Wednesday, September 15, 2010

His Hidden Heart

Last winter was one of the most brutal that I have ever experienced in Oklahoma. The first frost came early in November and spring only made it's appearance in May. We had ice storms, snow storms, and lots and lots of cold rainy days. It was a very long, very hard winter, and it also happened to be one of the hardest times in my life. I went through an 8 month period of health problems where I felt like I was walking through thick, heavy mud each day. I would get up in the morning completely exhausted and barely have the energy to make it through breakfast before I had to sit down again. For a person who usually bounces up to meet the new day and lives passionately, it was a nightmarish existence for a while there.

In the midst of my health issues, we were in the most finacially challenging place that I had ever been. Matt was struggling to find his feet in his business, and it felt like we were desperately paddling to keep our heads above water. I used to joke to him that the reason I had stopped blogging was that all I had to give anymore was faith. I had no energy, no wisdom, no creativity. All I had was my Heavenly Father's promise that He was with us and would never leave us, and I clung to his hand like I had never had to before.

It was on one of those dreary, cold days of winter that I was coming home from somewhere. My heart was heavy, as it often was, and I was crying out to the Lord. As I turned onto my street I saw something amazing. We live in a neighborhood where every mature tree was cleared when they went to build the houses. It is one of the saddest things about our neighborhood to me. But just accross a little field that they left clear for telephone lines, there is a neighborhood with wonderfully mature trees. As I looked down my street, one of those beautifully tall trees caught my eye. It was naked from the ravages of winter and exposed in its boughs was the image of a heart. And my heart stopped.

I just began to cry, because for me, the message that God was sending me was loud and clear. In the midst of the winter of my life, His heart was being revealed for me. He loved me and was with me in my lowest of lows. And I knew in that moment that if I had never had a winter in my life, I would never see the depth of His heart revealed to me. God wasn't inflicting winter upon me, but as He so often does, in the time of desolation He was showing His faithfulness to me in a way that I will never forget.

All week this week I have been thinking about that tree. Fall is fast approaching here, and with the cooler weather, I have been a bit apprehensive that I would go back into what I went through last year. But everytime I see that tree covered in the beautiful green of summer, swaying in the cooling winds, I feel hope. And I feel a promise in my heart that no matter what comes, His heart is with me. In the glory of summer, it is the strength that upholds me. And in the barrenness of winter it is the revelation that carries me. The sight of that tree is like a sweet secret. I know what lies beneath, because in the middle of my deapest winter... God revealed His heart.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

... and back in again.

For some reason I decided to check my blog today. I don't know why because if I haven't been here, then no one else has either. However, just reading the title of my last blog made me laugh so hard that I just felt inspired to write. Actually, I feel inspired to write often lately, I just don't. So anyway, "Out of hybernation" seems like such a funny joke when I then proceeded to not blog again for like 6 months.

But I do have to say that the last few months have been such a wonderful contrast to the months before, that I do actually have the reserve to want to share my heart and thoughts with the world again. Definitely shocking.

I don't want to promise too much. For instance, don't start calling all your friends and neighbors and checking everyday. Maybe just sign up to follow me and then you will get email suprises in your inbox from me. But I'm not promising suprises either, so don't buy me a return gift just yet. Or you can just buy me a present as a bribe to write. I'll take that. But don't blow your budget to do it, because that would be the opposite of my mission and then I would feel guilt... but I probably would write a blog about you. So if that is your mission, then I am open to gifts :)

OK, I'm just being silly today. But I truly do hope that your budget is still working for you, that your home is full of peace, and that your bills aren't lying in a mountain somewhere. Just the thought of that makes me itch to come over to your home and help you dig out. But you do have two hands, a head on your shoulders (good or otherwise), and Fall is as good a time as any to wake up to reality and start again. Hmm... I think I may have written the last line just for me.

So, if I'm beginning again, so should you. It's time to get in there and figure out what your summer vacation really cost you, how to pay for your kid's Fall clothes, get a plan for affording Christmas this year, and escape from the cave you may have been hiding in. It's actually a lot less scary outside of the cave than it is inside the cave, especially if the bears sleeping with you are debt and financial hardship. Grrr... I think I'll go get my financial gun. I'll be write, I mean right back :)