Thursday, November 3, 2011

Shine not just survive...

Today I woke up with a heavy heart...this life brings discouragement and when we share life with others, we can't help but carry each other's burdens too. Sometimes, the hardest part about being discouraged is not knowing exactly what we ought to be praying for. I spent the wee moments of the morning, before the day beckoned my loved ones from their nestled slumber and warm beds, in His word and prayer. I instantly knew this was going to be a "fight back the tears" and "press on" kind of day. I was determined not to cry in Bible study, but brought my makeup along with me anyway, knowing that as much as I tried, every fiber of the DNA within me finds it hard to cover up the heart I too easily wear on my sleeve.

Anyone who follows my blog is aware of our journey, our desert season, and the struggles we've faced for the past couple of years. Recently, the Lord's laid heavily upon my heart the importance and effectiveness of having a deeper prayer life, and with that He is bringing clarity into exactly what things I should be focusing on (albeit they seem to keep changing daily!) Perhaps I'm confused, uncertain, or ignorant because my thoughts and feelings seem to be all over the map these days! But, I'm listening...

For a long time I was praying for deliverance from our circumstances. And over the course of that time, God taught me that my true joy lies in Him, not in what He can do or provide for me. A painful, yet great lesson learned. Then I began to pray for more of Him...I know the joy, the peace, the intimacy of sweet communion with Him and the more I tasted it, the more I craved it. Most recently, I've been convicted that I need to be praying that He increases our faith. We've surrendered our lives to Him and have been walking in obedience. I don't believe these are the heart changes He has been after. It's discouraging to be doing this though, and to not see His blessing. Our human nature wants to do what's right and then instantly be rewarded for it. Life doesn't always work out this way. At times I come to a place of acceptance, that perhaps this is our lot in life...perhaps this is the thorn in our side that shall not be removed. But, my heart tells me this is not the case and to persevere. And then I question whether or not my "acceptance" is actually a sign of defeat and perhaps I am not trusting or believing that He can or will do more. So, I've struggled with these issues, trying to strike a balance between acceptance/contentment and trust/belief.

I have full confidence in our future. I can look ahead with hope and excitement...but I am struggling with how to get through the "yuck of the now." I see how God could deliver us from our struggles and I feel I have just the right answer I am hoping He will grant. But my limited perspective is marred. I do trust that His ways are better than my own and that His thoughts are higher than mine. But sometimes it's hard to truly believe that in the "yuck of the now" He has our best interest at hand...that everything He is allowing us to go through is for our own good. Because, according to my plan...I see a much easier way! As much as I hate to admit it, perhaps in the depths of my heart I still have a hard time believing He is for us? At least for us "in the now." So, with this, my prayer life has shifted from asking for more of Him, to also asking the Lord to reveal what He wants us to learn and how He wants us to grow in this season...and for me to replace being idle in worry, doubt and discouragment with being active in prayer, praise and thanksgiving.

On the way home from Bible study this morning, Berlyn and I were jamming to some MercyMe in the car, and I began to let the lyrics of the music minster to my spirit. A definitive line in the song "This Life" delivers a message that hits straight to the heart..."we were meant to shine not just survive." How often do I float through this life in survival mode? Listen on..."It's in my heart. It's in my soul. I'll live every day just to make you known." Aha. A tiny bit of burden lifts as this truth sets in and His peace begins to chisel away a chunk of my discouragement. Perhaps I've had it all wrong. While it's not wrong to pray for deliverance, revelation, or even for more of Him, there's still something amiss if this is where my prayer life begins and ends. These things all revolve around and point to me; the common denominator in all of these requests has been me. Even when I want and ask for more of Him, it's still about me and my desires and how He can make me feel. If my ultimate goal was just Him, then why not pray for death where I could spend eternity with Him face to face? What's my purpose here on earth? It's really not about me. It's not about seeing Him and knowing Him for myself so that I feel better and stronger and can weather through the storms in this life. It's not about my spiritual growth, maturity and sanctification. My purpose here is to make Him known. To bring Him glory. Eyes off of myself. Eyes on Him. A life that points to Him and points others to Him.

So, in this season, as we wrestle with discouragement...please pray for us. Pray that whatever this life brings, that our focus and energy is in making Him known. That we fulfill the purpose He has called us to in bringing Him glory. I think this will be a pretty good place to start, and perhaps all of these other things will fall into line as a result.

I know there are prayer warriors out there reading my blog. Please know that I covet your prayers for our family. They are necessary, desperately desired, powerful and priceless.

Lord, I want so desperately to love and live well, beyond just surviving. Show me today, tomorrow and the next, with every breath I take, how to be a light that shines brilliantly for You.

Let me make you known.


  1. Beautifully said - and, honestly, it was exactly what MY soul needed to hear. Thank you for your transparency. I see Him through you ... and it is BEAUTIFUL!

  2. Thanks for sharing this! It hits close to home for me right now. Thanks for the encouragement to SHINE!

  3. Great post....I get so much from reading your blog, and it always seems to touch my heart! I will continue to pray for you and your beautiful family!!