Monday, September 21, 2009

Abide

Back in January I started working on my talks for ACU's Summit/Lectureship week, Sept. 20- 23rd.

When given the chance to choose what I am going to speak on I always try to get a feel for what the Lord is doing in my life, where am I seeing Him directing me, etc...The theme for this year is "On the Mountain with God." After much prayer and seeking I felt like the Lord was leading me to to speak on Quiet time...something I move in and out of struggling with...My topics were "Meeting God on the Mountain: I want to meet Him but do I have to climb?" and "Meeting God on the Mountain: Can I summit in 30 minutes?"

I have studied, researched, and prayed about these talks for 9 months. I have a spiral notebook that is filled with notes. I have two outlines that I have read and re-read everyday. But before I allow myself to write I always ask the Lord "Help me sift through this...what of this information is for me and what is for my class?" And each time I would feel in my heart...I am not supposed to write about this right now I am supposed to practice it. So for the past 9 months the Lord has been drawing me, calling me deeper, allowing me to see I had given quiet time a bad rap. I had made it something to check off, something to do to make me feel better about me...when what He wanted was for me to come closer and feel better about Him. He has shown me I don't have to always talk, I can just be...and listen to Him. He is shown me I am a better person when I allow Him to live through me and focus my day. He has shown me that He does not want me living for Him...He wants me living with Him. He has shown me that some of the sweetest words to Him are not articulate prayers that catch others attention...but the cry of His name alone...followed by my silence. He has shown me the power of His Word...I have realized that while I have often placed myself in the role of the older brother,I am the prodigal. I have never allowed myself to think that the Lord scans the horizon for me...and yet he does, daily. In so many ways I have experienced more of His love...and I thought I was studying it to teach it to others.

That is why last Wednesday morning I told Tony, "I have a peace right now about where I am at in my talks because the Lord has given me a peace...but He has not really made it clear what I should share yet and that is starting to make me uncomfortable. I want to have them lined out by tomorrow." Tony smiled gave me his I am not worried and you will do great talk and left for work. And Wednesday as I talked with the Lord through out the day I felt in the most real way that yet again, every time I sat down to write He spoke to my heart and said, "Don't write, just be with me." And so I did...I sat in silence, I read about His goodness, I cried out that I wanted to trust more in His mercy and relax more in His hand. I shared how I wished my love for Him was stronger and felt His peace flood my soul. I felt myself rest in His hand on Wednesday. So much so that I thought, maybe I need to ditch all my notes and just share this testimony...Is that it Lord? Again I felt His peaceful silence.


Wednesday evening Tony came home and asked how much I had gotten written. I told him, This is so crazy but the Lord is not letting me write...every time I try I feel Him stop me and call me back to being with Him. Maybe I will do it tomorrow. We both just shrugged our shoulders as if, "That crazy Lord." We ate dinner as a family and then went outside to work on our yard as a family. Then Tony's phone rang. We did not get to it in time. Then mine rang and I got it. It was Tony's brother, he was crying, I handed the phone to Tony who then dropped it and said, "My dad is gone."

I felt frantic...I made calls that got our kids taken care of...I watched my husband in pain...and I felt myself begin to grieve...Tony and I packed our bags that night crying and moaning the whole time. My prayers were reduced to calling out His name... Lord. I felt panic in my soul as I wondered how we would ever go a lifetime without Tony's dad, how we would ever explain to our kids how precious this man was, how we would ever be able to care for Tony's mom (currently in a nursing home) in the way his dad had. I cried all night long deeply toubled. And then the sun came up and I remembered my friend. The One who had been calling me for the past nine months to know Him better. The One who had been asking for me to go to a deeper place of trust with Him. The One who had shown me that He is the only thing that cannot taken from me. The one who had told me...just be still, that's enough. My tears and my pain did not cease but I remembered my Comforter and Tony and I asked Him to make Himself known to us in the middle of this.

And I realized...the past nine months had not been about me preparing for Lectureship at all...it had been Him, in His sweetness, preparing me for this road that I would be walking hand in hand with Him and my husband.

And so we walk...and I am glad to know He holds us because our eyes are a constant stream of tears and we can't see that well. But because He has taught me to rest in Him, to trust in Him, I was able to stand up at my dear father-in-laws memorial and give his eulogy while declaring the Lord's faithfulness. Because He has taught me to relax in His hand I am not near as squirmy as I once was...And because I have learned I can trust Him, I have carried to Him every piece of frustration and every cry of I wish it had not happened like this and I know He has heard it.

