Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Starving Time

I think I have been fighting God on a few things...

I just finished a book called The Light and the Glory. It is a book about the history of our country and questions if God really did have a plan for America. The book started with Columbus and follows the destiny of our great country through our first President's second term. I want to share with you one of the most impacting parts of the book because I feel like I keep going around this mountain. Hopefully by sharing this journey with you, I can get off this trip...

The Pilgrims, the Puritans, and the Continental Army (at Valley Forge) all had "starving times". And as I process this lesson, all the way back to Genesis, there have been starving times. For the Pilgrims, it was the first winter. They got to Plymouth in November. Now, I am not sure who planned their itinerary, but that is the last time I would have hired that agency! Arriving anywhere north of Florida in November (under those circumstances) is not a trip I would have taken. One winter, all they had to eat was FIVE 5 five kernels of corn to a day. Open your hand and picture holding five kernels of corn in it. Now tell yourself that is all you have to eat not just for one day, but for months. Yet not one person starved.

Have you ever heard stories of Valley Forge? I must admit, history was not my forte. But I knew for some reason Valley Forge was a big deal. This is why. Washington's army spent a winter in Hell on Earth. But instead of fire there was snow. In the relentless snow some of them were naked, most of them shoeless, all of them were hungry. They would eat their leather satchels because there was nothing else to eat. "Yes, waiter, how is the leather cooked today?" Can you imagine!!

Moses fasted for 40 days, came down the mountain, threw the tablets, and went right into another 40 day fast.

Joseph spent time in a pit, as a slave, and in prison.

Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness fasting.

So what is with this history lesson of starvation? And, by the way, doesn't God own the cattle on a thousand hills? What kind of God would let His children starve? And, frankly, if that is what it is all about to follow Him, well, then, drop me off at the next exit. Isn't that what we really think?

Or am I the only one?

Here is where I get vulnerable with you again. (By the way, this was not what I intended when I started this blog. I was just going to show off my children and my dear husband. Tell you guys what is new on the farm. Not let you inside my heart!)

Starving times suck. I know that is not the most appropriate or grammatical way to say that, but can you argue? A season of not having enough is hard. Not enough food, not enough of a relationship with your brother, not enough healing of your past, not enough money, not enough freedom, not enough clothes, not enough of a marriage, not enough forgiveness, not enough faith... it doesn't matter what area you are lacking, it is a starving time. And it sucks.

We try to hide it. We think it is somehow shameful to admit our weakness. So we put on our happy face, and reply with the all too superficial "Oh, I am good!" lie. Meanwhile, we starve! We fill our bowls with empty spoonfuls of what we think we deserve instead of allowing the people in our lives to share from their abundance. What happened to covenant friendships? When did the homes of our hearts become outfitted with such high privacy fences?

We do not wander into starving times. I believe it is an inevitable stop on our journey toward our destinies. These times are not to kill us, but to make us stronger if we will learn the lessons we are there to learn. The Pilgrims, Puritans, Washington's army, and every other person that has ever been through a starving time has learned to come together in a way they could not have done by any other means.

Instead of lamenting or berating starving times, what if we embraced them? I have faith that our starving time right now is not permanent. Eric and I have been through enough of these times now that once I realize what is going on, I actually say "Thank You, Lord". I hate it as much as the next person, but I know that in the end, I would not have wanted it any other way.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My dream

Did I really call this thing "undistracted"? Eric laughed when I told him! You probably all did. Confessions first. I feel very vulnerable. Like you are reading my journal or something...

I want to start with something the Lord gave me the other that has totally shifted the paradigm of my expectations and my mentality. I had a dream the other night that was so profound, I find myself telling everyone that will listen. So of course, I'll tell you.

Josiah and I were in a life raft in the middle of the ocean. The situation was dire, and I knew we had to figure out how to eat. Somehow. The best plan I could come up with was to reach in the water and grab a fish that was swimming by with my bare hands. Of course it would be a miracle for a fish to swim that close, but I do believe in miracles. As I was looking into the depths of the sea waiting for a fish to swim by, a fish jumped out of the water and right into our boat...

My idea of a miracle was for me to still do the work. I would have to reach in and grab the fish. As much as I was praying for a miracle, it never occurred to me to pray for a fish to jump into the boat. It never even occurred to me to THINK about that.

Thus my paradigm shift.

My idea of Jesus (before this dream) was so small. I know He wants to prosper us (but we struggle to make ends meet). I know He wants to heal us (but Josiah still manifests symptoms of a disease). I feel like the things I can see in our lives right now are so often floating in a life boat in the middle of the ocean. I used to wonder if He even noticed... I have moved past that to actually believing that not only does He notice, but that He will perform a miracle on my behalf. But after that dream, my prayers have changed to "teach me how to think like You". In the few days since my dream, I don't think He wants me to go fishing for a miracle (provision, healing, peace!). I kind of think He wants to just give it to me.

What would our lives be like if the next time we are stranded in the middle of nowhere with no help in sight instead of lamenting or complaining or even believing for the impossible, we actually EXPECTED it. Not a selfish expectation, but an expectation that my children have that I will provide them with everything they need and more! It never occurs to them that I would do it any other way. Why do we think God would?

My challenge to you is this: what situation do you need a fish to jump into? Try asking God for His logic. What is His idea of a miracle? ... and then let me know what happens.