Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Silver Lining of Hope

Last May I was asked to speak at our church's woman's retreat and give my testimony.  The message of the weekend : HOPE.  Imagine that... at the beginning of my 'journey of hope' with Rachel.  I thought I knew what it meant to hope in Jesus then, boy was I still so far off.

I cried for days preparing my outline.  It was so hard to rehash all of my past... I had been in a pretty rough and hopeless place in my addiction and bringing the reality of that back to light was very emotional for me.  I think everyone in that room cried with me as I told my story that night.  And no joke, as soon as I sat down there was a HUGE roll of thunder (and it had not been raining!)  Everyone looked at me and I just smiled.  It was as if God Himself was telling me He was proud of me.  The silver lining in my arrest, time in rehab and jail was exactly that...HOPE.  It was that journey that God revealed Himself to me through.  At that time, I would have done anything to pass that trial by.  I thought it was the worst thing that could have ever happened to me.  I wanted my life to be different, but I was never going to get there on my own.  I needed God and He knew it.

At the end of my testimony I shared a poem that a lady I worked with right before I went to rehab had given me.  I didn't catch on then cause I was high all the time, but later I realized that she was a Christian.  She gave me a couple of little prayers that I always held on to, even though I was far from a believer.  They some how comforted me even though half of it made no sense to me then.   I had this poem on my wall in rehab and then on my fridge since I got out of jail almost 9 years ago.  It's still hanging there... I read it today and cried.  It's so true... the things I used to think were important...mean nothing.  I count it all as loss. (the way "loss" or "rubbish" is used in that Philippians verse is technically more like cow dung...or just plain dung.  I added cow to be dramatic) :o)   Here it is:

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve;
I was made weak, that I may learn to humbly obey.

I asked God for health, that I might do greater things;
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.

I asked for riches, that I might be happy;
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.

I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men;
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life;
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing I asked for but everything I hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I among all men, am most richly blessed.

-Prayer of an unknown Confederate soldier


Rachel brought so much light to the truth of this.  I feel each of these verses in my heart as I say them...even the one about health.  I begged God to heal her... He didn't and she might not ever achieve anything with her strength, be rich or powerful or enjoy life here on earth.  But that little girl in all her weakness and infirmity, did BETTER things.  She is the reason that I know what it means to humbly obey God.  He used her to teach me what happiness really is; where it's found.  He used her to give me wisdom.  He showed me my need for Him through her - and for that I will always be grateful.  

In August, I would have done anything to change what was happening.  I would have happily passed this journey by and kept my baby.  I had no idea how amazing it would be and to what depth I would experience the silver lining of Hope.  I got nothing I asked for, but despite myself my unspoken prayers were answered and I was given the true desires of my heart.

In a world where so much value is placed on what we own, where we work and what we do... Rachel, having none of those badges to offer, changed the world.  (God uses the weak to shame the strong. - 1 Cor. 1:27)  I can only hope that in my entire life I can accomplish even a portion of what Rachel has for my awesome God's kingdom. I pray that the things I look at as accomplishments are measured to God's standards and not the worlds and that I never forget that HE knows the desires of my heart and how to provide for them.  That doesn't always look the way I think or plan and I am far from knowing what is best for me.  Sometimes what is best for me really hurts. 

 
Philippians 3:8
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ

5 comments:

  1. I so agree! And that poem is true. He may not give us what we want but He gives us what we need

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  2. God is so good...ALL THE TIME
    ♥ you!

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  3. What a wonderful post! You and Rachel are part of the reason I changed my prospect of life and of God's plans for me... Thank you! Greetings from Switzerland, anja

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  4. I love you! DESIRAE MAY AUBE

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  5. I love this poem, thank you for sharing. You are an amazing woman and I feel God is working through you. I have a framed saying one of my coworkers gave to me, it says "God doesn't give us what we can handle. He helps us handle what we are given."

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