Sitting with a dear friend amidst attempts to drink coffee and eat a few bites of breakfast, I found myself surrounded again and again by women who had attended Renew Your Heart in Dallas with me this weekend.
Person after person shared their burdens with me.
"My husband left 6 months ago."
"My mother and father both have cancer and I found out my husband needs an extensive back surgery."
"I just took my 14 year old son out of school because he was suicidal. I don't have a clue how to homeschool but I am trying to save his life."
As I looked out the window right in front on my seat, there were three small, delicate birds, hopping amongst the tree branches and chirping their songs as loudly as they could, as though singing a good worship song to heaven.
i was struck with the contrast--beauty amidst the sad parts of the story, song accompanying the moment when struggles were shared. It was as though God himself was reminding us that He was here with us in the shadow places, watching, being present, longing till the time He would personally wipe every tear away.
Sweet women, just like me, who find themselves in a fallen world where hearts can be broken and lives can be shaken, were sharing deep places inside and yet were straining to live a life of hope because of His promises and presence in the midst. The theme of this weekend was Unshakeable Hope In God.
As I look at my 63 years, 44 of them walking with God, I can say that my life has been fraught with more issues than I ever imagined--car wrecks, a fire in our home, 2 floods, hospitalizations, church splits, relationship issues, financial burdens, outside the box kids and more.
And yet, I can look back and see that God was with us every step of the way. At each point, I learned to let go of more and more expectations of this world that I falsely thought might bring me satisfaction. I embraced the beauty of the moment, the people right in front of me that I could love and be loved back by. I learned I didn't need the things I thought I needed to make me happy because of the ways God taught me to be content, free of guilt, living in the grace of the moment.
"Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD." Psalm 31:24
God taught me that I had spiritual muscle I did not know I had. He strengthened me, taught me how to be courageous, showed me HIs grace so that I might learn to teach others about His lovingkindness, His faithfulness, to have hope and to extend love and patience.
One of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Gouge shares thoughts throughout her books that give me hope. May we each learn to live in the grace God gives in the story we are living for his glory.
“There always comes, I think, a sort of peak in suffering at which either you win over your pain or your pain wins over you, according as to whether you can, or cannot, call up that extra ounce of endurance that helps you to break through the circle of yourself and do the hitherto impossible. That extra ounce carries you through 'le dernier quart d' heure.' Psychologist have a name for it, I believe. Christians call it the Grace of God.”
― Elizabeth Goudge, The Castle on the Hill
Kristen and I got to share with all the attendees the podcast time where we discussed how to launch children by having a grid to work from each day, how to lay foundations that are imprinting the minds and hearts of those you love and invest in, how to move forward towards maturity and patience when you are living moments of testing.
We hope you enjoy the podcast Kristen and I recorded live at the conference this weekend. We love love love meeting all of you and knowing you are enjoying our podcast. What fun to connect with you and see your real faces. Thanks for all the encouragement you gave to me and our family.