We have a long road ahead. Our grief seems to feel like the ocean, tide in, tide out...under-tow strong, under-tow bearable....and it has not been a week yet.

Payton asked tonight, "Will I always feel this sad about Paw Paw being with God?" and we answered, "no, but we will be sad that he is not with us...until we are all with God." Benjamin then told about how the highlight of his day was singing Blessed be your name at school. Payton, ever our thinker, said, "If the Lord hears Benjamin's praise and Paw Paw is with God, Do you think Paw Paw hears Benjamin's voice praising the Lord as well?" We just smiled and said there is so much we do not know...and Payton responded, "I bet he does...and he loves hearing our voices praising God almost as much as God does."

Oh how I love the Lord...Tony and I have said countless times even today, "What would we do without Him?" I can say in a completely different way tonight than I could of last Monday, HE IS OUR HOPE. He is IT for us...I am so thankful we have Him. I am so thankful to know He has Tony's dad.

Tomorrow they will pass out an addendum to the program at ACU's Lectureship/Summit that explains my classes have been canceled due to family reasons. But you and I know the truth; the truth is my class has just begun.

9 comments:

Jan Kelley said...

Dearest Father, Thank you for Becky and the example she continually sets for me as a child of your. A child who longs to be with You and learn to be more like You and to trust in You every minute of every day and to know assuredly that You are in control of it all. Help me to find and to long for the quiet times with You. Thank you for Your faithfulness and for allowing Becky to be in my life as my sister and encourager in Christ. Blessed be Your name. Thank you for my eyes that can read and my heart that loves.

Betsy said...

Becky
That was incredible. I thank God that he let you express that story in just that way. I am starting to learn that he leas us and prepares us for things that we have no idea are coming. And just like you experienced, he always knows. I am working at now being so "squirmy" also. Pray for me and please know that I am praying for you and your husband. Jared lost his Dad 2 almost 2 years ago and the pain is still fresh. Being beside him while he grieved and still grieves his Dad was one of the most precious times of our marriage. It is very tender to see your husband so vulnerable and so much like a little boy missing his Dad. Makes you see them in a whole new light. Thanks so much for your blog. Even though you might not blog often when you do I pour over every word. Love the stories about the funny and truthful things your kids say. They really "get it" don't they? God bless you and your wonderful family.

Amy said...

Becky, I love you sweet friend. My eyes are filled with tears as I sit here and read your words. Thank you for being so transparent, I learned so much from this post today. I am so, so sorry about Tony's dad. I can't even imagine how painful it is for all of you. Know that we are praying for you and we will walk this road with you. We love your family and are covering you in prayer. Love you!

Kristen OQ said...

Wow Becky...so moving. Thank you for sharing your faithful heart. I apprecaite that about you so much and will be lifting you, Tony, the kids, and the rest of the family up to Him as you struggle through this.

Holly said...

Becky,

You have a true gift of communication. It is such a blessing to me the way you shared Tony's Dad, studying for lectureship and your precious kids. So much to really think about in what you wrote. Praying for you guys, love you dearly!

Sarah B said...

Thank you for your words - the ones God finally let you write. His timing for you to wait was right - as He always is. May your family feel His peace.

Emiley said...

Sweet Becky,,,,thank you for sharing your thoughts and testimony on just how truly amazing the Lord is! We are praying for you guys and so sorry for your loss. Love you friend!

Summer said...

Last week, I made arrangements for Chad to take the kids to school and I made it to your 8:30 lecture only to find a sign on the door that it was cancelled. I assumed you must have gotten sick (like the rest of Abilene.) I was disappointed not to et to see you, but I understand now that the Lord was preparing you for something else. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I can only imagine how heartbreaking that must be. What a blessing to see how God has been drawing you into His presence. I long for more of that! Blessings on your sweet family. Praying for peace over all of you.

Karen Alexander said...

Sweet Becky,

As I read this, I was just thinking how I would love to sit and visit with you. It looks like the Spirit is doing a lot of teaching these days about quiet time (Isn't it just amazing how he is teaching in the big classroom of life and we are all getting the similar message? My Asian Mission Forum talks in August were to be on "Enhancing my daily quiet time"--the working title that was given me. My journey through the months prior to August were just amazing.

I was so sorry to hear about Tony's dad. You were in my thoughts all last week and I have thought of you a lot this week, too. I loved reading about Payton's wisdom.

Our God is sweet!

Karen