I've gone radio silent for awhile. I've had some sweet emails from a few people (some I don't know that maybe just have picked up reading the blog lately?) asking more or less if I've died. Ha! I guess the short answer to that question is "Yes.". A good bit of me needed to die.
It was over the Christmas holiday (when I was expecting miracles and God's best gifts because that is when He gives those to our family!) that I looked around and realized that our house was collapsing around us. It was hard for me to reconcile this because God was simultaneously working so many beautiful things in our hearts through our four incredible kids from Ukraine. The pictures just didn't line up but it was hard to deny. It wasn't like we had been bombed. If this were the case, I believe 'our people' would have known that they needed to and how to respond. This was much more sinister--- like termite damage. Our (deceptively) beautiful home crashed down around us due to the effects of years of little, yet powerful, unattended evils.
My prayers in this realization begged the question, "God, I thought you blessed us but did you curse us instead?" And the Lord of all creation said "Come. Be still and know that I am the Lord YOUR God. I will be exalted in all the nations and throughout the world. Lay down your fight. It is mine. Give me all of your children. I love them more than you do and I alone can save them and keep them. Lay down your marriage. It is unified only in Me by the POWER OF MY HOLY SPIRIT. Lay down your possessions so that you may run the race I have set before you and lay down your life so that you may truly live." And then the fight really began...
For me personally, this has been an internal struggle with my own flesh, a wrestling with God and an external struggle with my own family. Corporately, we have wrestled with one another, our own flesh, powers and principalities and God. We have called in "our people" to pray and to speak into our struggle. We are blessed by the Body of Christ in this hour of great need. I have filled journals with my questions to God and His replies. If you are wondering today if God loves you and your family or if God really has an answer to your hard questions, I would like to encourage you by saying, "yes, yes, yes, yes, YES!". The problem is that His answers are difficult to walk out. I just had the conversation with our 8 year old, who is trying to convince me that I am judging her because she "just can't do division", I have explained to her that there is no judgement involved. I know she can do division because she can do multiplication. I have taught her to write her multiplication tables on paper to help her with her division work. Her response to my insistence on completing her division work in spite of feeling "judged" is that it "takes WAY too long to do it this way". Ollie wants a shortcut. That was a long way to go to make my point about God's answers but there will be NO SHORTCUTS. The answer will come (because He promises (Jeremiah 33:3). The instructions will be specific and costly but with great reward (Matthew 7:13-14). Our response to His answer will ultimately show the condition of our hearts. (Proverbs 27:19) Oi. "Quickly and happily, Laura. Quickly and happily."
"So, then what?" So then the next few weeks looked like:
(Psalm 5:3) "Lord, in the morning you hear my voice. In the morning I pray to you.
I wait for you in hope." And then when Greg would get home at night I would pray with my hopeful petition until about midnight but when mountains did not visibly crumble and walls start rebuilding in our 'city' in front of my eyes, I would take up the fight in my own strength. Oh, me of little faith!!! I defer so much of God's blessing in our lives by picking up His fights. What is my deal?????????
And then... HEAVEN BROKE DOWN OUR FRONT DOOR. Like, "bOOm! Jesus in the HOUSE!" Indeed. It truly is a showing of "I HEARD YOUR CRIES! I have heard the petitions of your friends." It was a beautiful showing of mercy and love from the KING of KINGS, LORD of LORDS, the BEGINNING, THE GLORY OF GOD, THE HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL, THE HOPE OF THE WORLD. It is true for the Smiths that Jesus comes to our house at Christmas time. One year, He gave me a new life (His). This year, He has come as a carpenter. Jesus is rebuilding our foundation and this time it will be made of ROCK instead of whatever crap those little evils got hold of.
Friends in Christ, thank you for all of your prayers and support. We love you, we need you in our lives and we are ETERNALLY grateful for you.
Standing on the ROCK,
He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.
Learning to love what is. Epic Odyssey. And the story winds along...