Author: Beth
•Sunday, May 30, 2010

God has been working in some pretty incredible ways lately. To give you a peek into what His hand has been doing in this heart of mine, I thought I would share something that became a lifeline a few weeks ago. These God-breathed words of Psalm 139 have defined my life lately. I'm also including my own jotted notes to give you a glimpse into how He has been using His Words to write another chapter in my life. As you read them, you might discover that He’s been writing a similar story in your life as well.

Oh Lord, you have searched me,
down into my very heartbeat
and you know me, my dreams, my desires, my every need.

You know when I sit and when I rise; yes, every single job that I have...
You perceive my thoughts from afar, ... knowing the lessons I must learn from them.

You discern my going out and my lying down; everything that consumes my energy.
You are familiar with all my ways. My full calendar has your writing all over it.

Before a word is on my tongue, especially as a writer who thrives by words...
You know it completely, O Lord. Especially these intimate things that words just can't say.

You hem me in - behind and before; steadying me when I am uncertain about the future
You have laid your hand on me. so that I will not waste this life.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, no other person understands me like this.
Too lofty for me to attain. Such intimate understanding is beyond human comprehension.

Where can I go from Your Spirit? Even if I feel like it, I am never alone.
Where can I flee from Your Presence? Never abandoned, forsaken, or "flying solo."

If I go up to the heavens, You are there. In the moments of happiness, smiles and laughter.
If I make my bed in the depths, You are there. In the tears, sorrow, and confusion.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn; on every single airplane ride
If I settle on the far side of the sea; in India, Mexico, Africa, or at home

Even there Your hand will guide me, as I step out in faith, clinging to You
Your right hand will hold me fast, when there is no one else to hold me.

If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me, and my fears will take over
and the light become night around me, and my faith will be shaken...

Even the darkness will not be dark to You; for You quiet my heart
The night will shine like the day, giving me hope and peace that I need
for darkness is as light to you. You see the big picture.

For You created my inmost being; assuring my salvation before I was born
You knit me together in my mother's womb, just as I am for a reason.

I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful, I believe it.
I know that full well. You know what You're doing with me.

My frame was not hidden from You, Eternal wisdom formed this very life.
When I was made in the secret place. Nothing has escaped your notice.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, even there...

Your eyes saw my unformed body. Your eye was on me from the start.
All the days ordained for me Today, tomorrow, next week, next year...
Were written in Your book are already planned; why do I worry?
Before one of them came to be. I can live, truly LIVE because of this.

How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I were to count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with You.

That has been the story of my life lately. Yes, because He lives and reigns, I can face whatever tomorrow brings.

~ Beth

Author: Beth
•Monday, May 17, 2010
Tears stung my eyes as I closed the door behind me. The crystal clear cobalt sky greeted me cheerily and the bright tulips nodded their heads as I passed, but even the hopeful signs of spring were little comfort. Another inside dream was crumbling in my hands and I needed a minute outside to clear the cobwebs in my head. What is the point of dreaming? I sighed, as I fingered a blade of grass.

"It seems to me, Anne, that you are never going to outgrow your fashion of setting your heart so on things crashing down into despair because you don't get them."

"I know I'm too inclined to think that way," agreed Anne ruefully. "When I think something nice is going to happen, I seem to fly right up on the wings of anticipation; and then the first thing I realize I drop down to earth with a thud. But really, Marilla, the flying part is glorious while it's like soaring through a sunset. I think it almost pays for the thud." [Anne of Avonlea p.131]

I could have almost repeated that conversation with Marilla... although, this time, I was having my doubts even about the flying part. Maybe it wasn't worth the "thud" after all. Hoping is too painful sometimes.

My fingers absentmindedly combed the grass and brushed over a tiny, feathery seed pod. It was a helicopter seed. I looked up and could see the pods dancing down from the nearby tree; their little bodies being given fully to their brief, glorious flight to the ground. Down they came by the hundreds, each twirling with a kind of magical aura. My mind wandered back to childhood when I would gather up handfuls of the little wimsical maple seeds, just to watch them catch the wind. Carefree. Light. Hopeful.

But there was one problem... one that never even crossed my mind until now. Each of those little seeds were plummeting to their death. Thousands upon thousands of little seeds cover the sidewalks, curbs, gutters, and lawns every spring, only to be dried by the summer sun, choked by the tall grass, or washed away by the spring rain before they can take root. Only one or two little helicopter seeds will ever survive long enough to actually bear fruit -- to produce their own helicopter someday. On the outset, it looks like such a waste.

I'm a dreamer by nature. Little desires and hopes fly up on the "wings of anticipation" much like those little helicopter seeds. They dance along the outskirts of my heart, fluttering like little seeds looking for a secure place to settle and grow. But what becomes of them? Dreams and desires that go unfulfilled...are they wasted?

This was the quandary that I wrestled with on that sunshine-y day in the yard. It still comes back from time to time. As I've been thinking about it in the weeks following, however, I've come to understand...perhaps... why those dreams have to die first.

It's because of hope.

Sounds a little oxymoronic, doesn't it?

Those little tiny seeds represent something greater than a meaningless death. They represent the source from which they came. When Jesus gave us the command: "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm 37:4), He wasn't saying to never dream again. Rather, He was explaining where the focus should be... not in the little tiny seed, but in the great, majestic tree behind it. What do I love the most? Do I love God or am I just infatuated with His gifts?

A friend once told me that "falling in love is God putting a little bit of His heart in yours." If my dreams and desires are from God Himself then they will be extensions of His heart. The quality of those little seeds that come fluttering down from my heart will be a reflection of what I am truly grounded in. When my hope is securely in God alone, then those dreams are no longer mine; they are His - awaiting supernatural fulfillment in His time.

But what about when they die?

Is God so unloving as to tantalize us with dreams and desires, only to dash them cruelly before our faces? Does He give His children gifts, only to snatch them back without any replacement? What does death really mean for our dreams?

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. - John 12:24

Death means surrender. It means prying back our fingers from the tiny seeds and letting them fall. It means trusting God enough to know that He IS who HE says He is. It means having faith to know that the FRUIT that will come from that death will be far greater than we could ever ask or imagine.

When my dreams die, I get to see just how involved God is in that moment. I see His heart.

Maybe the fruit is that we will understand His heartbeat even more intimately - to know God Himself. Maybe the fruit is the passion, trust, and peace that comes from a heart that has been stripped away from any dividing love, and has become wholeheartedly devoted to the Father. Maybe the fruit is the faith that will spring up in even greater waves when we witness God resurrecting our dream in such a way that ONLY He could receive the glory.

The fruit that comes from the death of a dream is for God to determine... but it WILL come. I know that when it does, it will be the best possible outcome imaginable. I may not see it now, but I trust in His Word and give time for Providence to explain.

So therefore, my dear friends, "Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord." (Psalm 31:24)

~ Beth