A Long Way To Go

Three weeks ago, I would have described myself as spiritually mature. That was before "my" world fell apart. But in these last few days, as we've had a break from chemo and doctors appointments and Bailey is feeling a bit better for now, my brain has had some much needed time to start processing through this tough theological stuff...as it applies to my heart, my faith, my walk with God.

I have often marveled at the truly Godly women I have come across in life. Not the ones who are mature believers...but the ones who are wise beyond all of us...who seem set apart. Most of them I haven't had the blessing to personally know, I have merely heard their stories. Whenever I read Elisabeth Elliot, I am mesmerized by her words...such peace and wisdom. The life she was given - so much pain...yet such contentment...it is remarkable. I am blessed to have come in contact with a few of these women personally, but only through briefly crossing paths, never someone with whom I have been permanently close. You know these women. You want to sit with them and just ask questions...and then take everything they say and apply it to your life...as if it is really that easy. They walk the hard road and then we can just use what they have learned. They are usually slow to speak, but when they do, it is profound and full of truth. They have seen much of life. They have seen God work. And they have seen enough to know that He is in control and they trust Him...whatever their circumstances.

I used to wonder what it would take to grow into one of these wise women of God. How did they get there? Was it truly possible to be content regardless of your circumstances? To see His hand in all situations? To live fearlessly? I thought I wanted to be like these women...I hoped that God would mold me...that I would grow patient, wise and most importantly, content. But in the last few weeks, I've gotten just a small taste of the suffering that I suspect most of these women have gone through tenfold...the suffering that I believe may be absolutely required if we are truly to find our rest in Him...

And it has been awful.

Yes, if I'm being honest, I want to run as fast as I can in the other direction. I want to take back my prayer, my day-dreaming about growing wise and faithful. Can I take it back? This is entirely too difficult. This refining fire is far too hot and my soul can't take the heat. The pain...crushing...hard to breath. The fear...all consuming. And what I am going through is merely a bit of suffering...compared to Christ, to his disciples, to the martyrs who have lived and died for their faith...this isn't even close. How did they do it?

So, that is what I've been contemplating for the past few days. I thought I was a mature believer - I suppose I am...I know Jesus, I have the head knowledge, I was walking the walk, committed to the Lord, letting the Holy Spirit guide me. Sure, I'd suffered some, everyone has...but never the gut-wrenching agony that has gripped me lately...never feeling so completely devastated. I was surprised at how quickly I crumbled...how I immediately defaulted to doubt and despair. And as each day passes, I am seeing that there is so much I don't do well...discovering just how far I am from that wise Godly woman. I thought I was content. I thought I'd found my hope in Him. I thought I lived for the day. But my disappointment, my anger, my grasping for control, my fear, my questions...they indicate otherwise.

I am His, I know that. I have realized though, in the last couple of weeks, that maybe I wasn't as far along as I'd once thought. I know that we are to rejoice in our suffering, our trials...because he is tempering us, shaping us, growing us. But this hurts so much...it is excruciating. I don't want to rejoice in anything right now. I just want it to stop...how do I make it stop? I suspect I will look back some day, maybe, and feel differently. I believe that is the way it is supposed to work, right? But for now, I'm in the middle of the heat, the searing fire...and it is difficult to feel anything but the pain.

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