for my dearests...
To all the saints in Christ Jesus... Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ...
I thank my God when you come to mind in the afternoon, when I wake with you on my heart, when I walk down memory lane and recall the life we have shared...and I am always offering those prayers with joy in my every prayer for you all, because we have been sister and brother participants in the Good News from the first day!
And I can say this with absolute confidence, because I know the Good Worker: that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my despair and darkness and in my believing & walking out Christ-in-me, you all have been and remain partaker of grace with me.
For God is my witness - how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus!
And I'm praying this: that your love will grow and become rich with discernment and knowledge, and that True Love will become your source and motivation for all things, because I want you to know what is true and lovely and righteous, so that you can genuinely, honestly, vulnerably walk in His Love until the day of Christ's return; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes only through Jesus Christ, for the great praise and glory of God the Father.
I want you to know, dear sisters, dear brothers, that what we previously believed to be my loss has turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, and that my suffering (in comparably little ways to that of Christ) has become known as being part of the cause of Christ...
...And you know what? I will rejoice.
YES. And I will rejoice!
For I know that even the hardest of things will turn out for my deliverance through the prayers of the body and the provision of the Spirit of Christ Jesus, according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in any of this, but that with greater boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.
Because for me? To live is Christ and to die is gain. Living. Means. Christ.
This morning I woke up unable to breathe through tears. I'd dreamed of deep sadness and loss, grief and pain. So this morning in the wee sma', God sent me back to Philippians 1 to pray. To pray for my baby's birth mother, to pray for my husband, to pray for friends I know are experiencing a depth of pain they've not encountered before and believe may never end. To pray for the brethren who have generously and kindly walked through much of my own pain and to pray that they see now the stirrings of redemption and beauty-from-ashes that Christ has been working. To pray the whole chapter and to ask Him to work contentment in the hearts of men & women who have no earthly reason to be satisfied in God....but who have every reason in the unseen and eternal to walk weary roads to the throne of grace and collapse at His feet.
Contentment, you say? I cannot be content. I am not getting pregnant on my timeline, my husband is unemployed and anxious, my children are disobedient, my job is life-draining, my heart is too tired, my brain is too fuzzy, I am failing at every turn and there is not enough time, not enough grace, not enough space, not enough money, there is not enough, not enough, not enough to meet the demands on my heart in these days. You tell me He is enough, but I do not see it and I grow weary of waiting for His hand to move.
Sweet sister, I know. I do not wish to fling platitudes in your face or minimize your pain & weariness. I know this these things, I have felt these things, I have my own shares of not-enough more often than I like. So hear what is True and Good when I say: your feelings are not always accurate indicators of reality. There is a deep truth to contentment in Christ that does not change with your circumstances. "I have learned to be content" does not happen on the mountaintop, but in the low, low valley where Christ becomes all. He does not become all here in that He was not all before, but in the valley we begin to see what always ways, if we will allow Him to reveal it: that Christ Jesus is all, is sufficient, is enough for weary, aching heart and the wounds we are bandaging.
He is enough.
It is brave to pray when you are so weary and it is brave to pray when you are refreshed - the very act of prayer says that we believe God to at the very least be listening and at the most, willing to act on our behalf.
So let us be brave today. Let us come to Him with these anxieties and losses, bone-tired and heart-tired and be willing to say: be it unto me, according to Your will, oh Lord.