Friday, September 6, 2013

God's not done

I read this blog post yesterday by Jen Hatmaker. You really need to read it before continuing to fully understand the quotes I'm using.

"God, we're confused." 
"I'm not done yet." 

Let me be fair: When I recount our line as "God, we're confused," that sounds tame, almost like a little old grandma who got lost at the corner of 5th and Lamar until a kindly police officer asked if he could help her and she chuckled and shook her head and said, "Well I guess I got a little confused!" and they shared a knowing laugh about who can figure out all these confounded streets down here? and he pointed her west and she made it to her destination just in time for the quilting guild. 

When we said "we're confused", it involved crying and wailing and days when I couldn't get out of bed. It included a string of months where, I swear to you, time stood still. I sobbed over other people's happy adoption news as I typed nice words on their Facebook pages. It included a phone call from my mother-in-law after my daughter told her, "I'm worried about my mom." My hair started falling out in clumps and my fingernails peeled off in layers. I lashed out at Brandon and my kids and Jesus on bad days; on worse days, I wondered aloud if God had any control at all over this chaotic, broken world. I doubted his invervention and questioned his sovereignty. 

So yeah, that's what I mean by "confused." 

When I say, "I'm confused" what I really mean is that I'm tired. I'm tired of not knowing, of not having clear direction. I'm tired of not knowing when God will be 'done'. I'm tired of not knowing more of my/our story. I'm tired of wrestling with the 'what now' question. I'm tired of trying to figure it out. And just like Jen, my confusion, my exhaustion, my frustration has ended in tears, anger, depression and unfortunately Ryan and the boys have suffered. 

That being said, over the last year or so, God has been working on my heart in the area of submission. (Such a yucky word!) Especially because I'm such a feisty, strong, and independent woman married to a laid back, non-church-going man. It's very easy for me to just take charge in pretty much any situation but especially in 'spiritual' matters. God has been slowly refining my heart to care about what He cares about- Ryan's heart. Griffin's heart. Sullivan's heart. Meaning, I'm becoming more and more willing to change who I am to be who they need me to be. To be who God can use to reach them. 

The thing about being refined? It's slow. And painful. Think gold being melted in a fire as impurities are burned away. Pleasant, right? My heart aches from being stretched so far. And yet, I wouldn't have it any other way. At least not now, not after God spoke so clearly at Visioncast.

And again with this, the end to Jen's blog post:

"When God said he wasn't done yet, he just wasn't done yet. He wasn't speaking in code. It wasn't a trick. The story was still in the middle, but I wanted to flip ahead to the end, past the conflict and struggle and straight to the happy ending. As Keeper of the Story, God knew the whole plot. He promised us way back that he planned on seeing these two children all they way from brokenness and abandonment to our home in Texas, an unlikely journey if ever there was one. And at the risk of whitewashing the difficult middle, we have one of them here and the other will be here Sunday, so he was faithful. 

God doesn't promise us a clean middle part of the story. He never said we wouldn't encounter antagonists and drama and surprise twists and heartbreak. We weren't assured a G-rated plot where good feelings are peddled and no one dies or leaves or fails or waits. God promised things like healing and restoration and redemption. Which implies there will be injuries and broken relationships and losses. When he speaks of beauty from ashes, he seems to know there will be actual ashes to resurrect beauty from. 

If you are confused right now, if your story isn't going the way you thought, or if you're tangled up in the messy middle where hope is deferred, dear reader, it could just be that God isn't done yet. Your story is not finished. Every hero and heroine must wade through the conflict to get to the end, and you can trust God because he is good. If you have nothing else to cling to, remember this: God is good. He loves goodness and justice. He heals and redeems. He is on the side of love and beauty. He is for you. He is never against you. You may be against you, other people may be against you, but God is not against you. 

It is okay to be confused; I'm afraid that is our lot as finite creatures dealing with an infinite God. Some of God's best heros were confused in their subplots. But I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on. Because God is good and he is for goodness. 

And he just isn't done yet."

I'm just not done, Sarah. Love, God

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