When I first set up this blog I knew it would undergo shifts, changes and alterations along the way. Six months into blogging I am still getting used to simple things like categories and tags. I’m working on it. I’m a fiddler, in that I love to fiddle with things. I am constantly making adjustments. I like the fluidity of flux. (to a point) At the same time I can be a creature of habit. You don’t get to be sixty without forming a few favorite habits. While I like to fiddle and make changes I also appreciate the product of discipline. Ever since I was a young child I have kept a journal. I recently went through my stash of journals and decided I was only going to keep those from 2000 forward.
Four full and quite heavy bins contain the last 18 years. That doesn’t count what I have recorded in OneNote®. It also doesn’t include the three ring binders and digital data which contain study notes, and the work I’ve put together for ministry. No, these journals are just my thoughts, prayers and rants to God. They contain the random musings and emotional processing I’ve gone through. I strained my back dragging those bins to the storage closet. Why do I keep them? Because they represent more than just my personal thoughts. They are the process of change I have undergone during this past season.
I can only describe this past season as one of change, while remaining the same. My circumstances haven’t changed much in the past ten years. I live in the same house, with the same people. My financial situation hasn’t altered any except to get worse on occasion. I don’t say those things to complain but more to set the stage. In this totally mundane and sometimes stagnant place I have gone through more alterations and adjustments than during any other season of my life, and that includes raising my family.
Back in late 2000 the Lord spoke to me about something He was going to do in my life. And when God speaks to you, He is speaking to your spirit. He is spirit and He is communicating to your spirit. God doesn’t seek our approval before He begins a work. He just does whatever it is He is going to do. Sometimes He announces it. I’m not sure if I like it better when He says something up front or not. There’s a lot to be said for ignorance being bliss. Anyway, back in 2000 the Lord spoke to me that He was going to be taking me through a season of stripping. I questioned whether the message was actually coming from God because I didn’t believe God did that sort of thing. I can tell you at this point that I have been stripped and it was totally at the hand of the Lord. What He meant by the stripping and what I thought He meant ended up being two totally different things. Having said that I can tell you that I have been through what God said He was going to do. When He says He watches over His word to perform it, (NASB) I have learned He means that. The NIV translates that phrase as “I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.”
I was recently reminded that the word which the Lord gave me in 2000 had two parts. The first part was about the stripping of my life. The second part had to do with restoration afterward. The Lord spoke to me that when the process of stripping ended the Lord would restore me, and there would be a blessing for having gone through it. The scriptures which He placed in my heart concerning this process are reflected in His word to Israel and Judah in Jeremiah 31-33.
Jeremiah 32:42 “For thus says the LORD, ‘Just as I brought all this great disaster on this people, so I am going to bring on them all the good that I am promising them.
In 2000 when I was given this word I was co-director of a local para-church woman’s ministry. I had been doing women’s ministry at my mentor’s side in our home church for the previous ten years. When the Lord led us outside the confines of the church we started a small group which met monthly. While I was involved in this ministry I also attended a number of other ministry meetings in the area. Frankly, I was over involved. I didn’t realize how thin I had spread myself until the Lord began to lead me to withdraw. I got a considerable amount of pushback from friends who saw my actions as unhealthy isolation. It wasn’t.
I had an experience in 2005 which altered my life dynamically. I had a spiritual experience which launched me into something which is still difficult to explain. Suffice to say that God was shutting me in with Himself. By the end of 2005 I was no longer ministering in a public capacity. I experienced an even greater gradual withdrawal from involvement with others. I was not afraid to go out or engage with other people. It was more like being in a spiritual cocoon. That has remained consistent during the past fifteen years. Every time I tried to break open the cocoon or unlock the door, so to speak, I learned that I was not in control of the situation, God was. Every time I thought “now God will surely let me out,” I discovered that the door remained closed, and the cocoon was still securely intact.
What I have been through can only be described as rehab. I mean that in the fixer-upper, rehab a house sense. I have been completely rearranged. My frame of reference has been altered so much I can’t even remember what I believed or where I was in 2005. I have been stripped of pretty much everything. I have been under reconstruction for the better part of ten years. That might be scary for some. The thought of being remodeled and reconstructed by God is daunting. How does one wrap their brain around that? You don’t. You just live through it.
At the beginning of this year the Lord let me know that I was coming out my cocoon, or at least beginning to. One of the first step in coming out of that cocoon was to start this blog. The other thing has been working on a book. Both are still a work in process and have undergone shifts, changes and flux while I get my footing. I’m still a bit shaky at times but I’m here. And I’m on my way to restoration. I am not the same person I was when I went into this process. I have changed more ways than I can describe. I don’t even remember that person I used to be. I have been much altered. I can’t wait to see what God has for me in the days ahead. I am embracing vulnerability. I am living whole-heartedly and I have vision for going forward. That hasn’t come because of determination on my part. It has come through submission to God’s dealings. It has come through surviving hard things. I have a resilience but not because of my own resolve. That is not because of my own ability. Any resilience I possess is because of God in me. It is solely because God has taken up residence and has been doing some major reconstruction. I am grateful. I’m ready for something new.