Therefore we do not give up; even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. 2 Corinthians 4:16-17
Annabelle has already reached some major milestones in her short life. From the very start, she began moving forward. Progressing. Developing. It began when she first latched on taking in the nourishment of my milk. Soon after, her little eyes caught mine and followed me as I crossed the room. Her gaze fixed upon me. Within a couple of months, she started to use her little hands, grabbing hold to whatever was placed before her. Delighting in her newfound ability. Now, she can sit up a little. And before long, she’ll be able to stand.
See, Annabelle has been exercising her legs… applying pressure to them. Testing her chunky little stumps. She slowly sways back and forth in her Johnny Jump Up only to quickly spring into action by jumping up and down as the spirit moves her. And right now, it’s easy for her. For she has the support of something. It holds her upright. But before long, it’ll be time for her to try standing on her own. Within a matter of months, Annabelle will have to move from the security of her apparatus in favor of her own shaky legs. No doubt, she’ll stumble and fall many, many times. But I know she’ll get right back up. She’ll try and try again until she gets that walking thing right. And in no time, she’ll be ready to spring forward.
Annabelle just had her six month appointment. Coincidentally, it fell on the two year anniversary of this blog. And as always, I could not help but notice the correlation of Annabelle’s development with mine. Her progression a picture of my own. Hers depicted by a chart, mine by this blog. And though growth will continue for both of us, I believe my progress chart (the blog) has served its purpose. At least for now. Because just over a week ago, it became clear I was to put this aside. For I have work to do. It has to do with raising my kids. And my sitting here in front of this computer screen conflicts with that responsibility. So I chose the better part. My offspring. But I did mourn the loss of this blog Saturday. There were some tears. Because this blog has been a big part of me. But as for today, I give one final performance. I close with my swan song.
We love because He first loved us… 1 John 4:19
The truth about God & me… it wasn’t love at first sight. Love did not come first. Instead, it began with a taste of His glory. I dared utter a prayer, “Please show me your glory.” And He did. He placed me in the cleft of a rock. He covered me with His hand. He walked by me. God in my midst. Or me in His. And I was astounded that the God of all creation would reveal Himself to me. And so, I wanted to share. I wanted other women to delight in His presence as I did. Thus, the formation of the blog.
And through the progression of blogging, more and more of me diminished. More and more of Him swelled. However, a piece of me remained. Held fast in the deepest recesses of my soul, the little girl I always was stood her ground. In truth, she wanted to share in God’s glory. She wanted a piece of shine for herself. And so, the purity of the writing became tarnished. And because the little girl in me stood fast on the foundation of her pride, she fell. I fell. My wobbly legs unable to sustain my weight. I crumbled under the strain of affliction.
Look, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. Isaiah 43:10
This is where I’ve been for months now. Affliction. Minimal it may be, but affliction nonetheless. See that little girl up there? Oh, she brings me delight. Such joy. But also, there’s been some pain. Because babies are hard work. The biggest struggle? Sleepless nights. I have been sleep deprived for months and months now. She gets up more times than I can count. She wants to eat but she doesn’t need to. See, I was told at Annabelle’s six month check-up that her weight is average for a seventeen or eighteen month old. And so, in steps the hard part. I have to cut her off…
Trying to wean my baby girl from nighttime feedings is exhausting. It makes for even longer nights. I lose count of my waking moments because I’m up and down so often. They’re so frequent, I’ve been sleeping on the couch. It’s just easier to stumble into the nursery from there. Yes, sleep has been minimal. And under the strain, the clay jar that I am has begun to crack. In steps my most recent revelation. Clay.
You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire, and the flame will not burn you. Isaiah 43:2
You know, before clay can be serviceable it has to be fired. In a kiln. And today I know that’s where I’ve been. For a year now, I’ve been under fire. The furnace of affliction. It’s been a trial. A test. And for the most part, I’ve failed. But today, I see light at the end of the tunnel. I find a glimmer of hope through the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They underwent fire, too.
There was a king who made this big gold stature. Of himself. You could say he was a bit of a glory hound. And he wanted everyone to bow down to it. To pay homage to him. For he was a king. But there were these three guys who refused. Reason being, it would not honor God. Despite the threat of being thrown into fire, they stood firm on their faith in God. “If the God we serve exists, then He can rescue us from the power of you, the king. But even if He does not rescue us, we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.” The king was blazing hot. He ordered the furnace to be heated seven times hotter.
And so they fell, bound, into the furnace of blazing fire. Three men in the raging flames. But then, a miracle happened. The king yelled out, “Look! I see four men, not tied, walking around in the fire unharmed; and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” And then the king said it… “Come out!” The three men who stood firm on their faith in God came out of the fire. Unharmed. Not a hair on their heads was singed, their robes were unaffected, and there was no smell of fire on them. And God received the glory for it.
