Monday, August 16, 2010

Dark Night of the Soul

Providential Blessing and Providential Suffering happen to every one of us.  This year has held both for us.  Since Christmas and its happenings, it has been a dark night of the soul for me.  And yesterday was no exception.  And I am writing to say that we are holding fast to a very good God in the midst of confusion and pain.  I am more privileged by the high calling of my Christ to leave behind 30 years of life in Fort Worth and come to a place where we knew barely no one.  We know way down deep God called us to Austin.  And our God has been very good to us in the midst of both blessing like marriages and suffering like cancer. We'll stay here until God moves us someplace else.  We are more privileged by our calling than unsettled by our pain. 2 Kings 20:1-3 God observes my tears and I am leaning hard on Him.  And that is a very good place to be!

When Bob lost his church position of 27 years four years ago, I was way more unsettled by my pain. I had a major meltdown, severe depression.  But God broke through and I am still drawing near to Him, and more alive in Him than ever.  No more living by my pain but rather a greater resolve to be holy and deal with my own stuff.  There's something inside of me standing up right now in the midst of this dark night that is singing praises to a very good God! Isaiah 28:21 The LORD will rise up.  He will rouse Himself to do His Work, His Strange Work.  John 20:29 - Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.  Life itself is grace.  And I am listening to my life this day, this moment as my God is fleshing out His Incarnate Word in my life and yours, no matter what the crisis.

I think far too many people do not deal with what is really going on inside of their hearts.  Psalm 28:3 --- they speak peace to you but they hold onto evil in their hearts---a friend of mine calls it "courtesty without connection." We all have evil in our hearts. It runs straight through all of us.  Isaiah 30:11 - I am confronted with the Holy One and I am dealing with my stuff!  Pascal once said:  "True Religion accounts for the greatness and wretchedness of humans."  Oh wretched man that I am!  Praise God there is hope for our sin.  Covered.  I am dealing with my demanding spirit---my priority to place justice for us rather than glory for God.  No, I am more taken with His Glory than my comfort, my will.

Isaiah 50 talks about not lighting your own fires but letting God do His Work.  Life is hard---Job 23:10---and He knows the way we take.  Bob shared 2 Thes 1:11 in church yesterday:  May God count us all worthy of His High Calling and fulfill every desire we have for good and every work of faith, with power.  Strengthen all of us in the inside where it really counts to walk by faith.  Expose our arrogance, our foolishness.  Stir our appetite for holiness and fill us all with hope whether we walk through dark days or joyful ones. 

A good friend told me:  "Don't be afraid of failure or you will live for success...God is detaching me from everything that numbs my sacred hunger for Him and makes me feel hungrier for something other than God." 

I still have cancer but there's something far worse than cancer.  It's cancer of our soul.  But I have such Hope!  There is something far worse than a difficult life---it's distance from God and not finding Him in the midst of our mess.  God is changing me in the midst of some significant pain and loss and I could not be any more grateful to Him.  We are all "curved in on ourselves" as Augustine once said. 

Bob and I ask for your prayers as we make some decisions about our future.  Britt leaves for college tomorrow.  We gave up our apartment lease to be creative and pursue exchanging labor for rent money.  God gave me the idea and we'll see where it takes us. If you're in Austin and you know of a situation where we could work as caretakers for senior citizens or someone trying to sell their vacant home or watch their property in exchange for rent, let us know.  We have moved all of our belongings into public storage.  We'll have to get rid of our sweet dog again, a border collie who loves his mama.  Losing my boy to college and losing my dog tomorrow is added on top of all of this. 

If you focus on the smaller story of your life, you'll misunderstand what really matters in life.  Crabb says:  Things that feel awful will be seen as tragedies to reverse if possible, endure if necessary and prevent.  That's not what we're after over here---not trying to just endure tragedy.  We all are being lifted to the Higher Story of God---it's not about us. 

To God be the Glory!  He has been good to us to this very day.  Jer 24:6.  His Eyes are now set on us to do us good from this day forward, even in this dark night of the soul.

18 comments:

Mary Lou 8/16/2010  

Dear one, God is receiving the glory....He led you to Austin and perhaps the reason is for what is now to unfold and not for the job that was just lost. He does have a bigger plan that oft times we can not/do not see, or even realize till a later time. Your lives are a blessing to me and to so many. He truly is being the lifter of your heads and a shield about you both.

Nise' 8/16/2010  

Bev, will continue to keep you in my prayers. I was going to share the same verse as Mary Lou as it has meant so much to me! My youngest is off to college as well, but we are blessed to have him commute and thus still at home!

I so needed the reminder that we are not here to just endure. It is not about me! It is all about Him.

