"If the God you believe in as an idea doesn’t start showing up in what happens to you in your own life, you have as much cause for concern as if the God you don’t believe in as an idea does start showing up. It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life’s story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others’ lives. If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in those stories, then they are scarcely worth telling." ~ Frederick Buechner

07 September 2010

Faithful One, So Unchanging

At my baptism, the song I picked was "Faithful One." It went like this:

Faithful one, so unchanging
Ageless one, you're my rock of peace
Lord of all I depend on you
I call out to you, again and again
I call out to you, again and again

You are my rock in times of trouble
you lift me up when I fall down
All through the storm
Your love is, the anchor
My hope is in You alone

I haven't thought of this song in years.

Kerry's back in the hospital. She started coughing blood again on Sunday. They also found a clot, so she is on blood thinners again. I think the problem with that is that it messes with the bazillion medications she's already on. She texted me last night from the hospital asking for specific prayer that the clot would be gone by today.

Last week, I received a very hostile email from a young woman who used to be in the teen community group that Nich and I co-led with a good friend from church. She was someone I thought I had a good relationship with. We did one-on-one Bible studies together, we had a mentoring relationship, and I even invited her to spend the night at my apartment one night when she was having a rough time and didn't want to go home. We prayed specifically for her and really felt like she was one of our most mature teens in our group. I spent hours designing and crocheting an afghan for her when she graduated, and Nich and I re-arranged our schedule so we could attend her graduation ceremony. We cared deeply for her.

We discovered a little while after she graduated that she was not the person we had been led to believe she was. There had been a lot of deceit on her part, and none of the three of us youth leaders knew what to do. We prayed, and because her interaction was mostly with me through email and because she was going away to college, we didn't have a chance to sit down and talk it through with her. We thought the relationship with her was broken, and we gave it to God.

Last week, I received that email. I didn't know what to say or how to say it. I prayed about it for the week, I sought counsel from Nich, and we felt that the most appropriate thing to do was to follow the Bible (imagine that!). So I replied to her, saying I was sorry that she was angered by the situation, and in the end, I invited her to sit down with me and a church leader (again, following the Bible) to talk this through.

Less than two hours later, I received another scathing email in response.

Needless to say, I felt quite helpless. A small part of me struggled with wanting to tell her to get over herself :~), but most of me was just sad that she's so bitter and angry. Also, I began feeling a bit overwhelmed, what with the pregnancy, being lonely, missing friends dearly, struggling not to worry about Kerry, finances, etc. I began to worry that all this stress was going to affect the baby, and I specifically prayed, "Jesus, I've done what you've asked of me, and I can't bear another load right now, so please take this thing with [this young woman] from me." I went into the bedroom, lied down on the bed, picked up Forgotten God (Francis Chan) and read this:

This is not a distant, loose connection. This is the Spirit of God choosing you and me to be His dwelling place. That means that as I write, the Spirit of the living God is inside me. I might wake up on a particular day feeling physically tired or stressed or impatient, and humanly speaking, those things would probably define my day. But the reality is that I am indwelt by the Holy Spirit. And because of this reality, stress and tiredness and impatience don't have to define my day.

If you have received by faith the promise of the Holy Spirit, you are also His temple. As you drive your children to school. As you go to work every day. As you embark on a new, unknown season. As you go to school. As you face tragedy and pain. As you buy groceries. As you give of yourself in relationships. As you walk the dog. As you make decisions. As you live your life, the Holy Spirit is dwelling in you.

All I could say as those words sank in was, "Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus," aloud over and over again.

I also felt a deep, deep peace from God assuring me that because His Spirit dwells in me, He also protects my baby, too. 

And what would you know, I fell asleep!

I woke up to a text message from Kerry saying that although the clot was still there, it had shrunk! I know this is a direct answer from God to all those who have been praying for her since she went into the hospital, and I am so grateful for His goodness and mercy.

As I came out to the dining room to blog this testimony, the first two lines of "Faithful One" ran through my head. I searched for it on YouTube so I could listen to it as I wrote this entry, and I also noticed a beautiful little email from a college roommate in my inbox. I cherish those kind of emails, because they are from people who know me well and love me dearly. They are always encouraging to my spirit and a soothing balm to my lonely heart.

Although it may not seem like much to anyone else, I just knew all this was God reminding me yet again that He is indeed taking care of me.

And yes, I cried tears of joy.

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