Well, I finally did it. I finally opened up the Nor Forsake file and was able to read through it without complete disdain and without the hindrances that I’ve had since October. Last fall I set a goal to take a certain step in March. So it’s May now, almost June and I finally took that step last week. The last 7 months have been pretty brutal — we’ve covered that though, right?
You know what’s crazy? In the manuscripts I’ve been editing (yes, I even opened another one after I finished up with Nor Forsake), I’ve been finding all kinds of encouragement that completely meets me in the space I’ve been in. Everything that I’ve needed to absorb into my heart, my head already knew, years ago. Countless times as I’ve read through these pages, I’ve shaken my head and said, “See, Julie? You know this.” I think that knowing and knowing are two different things. Knowing in the head verses knowing in the heart.
Some of the things I’ve needed to know in my heart I’ve already spoken out loud to people in my life, encouraging them with my head knowledge. “Jesus loves you, He has grace for all, He is with you . . .” etc. It’s a heck of a lot easier to see His mercies pour out on others rather than receive them for myself.
I guess today I’m just feeling thankful that I’m not just living out of head knowledge anymore. The revelation in my heart is ongoing, and I’m still trudging up this mountain, waiting to reach the summit, and I’m still sitting down a lot, needing to catch my breath, needing to hear the encouragement of my coach, “You can do it. Come on. Keep going.” And there are definitely moments when I want to give up and just start building my house on the side of this treacherous climb.
The story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednago is what has really stuck out to me this week. How many times have we heard that story told by Sunday school teachers? How many times have we actually read it from the Bible though? There are some pretty amazing truths about our Father in there, and about three men who had unrelenting faith in Him. (Daniel 3: 16-18, emphasis on 18) Of course the most beautiful point in the story is that God was with those three in the furnace, telling us that “when you walk through the fire, the flames will not consume you” (paraphrase, Isaiah 43:2b). He was with them in the fire. That is the nature of our God. He is with us in the fire. And then, because of their unwavering faith, the three boys were promoted in the kingdom of Babylon. Just like Job receiving back what was stolen from him. There is nothing but goodness in the Father’s promises, even when it feels like we have to move heaven and earth to receive them.
I anticipate a better perspective of the valley once I am through this journey. I expect to see that in the moments that I have been the most frail, the Father has indeed been my strength, and that when I thought that I couldn’t be further from Him, He was closer than ever. I can’t anticipate anything different, because if His mercies are new every morning, and I receive the promise of His grace, then I also have to receive all of His other promises. I can’t pick and choose what I believe about my Father. I have to believe that He is who He says He is. That He has a plan, and that He is carrying me, sometimes dragging me up this mountain.
I wanted to be at the summit three months ago. I want to be done with the struggle, I want oxygen for my soul. But there are still unseen miles ahead and while a water break may be in order, there is no other way to get to the top than to keep climbing. Just keep climbing. I’ll be a lot stronger once I get there, and I know that I will finally be able to be proud of my journey.
What does your head know that your heart needs to know today?