Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Handiwork of God

It is amazing, and I mean truly amazing to see the handiwork of God during, and following difficult situations in my life. On many different occasions I've experienced moments where my natural response has been desperation, anxiety, fear, helplessness, & just sheer anguish. These were just some of the emotions I experienced as my mother at the tender age of 57 passed from this life to be with Jesus Christ in eternity. Although I knew my mother had made it, & I experienced brief moments of rejoicing, it was still entwined with raw emotions, that in the still of the night, would overtake me, that would literally take my breath away.

Or the sadness, grief, heartache as I cared from my father, that had a debilitating stroke, that paralyzed him from the neck down, a few short months after burying my mother. I experienced 5 years of emotions that ran the gamut while I took care of him in our home 24/7, with only the help of my wonderful husband & 4 kids. Although I was honored to care for my daddy, and would do it again in a minute, there were very tough times where I was sleep deprivated, or frustrated because his morning needs would take longer than normal, running us late to school, or that I wouldn’t have time to make lunches in the mornings and would have to make extra trips to the school to ensure my kids would eat lunch. The judgment that I felt as my kids weren't completely or properly prepared for a day of school because my dad's needs demanded more time than I had to give to everyone.

These are just a couple of moments during my life that would prove to be very difficult, very trying, full of raw emotion, that if unchecked, would carry me away to dark places…..dark times.

However, in the midst of it all, God was doing an amazing work Through the passing & earthly death of my mother, a life was reborn, was saved. My brother, who had been an alcoholic for 20 some odd years, hit rock bottom and landed himself in treatment, where he gave up the evil stronghold of alcohol. Where he began coming to terms with the lies & hatred that Satan had filled him with through bottle after bottle. During that time, relationships were being mended, years of hurt and bitterness were being let go of. Truth was coming to light.

During the 5 years of caring for my dad, while he lay in a hospital bed 24/7 in our home, the work of The Lord became more and more visible. My dad, although a very, very devout Christian, a strong man of The Lord, had unresolved issues in his life. During those 5 years, there was a real softening of his heart concerning those things in which he had carried…. some for many years. I enjoyed many wonderful talks and laughs with him, a difficult and sometimes impossible situation became for the most part very beautiful.

As I continue to seek Gods will for my life, as I continue to grow in Him and His Word, I am able to see Gods work in the midst of situations, during times of adversity, as opposed to looking back to see what he did, rather I am able to see more of what He is DOING.

Very recently, I attended our churches' women's retreat. The main focus of the weekend was "Time". Pastor Kari Vance spoke of the words, Chronos & Kairos. Kairos (καιρός) is an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment (the supreme moment). The ancient Greeks had two words for time, chronos and kairos. While the former refers to chronological or sequential time, the latter signifies a time in between, a moment of undetermined period of time in which something special happens. What the special something is, depends on who is using the word. While chronos is quantitative, kairos has a qualitative nature. The featured word was Kairos. Not just time with God, but rather, "Ahh Ha", moments, when God speaks to you in amazing ways….special times with God.

Following the retreat, I volunteered to be a chaperone on a field trip that 2 of my kids were going on. We were going to Kamiak Butte, a local place, to hike. It is about 1 1/2 miles to the peak of the Butte, not at all a rigorous hike, but a steady climb up. I had surgery on my left knee 6 months prior. I was completely out of shape. As I hiked, I found myself extremely winded. I began to experience serious discomfort, not only in being winded, but also muscle cramps & fatigue. My ears were ringing, my chest was tight. Of course, my thoughts were all over the place, I honestly thought about my undergarments, were they my best pair…..? just in case they had to call the paramedics to hall me down the Mt. I began to wonder if I was going to make it to the top, etc. My mind was flooded with thoughts. I was looking down at my feet, walking the trail, trying to focus on one step at a time, one foot in front of the other. As I trudged along, the Lord spoke to me and said, " Look up, look around you." You see, Kamiak Butte overlooks the beautiful Palouse region, It stands roughly 1300 ft. above the surrounding area. At the top of the Butte, you can see for miles. Gods handiwork, his creation is beautiful, beyond belief from this vantage point. He continued to speak and parallel my painful hike to situations in life. He said, "You are going to go through painful, hard tough, difficult times in life…when you think you can't take another step, when you feel like you can't make it, when you feel like the pain is more than you can bear. However, it's during those times that you need to look up, look around and not focus on just your circumstance, but to look and see Me (God), and MY work during these times." What a revelation, a Kairos moment that showed me that I need to keep my eyes on him, not on my situation, for just like the time in my life when my mother died, unexpectedly at a young age, and as I struggled for years to care for my father… the midst of these trying times, beautiful miraculous things were happening all around me….He showed me that just like on Kamiak Butte, had I not have looked up, I would have missed the beauty.

                                                    Picture taken from Kamiak Butte

No matter our situations….big or small, even in the face of tragedy….there is triumph. God is working on our behalf, and when we keep our eyes on him, we will see, the beauty of his handiwork all around us.

Deuteronomy 4:29-31

29 But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30 When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the LORD your God and obey him. 31 For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your forefathers, which he confirmed to them by oath.