Facebook does these things called memories once in a while where they will post something you posted a year or more ago, and say “We thought you’d like to take a look at a memory you posted x years ago.” Sometimes I repost them, other times I just kind of remember where I was, what was going on at the time and try not to dwell on things from back then so much.
This past week though, two memory posts came on my feed from 3 years ago. Both involved photos I had taken not too long after I moved in here. Hard to believe I’m going into my 3rd year here at a place I never would have dreamed I’d end up being, and in the circumstances that brought us here, and remain in.
On the other hand- the brighter one, I look back and see where I’ve come since then, or rather, How God has worked in my life, transforming me since Michael died. And I have to say sometimes it’s incredible, and overwhelming. But mostly just wow.
It’s been hard. But that’s what a Potter working with clay sometimes deals with. Hard, dried out, not very malleable, and sometimes down right stubborn and stiff. Other times though, when the clay is soft and absorbent, it’s so much easier to work with. I’ve been at all spectrum’s between hard and soft, even over the past few years, but it just leaves me in His hands to work His will no matter what. I don’t enjoy it at the time, but I know His purpose is good whatever it leads to.
I know this is a bit different than usual Wednesday’s posts- but sometimes I think God works in ways that just seem like puzzle pieces coming together. Suffer could not send me the part 3 of Samson for reasons beyond control and when and if he can get it, I will gladly continue in that series. I had no idea and still don’t of what to write for today’s (it’s a little past midnight) , and well, I’m interested to maybe see where God is going with this one.
I heard a song today about how God’s with us through the storms- and He is! Carried me through my biggest personal storm for the past nearly 4 years now (and longer, just different) and literally, you guys saw how prayers from all of you and others from Alaska, to Canada, West Coast, East Coast, South… prayed and Hurricane Irma broke up just as she came to the county line. So I get it. He is with us, whether we acknowledge His presence with us or not. But as I listened to the song today, I had one of my “conversations’ with Him. Just talking my thoughts out loud, saying “Lord, I know You are, and I know You’re with me now too, but sometimes after the storm, You don’t seem like You’re here. After the storm, when you see the destruction, feel the hurts and face the ‘clean up’, sometimes You are quiet when we need You to show us what to do the most. Why?“
You can guess, He wasn’t audible lol. But I know He is still there. Right now, sometimes I don’t know if He’s working on me for something, or being quiet so I will be quiet or just having me in a season of quiet. I don’t know right now. But it’s ok. These things are times when I just rely on Him to be Him, and not worry about the rest. “Be still, and know that I am God.” Yes Lord.
I don’t think I could come to that relying, trusting more than 4 years ago. In fact I know I didn’t.
I have told American Boy since we followed the ambulance that took his dad to the hospital, not knowing what was going to happen, that God is with us, God was with dad and He will see us through whatever happens, and I have held onto that ever since. Have I been perfect and totally changed every day? no. Definitely still a lot of me in me, and there’s a lot more room for Him in me. But… I know and feel the transformation that He has been working in me. Sometimes it’s not as obvious, just as He is quiet sometimes, but I know I’ve changed a lot from even just 3 years ago.
What I didn’t realize, because I know some folks haven’t been around me enough to notice, and others haven’t known me for as long can’t tell, but I didn’t realize that some folks have definitely noticed. A couple of weeks ago Daisy commented to me and said in part, “God has transformed you, your heart and mind, and I feel blessed to have walked this road with you witnessing that...”
Please understand, I’m not trying to make myself out to be praised or puff myself up or any of that- because anything that others see, is not me, it’s Jesus. I just need to share my own story because it’s the only one I know. But if God can take this stubborn, selfish (and I am still that) stiff and not always so lovable sinful creature and make me into a work in progress- that He is involved in our lives and cares that much to want to make us new, if He is doing it in me, He is or can do it in anyone.
People don’t know my deepest thoughts, fears, prayers- those are between God and me, but I share some because I want others to see how God takes all those things and does something to ease them, even if somehow things seem worse- they are still eased. As He continues His work. Does that make sense?? It does in my head lol.
But people don’t realize prayer even for me has transformed. I’m not the most eloquent speaker, and that goes for my prayers too. And I will admit, sometimes I’m almost “too comfortable” and not as reverent as I should be, because while I know God is Holy, He is also my Abba Father. And I like to think I am comfortable telling my earthly dad some of my fears or needs, so I do with my Father in Heaven.
My prayers are generally the same… petitions and wants for folks here, for my friends and family and even folks that have drifted away or aren’t friends with me anymore. And others. But I pray also for closeness to Jesus- for a willingness to be changed, and for me to see people through His eyes.
And He is doing that. Some folks can’t see transformation, or don’t notice, and that’s ok, because God does the work and He has His purposes for it. All I can do is let Him. And in that I also trust Him that those He wants to notice, will. Those who need a hope, a hug, understanding and/or who are desperately searching- will see the difference in me and want to know what and how.
I remember a conversation with my brother not too long after my sister’s husband passed away. Some folks might not know, but my brother in law Julio passed away one month to the day after Michael. How crazy and wow is that. It was a heart breaking time for my family. My parents just… hurt very much for my sister and I. And since Michael died a few days before Thanksgiving that year, and Julio 3 days before Christmas, the holidays were so hard. But those who knew me then, online folks, saw me still doing my usual online, interacting with folks and I tried to do that as much as I could in ‘real life’ too. It was so very hard, but I needed to just have normal. So my brother, talking asked me, “How can you be so OK after all this? How can you find any good in it?” He had lost some close people in his own life over the years and for some reason close to Christmas too. But he got bitter. I told him flat out, I could get through it because God is with me and I am trusting Him. My brother is not a believer, so he was kind of quiet and we went on to talk about other things. But I know even then that was God- not me. And my brother saw that change already.
People need a reason to hope, to believe, to find the reason. Sometimes actions speak louder than words, and God can use both in our lives to show people that we are different. But people see more than they hear sometimes. The truth of the Gospel is so very important, and I have God’s way of sharing that too- but sometimes there are times first when action is more needed than the words. To see others through His eyes, and then maybe they will understand that He is the reason for our new ‘eyes’.
God uses so many folks in so many different ways, just as the physical body has different purposes and parts, so does the church body. Each one is crafted by the Lord for His purposes and reasons. He is transforming me, and He can and does transform others whether we can always see it or not. No matter how it comes, it’s proof that God is with us.
Trust that where He is, He works, but realize that He doesn’t always reveal to us what He’s doing in someone else’s story.
Trust that He is Here with Us, and He is doing a good work.
Thank you for listening to my rambling. You ALL are a blessing to me and to each other. Never forget that. Never doubt that. Have a blessed Wednesday.