In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

IF: Such a Little Word, With So Much Power

IF.  I have found myself uttering that one syllable word repeatedly, in recent months.  Sometimes,  the word IF can signify something that might come to be.  There is a hint of hope for something to come.  There is some wonder in the word.  It is also a cause and effect word, both positive and negative.  Like, "If you are naughty, then you won't go to the North Pole." (see previous post).  Or it can be positive, like, "If you get your seatbelt on in less than 30 seconds, then you get a tic tac."  At the same time, IF can be a word that has the ability to paralyze.  It's a word that wants so badly for circumstances to be different.  It's a word that can rob us of joy.

These are some of my paralyzing IF statements lately.  (Some of these may sound terrible, so brace yourself and try to stay friends with me):

  • If only I didn't have this colossal herniated disc, everything would be better. 
  • If Dave would have died a couple months earlier, I wouldn't have to worry about health insurance. Yuck!
  • If only he had died before we brought Maci home, I could gracefully raise TWO kids. (Before you defriend me on facebook, adoption friends and all others, I believe with all my heart that Maci is about as amazing as they come and I love her like a crazy woman, most of the time.  However, there are times that I have had this thought.)   
  • If he had only lived just a little bit longer, the kids would be older and this would all be easier.
  • If we had gone with the suggested amount of life insurance, I wouldn't have to worry about money.  (As Dave Ramsey said, we always want just a little more). 

Those are the biggies.  I don't like them.  They just come to me, naturally.

To be fair, if sat down to write positive "if" statements, I would be here all day.  Statements like, "if my friends, family and even strangers, were not so amazing and so supportive, I wouldn't have made it through this past year.  It is crazy how, when life is hard, the despairing thoughts come so easily.  I guess I should take some time to write out the positive, huh?

Back to the ugly ifs.  I can make these statements all day long, but it sure doesn't change that Dave actually died, it doesn't change when Dave died, and it doesn't change that I still have to have my kids put my socks on in the morning (however the pain is a little less these days, so for that I am thankful).  All of these circumstances don't change no matter how loud I say them or how I wish circumstances were different.

I didn't really realize how many times I repeat IF statements, until I was looped back into a round of emails for a conference that I am helping to organize.  I say "helping" very lightly, because I haven't done much.  Sorry, gals!

The conference is called none other than IF.  The very abbreviated description of the conference is,  "If God is real, then what?"  You know what I love about that question?  Everyone can answer that question.  You could know nothing about God, you could have grown up in the finest Bible thumping house, or you could be in a sweet spot with Jesus, and you could still entertain that question on the same level.

Anyway, lately, I have been repeating the counter IF GOD IS REAL, THEN WHAT? statement to my IF ONLY LIFE WERE DIFFERENT statements.  As I question myself, what keeps coming to my mind, is one isty bitsy phrase that I heard in passing before Christmas this year.  GOD GIVES GOD.  God sometimes gives us good things, but I know that he never promises a comfortable life.  In fact, the Bible is chalk full of suffering, even for the most devout follower.  Comfort is what I want, though, after a year where I have experienced both the most devastating, unexplainable, grief and the most enduring physical pain I have ever experienced.  It is such a challenge for me to be satisfied with God giving me God and that is it.  How can I even type those words?  It sounds so blasphemous.  I get God and that is it?  What does that even mean that God gives God?  I want him to give me immediate healing.  I want easy for a little while.   I want him to give me a really good looking, Jesus loving, kid loving, smart, athletic, ridiculously funny man, with good hair. (Just kidding) (No, I'm not) (Well, I wouldn't be opposed and I'll leave it at that:)).  I want God to make things right, in my opinion, right now.  I want justice, I want good people to receive good things and bad people to get what they deserve.  None of that is what God promises in this earthly life.  So, in answer to IF GOD IS REAL, THEN WHAT?  I think He is telling me that If He is real, I get Him. If I take out my selfishness, then it is pretty staggering.  I get the God who created the universe, whether it is through snapping his fingers or if it is through evolution.  I get the God who can do anything.  Literally anything.  I get the God who has made a way for me and my kids to see Dave again.  I get the God who loves unconditionally.  I get the God who can heal.  I get the God who has a sense of humor.  I get the God who will UNDO all the yuck and in it's place will be JOY.  AND I get God every second of every day in every circumstance.

Elizabeth Elliot summed it up nicely when she said, "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances." She couldn't have said that lightly, as she didn't exactly have an easy life or seek out a life of comfort.  I know I couldn't say those words, yet, with conviction to anyone, but I am getting closer, as I continue to walk through hard, yet want more and more of God.

While I didn't compose this blog as an add for the conference, I feel it would be remiss of me to not extend the invitation to any who are interested.  I am excited about this conference coming up, as it will give time to explore the question, IF GOD IS REAL, THEN WHAT?  It will be fun to see ladies across Colorado Springs break the boundaries of the church walls and see where God is leading them.  

Feel free to email Christina (address at the bottom of the flyer) or leave a comment on here, if you have any questions.  I would love to see you there!

1 comment:

Ronnie said...

Love this!!! Such great insight!!!!