Take away the dross from the silver and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer. Proverbs 25:4
And there I am… back at glory. You know, something monumental occurred on January 31, 2014. You could say it was a major milestone day. That was the day Jesus met me right where I was. In the sanctuary of my bedroom. That was the day I heard Annabelle’s heartbeat for the first time… hers beating right alongside my own revived spiritual heart. And I lost a bracelet. It was a thin silver band I had worn for the better part of twenty years. At the time, it seemed significant in that my past was over and done with. Gone just like the bracelet that disappeared from my arm. But today, the removal of that bracelet says so much more.
For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from the fathers, not with perishable things, like silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. 1 Peter 1:18
You see, as a young girl I didn’t have jewelry. Silver and gold was something I didn’t possess. I can count the number of pieces I received on one hand. My friend was another story, though. See, she had tons of silver. And I wanted it. I coveted her full closet and dresser strewn with perfumes and expensive make up. I wanted to adorn myself just as she… rings on my fingers and bells on my toes. But I couldn’t. And then one day, I left home. Within a year I made a new friend and she gave me the slim, silver band. A piece of shine all my own. But it was more than a bracelet to me. It stood for everything I ever wanted in life. Material possessions. Yes, I wanted silver. Glitz. Shine. I wanted glory.
When I lost that bracelet a year ago, I thought I was poised to walk forward in love. His love. But here I am. Still writing. Still staring at this computer screen. But today I know why. See, He’s been refining me. I’ve been doing time in the furnace of affliction… dross being burned from my soul. No different than the purification of silver, He’s been purifying me. Me. But see, the time has come. I faintly hear Him calling. Just as the king called to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, my King calls me. He yells, “Come out!” And miraculously, I find I can. I’m ready. My glory becomes a passing fancy. Because it’s no longer silver and gold I desire. For you see, I find that as long as I remain in His hand, I am the silver. A band of shine. But not for my glory. No. In His hands, the jewelry that I am shines and shimmers. But this time around, I shine for Him.
Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD shines over you. For look, darkness covers the earth, and total darkness the peoples; but the LORD will shine over you, and His glory will appear over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your radiance. Isaiah 60:1-3
Yep, Annabelle’s reached some major milestones in her short life. And the truth is, so have I. See, from the very start I began moving forward. Progressing. Developing. It began when I first latched on to His word, taking in the nourishment I so desperately needed. Soon after, my eyes caught sight of Him. His glory captivated me and my gaze stayed fixed on Him as He moved. I’m now discovering how to make use of my hands. I grab hold of what He places before me. Today, it’s my children. And I delight in this newfound ability. I am awash with thanksgiving. And before long, I’ll be able to stand.
See, I’ve been exercising my legs. Pressure’s been applied here and there and they’ve proven to be a bit wobbly. In truth, I’ve stumbled more times than I can count. But I get back up again. And with each rise, I gain more strength. I find I’m able to stand not by my own strength, but by His. And before long, He bids me to come forward. He holds His hands out to me like any other Daddy does with His little girl. He beckons me. And I find that I can. I spring forward, lunging toward Him. And He catches me in His embrace.
Therefore, whoever thinks he stands must be careful not to fall. 1 Corinthians 10:12
You know, I started to write here two years ago. Simply, I wanted to help women stand. Like I thought I was. But before long, I fell. Once. Twice. Again and again. But through the writing, it all became so clear. It’s as if my heavenly Father said to me, “Little girl, if you want to talk the talk, you have to walk the walk.” But the thing is, you have to stand before you can walk. That’s step one right there. Standing on His foundation. Standing on His truth. And then, before you know it, you’ll be ready to spring forward. Walking in love. His love. At least that’s the way it happened for me. Right here at Daylight Savings Time. Springing forward along with the clocks in my home.
And so today, as I move forward on shaky legs, I walk for them. I begin with my kids. See. Levi just said he wished I were a cook. That I knew recipes and would make desserts. And there I find my first act of love. Perhaps I’ll surprise him with a little something this afternoon. That’s what I have on my agenda today…
And so, with much adieu, I sign off for now. I leave you with my swan song. See, the blog has served its purpose and the time has come. For He said, “Come out!” And so, this venture comes to an end. And all this, the writing and thousands of words spanning two years time, well… it’s been the truth about God & me. My hope was to encourage others to stand. And walk. In His love. Instead, I find that I’m able to. I hope you can, too.
But Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, stand up and walk!.” Acts 3:6