Wednesday, June 2, 2010

it's a personal thing

While making my way to an appointment last week, I happened upon a powerful radio interview with Todd and Angie Smith. (Many of you know Angie's story from her blog Bring the Rain.) The interview was featured as a three-part series (just click on any of the links below to listen to the program yourself):

A New Birth (Day 1 of 3)
Walking by Faith (Day 2 of 3)
Comfort Others (Day 3 of 3)

Angie spoke of her pregnancy with Audrey Caroline and the uneasiness she'd experienced well before there was even mention of a problem. Despite her doctor's early reassurance, Angie knew that something was amiss - a spiritual foreshadowing of sorts. The Lord was preparing her in His own gentle way, to receive the news.

I was deeply moved by Angie's words, having experienced the same uneasiness while pregnant with our third child. A deep knowing before the situation even unfolded. God spoke to me during that time with a gentle nudging, bringing particular verses to light. Before I even realized there was a problem, God had made it abundantly clear that He would be there for me... no matter what.

I was attending Alpha at the time in an effort to learn more about Christianity. During our group's discussion one evening, a friend mentioned a frightening drive home during an icy storm. As her vehicle slid out of control, she cried: "I'm ready, God. If you want to take me now, I'm ready." With that, she regained control of the vehicle.

My friend's story left a mark. Lying in bed that night, I realized it was time for me to let go. I addressed the feelings of uneasiness and told God that if He needed to take my baby, I would be okay. I surrended the very thing I wanted most because above all else, I wanted God's will for my life.

Fast forward six years. I'm sitting in my favorite chair, a journal and Bible in my lap. Something is eating at me... that familiar uneasiness. I ask God a few specific questions before surrendering the very thing I want most. He brings me to Psalm 91, portions of which are below:
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [whose power no foe can withstand]. I will say of the Lord, He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God; on Him I lean and relay, and in Him I [confidentally] trust!

* * * *

[Then] He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings shall you trust and find refuge. His truth and faithfulness are a shield and a buckler.

* * * *

Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he knows and understands My name [has a personal knowledge of My mercy, love, and kindness - trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never forsake him, no, never]. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. [emphasis mine]

* * * *
Shortly after coming across this passage, the first of several "storms" hit. No matter how things looked or felt, I knew that God was with me. As I struggled with circumstances surrounding me, I continued to go back to this passage - seeking to grasp its full meaning. On one day in particular, I was struck by the many bird references.

bird quad photo

Perhaps it was the fact that I'd been obsessed with the little visitor who had been sitting by my front window FOR HOURS.

the bird

That very same day.

yellow

The Lord again making it abundantly clear that He is with me... FOR ME. A reminder in more ways than one that He will never abandon me. Especially poignant after reading this parable:
An article in National Geographic several years ago provided this penetrating picture. After a forest fire in Yellowstone National Park, forest rangers began their trek up a mountain to assess the inferno's damage. One ranger found a bird literally petrified in ashes, perched statuesquely on the ground at the base of a tree. Somewhat sickened by the eerie sight, he knocked over the bird with a stick. When he struck it, three tiny chicks scurried from under their dead mother's wings. The loving mother, keenly aware of impending disaster, had carried her offspring to the base of the tree and had gathered them under her wings, instinctively knowing that the toxic smoke would rise. She could have flown to safety but had refused to abandon her babies. When the blaze had arrived and the heat had singed her small body, the mother had remained steadfast. Because she had been willing to die, those under the cover of her wings would live.
This is the picture that the psalmist has in mind when he talks of God's wings: "He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge." Psalm 91:4 (Click HERE to read more on the topic.)

At one time or another, we will all face storms. When yours hits, where will your dwelling place be?

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:2

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6 comments:

Dawn said...

your words mixed with God's are breathtaking. Deeply.

Mellissa said...

Deep breath... And I raise my arms and sin AMEN! Your words, God's promises are the TRUTH!

~Kathie~ said...

Beautiful post!
Beautiful scripture, words and pictures! Thanks you so much for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Tina I have a lot to say that I am sure that would not make sense right here. Thank you for writing this, it has made a decision to talk to a friend that much easier. I will share some time soon. Lori

Jan said...

Oh Tina...I am just overcome by reading this. It was so wonderfully scripted and your true faith is so incredible. You will battle these storms and you will survive. You know it, I know it and He knows it. The image of the mother bird is A.MAZING! Thanks so much for sharing!

Cathy said...

Tina, that was a beuatiful and touching post. God just wants us to come to Him and He will do the rest. Thank you for sharing, truly beautiful!