Sometimes, if they seem open to the idea, I suggest to people that God doesn’t ask us to go through the sorts of things He wasn’t (isn’t?) willing to go through Himself. He became a human being for that very purpose. And He was, as the prophet says, “acquainted with grief.”
So I guess if God has truly called me to care for other people’s spirits, it’s a little unreasonable to imagine I can invite people into spiritual growth if I’m not periodically being stretched, pulled, and maybe even pummeled into my own growth from time to time. I think hoped that when my husband and I moved, we could offer our new home as a peaceful, calm retreat house for other people who are being stretched, pulled, and pummeled into spiritual growth, but I guess that serene space of respite for which I’m praying isn’t going to come without some intense spiritual formation on our part, too.
The process that began when we accepted my parents’ offer for us to buy their house in March has been tumultuous, although very little of the tumult has surrounded the new house, but mostly the sale of the old. As the months have gone on, this process has become more and more all-consuming of house, time, relationship, ministry, reams of unnecessary paperwork, and recently our two personal vehicles. In the midst of all this we also had a vacation and a death in the family. Truly bizarre things continue jump out at us in the metaphorical gauntlet we’re running, and none of the things seem really to be resolved yet.
Not all, but almost all of the drama during these months since March has been about material possessions, and has a very “first-world problems” cast to it. I know this. I know there are people all over the world and this country–one of whom may even be you–who don’t get to wrestle with the problems that come from (accidentally) owning two houses, or multiple vehicles, etc. I know there are Christians around the world who get literally beat up (if not killed) for their faith. We are blessed beyond deserving. (My husband is better at recognizing this than I am.)
All the same, this Season (however long it will be remains to be seen) is wearing on me. I’ve found it very difficult to “be there” for others, and I think the most recent OSFGroup suffered for it. I have seen God’s hand on this process from day one, but decidedly not in a “clearing the obstacles out of the way” manner. Unless, of course, the obstacles are my personal idols (which, to my understanding are, more often than not, the good things God Himself gives, to which we consciously or unconsciously pledge our allegiance and dependence, instead of to Him). Or those bits of my character which keep me from getting to know Jesus and look more like Him. Or the things that keep me from remembering what “the Pit” feels like when I’m trying to minister to someone else who is down there.
I’m excited to see how we emerge from all this, and how the Pilgrimage does, too–but it dawned on me today that we need your prayers to ensure that we really do emerge from it–maybe at all, and especially more Christlike, better able to love the people God puts in our path. And better able to love God Himself–for Himself.
Thank you for bringing us, and the Pilgrimage, and hospice, and the sale of our old house, and our ministry in the new one, before the Throne of God in your prayers.