Forged from the Flame

flameforged-webThis is a daring, put-my-heart-on-a-screen kind of post.  It is a bit raw and not at all tame.

It has been a rough couple of years… the kind of years that polish and buffet and take rough edges off the soul.  Storms and suffering, deep grief and loss that threatened to swallow me whole.  Some of the storms are still blowing wild.  And some days are still raw and hard.  They just are.

But the good news is Jesus can still silence any storm with a whisper.  Any gale at any time.  Pervasive loss does not have to mean permanently lost.  The same “loss” that took me out of Africa gave me the gift of a blank canvas to begin again in America.

It is absolutely impossible to ever really lose that which is sown in love.

My life and the dreams and promises sown in the red earth of Africa can never be stripped away.  Not by circumstance. Not by the words or actions of others.  Not by sickness. Not by spiritual attack. Not by injustice.  Not by any created thing.  It is a beautiful thing to watch that which I had opportunity to plant in love be nurtured in love by the current, new generation of leaders there.

Recently I made a list of things I felt loss over when transitioning out of my old assignment.  I discovered most of what I wrote down:

  1. Were things I never really had to begin with
  2. Were things that have no bearing on my future
  3. Were things that potentially could have capped or cut short my actual calling.
  4. Were things that in essence could never actually be taken away.

So those things are not actually losses.  They are in essence gains.  Most of the things I did “lose” (stress, malaria episodes, etc.) were things I don’t miss at all.

{Of course I miss the children and my friends there.  But they can never be lost to my heart because they are held within it and will be forever.}

I’m not making light of what I’ve walked through the last 2 years.  But I refuse to let it keep me from walking onward in all God has for me.

Then I made a list of what I’ve gained.  It was 3-4 times the length of the list of losses.

Looking at the lists together it dawned on me, the only things burned up in the flame were the things that would have held me back.  I was not burned in the fire, I was forged from it.  What has come through the flames is stronger, purer and more authentically His than I ever was before I started this journey. 

There will always be storms, struggles and seasons of suffering this side of eternity.  But now I hold onto a deeper knowing I have only, ever gained from them.  Again this doesn’t negate very real emotions I still feel and have to work through.  It simply supersedes them.

Maybe you’ve been through a hard season too of late?  Perhaps get with Jesus and make a list of what you felt like you lost and/or actually lost and then what you have gained.  You may be surprised to find out some things “lost” were actually gains in the light of eternity.  Others weren’t truly lost at all.  Changed yes, lost no.

The bravest journeys of all start inside us.  Often our biggest battles are hidden ones.  I pray you too find beauty in the storm and greater definition forged from the very furnace the enemy intended for destruction.  May we be the ones created from the flames.