Caravan Sonnet: Hope in the Ordinary

10/10/14

Hope in the Ordinary

“Is God really at work in the ordinary?” is a question that I am often asked (especially after I wrote a post about delighting in the beauty of ordinary this summer) and have thought through these past years in a variety of different ways in many different situations-from my bed, from a hospital floor, in a classroom, from a hotel window, on an airplane, and most recently looking out over the wide expanse of a precious place that I fondly call “camp.” 

I recently read an article on healing by a young woman who survived (against the odds) an open heart surgery as a baby but has been struggling with a chronic illness “in the prime of her life.” Oh, how her story could be my story. I have shared my endometriosis story and remember with fondness the relatively quick and mighty healing that my precious Savior did that year.To be truthful, it was the same type of healing that I expected to happen once again with these health issues that I have been struggling with. I presumed that my Heavenly Father would want to use a story like that again for His glory. THOSE are the stories that people like hearing. THOSE are the stories that people want to discuss and clap their hands at a conference or a gathering. THOSE are the stories that have the happy endings with the nice and neat bow wrapped around it.
 
But the reality is that whether or not people like those stories that is not my story right now.This story that I am living is still in the middle.This story doesn’t have an end right now in sight.The story right now is messy and painful.This journey has been long and has cost me (and those that love me the most) a lot. Physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually, it has cost us almost me everything. 

On certain days, it is tempting to wallow in self-pity of all that has been lost these past years due to illness. It is tempting to focus on the bad instead of the good. It is tempting to focus on the difficult things that are so numerous that if I let them, they would be the sole focus of life.  Because many days it is tempting to wallow in all of the negative and dark and all of the things that can make our lives seem like night. If I let them, they would wrap around my soul like a dark moonless night and harden it.
Because, sweet friends, let us be honest, our lives, no matter how we alter or edit it, are not going to always have a bunch of instagram pictures with whatever we are longing for. On my feed I am not going to have a bunch of instagram pictures of me traveling around the world, as much as I would like it to. It’s not going to have me doing something exciting every week. I might dream of it, I might long for it, I might long for anything that is different, but it is not reality. My feed on a variety of social sites is not going to show me with the love of my life and a hoard of happy babies. I long and yearn to be married and be a mama, but right now, life is not that way. I might dream of it, I might long for it, I might long for anything that is different, but it is not reality.  Life is full of ordinary and everyday disappointments and moments that can start to appear that there is nothing glamorous, or lovely and that the dark is every present. And maybe you feel that way too... but sweet friends, I am learning in a whole new way to find hope in the beauty of the ordinary as well as the miraculous. I am learning that we can use whatever stage we are at for His glory. To reach someone for the Lord. 

As I have lived these past years with Jesus my faith has grown exponentially. I have cried tears of pain but also tears of joy. I have seen and can testify that despite the bad, there is so much goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. I can testify without a shadow of a doubt the truth that the Lord is close to the brokenhearted. I can share His love more freely as I have experienced and see in new ways the Lord’s abundant love for me. I see a broken world and instead of wanting to protect myself or my heart from that hurt I want to run into it and share God’s love that He has given me. There is no fear for myself or caution of what the world may think, there is only a deep and burning desire to wholly serve the Lord in everything I do.
Because y’all, the precious people that you and I love who are hurting and broken don’t need anything but the Lord’s love. Look around you sweet friends and see who the Lord has set in front of you. Who in your life can you sacrifice the life you envisioned for the life that is before you and who desperately needs you? Who in your life can you pray for, love on, and remind that they are important and loved by God dearly?
These past years have also taught me a whole new way to pray as I have stepped out and seen the ways that the Lord has answered time and time and time again. I have seen His mercy in the most difficult moments and His beautiful grace in the good moments. I have seen His incredible love through so many people including my family, my best friends, and strangers. I see His goodness in the miraculous and also in the ordinary moments of each life. I move on from the past with such gratitude for the thousands of precious memories but I have found peace and acceptance in the present and in the future. I trust my little heart with an unknown future to a God who is known and makes Himself known everyday.
His unfathomable love has covered every doubt and has brought the truth that it is the Lord that has assigned me my cup and portion and I am content for His will to be done. Sweet friends, let us abandon every single thought of ours for His glory. Let us give up everything to the one who loves us more than life. Let us make this prayer the prayer of our hearts and souls:

"Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes, all my own desires and hopes, and accept Thy will for my life. I give myself, my life, my all utterly to Thee to be Thine forever.Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit. Use me as Thou wilt. Send me where Thou wilt. Work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost, now and forever." (Betty Stam)

