Just when we thought spring was finally on its way, our tricky Midwestern weather decided it needed another backwards dance with ice and snow.
My heart can sometimes feel that backwards pull. Maybe yours does also?
After decades of praying for relief for my husband’s chronic knee injury, when the actual surgery for a knee replacement was finally scheduled, I heard myself complaining to God about the timing. In last week’s post, here, He showed me more about the beauty of finding Christ as sufficient even now.
So as I’ve been praying and preparing for the days ahead, the Lord reminded me of a precious gift from a long-distance friend. She recently led a workshop-retreat for which she had created a hands-on devotional that came with a booklet and a scrapbook style shadow box. She graciously prepared a set for me, and sent it to me via a dear mutual friend who came to visit me last month. She’s been asking our mutual friend for updates from me, as she wanted me to know that she had prayed for me as she prepared my packet.
As I set out to work through the devotional and glue together all of the tiny hand-cut pieces that came with the kit, God’s hand seemed to rest on my weak wrists, imparting just enough strength to pull apart tiny pieces of artwork and glue them onto the appropriate squares. Page after page through the devotional, I felt His gentle fingers writing gratefulness across my soul.
How could I have missed the sweet gifts that have been planted in this place so specifically just for me?
One of the small squares included a bright sun shining through the bare branches where a redbird sat contentedly. It’s a scene I am privy to on a daily basis here: one that my soul longed to be able to see during all the years we were hemmed in by city streets and parking lots. The Scripture for that square is:
“God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:25 NIV
Another of the squares depicted a key attached to a bright red ribbon. The questions asked for that entry shifted my heart to remember the years when we found God’s provision during jobless and homeless times. But here in our current home where the maintenance can feel overwhelming, God has been teaching us another side of His provisional strength: HE holds the keys to whatever we need:
“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6 NIV
But it was the last square with the fluttering butterfly and this accompanying question that seemed to scorch something deep within my heart:
“What is something that has transformed you?”
And I knew instantly the answer that God was putting His finger on. He has used this path of Chronic Illness to bring His transformation to me. Although there have been glimpses of His beauty through these years, this is the first time that I could truly give an answer of GRATEFULNESS for this time:
“Thank you Lord for transforming my heart and view of weakness through this Season of Chronic Illness.
Thank you to my friends Karen and Linda for the gift of this craft.
As I completed the shadowbox and the devotional, I felt God stir a Haiku of gratefulness in my heart. It is not within me to be able to thank Him for the pain. But only as I taste His mercy can I find the gift that is hidden within the thorn.
Thank you for the pain
In your hidden gift so sweet
I receive Your love.
The ways of God are so different than ours. But His ways are so much higher than ours as He brings His goodness to us.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9 NIV
I would prefer not to walk in weakness, and yet it is only through the trials and the suffering that I find His hand reaching out to me with such strength.
Are you in a season of weakness and questioning? I pray that the words of this song will bring you His comfort as you rest in the beauty of His ways:
Next week I am sharing a post with the Beloved Prodigal Website, and after that I will be taking a few weeks for a blogging break while my husband is recovering. I am so thankful for all of your prayers and support that you have given already! May the Lord be your very great reward and your shield of strength!
I am linking with: