His Journey

During the past four years, I’ve focused upon writing my story so I could share it with Lillyann and Mylah when they are older. Lillyann saw a printed copy on my desk one day and asked me what it was. I told her I was writing it for her and Mylah to read. She said, “That’s a big book Gigi!! When I’m your age, I’m gonna read it.” I laughed and told her I hoped she would.

Writing has opened my heart in a way I never expected. God knew that hearing and sharing my own story was an important part of my journey. As I wrote, I remembered. As I remembered, I wrote. It was very like cleaning out and going through my storage unit last month. Leaving memories hidden away is the easy thing to do, but like those boxes in my storage unit, they have to be dusted off and sorted at some point. Otherwise, treasures get mixed in with trash and end up lost.

Taking the time to go through each box was not simple or easy. I cried and laughed in equal portions. My heart came out feeling much lighter as I got rid of the stuff that needed to go and cherished that which needed to be kept and passed along. Some things, like Tyler’s Ninja Turtles, immediately came out to play. I’ve enjoyed watching the children play with those old toys. I know the little turtles were ready for some action, and they certainly have gotten it and blessed me for a second time.

Writing about my journey has been very difficult, but it has been instrumental in healing my heart. When Billy died this week, I realized my heart was clear. It was as if it finally caught up with me. When I stopped to remember our time together, I realized that half my life was spent with him. We had good times and bad times throughout the  thirty years we were together, but the bad times increased and became more intense at the end of our marriage. I knew I had to go eleven years ago, but I carried a lot of guilt with me when I walked out the door. I left my marriage the same way I entered it, with a heavy heart. It was good to let go of all that this week.

When I woke this morning, I was shocked to find I had slept eight hours in what seemed to be a split second. It was as if I slipped in and out of a time warp. The girls were at Pepe’s; Gina was still in Florida, and Tyler was already at work. I soaked in the sweet stillness and prayed. I felt God’s presence as powerfully as I’ve ever felt Him. He bid me to tell His story now that my heart had caught up and used Biddy Chambers to help me understand what He meant.

Many people know her husband Oswald, but a lot of those who enjoy his books don’t realize that she is responsible for writing down his messages over the course of his brief ministry. He died at forty-three leaving behind only three books. Biddy took her transcriptions of his messages and came up with over thirty beautiful books and booklets. They have been a blessing to me, and God knows the sweet connection I have with Chambers. His love for God is obvious and enviable. My favorites are The Love of God and If Ye Shall Ask. I’ve transcribed before, and it’s the most tedious and frustrating thing I’ve ever done. That’s with a computer and a recorded message. I cannot imagine doing it by hand without a rewind button!!

Biddy Chambers spent her life making sure that her husband’s love for God was written down. A friend gave me Chambers Complete Works seven years ago today. I had forgotten the date and was taken aback when I noticed it in the volume this afternoon. I love it when God does that! The book marked the beginning of my spiritual journey to draw nearer to God. I remember being amazed when I learned of Biddy’s devotion to God and her willingness to tell His story instead of her own. She could have written a sad, self-serving autobiography about how much she gave up and how tragic her life had been. That seems to be the way writing is heading today.

I heard two commentators discussing why the Nobel Prize for Literature hasn’t been awarded to an American author for two decades. One noted it was because we are a society obsessed with writing about ourselves and our tragic lives. I thought about that for a moment and realized there is a lot of truth in that statement. It’s a me, me, me world anymore. We love to write about our hurt, and others love to read about it. This morning, God bid me to be more like Biddy and let His story be my focus. Don’t misunderstand my heart; it’s vital that I tell my story and hear the stories of those around me. God just reminded me this morning that it would be nice for His story to be told and heard, as well. The inscription in the book from my friend reads, “Truth and light for the eternal path. Companions together on His journey.” That pretty much sums up the message God had for me this morning.

Thanks Biddy for your beautiful example of love.

Biddy Chambers

Tagging Along or Out in Front?

In “My Utmost for His Highest,” Oswald Chambers gives a beautiful description of the new life that comes from the rebirth Christ promises. “The new life manifests itself in conscious repentance and unconscious holiness.” Jesus tells Nicodemus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3 NASB)

 The biggest misconception when it comes to Christianity is that rebirth happens automatically. Nothing could be further from the truth. I did not choose to be born the first time around, but rebirth requires a conscious decision on my part. Repentance that leads to rebirth requires obedience that causes me to die to self so I can see God in a new light. Just as a baby coming through the birth canal is blinded by the light of this world, my heart is also overwhelmed by the light of God’s kingdom during the process of rebirth.

In God’s kingdom, He is more than a father, protector, guide, and teacher. He is the Ruler He has been, is, and always will be. Seeing God in the light of His kingdom changes the way I see myself and His world. Without rebirth, I simply bid God to join me on my journey instead of being led on His. There is a world of difference, and entering His kingdom makes that crystal clear. He will never leave me alone, but He will not tag along after me. I found myself lost, alone, and at the end of my hope when I realized the path I was traveling was quickly unraveling toward me. Sometimes a new direction isn’t an option; such was the case with my heart.

While God will not tag along behind me, He has been, is, and always will be present on my journey. When I die to self, I’m ready to be led. He lifted me off the unraveling path I was traveling and set me down in the woods where we had a very special connection long ago. It was a time of beautiful rebirth, and I was nineteen once again. Trips down the birth canal are always traumatic because they take me from the familiar into the unknown. It is a fearful trip, but hearing mama’s voice at the other end calmed and soothed my frightened heart the first time. I remember vividly how Tyler’s crying stopped the moment he heard my voice. God’s comforting voice at the end of that rebirth canal had the same effect upon me.

I’m not sure what God has in mind for the next leg of this incredible journey, but I do know Who will be out front and who will be tagging along as we travel.

A Walk in the Woods