Come to think of it... I didn't ask for ANY of this! I asked for peace and happiness and for the restoration of a broken relationship. I asked the Lord to ease the pain. I asked for a scholarship for my college bound son and I asked (this one is embarrassing!) for a bigger house... I asked for a healthy 9 year old girl from China. I got none of the above, and yet I got so much more! What I got, instead, were the Lord's sweet mercies in disguise!
It would be safe to say that the past year has been the hardest one I can ever remember. I have probably shed more tears of absolute sadness and loss in the last twelve months than I have shed in my entire lifetime combined. If the Lord does store my tears in bottles, He's surely broken out the gallon jugs by now! And yet, as low as the lows have been, the highs have been even higher! It has been a year of incredible losses, and yet immeasurable gains!
When I remember the past year in the days ahead... I will remember it as a wonderfully sweet time in my life when I discovered God to be so immeasurably more than I ever imagined! I'm stumbling for words to even describe what a treasure these incredibly difficult days have been because they have revealed a side of God that I might have missed in days of "ease". And though I've known Him for most of my life, I've found that God's ways still take me by surprise and His sweet mercies still take my breath away every time I discover them!
I asked Him for a healthy 9 year old, but He answered with a 7 year old girl, dying of a broken heart. Her precious spirit has added an unmeasurable sweetness to our home and every day seems like another miracle straight from the storehouse of God! How could I have guessed that God's greatest gift to us was wrapped in a little girl with the label- "No Hope"? A precious treasure in disguise...
I asked Him to take away my pain, but He promised instead to walk through it with me and proved His friendship to be more treasured than relief from that pain. I am slow to run to Him with my delights... but will linger in His arms when I am hurting. This time together~ a precious gift in disguise...
I asked for a bigger home, but God gave me time today with my hero in the faith, John, and his family, who were brought to America as Bhutanese Refugees, after many of them had actually suffered months of imprisonment and beatings in the name of Christ. He wonders how he will pay his rent this month... and next. I am struck by how incredibly blessed we are to have a roof over our heads and a warm bed in which to snuggle at night. My home is suddenly quite big enough! And the money we save, a blessing to be passed on to others as we discover an even greater joy than a larger home could bring! A new perspective~ a gift in disguise...
And through each "unanswered" prayer, I've learned above everything that I can trust Him! I thought I already did! But what I discovered were 10 fingers wrapped tightly around my ideas of what I thought was "better". And yet in His mercy, He gave His best instead! I guess that it takes years like the one I've just walked through to really discover Him and all that He is~ Precious mercies in disguise...
And through that trust, I am learning to let go. Unwrapping those fingers one by one has been a painful process, but they have been replaced with hands wide open toward heaven. "Take it all Lord, so that my hands are empty and ready to receive your sweet mercies..."
If God had given me all that I had asked for, I'd have none of what He had for me! I shutter to think what I'd have missed! The promises in God's Word are enough... I will rest there! His Love is way too much to give me "lesser things". I know that God's often "disguised" mercies will ultimately bring about the healing of hearts that are broken like Rachel's, and yes...even broken hearts like mine! A day of restoration will come. I need not wonder "if", but "when".
"Oh Lord, give me the faith to believe that sometimes your
blessings come through rain drops... your healing comes through tears... that maybe a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know you're near...and that my greatest disappointments and the aching of this life is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy.
Oh, to believe that the trials of this life...the rain, the storms, the hardest nights, are your MERCIES IN DISGUISE!"
(During my bike rides this week, I've listened to this song again and again, as if trying to "cement" this truth into my hard head once and for all! Click play and I think you'll see why!)
Beautifully written and love that picture. It is definitely frame-worthy :)ReplyDelete
Every time I come by I end up crying these joyful, grateful tears of love for my God. Thank you for healing the hearts of so many...including your precious daughter's.ReplyDelete
What a beautiful post, Lori. Thanks for sharing God's blessings and mercies with us. Love following your journey, friend.ReplyDelete
Amazing...I just shared the words to the song with my husband today. I'm guessing God wants me to remember them! Beautiful post and great reminders as we have also gone through some tough times lately and are trusting God's perfect timing for answers.ReplyDelete
You just made me cry by reading your amazing words. I love your joyful heart even when life is hard. If I learn one thing from you it would be to have joy in the midst of the hard times in life.ReplyDelete
You are an amazing woman and I am so BLESSED to call you my friend.
I LOVE you and MISS you.
I cannot tell you how inspiring your story is! It warms my heart & brings me such joy to read about the miracles God is performing in your lives. Thank you for sharing! It truly builds my faith!ReplyDelete
I love this song. While we are not experiencing many "trials" right now, it makes me wonder if God isn't preparing me for something to come. I hope I learn and grow as much as you have when my time comes.ReplyDelete