Tuesday, May 3, 2011

“Education may make my self-centeredness less disastrous by widening my horizons. But this is like climbing a tower which widens the horizons of my vision while leaving me still the center of reference. The only way to deliver me from my self-centeredness is by winning my entire heart’s devotion, the total allegiance of my will to God- and this can only be done by the Divine Love of God disclosed by Christ in his life and death.”- William Temple

So, I discovered this quote the other day and thought it was brilliant. I'm only sad I didn't read this earlier in my seminary career! I just completed my last assignment and gave my last researched talk in seminary tonight and I'm feeling both a sense of relief and sadness. It is hard to believe that in a few short weeks, my time at Covenant Lane will end and God will propel me forward, just as he has in the past.

I know that it is time to move out of this place and into the next stage of life... but I find myself afraid of what is next. With Africa prayerfully on my mind as well as living in the States, I find my heart needing the reminder that I am not in charge. Am I to listen and obey- respond to Jesus' call? Absolutely. But what does He have for me next? Not so sure... This has been a good exercise of faith and trust for me. I remember feeling this way when I left Cairo during the Bread Crisis, wondering if I would ever adjust to St. Louis... and here I am, wondering if I will ever adjust to anything besides seminary!

God has been so good to me here. I have learned so much more about myself, about the brokenness in this world, and my desperate need for a Savior! When I read Temple's quote, it spoke to me in a way I needed as I reflect on the past 3 years here. I can fill my head full of all the right things to say, all the right techniques, the proper theology, and lesson plans that can help other people know Jesus- but if there is no heart change or absolute allegiance to the Story of my True Love, it is considered nothing. I can be so self-centered just like all of us can. He is my only key out of my own sin, my own destruction, and into the world around me that He alone has power over. I cannot fully fix myself. I cannot change anyone else. My heart must undergo the most intensive process ever. Sanctification is no joke- it hurts like crazy, but it gets us out of the tower and into the world we were created to be a part of! Onward we go!

Monday, May 2, 2011

"Depression is a burying of the soul in the ground, where it waits in the cold, lonely darkness, silent, solitary, waiting for the coming of spring, the warmth of the sun, and the companionship of all living things. "Except a grain of wheat fall to the ground and die, it cannot bear fruit." Depression, I learned, is not only the dark soil into which the grain falls but also the soil out of which grows the fruit. But what fruit had grown out of that soil?
A sense of my tentative place in the universe, I think. The mortality not only of my life but of my livelihood. The mortality of my moods too, that is what I realized. That it is all a gift. Life. The people you love and who love you. Your health. The job you have, the skill you have to do it, even the strength to do it. Each and every one of those things is a gift. Understanding that it is a gift makes you treasure the gift all the more, enjoy it all the more, and live life not only with a greater sense of appreciation but of indebtedness. Another fruit that came was the bittersweet knowledge of how little control I had over life, even my very own life, how little control any of us have over the storms that come into our lives or into the lives of those we love. Sometimes all you can do is to hold on for dear life until the storm passes. There is an empathy for others that grew from all this, an understanding I didn't have before, a compassion. And the tears allowed me to touch the hem of Christ's sorrows. It was a very small hem and a very brief touch, but it gave me a greater understanding of the sadness He carried with Him as he walked this earth. And with that understanding came a deeper love. The road Christ walked while He was here was a road that led to a tomb. I forget that sometimes. But out of that tomb came new life. Sometimes I forget that too."- Ken Gire
I read this passage this evening and was feeling so helpless earlier. I have been in this place of depression before and I am watching someone I love go through it... But Lord, you can get to places in their heart that I cannot. You can heal their soul in the only way that matters.
Heavenly Father, I pray you teach them (and me) how to wait for the dawn, to know that it is there. You are in the darkness, Father... give them a glimpse of your light that you have been showing me... You are all we need.