Remember in The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy is caught up in a tornado, ripped from the familiar in Kansas, and she and Toto end up in the strange and wonderful land of Oz?
Have you ever felt like Dorothy? Surprised at where you are?
Well, that is what it feels like sometimes when the Holy Spirit (whom Jesus compared to the wind in John 3:4-8 in the act of spiritual rebirth) works in your life.
Giving birth to new life is messy. (I edited out the word “bloody,” because it can be misunderstood. I only meant to highlight the messiness of growth.)
Likewise, when the Spirit is birthing a new attitude, perspective, or gift in your life, it won’t be neat.
Over the past five weeks, several events caused a massive shake-up in my perspective and life and re-triggered PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). I also learned why I felt so tired for a while. (All treatable.)
The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts; so I am helped, and my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.David, Psalm 28:7 NRSV
The good news: I’m thankful for medical care. I’m thankful for counseling and a wise friend. I’m thankful for friends who are praying for my family and me.
The Spirit speaks through friends, the Bible, and songs, such as “Oh My Soul” by Casting Crowns.
I’m thankful for my husband’s support. We’re committed to improving our marriage. It has been hard.
I feel like I was cast in a role for a movie that I didn’t audition for. But yet I know the Divine Director is at work for good (see Romans 8:28-30).
The Spirit speaks calm when the waves within me feel like I will capsize.
The Spirit helps us translate our stories so we see them from God’s eternal perspective instead of our limited time-space view.
- “But the Advocate [or Helper], the Holy Spirit. . . will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I [Jesus] have said to you.
- Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled; and do not let them be afraid.” (John 14:16-27 NRSV)
When I center myself in God’s presence, the Spirit translates these events using God’s promises.
From July 5’s Jesus Calling reading:
“You will never be in control of your life circumstances, but you can relax and trust in My control.”
God is bigger than my brokenness.
And a friend reminded me trials and sufferings are one way God opens us to receive more of Himself and to grow our character (see James 1:2-4). I have seen God intervene in a mighty way and yet I struggle sometimes and my faith falters. It’s a daily spiritual battle (see Ephes. 6:10-16).
“. . . when I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise,
In God I trust, I am not afraid;
what can flesh do to me?” (Psalm 56:3-4 NRSV)
God reminds me: often when He does a new work, it begins in the wilderness and the desert (see Isaiah 43:19). It is in the wilderness and desert when I cannot make a way, that God reveals His power when He makes a path where none exists in the wilderness and when He creates an oasis in the desert.
A new chapter is being written in my story and when I can silence the fear, I hear God telling me:
“He wants me to trust He has already equipped me for the new life and role He prepared for me before the creation of the world (see Ephes. 1:4). He loves me. He wants me to try my new ‘wings’ and fly. He wants me to experience His delight in how He created me.”
“He wants me to have hope (positive expectancy) of the good, great, and glorious things He has planned for me. . . this valley is temporal and only a prelude to the incredible mountain and view God has prepared for me.”
Listen to Tauren Wells sing “Hills and Valleys” in this acoustic video here.
From Psalm 36:5-6, these verses comfort me:
v. 5 Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.
v.6 Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
Your judgments are like the great deep;
you save humans and animals alike, O Lord. (NRSV)
This is part b of the 6th post in our Be Transformed Series. I’m living what I write and what I already wrote in the series (especially the part of learning to allow God’s power to work in my weaknesses).
I continue to rely on the Spirit to help translate each day’s events so my perspective is God-centered and not circumstance or people-centered (and I definitely need the Spirit to help me to not be self-centered).
How is the Spirit working in your life?
Where are you in allowing the Spirit to help translate the events in your life?
If you’re in a valley, may you know God is with you. If you’re on a mountain top, may you know God is with you.
May you know God’s love, joy, and peace whether you’re in a valley or on a mountain.
P.S. I will be taking a four to six week break from blogging to focus on my family, health, and healing. I hope to still post on Instagram (@DollyMLee) occasionally. Some unexpected good things have happened. I thank God for answering my cries for help again and again.
I have no easy answers. But I am clinging to God and His promises (Psalm 23: Psalm 91).