Thursday, March 29, 2012

One Year Later

A few weeks ago, I had our “Day with the Bishop” where clergy from the Rockford and Dekalb districts (in the Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church) met with Bishop Hee-Soo Jung. It was during that meeting that I remembered that it was on last year’s day with the Bishop that life started to change for me and for the life of the church I serve. It was then that I found out that our Senior Pastor had been appointed to be a District Superintendent and soon would find out that the other 2 pastors were being appointed elsewhere. We would be receiving two more pastors and I would be staying. Oh my! Living with the unknown became the norm for awhile. The anxiety of what would be, what could be, was overwhelming. It is great to be able to look back and celebrate the faithfulness of our God. We received a new Senior Pastor and new Associate Pastor. They both bring a wealth of gifts with them and it is clear that God has called them to be at this place at this time. Likewise, those that have moved on have found a place that the Almighty has prepared for them.

Psalm 139:5 reminds us that God goes before us and behind us. We are surrounded and loved by our faithful God who doesn’t leave us or abandon us, even as we walk into the unknown roads of this life.

I encourage you to look back over the past year and reflect on both the joyful places as well as those that may have caused you anxiety. I invite you to see God’s Hand upon your circumstances; the places where you can celebrate the faithfulness of God. Also acknowledge those places where you held tight, trying to control the direction of your life or worry yourself sick over life circumstances. May this next year be one where we not only rejoice in how God does not abandon us but also, because of that knowledge, we can walk in greater trust and obedience.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Healing Hand of God

We are now about a month and a half into our time with our new foster child “J.” We have had our highs and we have definitely had our lows. I’ve seen God’s amazing healing hand upon this dear little girl. However, I must admit there are days when I wonder if we are taking steps forward or steps back. We will see some amazing improvements in trust, in compliance, in trying to express herself appropriately, etc. Then, after a little bit, we have a day or two where things seem to go back to those earliest days that were nothing short of tough. I’m left with trying to figure out if this is regression or if maybe this is another layer of healing.

I once heard the analogy of God’s healing in the terms of debridement and it really resonated with me. Debridement, by definition, is the medical removal of dead, damaged, or infected tissue to improve the healing potential of the remaining healthy tissue.

If you talk with anyone who has gone through debridement they will describe it as quite painful. There is tissue starting to form over a wound but it may be damaged in some way, so a medical professional needs to go in and take out the damaged tissue so the remaining tissue can heal and the wound will truly be healed.  

In our lives, we all experience things that wound us. Just like a burn, we may feel like we have begun to heal as “tissue” forms over it. We go on with our lives, we feel like we have moved on, that we are “over it.” But then we go through a painful time where it feels like that wound is ripped back open. I have noticed during those times in my own life following that wound being ripped back open, that God has brought me to a deeper place of healing. I had assumed that I was “healed” but God said, “Oh my daughter, I want you to really be healed. I am going to get deep inside that wound and make sure that none of that bad tissue remains that will lead to more unhealthiness!” I admit it is not always a pleasant process. Who wants to “go there;” to be reminded of our wounds, to go through the healing process again, much less at a deeper level? Well we may not choose it but God, our Physician, knows what it best for us.

There is a great song called “Healing Hand of God” by Jeremy Camp. There is a part in the song that really sticks out to me:

“Cause I have seen the healing hand of God, reaching out and mending broken hearts. Taste and see the fullness of His peace.”

I have seen the healing hand of God, in my life, in the lives of those I minister to and also in my children. God reaches out and mends broken hearts in a way that is breathtaking to watch. A way that leads to a peace, one that surpasses all understanding…a way that leads to wholeness; to the abundance that God desires for us.

I pray for all of those going through a season of “debridement.” I pray that you will trust the healing hand of God and experience the blessing of being healed, truly healed, so you may live a life free from the wounds that seek to lead you into a path of unhealthiness rather than the abundant life that God so desires for you.

Link to hear the song “Healing Hand of God”