This morning as I sit peering out my bedroom window at the glassy pond, I hear it. Could it be?
I wait. Sip. Sip. Deep breath in. Quiet stillness.
There it is again. At last! The first dawn chorus has come.
The earliest signs of Spring have begun, at least for those who perceive it. The subtle things you know. The type of thing you wouldn’t necessarily notice if you weren’t looking.
When you come from a long hard season, if you aren’t looking through the lens of hope, it’s easy to miss what is right in front of you.
For me, this season can never come soon enough. At least, that is what the flesh of me always feels. But my knower knows that it’s in those dark seasons where the biggest opportunity awaits. Though the circumstances may try to boss my feelings around, it becomes increasingly vital to remain firmly planted in the truth. I mustn’t lose heart, letting go of the loose hold I barely have on hope. Even just a little. It pains me to remember these times in my past. I’m sure you can relate to some degree or another. We’ve all been scathed by the talons of evil in this world. Unfortunately that’s an unavoidable fact.
As I said, I am always ready to walk out of that grave that is a dark season. Aren’t we all?
The truth is that if I try to short change a process by which God is using to refine me, ultimately I’m robbing myself the gift that God himself wants to give. Patient endurance.
Some translations say “so that you may be perfect.” The original Greek is “teleios”. (( Hang with me here for just a moment as I nerd out. )) The definition includes the following: brought to its end, finished; wanting nothing necessary to completeness; perfect; that which is perfect – consummate human integrity and virtue. (Information taken from blueletterbible.org.)
I don’t know about you, but I would love to be in a position of completeness, wanting nothing, in perfection. May I be the first to say, that this is so not where I stand today. By the grace and mercy of God, in a different position than I have been in years past yes, hopefully growing in the likeness of Christ. But perfection? Complete? Far from it.
The hope I hold onto is that the trial is never wasted. That is of course, when we allow God in. To use it.
It’s His promise to us. He will do it. And He will do it for His namesake. He is faithful. That is His very nature. He can’t not be who He is. In Numbers it says, “God is not a man, that He should lie” (Numbers 23:19). And He states in Isaiah, among other places, “Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will do it” (Isaiah 46:11).
Over the past several years our family has been through much. “Trial” does not seem to encompass it all. More writing on that to come, Lord willing, but for now I want to highlight something specifically.
Over the last five years, the transformation that I have seen is nothing short of miraculous. It’s been an amazing privilege and encouragement to my faith to see how he has allowed God to take control over his life.
In the Christian world we can talk about wanting to be in line with God’s will for our lives, and what does that look like exactly. I know as a younger Christian I had questions like, “it doesn’t tell me specifically in the Bible where to go to college” or “what career path to choose.” No. It doesn’t. But God speaks, and He does so through His word.
God has got a hold of my husband. And He is speaking.
This process of refinement and sanctification, that we are all in by the way, has been “flip of a switch” fast in some aspects. Mostly though, this has been a slow, day by day process. One step forward, three back. Five forward, two back. A process, as I mentioned earlier, if we don’t have eyes to see we will surely miss. I’ll make the argument that if there is no hope in Christ, then we won’t have the eyes to see it.
It’s like those stereograms that were popular back in the 90’s. They drove some folks bonkers, but I loved them. I remember going to the mall with my mom and there was a gallery of them that we would walk through. You had to get in the right frame of mind to be able to see the hidden image.
You see, if you aren’t in the right mindset, you’ll miss it completely.
Hope is all we have to cling to at times. If we loose hope, life grows dark real fast. As my girl Lysa Terkeurst put it in her new book Forgiving What You Can’t Forget, “The greatest hell a human can experience here on earth is not suffering. It’s feeling like the suffering is pointless and it will never get any better.” Ugh. Gut punch. Yes! Have you lived this friend? It literally is hell on earth.
It hasn’t been easy. But the beauty coming from ashes is astonishing.
Adam has opened himself up to God in ways he never has before. The slow releasing of the death grip he had on this life has now made it possible for God to replace in his open hand His blessings. It’s as if he has lost his taste for the things of this world.
Like the beautiful old hymn Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus puts it:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
My husband has been gazing upon Jesus, FULL in His wonderful face. The radiant glow reflecting back shines upon our family. It’s undoing. We have often said, “take your shoes off!” This of course in reference to when Moses went up to get a closer look at the burning bush in Exodus 3 and the Lord said to him in verse five, “Do not come any closer, take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”
We are standing on Holy Ground. Unworthy. Broken, but willing.
If you were with him and asked him, Adam would be ecstatic at the opportunity to tell you of his Savior. He would be ready, as 1 Peter 3:15 says, to give an account for the hope that is in him.
He’s been through much. God has carried him through it all. These things haven’t happened without purpose. No! There is redemption in Christ. He is making all things new. Providing a way in the wilderness and streams in the barren wasteland.
Praise God He never leaves us alone in our pain, in our trial.
I see this in Adam.
And so – on this day, as he celebrates a milestone birthday (I won’t tell you that he is turning 40), I want to publicly wish him a Happy (40th) Birthday. May your every wish come true, as God sees fit to bless you in the way that only He can.
I love you and I am so proud of the man you are allowing God to mold you into. It truly is an inspiration to us all. Like a Phoenix rising from the ash. Stronger than before. A redemption story.
In closing, I want to implore you. What are you noticing? Anything? There is a tide that is shifting. The Lord will return. Are you ready? Do you know where you will spend eternity?
Landing the plane here… As I began, with the dawn chorus, I shall end. The dawn chorus is the morning song of the birds which is most noticeable in early Spring. There are many reasons they sing, but it is believed by ornithologists that the higher up in the trees the birds are, the earlier they sing. Why? They are the first to see the light on the horizon.
May this be so with each of us. Let us begin each day in a humble posture before the Lord, so that we may ascend higher to him in prayer and supplication. So that on that day, when He returns, we are ready.
To see what He is doing in our lives, we must become “first class noticers” as Mark Batterson put it in his 40-day prayer challenge Draw the Circle. He explains that when we become devoted to prayer, being watchful and thankful as Colossians 4:2 puts it, we begin to see what God wants us to see. This is how He begins to align us with His will.
He goes on to say that before our spiritual eyes are opened, life is in low-definition, two dimensional. But then the Holy Spirit comes in and give us depth perception. “It’s like our spiritual cataracts are removed to reveal a reality that was always there.”
We aren’t guaranteed the next breath. The choice you must make is now.
Will you wake up in glory with Him?
** Disclaimer: My sincere hope it that you that is reading this takes it as I have meant it. There will be more to come about how God has been moving and changing me as well, but my desire today was to highlight the work of God in my husband. Praise Him to whom all blessings flow!