Wednesday, January 11, 2012

God's Word as a Lens

Trying to answer life's tough questions is never easy . . . even when you know in your head that God is good--all the time.  As I've delved more and more into Ann Voskamp's book, I have gained a better understanding of God's character and His plan for me.  Actually, I am almost finished reading the book, but there are certain parts of it that I feel led to share on my blog.  I've left little "bookmarks" throughout the book in the hopes that I can make some comments on my blog pertaining to the parts I've read that have impacted me the most. 

I haven't spoken much of my stepson, Thomas, recently, but he is not doing well and without going into much detail, I will say that he is definitely a prodigal child; he's a prodigal in the sense that he is still "out there" and hasn't realized that he needs to embrace His Father's Love and return to what he knows is right and true. 

The past and current issues with my stepson are definitely an area that Satan enjoys reminding me of in my day-to-day life.  I still find that I am blaming myself for things that happened, which, in all reality, may not have been my responsibility in the first place; and then when I evaluate the nine years that he was living under the same roof as me, I realize that I made so many mistakes in parenting him and if only I could go back in time and change things, perhaps there would have been a more favourable outcome.  Or maybe not.  It is so hard to know in this particular situation, but it is definitely something that I ponder a lot. 

We did not spend Christmas with him due to where he currently resides, and it was the first time in 16 years that I have not seen my stepson during the Christmas season.  It makes my heart ache, really.  And Satan likes to rub in the fact that my hopes and dreams for this "family" that Wayne and I attempted to create when we joined together in marriage, ultimately did not succeed according to our plan.  But, we press on and work diligently at positively influencing the family unit that currently exists, even in the dysfunctional state that it is in when all members are considered and accounted for.

Reading One Thousand Gifts has helped me to answer some of my unanswered questions in the ways of God and how He interacts with His creation.  Specific to the struggles surrounding Thomas, the following passage in the book was helpful to me, and in the end, I am choosing to make a conscious effort to NOT ALLOW Satan to distort my view of the Everlasting God.

"It's just that the eyes are bad--my perspective.  "Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body," Jesus said.  "When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light.  But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness.  And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!"  (Matthew 6:22-23).  If Satan can keep my eyes from the Word, my eyesight is too poor to read light--to fill with light.  Bad eyes fill with darkness so heavy the soul aches because empty is never truly empty; empty is only a full, deepening darkness.  So this is what it is to be.  Eve in the Garden.  Satan's hiss tickling the ear, "Did God actually say . . . ?" (Genesis 3:1 ESV).

No Scripture glasses to read what God is trying to write through a prodigal child?  Scrawl my own quick editing on the half-finished story:  failure.  Satan's tongue darts.

Not wearing a biblical lens to decipher the meaning of a doctor's ominous diagnosis?  Just read Satan's slippery interpretation:  cheated.

Not using anything to bend the light of this world so I can read my own messy days?  Spray on another layer of graffiti:  worthless.

So I have been ambushed.

Without God's Word as a lens, the world warps.

~from Ann Voskamp's book, One Thousand Gifts~

Failure.  Cheated.  Worthless.  Yes, those are the messages that Satan has been filling my mind with for years.  But I know I will have victory over this---by God's grace, I will.

Today, I am thankful for . . .

31.  The gift of God's Word as my lens.

32.  The gift of Hope.

33.  The gift of Encouraging Words.


Carol said...

It seems that Ann Voskamp's book has been a good thought-provoking one for you.  I would also add to her comment that without God's Word as a lens, the world warps - without an understanding and acceptance of God's grace for us, the world warps. Having the understanding that we are broken and weak and that it is God's grace alone that declares we are fully accepted and loved by Him (in the face of our brokenness) changes how we view ourselves and the world. Satan's fiery darts have little meaning when we embrace the truth that we are accepted and loved...despite our circumstances or actions. It is God's love and power at work within us that brings about our transformation (not anything from our own strength). So there is no need to strive to be a better person - our striving gets us nowhere. It is in the accepting of God's grace for us that His transforming work within us can truly happen.
Ephesians 2:4,5,8,9
"4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ ( by grace you have been saved),... 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9   not as a result of works, so that no one may boast."

~Rain``` said...

Kim, I appreciate your honesty in the post. And Carol, I value your insight as well.

I too am learning to live by God's grace. And trying not to stive. Difficult as times, since I desire to be better. But then, again, for who? Me, right? So I feel good and justified by my effort instead of God's. Another lie of Satan.

A couple of months ago I did something that I need to do more of. I was struggling with pride. Thus, I focussed on reading Phil 2:1-11 over and over and over again. Then God started to convict me about pride as it happened and to enter in this healthy cycle of confession and grace. Totally God's Spirit at work through His Word! It was wonderful to experience His Grace!

Kimmy said...

Carol, I agree with you about the whole idea about grace. Of course it is impossible to quote her entire book, but the book speaks of grace over and over again, which didn't come through in this quote. But at the same time, if God's Word is the lens from which we are viewing the world, then grace encompasses that through and through.
Rain, thanks for your thoughts as well.
To both of you, I appreciate your comments on here!

Anita said...

I've really enjoyed your recent posts (and this discussion in the comments)! I need to pick up that book again and keep reading - everyone that has read it seems to feel it is life-changing.

Praying for you and for Thomas.