A Year-Long Drink

“Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” John 18:11

 We have now been back in California for a YEAR and I can just NOW say that 1) we know where we LIVE, 2) I know what I DO, and 3) the “cup” my Father has given me is indeed refining me and making me whole.

 “People of (the Gennaro family), who (now) live in (San Diego), you will weep no more. How gracious He will be when you cry for help! As soon as He hears, He will answer you. Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” Isaiah 30:19-21

        It’s important to note that there are OTHER verses from this chapter that apply to this time of my life AND that I’m not proud of the fact that the chapter title ALSO applies, “Woe to the Obstinate Nation.” Let’s just take a minute to look at the definition of “obstinate” and some of the synonyms:

ob·sti·nate; ˈäbstənət/adjective

  1. stubbornly refusing to change one’s opinion or chosen course of action, despite attempts to persuade one to do so.
synonyms: stubbornunyieldinginflexibleunbendingintransigentintractable,obduratemulishbullheaded, stubborn as a mule, pigheadedself-willed,strong-willedheadstrongwillfulcontrary,

OUCH… I clearly recognize that God doesn’t waste a THING and that the HARDEST lessons are learned in the hardest ways. The “cup” He has given me often contains things that are hard to “swallow.” This particular season of transition, loneliness, grief, and trust is TEACHING me (note: I’m still learning) to BE STILL, to WAIT on the Lord, to LOOK and LISTEN for HIS direction, to BELIEVE that He has HEARD my cry and is IN THE PROCESS of answering, AND that it is ALL for my GOOD.

Here are the things God has revealed as I have “taken a long drink” from the “cup” my Father has given me this last year and the ways He has directed:

  • We now LIVE in San Diego, California, in a house that God MIRACULOUSLY provided for me to buy EVEN in this market and EVEN on my income. Friends and partners, He has clearly told me to share with you that He is able to do IMMEASURABLY MORE than we can ask or imagine! I don’t often tell you about the ways God provides BEYOND what I need because, honestly, I depend on the faithful giving of a LOT of people and I feel accountable to them to be a good steward AND to work for the Lord with fervor and excellence. When He provides abundance, I sometimes feel guilty about it. HOWEVER, you have to know that He takes what you faithfully give and MULTIPLIES IT for His glory! This house is beyond what I expected and more than I thought I would ever have again. Why? Because that’s just how He loves and THAT’S Him keeping His promises to me as a widow and to my children who needed the security of their OWN place.  I am learning that the verse that says, “the Lord is your husband” refers to THESE aspects of God; not just a loving Father, but a husband who PROVIDES and CHERISHES. This is the part of God that gives me “treats” that are beyond my need.
  • In the same way, as I’ve already shared with you, He has blessed me with a new assignment with Africa Inland Mission that is perfectly suited for me, allows me to be a mom (although I still need LOTS of prayer and help!), and uses our testimony and my gifts to MOBILIZE a new generation of people to GO to Africa. I have had to grieve AGAIN. Leaving Lesotho and then leaving Kenya grieved my heart. It wasn’t a relief to leave Africa, it was a drink that was like a bitter medicine, something I HAD to “power down.” It was a letting go of what I THOUGHT was God’s purpose for me and the people and a place that I deeply love. This isn’t the plan I had when we moved to Africa in 2011, but it IS a good plan and the RIGHT one for THIS season. This last weekend, a friend described my role as a mobilizer with AIM really well, “Why add when you can multiply?” I am ONE, but can now be a part of sending MANY.
  • Just this morning, I was reminded that the “cup of suffering” God has handed me is the “tool” He is using to make me WHOLE. In the words of the devotional writer, “TRUST Him and never push away the instrument He is using, or you will miss the result of His work in your life.” This is about to get deeply personal… The hardest thing I’ve had to drink from this cup has been my singleness and the loneliness that is present so much of the time. I didn’t CHOOSE this, I CHOSE to be married for life, but because the marriage commitment is until death, my marriage ended when Chris died. For a long time, I was ashamed of having a hard time being single, but I’ve realized that God MADE me the way I am, to desire and need a partner. My best friends tease me that I have so many “best friends!” Lisa says I have at least 57!  All of my “people” have ministered to me and been an amazing support to me through all of this, but I need a PERSON. Most recently, this most sour drink has shown me that it is the ingredient He has used to show me who I am, to reveal my new identity that is now more tied to HIM than ever before, to show me the “me” that stands alone and vulnerable before HIM. Even as I type this, I KNOW that my attitude needs to change. I still want to BEG Him to bring an end to the waiting, to let me HAVE what I want already! BUT, my moment-by-moment spiritual discipline is to just DRINK this cup He has given me, NOT in a guzzling mess with my nose plugged in avoidance of what He has given, but rather with a long, steady drink that allows me to taste it and glean all that He would have me learn from this time.  I’m trusting it IS just “for a time.” :0)

I know we ALL have a cup to drink from and that it’s not always full of sweetness and bubbles. He IS doing a new thing. That was His promise to me from Isaiah 43:18-19 way back in January of 2015. It’s been “springing up” ever since and this last year has been just the beginning. Cheers, friends. Let’s suck it up.

 

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