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Monday, February 18, 2013

Jacob's Journey

Back to blogging. Oh my word, this blog post was hard to come by. Originally posted on www.werewolfjesusbook.blogspot.com by my sweet friend Marri, here's where I am now (and learning to thank God for the hard graces)! 

hello readers!

i am the biggest fan of marri's. this is such a treat for me to write on her blog, to be a part of her story, to partner in her journey. you have no idea, this is such a gift for me to virtually be here.

so since i'm here, let's be honest with each other. i'm an honest writer, words are how my soul breathes, so let's just dive right in.
so since i'm here, 
i'm having a really hard time writing this.
i look back over my recent journey, over the last 3/4ths of 2012 and ponder and wonder and literally stand, mouth agape, at my life and at where He's led me. i couldn't begin to describe the heartache but the joy, the confusion but the peace, the uncertainty but the knowing God is God. 
and since i can't untangle and process through all of what God is doing with this part of my journey because it's not done yet, can i share someone else's journey? one of my favorite journeys, the journey of Jacob? would you so terribly mind that? (terribly mind? who am i, downton abbey?)

i've always been confused by jacob. he's a biblical character i haven't always understood. i think he's greedy and sneaky and selfish and prideful and his story is weird, isn't it? but then. that's who God loves to use. jacob always seemed like a wild card who didn't fit anybody's mold, a troublemaker that God was pursuing like crazy.
so in the story of jacob, he steals his brother esau's blessing and runs off to work seven years to marry rachel and has a dream about ladders to heaven. then he has lots of kids and becomes wealthy, runs away from his father in law, and then he finds out that his brother is after him. and he's afraid. he's distressed.
and so jacob is left alone in his camp and a man comes in the night and wrestles with him. and he keeps wrestling with jacob and jacob won't let go. the man touches his hip and jacob's hip is put out of joint, but jacob keeps wrestling through the pain. the man says, let me go! the day is coming. and jacob says NO. I WILL NOT LET GO UNTIL YOU BLESS ME. (i always gasp at this point in the story - the audacity!).
but then the man responds by asking him what his name is. "i'm jacob," he says. and the man says, "your name is no longer jacob, but ISRAEL, for you have striven with God and man and have prevailed." and then jacob is blessed by God. and jacob says, "i have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered."

i've been so intrigued by this exchange lately, this leg of jacob's journey. he wrestles, he doesn't let go, he's given a NEW name, he's blessed. i fear that if this had been me and if the man (God) had said let me go, i would have dropped the fight immediately. but he kept going. ann voskamp writes in her book "one thousand gifts" - "wrestle with God and beg to see the blessings."

and i think that's my biggest takeaway from crazy jacob. we can approach God and we can be real and we can say no! help me! blessings!? and we can cry out loudly. because we can believe that. He promises to be a God who not only hears our cries, but delivers and restores. i think this exchange can mean a lot of things. it means we can believe that God is a God who gives us blessings. and it's God that's in every wrestling - even and especially with people - and where there's God, there's good. how we respond to people is how we respond to the Lord.

we've striven with God. not against, but with. we're wrestling with God to find the 'what for, for what' of the brokenness we face. we're made new, given new names, and we're made more in the reflection of Jesus.

and the story continues. the next day, jacob meets his brother esau. esau runs up to jacob and embraces him and kisses him and they weep together. and in their exchange, jacob remarks, "God has dealt graciously with me." isn't that so good? the wrestling is grace.

so keep going. keep going. keep going. keep wrestling, keep fighting, keep honestly, boldly coming before God each and every day. He's not a friend who will gossip about what you've said, He's not someone you have to explain how you're feeling, He's not neutral about your existence. He loves you with a fiercely passionate love and He's good, He's really, really good. And it's your journey, your story - He's perfectly ordained it. He's gone before, He's right beside you, and He hems you in as you go.

blessed journey! may you wrestle and see all the many blessings of yours.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Change, A Thank You

Hi friends! for those who read my blog.

You may have noticed (Rebecca Woodman :) that my posts have been fewer and more far between. This season has been rich and deep and very hard, but better than anything I could have ever dreamed or imagined. God is good, so good, so much more than I've ever known. And because of that, because of this hard, hard but deeply good season, I can't promise to post weekly (like I did before) and I can't promise that my daily journal writings will be blog ready. Because yes, I'll keep writing because it's so good for my soul. And yes, I'll keep learning because God is so near, even and especially in pain. 

So not now. This season of blogging is not now. And I've wrestled with this {I love blogging!} but I feel most certain that it's okay to pause, take deep breaths, and share my learnings later, when ready. 

This isn't forever! singingmysongwithgrace will always live because I am always learning to sing by grace and live full of grace. God is grace and it is Grace that always chases me. 
I'll be back and around and I'll pop in here and there. My learnings already are vast and deep and wide and so good - God is good, I can't wait to share! And who knows, in the meantime, maybe I'll use some guest bloggers.

So now's the time to especially and deeply thank friends and corner and readers and encouragers. All who read, all who shared, all who felt the need to offer a word, a comment, a prayer. This has been one of my strongest sources and senses of community and saying I'm thankful wouldn't be enough. Grateful beyond words. You are loved so much by me. 

I'll keep writing and learning and journeying on. Thanks for journeying with me. 
For real. Thank you, thank you, thank you.