Saturday, November 16, 2013

Persevering Through the Valley

The valleys were deep again this week as I do the painful yet necessary work of grief. Having Ted in my life was such a huge and wonderful blessing, so it is going to be a mountain of work to reshape a life without him.

You only get perseverance from what you persevere through.

I know that the testing of our faith produces perseverance and we need to let it finish its work so that we are not lacking anything. So, I remember that even now, though I can't always see or feel it, God is in the middle of a good work. That's His nature. He drenches us in His unfailing love and He works all things together for good for those who love Him. It encourages me to persevere with Him.

With so much to do and much more on the horizon, I started believing that the harder and faster I work, the sooner I can simplify my life. But, I realized that this strategy has put many things in motion that have complicated my life rather than bringing the simplicity I so desire.

This week, in the middle of a big valley, my grief counselor suggested I take a six-week "vacation" from thinking about the rentals and just let things unfold. That way I can focus on the holidays and be more free to enjoy the moments with family and friends, and to take care of myself. I love that idea and the "permission" she gave me to do that.

After all, God is in control anyway, so it really is surrendering to Him and not trying to do it all myself. Wait a minute... when did I revert to thinking it was up to me? God has been so very faithful in showing me that when I abide, He provides. I have many, many examples of Him providing daily manna in my life. My part is to focus on today and to just walk with Him.

Even when things seem long, dark or bleak, His great grace finds me. We always have HOPE in the Lord Our God! According to C.S. Lewis, "If we can praise and worship Him in the midst of trouble, pain or loss, that is what pleases Him the most."

So, Lord, I'm breathing in your grace, and breathing out your praise... I'm breathing in your grace, and breathing out your praise.

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, still I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior (Hab. 3:17-18). All praise to our great God!