Friday, December 2, 2016

Isaiah 61

"His final breath upon the cross is now alive in me. 

By your spirit, I will rise from the ashes of defeat. 

In your name I come alive to declare your victory.

The resurrecting King is resurrecting me."

...Bind my wandering heart to thee. Even in the can we keep from singing?! Isaiah 61 talks about how the Spirit of God was sent to bind up the brokenhearted. To proclaim freedom. To comfort all those who mourn. To proclaim the Lord's favor. Making beauty out of ashes. Dust. Made alive. That once was desolate, He would rebuild. It's one of my absolute favorite verses. Last December, I fasted for 3 days and He gave me Isaiah 61 to proclaim over my mom. We read it together. I read it daily while I poured out my heart to Him. I had no idea she'd pass a month later. I thought surely it's "the year of the Lord's favor"...2016 was sure to be the year she'd be a walking miracle. 

To be honest, I never thought my mom would die. No matter how grim the reports were or how much people told me I was "looney" or "disillusional" - I just never believed she would die.

One of the most profound things I was told when my mom was put on hospice was "it was a praise report, as believers to be going home to the Father. It's where we belong." Back home with our Father. Of course, it is sad and I miss my mom more than anything, but that has stuck with me now for almost a year.

In Christ, there is no death. He conquered death. Not even death can separate us from Him.

The fact that the air that is in my lungs is the very thing that He has breathed into me - blows me away.

His breath in my lungs. 

His Spirit living and breathing inside me.

"Our hearts will cry, these bones will sing...great are you Lord."

The fact that He formed me out of the dust of the ground. Breathing into my nostrils.

Overwhelms me in the most glorious way.

After my mom passed and I remembered the promise He gave me of Isaiah 61- I felt cheated. I felt like well this doesn't feel like the year of the Lord's favor. More like the worst year of my life.

I didn't understand. But I did trust. I trusted Him to do everything in Isaiah 61. Because I know when He makes a promise, He keeps His promise.

Also, if anyone was going to turn my mourning into gladness - it would have to be Him. 

Not by me, my husband, my family, or by any human hands.

The depth of grief would be too much for mankind. The wreckage too much for human repair.

Only Him.

Little by little, He has managed to do amazing things through my pain. Each piece requires effort on my part. I must let go for Him to work through it. I must sift through the ashes, uncovering each piece. Turning it over. Allowing Him to breathe new life into me.

It's been a struggle. For me- not Him. To carry my sorrows to the feet of Jesus is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I want to carry them for myself, fixing them for myself. In sharing them, requires I must feel them. Requires more sifting. More turning.

More surrender.

It requires looking at myself in the mirror and owning up to the calamity, when I'd rather run. Or pick a vice to ease the pain. "Vice for a vice" is what I'm constantly telling myself.

It not Him, then what?

The funny thing is while yes this is partly about my mom - it's really not. None of this life is about anyone else other than Jesus.

He created me for His purpose and His purpose alone. 

Because of Him, I will see my mom again one day. Because of Him, I know my mom will forever live. I carry her in my heart and feel her presence all around me. Until we meet long as I have air in my lungs I will sing of His praises. I will walk through the fire, if it means it brings Him glory.

Consecrate us, oh Lord.

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  1 Peter 1:6-7

If it means, He is refining, purifying, and purging me of the things that weigh me down. Things that hinder me from being 100% committed to Him.

Only Him.

I have written in my Bible "burn the fake straight out of me!" next to the above scripture. Being proven genuine and true is something I never want to get weary of.

And the good news is my mom is more alive than ever! As believers, we leave this earthly place to dwell in the Heavens. We live because He lives. This place was never meant to be our home. Our home is where He is. Living and breathing in us.

Scripture tell us, "He is our dwelling place."   

No guilt in life. No fear in death.

So while I'm here on earth, I'll dwell in His presence. And for me, His presence is Heaven to me. It's where He breaths new life into what once was destroyed. It's where His glory meets my suffering.

Great, are you Lord. You alone make all things new.

Only You can redeem and restore our brokenness. Only You can resurrect.

Raising the dead to life. Turning ashes to beauty. Our sorrow to joy.

You alone carry our sorrows. You alone make beautiful things out of us.

Oh how can we keep from singing? You give life. You give hope. You are love. You restore. Great are you Lord! No matter what comes my way, as long as I have air in my lungs, I'll praise You, Lord. I've never been more thankful for the birth of Jesus than I am this year. I'm thankful that even in my brokenness, He is gentle and kind. That even when I can't see what He is doing, He is weaving something more beautiful than I could ever imagine. That His Word tells me that He has bottled every tear that I've shed. That it's in my brokenness that I'm fully able to catch a glimpse of Heaven, here on earth.

That His Spirit dwells in and over me. Renewing me day by day. Breath by breath.

May we breathe in every ounce of His goodness this holiday season. Letting Him turn our ashes into beauty. Bringing dry bones to life. Surrendering ourselves for the sake of Him. That we may walk in the land of the living, rather than in our despair. So He can raise up the broken to life. For it's in the broken, we live. Fully live in the goodness of our Father & Keeper. From the ashes a new life is born, raising the broken to life.

Everlasting life.

For you, Lord, have delivered me from death,

    my eyes from tears,
    my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before the Lord
    in the land of the living.
Psalm 116:8-9