Courageous Hope

Any area of your life that does not glisten with hope is under the influence of a lie.

Somewhere in between August 20, 2011

I am in transition.

 

We are getting ready to move our little family of four out of state. Many unknowns still lie ahead as we step out in faith. We are confident, excited and full of hope. But there are occasional moments when all the unknowns, the tense pressures and the shifting of my life begin to bear down intense weight on my mind and I feel my head spin out of control and everything seems crazy….

 

I am not here.

 

But I am not there.

 

I am somewhere in between.

 

It’s a familiar feeling…when have I felt this before?

 

When have I felt as if I was splitting in two from the pressure and I could not even see straight and everything was blurry?

 

Oh I remember now…..when I was in…transition………….during…..childbirth!

 

When the baby was not quite in my womb

 

And not out into my arms

 

But somewhere in between.

 

God led us to choose natural, midwife assisted home births for the births of our children and so having experienced natural birth I can attest that transition in childbirth is the hardest part. In my Bradley (“Husband Coached”) Childbirth method class workbook it describes transition by saying things like –

 

Sensations change greatly often causing panic, disbelief, and fear. You may feel the baby shifting into alignment, a lot of pressure…may feel frantic, confused, self-doubt, unsure, scared, nervous, may give up, may yell.

 

So the women you see in the movies, screaming like wild banshees and going totally berserk? That is not labor, that is TRANSITION, which is the mountain peak of pain and intensity of the labor. Transition is the short, but head-spinning, body-splitting time right before the baby comes. Once you feel that crazy, once you feel like you just can’t do it…it’s almost over, your baby will soon be in your arms!

 

I believe that God teaches us spiritual things through the natural things, the natural reflects the supernatural.  As I navigate through this life transition I recall all that I learned through the physical experience of transition.

 

What we know for sure…transition is HARD!!

 

With my first child’s birth I remember when I was in transition, I began to doubt. Doubt my ability, doubt that everything would turn out ok. I thought to myself, “if this is not transition then I sure don’t want to experience what is” (thankfully it was).  In the birth of my second child I felt so completely out of control. I wanted it over! My son was barreling through transition, shifting my body at an intense rate and I could not even see straight. Then my husband whispered in my ear “just focus on the midwife”. She was right in front of me and I opened my eyes and I just fixed my eyes on hers and everything around her began to swirl into a blur and all I could see were her eyes. I just listened to what she and my husband said.

 

I love the idea of “husband-coached childbirth” as it applies to this analogy of comparing it to our life transitions. If Jesus is our “husband” we focus on his voice, on his direction. We look him in the eyes; keep our focus on him and all the rest grows strangely dim. We must set our face like flint on Jesus’ face to stabilize when everything feels out of control.

 

If we are to embrace transition and allow the shifting necessary to make room for the new life coming, we must rest. As a woman relaxes during labor her body can do the work. We can enter into God’s rest and peace in the midst of the pain and tension of transition as we surrender to the process. This is the hardest thing for me, I want to hurry my way through a transition to get to the other side, but rest makes me feel I am slowing it down, when in fact it is doing the opposite. Rest allows Holy Spirit to breathe his work into us as we are transitioning.

 

One of the best things for a woman in labor during transition is to have very little to no distractions; women often have need for quiet and deep concentration. Distraction can often cause more pain and prolong the transition process.  How much so can we apply this to our lives, to get rid of distractions during these times we are transitioning? Getting rid of distractions enables us to focus on the one thing that will get us through this transition…His face.

 

When a mother is in transition she doubts herself and her ability. She needs people around her to remind her of who she is, that she can do this, that she will do this. People who remind her of her identity, her strengths, remind her of the truth and promises of God.   Something I say to every mom who doubts is “You can do this! You were made for this!” During transitions we must surround ourselves with the truth and people of truth. People who speak our identity and call us into our destiny.

 

Another thing we can learn is that there is hope! The pain of transition is not in vain, but rather the expectation of the child to come, despite the pain, childbirth is full of hope. Transition is not for nothing! The other side of transition in labor is a beautiful baby! Childbirth is a beautiful, hopeful, life changing moment.  Likewise the other side of our life transitions will bring us new life, so there is hope now in the midst of this transition. Transition is beautiful.

 

Our current transition started over a year ago. We began to sense it coming, we felt the shift within our life group, we thought it was our families, or our group. And things did shift within those families and within that group. But then my husband and I began to travel and see that transition was everywhere. Transition is happening to so very many all over. Transition is happening in the body of Christ. This is so much bigger than all the individual transitions that are going on. Holy Spirit is moving and shifting people and places… as one body we are shifting, we are in transition…and what are we in transition to? On some level the people of God are in a lifestyle of transition, always transforming, as scripture says, from glory to glory. We live in the now and the not yet. We are not really on earth, nor are we in heaven…we are somewhere in between…we are on a ladder bringing heaven to earth. But beyond that, Holy Spirit is shifting people to new places and new roles and new levels to make ready His body for the move He will do. I believe ultimately what is going to be birthed out of this transition is the pure, spotless and beautiful bride of Christ.  As Romans 8 declares that all creation is groaning in eager expectation as in childbirth for the children of God to be revealed, for the bride to be unveiled. If all of creation has been groaning all of this time in labor, then perhaps now is the transition of that labor. (I also wrote a little about this in my Hope Groans post.)

 

In the beautiful place that is somewhere in between,
Surrendering to the process we find ourselves in,
Entering into the rest of God,
Eyes fixed like flint on Jesus’ face,
Clearing away the distractions,
Surrounding ourselves with truth and truth speakers who call out our true identity
And clinging to HOPE,
We will make it through this transition to the new life that awaits us.

