Much of the last year has taught me a number of things. One is the way God interacts with us in the seasons of struggle, pain, and loss.
Another door closed for us this week. I apologize for the impersonal fb post, but I know a lot of you have been praying and walking with us, and I didn't want to miss anyone. We continue to journey through a wilderness time of our lives that began in June. I know enduring a wilderness time, one will either mature and learn or disintegrate. We have learned a great deal about God, our family, myself, and life in this time. I must also say I am weary and tired. I identify with Israel as they journeyed through the wilderness and wondered why God would do this. I know the feeling of desperation to hear from Him. I know the sense of silence on the other end. I know the questions which ambush the heart and mind regarding your identity, your value, your calling, your talents, your gifts.
I know the psalmist's indignant prayer to "ANSWER ME, my God!" I know how to wonder how long will He stay silent. I know how, with Job, to hold on to the integrity of my heart while coming toe to toe with my God in prayer. I also know how to trust and say, 'surely goodness will follow me all the days of my life.' I know God is good. I know he works all things for my good, and He will do so.
Thank you so much family and friends for your prayers and encouragement. They give me strength for the long haul. God is good to me! You are proof of this.
It has been since June that I resigned just after starting this journal. Journals have legs to walk with you through various journeys and seasons. Journals have backs and hearts to carry a great deal of things so you do not have to. This journal is a gift from a friend I have not seen or spoken with in many years. It was a random gift which arrived just before an enormous life change I did not foresee at the time. This journal came to me from a friend who has always been a strong encouragement to "Keep writing. Always keep writing." This journal came from this friend just before a season where it would have been easy to cease writing.
This journal has carried a lot of the things I never wanted to carry. If I could only displace those thoughts and processes on the back and heart of this journal, I could get through days, which would have been otherwise very discouraging and debilitating.
This journal contains the weak prayers of limping through the process of learning to ask God 'what' instead of 'why'. I rarely get answers to 'why' questions, but I have learned to look at any and all circumstances asking, "God, what are you doing in me through this?"
This journal contains notes for interviews come and gone for positions I thought were great, if not perfect, but clearly not where God was guiding and calling me.
This journal contains notes for sermons along the way for beloved groups who, unaware to them, gave shock paddles to my heart by giving me opportunities to do what I love in a season when my heart was weak and confused for the future.
This journal has been able to carry the promise of prayer my heart made for the new year. It proves that the challenge remains. It is written in ink after all.
This journal, #38, passes a baton to #39 with promise and hope attached. It uses the discouragement and healing as a springboard to speak to my heart, "You are a better leader, husband, and father than you were before we began walking together, but more importantly, you are closer to the heart of Jesus than you were before we met."