Thursday, December 22, 2011

boot camp

I recently listened to a sermon titled "God's boot camp".
How essentially the Israelites had a boot camp in the desert.
We too are in God's boot camp, sometimes more intense
than others, but I think we are always being refined and taught.
Every struggle we go through, every suffering, is a way for God
to refine us and teach us even more. I think there are two things we need
to get out of every trial we experience: we need to learn
something and we need to act on it.

My biggest boot camp is called 'Kathleen'.
In the valley of death I learned that God truly does love us unconditionally because in a time when I didn't spent much time with God and didn't do much for God, He still loved me and blessed me.
I learned that with God's strength I can survive anything,
even the death of a child.
I learned that God is in control, no matter the circumstances.
I learned that ALL things can be used for good.
I learned compassion for others who experience the death of a child and I learned to relate to this niche of people that only very few can relate to.
And I acted on it by serving other bereaved parents with my photography.

Now I am going through another boot camp.
It is called "blighted ovum". I thought I was 9 weeks pregnant
but there was no baby.. It has been a time of sadness and disappointment.
This 'pregnancy' happened at a time when we truly desired one more baby, but were not trying and even preventing it. So when it happened anyway, I really thought this was the final baby that God wanted to bless us with, in His own special way, miraculously. But that didn't turn out to be His plan. His plans were different than I thought.. Yet it was still His plan. I am struggling to understand though. In many ways, Kathleen's awful death seemed to make more sense.. But I am trying hard not to lean on my own understand and trust in God with all my heart (Pro 3:5) as I go through this boot camp. I still don't know what I am supposed to learn from this trial, and what I am supposed to do with it. Maybe what I am supposed to learn is more trust. And to really learn and grasp that the Lord determines our steps. "A man's step are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?" (Pro 20:24)
I hope and pray however that one day I will be able to look back and understand. That one day I can tell you what I learned from this, and what I did.
But for now I am still going through the boot camp, with a heart willing and open to learn, to be refined. "The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart" (Pro 17:3).

I am thankful that I am in God's boot camp, and not wandering the wilderness, lost and alone. God is faithful, never leaving or forsaking us. "
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." (Deuteronomy 31:6)

In the midst of the boot camp I am at peace. Sad but still at peace. And I am finding myself more grateful than ever for the many, many blessings God has granted me with. Maybe that's what this boot camp is all about: trust, peace and gratefulness.

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