I for one ~ am getting out.

I don’t yet know how…or what this will look like fleshed out, but by His grace, I and mine are getting out of the rat race…

Show me what it looks like, Lord.

Note: An MP3 version of the first few chapters can be heard here.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Self Talk

I surely would have thought the days of women swooning were over. What with the 1960’s having done their upheaval and corsets, too, being a thing of the distant past, fainting was, in my humble opinion, only for the overly dramatic. Recent events however, have caused me to rethink my position.

Not having bounced back from this stomach virus quite as quickly or as well as Mr. Visionary and the children, my felt need was rest. Still quite dizzy upon standing, I was hoping to be horizontal most of yesterday, and school was conducted from Mom’s bed.  Queasiness was making the thought of preparing food less-than-delightful, so when our dear friend (who is now even dearer) Miss Elizabeth brought us soup for lunch, my gratefulness to her and the Lord abounded.

Lunch over, and naptime graciously looming on the horizon, a knock at the door alerted me that perhaps my plans were changing. Greeted by a large mass of raw-and-dripping meat, I learned that Old Mr. Clark had been hunting.  His I-come-bearing-gifts grin alerted me that perhaps I should delegate the ‘stroll on over to the back of the truck’ to the boys. Neighborliness having gotten the better of me, I helped him hang our gift-deer in the woodshed and managed to stomach a few instructions about how to proceed from here, all the while purposing to not look the thing in the mouth.

After watching the Flower Child scratch the horns and coochie-coo at this dangling dead deer, I knew I needed to call in reinforcements. A frantic plea to Mr. Visionary to get home speedily, a cold washcloth to my face, and a parenting-by-speaker-phone conference with Dad and the boys to “not talk about it to Mom” were stop-gap measures to tide me over until said help arrived. With instruction from Old Mr. Clark, Dad and the kids skinned the deer after dinner, but the rest (cutting, packing) was left until this morning. Before breakfast.

There’s been a lot of under-the-breath muttering in my house recently. When Mr. Clark left, I was reminding myself that ‘the blessings of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it’.  When I pined for that nap that was not to be, I repeated, “…as thy days, so shall thy strength be”. Overheard just this morning: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me…I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me… I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me…all things. ..I can do this…I can do this…even (gulp) this…”

Before leaving, Old Mr. Clark mentioned one last thing,"If any strangers show up and leave you deer, I sent 'um. I told four or five of my buddies that y'all wanted venison".

Suddenly even those last nine pounds of pregnancy weight seem surmountable.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Resolving: Stuffage

During the last 48 hours or so, as Mr. Visionary and I have had our opportunity to partake of the gastroinstestinal virus that has been passed through the family, I have had much time to stare at the ceiling (or the bathroom flooring) and consider. As I laid there mulling over how advantageous it is to have a bathroom floor in the same shade as one’s hair, I also spent time thinking through those issues on which the Lord has recently had His finger in our life.  

 On my personal To-Do List, pegged for the near future, is to clean out the attic. My goal is to rid our lives of 80% of the stuff accumulated there, but as of yet, I do not know what form this will take. Will it be that 80% of the furniture,  clothes, and ‘stuff’ is gone equally from each category, or will it be more general, in that just 80% of the bulk is gone from the attic in general? As I pondered, I realized that I truly have no idea what is in many of the boxes. So I pondered some more, trying hard to remember.

 What I remembered was numbing. Several moves ago, we were to spend nine months renting the home of some friends while the Dad went to a ministry school. Knowing that we were moving again in nine months, we used one of the bedrooms to store our ‘extra stuff’. Never in the nine months did we break into the stash, nor did we feel a need. Our next move was into a tiny-for-us house, without room for our ‘extra stuff’. The same stored boxes went to my in-laws’ three-car garage to sit while moth and rust (and mice) did their work until our next move.

 The miniscule percentage of those items that I kept remind me of my attic now. How much do we really need to live? Really. Need. Not to necessarily live as the world does, in our culture, at this time…but to simply live? And how much of the ‘extra stuff’ keeps us so busy working to buy, use and maintain it that we have little time for God or the work He has given us?  How sick and tired of the stuff is sick and tired enough?

 I will be working through this some more, as I am sensing that this is only the beginning ~ the first few wobbly steps on a journey to a new kind of freedom...

 “…And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” John 8:32.