Monday, February 19, 2018

Blessed Subtractions

One thing I have always strived to do for better or worse on this blog is to be completely and totally honest about where I am, what I am going through, and what God is showing me. I share the resources God has put before me on the off chance that you might find them beneficial as well. One such resource that I have mentioned before includes the Sara Hagerty monthly printable for Adoration.

I found Sara's website when I started reading her book Unseen, which I highly recommend. (And fyi, when I post links, they aren't affiliate links or anything like that. I'm just sharing what I have found helpful; I am not making money on clicks, purchases, or anything like that.)

Anyway, I started printing her monthly Adoration page in January, washi-taping it into a composition notebook, writing out the daily verse, and then journaling a prayer after it. Let me tell you, focusing on adoring God through His written word is a pretty powerful practice. I would have never guessed that this would be so good for me but it truly has been. It has allowed me to clear and process my thoughts more fully and given me insight to possibilities I don't think I would have otherwise considered.

Now, as you might suppose, a lot of what I write is filtered through what I am going through or dealing with and is influenced by what I am reading in my Bible or any other book(s) I might be reading. I fully believe that God puts things together in combination in my life to give me a fuller picture of what is happening from different angles.

All that said, this morning included a pretty big revelation.

First, I was in Numbers 1 and 2. I know, highly exciting reading right there. But what struck me is that the camp of the Israelite tribes wasn't haphazard. And if you start in the middle with The Tent of Meeting surrounded by the Levites and then go out directionally north, south, east, and west, you end up with the essential shape of a cross.

Second, I read in Nourish by Katie Farrell how prayer is essential for everything. I know, duh. But what I hadn't considered before was why. Simply put, Jesus said that apart from Him we can do nothing. (John 15:5) Unfortunately I try to do a lot of things apart from Him because they are things I know I can do on my own. But not inviting Him into them has probably been working against me. I suppose that's why we are told to pray about everything. (Phil. 4:6)

Third, and this is where it got good, the Adoration verse for today is Romans 11:33 (CSB).

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and of the knowledge
of God! How unsearchable His judgements and untraceable His ways!

Now before I explain this, you need to understand that I am reading No More Faking Fine by Esther Fleece. The last thing I read was about her gaining a new perspective on her childhood based on indisputable fact (court records), not just her recollection of events as they unfolded, or what she was told was reality as compared to what actually was.

Esther talks a lot about her suppression of emotions and just pulling up her bootstraps to keep going. This reasonates with me. And for seven years now I have not had a really good, gut wrenching, heart emptying cry. And I want one in the worst possible way. Like you just don't even know. I watch This Is Us sans tissues, people. The relationship problems bother me, but I remain completely emotionless.

Anyway, after I wrote out Romans 11:33, I journaled this prayer:

Lord, Your wisdom and knowledge go beyond what I can comprehend. And for some reason, for many years now, either I have been intentionally suppressing my emotions, You have been holding them back for my good, or a combination of both. You know above all else what stress does to me and how anxiety plagues me. You above all know how I force my way through, refusing to quit, but at the same time refuse to deal with things. So whether it's my stubborn heart or your grace in protecting my body physically, I do believe You are slowly taking me back to the place I will be able to feel again. So whether that means going through a checklist with You or You revealing Your truth over time to uncover and expose lies, I believe You know exactly what You are doing and why You are doing it.

If you know nothing about auto-immune problems like lupus, you need to know this: stress is not good. And until this morning, I never once thought that it was possible that my dark night of the soul could be God's physical protection of my body. I never entertained the notion that the journey I have been on for over a year could be teaching me how to handle things in a healthy way, His way, before it would be safe again for me to feel.

Our Heavenly Father knows so much more of what we need and what we don't. We know that He gives and takes away but I think quite often we forget that His blessed subtractions are quite possibly His provisions of protection. 

So, my encouragement for us today is this: If God knows everything and sees the big picutre, if He is withholding something, He is doing it for a reason. As much as we might think what we want is to our advantage, He ultimately knows if it will cause harm. We have to realize that the depth of His wisdom and knowledge is too much for us to understand, and that while His judgements are good and His ways untraceable, they are always full of meaning, purpose, and intention.

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