Thursday, May 6, 2010

April gathering - A Time to Fall

Amy blessed us this month with some of the lessons God has been teaching her lately.  She began by reading from Ecclesiastes 3 - the "time" chapter.  There is a time for everything.  She challenged us to think about there being a time to fall.  Falling is not the same as failing, even though most of us view them as one and the same.  We too often strive to push through and be strong.  People tell us to persevere, take heart, press on, keep going.  While there is certainly a time for that, there is also a time to accept that God is inviting us to fall - right into His arms.  We run out of ourselves, our strength, our will and determination, and fall into His waiting arms.

Amy always hated trust falls in group building activities.  She has found it hard at times to honestly sing "I Surrender All," knowing that in her heart part of her is not surrendered completely.  In a war setting, a soldier who has been captured by the enemy knows to surrender in order to save his life.  Yet he is immediately planning his escape. This is not true surrender (nor should it be in this example!).  Similarly, when Amy played kick the can with neighborhood kids while growing up, when she was captured she would be surveying her surroundings and planning exactly where she'd run next once a member of her team kicked the can, releasing the prisoners.  Again, not true surrender.  True surrender is like falling.

She read the children's book Billy's Attic Adventure to us.  Basically, Billy climbs the ladder into the attic and starts to fall.  His dad, on the ground below, tells Billy to let go and fall.  It takes awhile for Billy to trust and just let go, but once he does, he lands safely in the arms of his dad.

Amy's mom passed away a year and a half ago after a 6 month battle with cancer.  Six months after her death, her dad remarried.  Two months after the wedding, Amy found out she was pregnant.  With her long history of infertility and tubal pregnancies, conceiving had been about the last thing on their minds for quite some time.  While she was more than overjoyed (and in shock!), she wanted to tell her mom the news...but she couldn't.  She cried at all of her prenatal appointments, longing to share the news with her mom.  The first two weeks after her daughter was born, she found herself in a spiritual battle, feeling trapped.  She had a miracle baby, yet was almost in despair.  She felt as though she was falling.  Her heart was prepared for hardship and could not receive the blessing; she had not truly surrendered the loss of her mom, and she felt she was losing her heart to her baby.  She did not feel she could possibly bear another loss - what if something were to happen to the baby?  The easy answer would be to harden her heart, not allowing it to fully love or be loved.  But in God's grace, that wasn't working.

Deuteronomy 33:27 "The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms."

In what areas of our lives are we captured, think we have surrendered, but are afraid to fall?  God sees you and promises to catch you.  What might falling look like in your life?

Psalm 139:5 "You hem me in behind and before - you have laid your hand upon me."  It is okay to unravel - God promises to sew you back together.  You don't have to hold it all together.  There is a time to fall.

There is a balance we must find between pressing on and letting go to fall.  They are actually compatible actions.  It's about our hearts, about trusting God instead of the decisions we make.  The decisions aren't His goal as much as the condition of our hearts.  If our hearts are honestly seeking Him but we make a "wrong" decision, He will still bless us for our motives and bring good out of our decision.  Sometimes we have to make decisions to move to the next step, but that doesn't limit what God will do next.  He can and often will override our decisions in order to fulfill His will and purposes in our lives.  For example, if a couple decides to stop fertility treatments or stop pursuing adoption, that does not mean that God will change His plan for their lives if it included a child.  We have to decide, and trust Him with the details and the results.

When I think about falling, I think of someone skydiving.  If you jump out of a plane and have full confidence in your parachute, you are likely to fall gracefully, perhaps even relaxing or playing around with your movements.  The fall will be enjoyable, exhilarating, peaceful even.  Contrast that with a person who is terrified about what will happen next - they will likely flail about the whole way down.  As Christians we can rest assured that when we are in a season that involves falling into God's arms we will be safe.  We can relax and even find ourselves enjoying the fall.  We know what waits for us at the end of the fall.  We can actually find good things about the journey instead of being filled with dread, despair, and fear.

Are you in a season of falling?  Trust the arms waiting to catch you.

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