 

Hope Groans… March 15, 2011

Filed under: Gratitude,Hope,Spirituality,Supernatural Living — Shayla @ Courageous Hope @ 10:26 am
Tags: , , , ,

All around us we are bombarded on all sides by news of earthquakes, tsunamis, political unrest, pure chaos and havoc around the globe. Viewing images of such brokenness, such grief, a world so very much not as it should be I am tempted to despair.

But my heart moves forward in hope.

As I prayed for all the cracked and drowning places of the world this week I was reminded of Romans 8…

19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed… 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”

All creation groans….

I churn this over in my heart …

Even the earth itself knows things are not as they should be. That this planet is fallen and awaiting it’s redemption and full glory. All creation is groaning, not in hopelessness, but in longing, groaning in expectation of redemption, freedom and glory. For all to be made new again. Childbirth pains are not in vain, but rather eager expectation of the child to come, despite the pain, childbirth is full of hope.

But I read this over and over; there is something there …. “For the children of God to be revealed”. I read various translations… I take apart the meaning….

Children, or Sons is from the Greek “huios” – “primarily this word stresses the quality and essence of one so resembling another that distinctions between the two are indiscernible…. the dignity of the relationship with God whereunto men are brought by the Holy Spirit when they believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.”

To be revealed or manifest- from the Greek word “apokalupsis”- “the root word means to take off the cover, to unveil. This word depicts the progressive and immediate unveiling of the otherwise unknown and unknowable God to His church.”

As I think on this I wonder…

Could it be that we not only hope for the complete redemption of this broken earth and of our own broken bodies but we hope…courageously….for now… for this constant process of the Holy Spirit working in us… to unveil Christ in us? The Holy Spirit causing in us to be like Jesus?

That all creation groans in pain for the sons and daughters of God to walk in the fullness of their identity as his children?

That God will be revealed to us when he is unveiled in us?

That the radical change we long to see in the world lies within our own hearts being full of compassion, love and grace, our own lives being laid down for others, our own eyes seeing what the Father is doing and doing that, partnering with God in the healing of the sick and the freeing of the captives?

Could it be that the healing of this planet and of our own hearts lies in our true identity as sons and daughters of God being revealed and therefore revealing God himself?

That this unveiling is the unveiling of the true Bride of Christ?

Could it be that the birth pains are the labor of the Bride of Christ being born?

…And that we have only to surrender to the process?

As I continue to mull all this over in my heart I cling to hope ….

24…But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

Even now, in the midst of all of this…. we can find His gifts in the daily moments, the big and small gifts and the gratitude for them. Gratitude that opens our eyes to hope and joy. It may seem insignificant or trite in the midst of others who are suffering so much… but we have to continue to see the gifts he gives us all day, because seeing the gifts gives us the vision to hope for that which we cannot see. This hope and vision opens our hearts to Holy Spirit working in us to become the agents of change that all creation is groaning for.

So once again I join the community counting to one thousand…..

57.            The fact that I am actually enjoying and loving where I live right now. (Something I once thought would be impossible).

58.            Spectacular weather…. I mean… it has been amazing.

59.            A rich spiritual heritage for myself and my children… we are blessed.

60.            That Jehovah Jirah is the one who sees and sees to it every day for my family and me.

61.            Blue jays and cardinals at the birdfeeder.

62.            Friendships all over the world.

63.            The gift and privilege of time with my children.

64.            The gift and privilege of building relationships with my children.

65.            Good health.

66.            Family that laughs together.

67.            Dreaming big….

68.            A little encouragement along the way.

69.            Dreams.

70.            Baby kisses.

71.            Big girl kisses.

72.            That my God has a name… and he is making his name known… to me and to others….

73.            Birthday parties and cookouts and Sunday afternoons on the patio with family.

 

An Invitation To Courageous Hope February 26, 2011

Right now there is a song wearing a deep groove on my ipod as it repeats throughout my days. It moves me from deep within with lyrics like:
Your face is what I long to see…
Show me Your face
No more veils covering me
Burn me with pure love
So I can see

Gorgeous Face by Rick Pino is piercing the depths of me right now. It is the beat of my heart. I long to see, truly see His face. I desire for all the veils to be lifted that block my heart from seeing the real and true God. The veils of my own brokenness, the veils of religion, the veils of false assumptions, the veils of my own pain.

I am done with just talking about God and His face. I want to experience Him in all His fullness, truth and power. I am done with clichés and trite religion, done with to-do lists and programs, done with worshipping a god that looks like me.

I am undone.

His face is all that matters. His gorgeous face.
I want to be consumed by His love and the fullness of His heart.

As I pray for eyes to see, I wonder if I can see His face in all this mess?
In the dirty dishes, the teething toddler, the mountain of laundry, the piles of bills, the world gone mad and hopeless.

Can I find him here? See his face?

And I look up; cry out for the veil to be lifted.

And hope rises.

Eyes open.

Ears hear.

That is what brings me to this space here. I need an outlet to process through the written word my journey to His face.

Will you join me here?

Let’s walk together down the long aisle…..
With courageous hope.
Removing the veils as we walk

I see Him waiting for us at the end of the aisle with His all-consuming love, His gorgeous face.

Full lyrics of Gorgeous Face by Rick Pino

Your face
Is what I long to see
Your eyes
Piercing the depths of me

Come quickly, my Father
Your child is here waiting
Show me Your face
No more veils covering me
Burn me with pure love
So I can see
My Lord, my Lord

Awesome splendor
Glorious majesty
Faithful Father
Gorgeous face

 

 
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