Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Beautifully Spoken

Earlier this week, I was reading the blog of one of our family members. The words she wrote struck such a cord with me and I have thought about her post a number of times since then. She and her husband were celebrating 18 years of marriage and this is what she wrote: 

“A picture is worth a thousand words” the saying goes… As we crack open the dusty albums of our memories, we take a few minutes to stroll through the snapshots that comprise our lives. Each picture has a story.  A prologue, a theme, and an afterword. We see frozen moments in time:  the smiling faces, sleeping babies, sandcastles on the beach, and milestones and holidays celebrated.  We are grateful to our God for these joyful moments, and pause to smile and “remember when”.
Yet veiled behind the surface, there is always a deeper story:  The argument that happened hours (or minutes) before the picture was taken, the deeper ache just below the surface of the smile, the unexpected turn of events that was to come just around the corner.  It is in the moments, days, and months between the snapshots that we live our lives.  And it is in this broader narrative that the master storyteller unfolds his greatest epic.  It is a story of redemption and restoration.  A story of hope in the midst of despair.  A theme that never changes and a hero who always shows up to save us.
And so it is in life.  We bring to the Lord and to others what we think is our best.  We work diligently to refine and present our talents, giftedness, and God-given dispositions.  We want these things to be a reflection of God and a blessing to others.  We would like the smiling snapshots to represent the total picture of who we are.  Yet there is more…
“Our brokenness also reveals something about who we are.  Our sufferings and pains are not simply bothersome interruptions of our lives;  rather they touch us in our uniqueness and our most intimate individuality.  The way I am broken tells you something unique about me.  The way you are broken tells me something unique about you. That is the reason for my feeling very privileged when you freely share some of your deep pain with me, and that is why it is an expression of my trust in you when I disclose to you something of my vulnerable side.” Henri Nouwen
So as we pause to reflect on God’s goodness and provision, we do thank him for the smiling faces, the sleeping babies, the sandcastles and cheerful celebrations.  Yet we also give him great thanks for the brokenness, the loss, the despair.  For it is in his constant redemption of these difficult experiences, the smaller stories told by our lives, that the theme of his greater story consistently plays out.  He continues to be the one who does and will continue to “restore the years that the locusts have stolen.”
I keep thinking about how true it is that our cameras catch the snapshot of mostly the "happy moments" in life...like the weddings, birthdays, baby's first ultrasound, and so forth...but we don't stop and take a picture when we're standing in the kitchen talking through what to have for dinner after a long, tiring day...or when we have those harder conversations in the challenging times. Brandon and I are human (!!) and certainly can relate to what was written about being thankful to be vulnerable with one another in our brokenness. It really is a beautiful thing to be able to walk through the "happy snapshots" as well as the difficult ones with your best friend. 
It's amazing how the enemy would love to get us down at times. Even tonight as we packed for the beach for some of our best friends' wedding, we had to stop and pray and ask God to be our JOY as we were both tired, hungry, and so forth after a long day. It was amazing to see how after we prayed...we really did have a renewed sense of peace to move forward with one beach chair at a time (!!) as we loaded up the car to prepare for this special week that we have looked forward to for such a long time. As we wrapped up the night, we gave God the glory for filling our home with His Spirit and giving us the hop in our step we needed to joyfully complete all the tasks that needed to be finished before getting in bed. To God be ALL the glory for the way He is at work. May we not forget to take the time out to acknowledge the need for HIS presence, each step of the way...

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