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12/13/07
Hello Dear Friends,

I woke up this morning thinking of you all. I am still amazed and full of gratitude that you have been brought into my life this past year. Each of you has touched my life in a personal and individual way. It is wonderful to continually ponder the things you have shared with me of your lives and your stories as you have experienced Christ being formed in you. I can never tire of it.

The thought crossed my mind this morning that Paul said he was having labor pains until Christ was formed in those he loved. I thought, “I am the one who feel like I am going through labor!!!” The births of all 6 of my children were fairly difficult. My midwife once referred to them as the ‘births from hell.’ The reason is that my body would have hard contractions for hours with no progress seeming to be made. It was utterly exhausting to go through, and I think it was even worse for those who were watching and wanting to help me. Then, at some unknown point in time, when I would be thinking I would be in labor for the rest of my life, my body would kick into real action and all the dilation and birth itself would happen within an hour!

It ‘feels’ like I am in that kind of labor again, only, this time it is Life itself. Now that my marriage seems to be past the volcanic stage we were going through for a couple of years, there is this time of agonizing waiting. Nothing seems to be happening. It is not really my marriage that I am writing to you all about, though. It is me! Maybe I am walking through the valley of the shadow of death… death to what I thought the Christian life was. It ‘feels’ as though I am just existing each day and not thriving. I don’t even know if I can explain. Linda, you said God took the Bible from you for 2 years. I don’t think He’s taken it from me, but I am no longer drawn to it, and when I do pick it up, thinking I need to be reading it and renewing my mind, I can read a whole page in heart agreement, and then, when I close it, don’t have any idea what I just read! I am no longer attending church anywhere and seldom even have fellowship with any friends. My husband is constantly angry and we seldom even speak. This week, the loneliness has been overwhelming at times. I want to read Norman’s books as they are the place am finding fellowship and food, but even there it seems as if I can only take a teaspoonful at a time.

This morning I skimmed the first few pages of God Unlimited again. Here are some statements that jumped out at me in my current state of mind and heart:

‘…man has to take the long, long trail back to the discovery of his helplessness… because we have become so completely at home in the illusion of our self-sufficient selves...’

‘…the way to meet temptation is by recognizing the One in us, and not by struggling against it ourselves…’

‘…God only puts us through absolutely necessary grades of education that we may learn, even as the Son Himself had to learn obedience (recognition of His Father in action in Him) through the things which he suffered (temptations)…’

‘…blinded self never can and never will see God by its own resources. God’s truth can only come by God’s revelation… and is only available to faith; and faith means nothing less than the bowing down and falling prone of proud reason, and the committal of ourselves with all the passion of our being to Someone and Something He did for us which we can never and shall never prove, but do believe. It is the absurdity of faith…’

Even as I type these quotes, it is as if God is saying, “So…peace, be still! It does not depend on you to grasp our understand or figure out. It depends on ME to reveal as I will to your finite understanding. I created you and only I can open your eyes to see when I am ready! You have a God and that is all you need to know. Lean not on your own understanding, but trust ME with all your heart and acknowledge ME in all your ways. You will find that the gaping holes in the path before you will become A SOLID ROCK. Cast yourself in complete and utter abandonment upon ME, leaning on MY everlasting arms, and I will in no wise cast you out, for I CARE FOR YOU. It really is ALL ABOUT ME, YOUR GOD!!! Can you, will you BELIEVE?”

My friends, I think I have been ‘trying’ to be One with Him…trying to figure out what this is ‘supposed’ to look like. DeeDee, your words continue to come to my remembrance – that I have not come to another set of rules and laws, but to A PERSON. AND HE IS NOT A TAME LION!!! My ‘proud reason’ still wants to know the game plan and follow it. Norman reminds me that this is a grade I must learn and the suffering IS the method by which I will learn obedience – the recognizing of my Father in action in me.

Janet