This dear friends is anything but what the world may call “amazing” or “glamours” but there is beauty in learning to delight in the ordinary as well as the miraculous. The beautiful ordinary that so many people fear having or living can bring the miraculous.
Because that, my dear friends, is also where HOPE lives. In the dark places. In the days that seem like night. In the long nights of the cold winter of December there is a light that shines in the darkness. In that month of December hope springs forth to birth a beautiful story of redemption and restoration. There is hope. In the ordinary and the in the miraculous. In the everyday moments where our hearts yearn and long for something that we don’t have but we desperately want. The yearnings and the longings that catch our breath and when it is hard to breath. The yearnings and longings that bring our teary and messy selves to the heart of God and back to the cross.

Exodus 14:21 states: “The Lord caused the sea to go back… all that night.” This simple and yet profound verse has shaped the change of my heart and the healing that has taken place through some difficult times these past few years. What a beautiful picture of the Lord presently and actively working on our behalf as He shapes and causes seas to change the course of their direction, even when we can’t see it happening. The hope of the night rests in the fact that God is at work in the dark. When all seems lost and you cannot see because of the dark, God is still working. God will continue to work until light comes so do not fret about the night.  You may feel your story is not what you want it to be but it is still important and still AMAZING. You have a huge part in God's plan. It doesn't start someday when you have what you are longing for. It is now. 
If you were to ask me six years ago if I knew what the coming years would be like, would I still embark on the same journey that the Lord has laid out in front of me. I can honestly say (with tears) yes. While I can’t share the miraculous healing or how the story will end (like I could with my endometriosis story), I can say a deeper yes with humility because of how faithful my God has been. He has never let my side and His mercies have truly been new every morning to faithfully meet every need that I have- physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually. My prayer for you friends is that you would experience this same precious God and find the deep peace that comes with knowing the Lord. He is so good. Good beyond words. And everyday, I see glimpses of joy in the land of the living.

The reason?Because in the night lies hope.

11 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank you so much Abi for your sweet words and for taking the time to comment! Thank you again!
      :) Rebecca

      Delete
  2. I love the photos. Have you ever read Joni Eareckson Tada's books. I find them so encouraging. But she was at our church last year and she said one of the best things I heard that I love."So don't be thinking that for me in heaven the big deal after I get to see Jesus is to get my new body. No, no, no. I want a glorified heart. I want a glorified heart that no longer twists the truth, resists God, looks for an escape, gets defeated by pain, becomes anxious or worry some, manipulates my husband with precisely timed phrases. No, I don't want anything like that..."

    There is so much more but I was so encouraged by her words. Thanks for sharing. Praying for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and your sweet comment Ladonna! I have read Joni Eareckson Tada's books! They are always so encouraging! I have not heard her speak for a number of years but have been so inspired and encouraged by her faith! My favorite book of hers (lately) is her book: Embracing the Way the Lord heals you. It is truly so wonderful and I find myself reading it again and again in this journey!! Do you have a favorite book of hers?
      :) Hope you are having a lovely day and thank you again for your comment!
      :) Rebecca

      Delete
  3. Wow. So gorgeous, Rebecca. I adore these photographs and the scriptures you shared. What an amazing blog!! So excited to follow along :)

    <3 Daisy
    Simplicity Relished

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww thank you so much Daisy!! I really appreciate your kind words and your thoughtfulness in taking time to leave such a sweet comment! I am so delighted to connect with you also and to have become your newest follower! I am excited to get to know you more!
      :) Blessings,
      Rebecca

      Delete
  4. These pictures are beautiful. Just looking through them warms my heart to God. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your sweet words and taking the time to leave such a sweet comment Marci! You are always so encouraging!!
      Hugs,
      Rebecca

      Delete
  5. Thank you for sharing! I really connected with this post, you wrote things that have been on my heart as well. Tears in my eyes as I read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for sharing with me Rachel!! I am so humbled and encouraged by your words. May the Lord bless you abundantly! I am so delighted to connect with you more here in this space!
      Blessings,
      Rebecca

      Delete
  6. Rebecca, what you have written here is so profound and absolutely breathtaking as a statement of faith and confident expectation in God. The fact that you are writing this NOW, while you are in the middle of the story, and not THEN, when the outcome is already known, must be a confounding mystery to the inhabitants of the heavenly realms, who see exactly how very little you can see, yet who hear you making such bold declarations of God's faithfulness. Thank you for being a picture of perseverance and such a bright example of resilient overcoming of the enemy's attacks.

    ReplyDelete