Sharon Brumfield 8/16/2010  

Dear Bev,
It has taken me so long so realize that I am not just supposed to dig my heals in and survive. Nor am I to bury my head in the sand till the storm blows over. That is what these past few years have been all about for me.
To get to the point where in all states I am content. It has been a hard lesson for this fixer to learn. :)
I want to thank God in advance for what He has in store for ya'll. Some little niche that will give you a home and a place to minister and bless His name. I know He can do this....I have seen evidence of His mighty hand at work lately.
Your life continues to bless me....knowing that someone walks the path you do and continues to look at His sweet face in love...it spurs me on.
I will pray about all of the changes taking place and I look forward with anticipation to a post that brings incredible glory to His Holy name.
Love you sister.

jmg 8/16/2010  

One of the greatest blessings of the last 2 years has been your friendship. I still remember when we prayed together the very first day we met. With everything else going on in both of our lives, God blessed me abundantly with you! Remember you have been loved for a very, very long time!

jmg 8/16/2010  

BTW jmg is really just me:Glenda Price

Barb 8/16/2010  

Marsh and I have a space for you if you need a rest for a few months. We too have just (3 years ago seems like "just" - sorry) endured an ending relationship with the church we came here to be a part of 20 years ago. In a day, I lost every friend but one. It has been a crises of major proportions to my family, Marshall and I. Just reading the bit you wrote, in one blog about celebrating your birthday alone made me weep.

The blog this links to is mine that I wrote as we left. I don't write as much anymore but it will give you a bit of history if you are bored and having a LOT of time on your hands :)

Our hearts go out to you in this season of what Father is walking you through.
Barbara Peters, State College, PA

Bev Brandon 8/16/2010  

Psalm 3:3 - Yesterday as we stood in church to worship the Beautiful God we so adore, I was ovewhelmed with that verse. Over 31,200 verses and God brings Psalm 3:3 to my mind and Nise and Mary Lou---no coincidence there. No matter what happens in our lives, if we live surrendered, HE is the Lifter of our Heads. Failure is only an opportunity. My blog may sound like a bunch of spiritual hoodwinked gobbledegook to some but this rhetoric is truly from my heart, a Glorious Mess, and I am on my face before a Holy Good Beautiful God who engineers all the days of my life.

Amanda 8/16/2010  

I'm praying for you right now.

Toknowhim 8/16/2010  

Bev, I know what you say is truly coming from your heart... Your journey to know Christ and share in His sufferings jumps off the page of every writing you post... You are the real deal Bev Brandon...

May you and your family continue to bring glory to our God :)

Love you... Kim

Rhonda 8/16/2010  

Praying for all of you:)

Ang Baylis 8/16/2010  

I'm praying , too!
xoxo

annette 8/17/2010  

Oh, Bev. So much and yet I heard your strength in Christ resonating through you as we spoke yesterday. I felt your disappointment, but free of malice. God is showing others His glory through you. The mere fact that you're still standing is testament to His Grace and your faith, His gifts to you.

Saw this over at Holy Experience http://www.aholyexperience.com/2010/08/when-endings-come.html and think it captures a little of what you're enduring. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh. Looking for the silver linings with you, my friend. Praying for His rescue for you. Hugs and much love. Annette

Dee 8/17/2010  

Bev, my heart is so saddened by your present circumstances. Thank you for the way you keep standing. You have blessed my life by your spiritual wisdom and humble transparency. Thank you for the person you have allowed the Lord to make of you. I am praying for you and your family.
Much love,
Deidra

Sylvia's Song 8/17/2010  

Bev,
You amaze me, you encourage me and let me know the possibilities of faith as you Trust God each day.

Because you are so dear to me I am saddened by your circumstances but so grateful that you are in my life. Through these difficult as the world sees your situations you teach me more about THE LOVE of God and how even when I cannot see ahead; God is always faithful and provides for His children.

I look forward to the day we can look back and recogize the Glorious Testimony God has created out of this incredible situation.

You remain in my prayers knowing Jeremiah 32:17 Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and oustretched arm. NOTHING is too hard for you. I also pray Psalm 3:3 But you Oh LORD are a shield around Bev & Bob, even now you are bestowing Glory on Bev and Bob as You lift up their heads and they see YOU as only You can place the vision in their hearts, minds and souls. I praise you LORD for creating life in seasons and recognizing this seemingly difficult time is just for a season that will result in bring Jesus Glory. In name of Elohim, All Mighty God, who preforms the most amazing miracles, I pray. Amen.

This is a Song I Must Sing to You and also as a prayer to our Abba Father for you.

Sylvia

Jamie Ivey 8/18/2010  

Just wanted to know that I live in Austin and will keep my eyes and ears open to any situation that would benefit you guys.
Do you have a church here yet? We go to the Austin Stone Community Church and love it.

JHpaintergirl 8/18/2010  

Bev, sorry to hear about the problems you have experienced. God really has a lot of confidence in you, to give you such great trials to deal with. You are such an inspiration to me, your honesty and ability to reach deep into your heart touches me.
You are always welcome to stay with us, here in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. In the woods, on the lake, it is so quiet and peaceful here, restores the spirit.
I will keep praying for you and your family, stay strong.

Kelly S. 8/18/2010  

That was beautifully written, and an encouragement to me. I am praying for you and your family.

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend 8/19/2010  

Always praying for you...especially in this new venture....

Praying for Our Friend Joanne Psalm 131:3 Waiting on God. Hope Now. Hope Always.

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I've met some amazing women through blogging. I would love to hear from you. My personal e-mail is:
sixbrandons@gmail.com
I have another blog where I blog daily as a small group of us read through the New Testament this year. It's called A String of Pearls. We carry each other on mats (when we just can't walk anymore) to Jesus and sweet things like that.

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