Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thankful for Friendship

Willow Tree "Forget-Me-Not"
Holding thoughts of you closely -
she represents timeless friendship
and love that spans any distance.
Yesterday, I received a gift from a dear friend that I met through the online chronic Migraine community. She's one of the sweetest, strongest, and most loving people I've ever known. Since the first time I came across her blog (almost a year ago), I've felt a strange bond with her... though our journeys are different, we understand each other in a special way. And, it's been my pleasure to get to know her more, and to communicate with one another through emails, texts, etc... perhaps, one day, our paths will cross and we'll have a chance to meet. I cherish this beautiful friendship, and I'm thankful for the heartfelt gift

It has reminded me that I still have friends out there that care... these friendships may not look like previous friendships I've had (especially since I haven't met most of these wonderful ladies), but I feel much closer to many of them than I do to some people I've known for years (and in person). There's nothing better than knowing that there's someone else out there that cares for you... someone that keeps you in their thoughts, their prayers, their heart. I'm so blessed!

"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

The Gift of Uncertainty

The Gift of Uncertainty
I've written about the difficulty of not knowing, but I'm trying to view uncertainty as more of a gift than a curse. As I was searching for an image for my previous blog post, I came across a website that included a great article, "The Gift of Uncertainty," by Preston Parrish.

One of the many things it addressed is why God doesn't reveal His master plan to us... why He only reveals life one step at a time. Simply put, "we can trust God and His plans for our lives; He just can't always trust us!" We are very impatient beings. If we knew the grand plan upfront, what would keep us from doing things prematurely? On the other hand, we are lazy beings... we may drag our heals and procrastinate on taking the next step in God's plan because it might be uncomfortable. But, there are other reasons that God doesn't reveal the whole plan to us upfront.

God wants to spend time with us. He's our loving Father, and He wants to be intimately involved in our lives... He wants us to get to know Him, as He knows us. If He were to lay out the whole plan upfront, we would have no need to return to Him for guidance... no need to build a relationship with Him. By laying things out step-by-step, He offers us the opportunity to have an intimate relationship with Him. He wants to walk through life with us, not just hand us a map and step out of our lives.

I'm still trying to really let go of the fact that God is never going to give me the whole plan at once... or even a chunk of the plan. It's difficult to do. But, I believe that letting go of that can open me up to truly embrace my interactions with Him, the security of having such a loving God, and the mystery of His presence in my life. Releasing the desire to have the whole plan will allow me to focus on spending time with my loving Father... to build a closer relationship with Him... to "be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10).

There's a great part of the article, where the author writes about taking up a hobby (that he was horrible at), just so he could spend time with his Dad. He writes, "The whole point was to be with him; that was it! There was no other agenda... And sometimes, I think that might be the whole point of the water hazards and the sand traps that we have to go through. Sometimes I think that that might be the point of all the things that we have to lose in life along the way. Sometimes I think that the whole point is just to spend time with our Dad!" I love that! He wants us to spend precious time with Him. But, He's not going to just leave us without any direction...

The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit work together to guide our steps, direct our paths, and help us avoid the obstacles of life... to bring us safely home. Ultimately, it's really all about living our best life here on earth and getting to Heaven to be with our Father. God may not have given us the whole plan, but he did give us a map and a destination... "Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). So, we are called to seek and follow God's instruction, and then continue to do the last thing He told us to do, until we receive His next instruction. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Image by vintageteaparty
All of this speaks to me, reminding me that I've been struggling so hard against the uncertainty, while I should be allowing God to grow patience (among many other lessons) during this season of my life. I must remember, above all, that I can trust Him... He is in control!

"Uncertainty is a quality to be cherished, therefore – if not for it, who would dare to undertake anything?" - Auguste de Villiers de L'Isle-Adam

"The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning. Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers." - Erich Fromm

"Embrace relational uncertainty. It's called romance. Embrace spiritual uncertainty. It's called mystery. Embrace occupational uncertainty. It's called destiny. Embrace emotional uncertainty. It's called joy. Embrace intellectual uncertainty. It's called revelation." - Mark Batterson, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day: How to Survive and Thrive When Opportunity Roars
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