Journey – Part Four

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Photo courtesy of Jamie Marie Photography

Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say. – Shakespeare

How often do we follow this adage from a long-ago era? Until this year I considered myself fairly articulate and confident in expressing my feelings. Now I am continually humbled by how much I hold inside, to my detriment.

Why do we write? “Why do we do it, we writers? ‘Of making many books there is no end,’ sighed the Teacher of Ecclesiastes. I think we do it because each of us has nothing else to offer than a living point of view that differentiates us from every other person on this planet. We must tell our stories to someone” (Phillip Yancey, “Soul Survivor”, 261).

Last year’s emotions are still fresh on my memory but my journals provide an even clearer look at the internal wrestling I hid under a smile or a laugh.

The following are excerpts from entries I composed during the final days of preparation leading up to my friend’s wedding. Only a few days earlier I had turned down a marriage proposal. Now, the experience too recent to even process, I flew to help my girlfriend decorate, pack wedding gifts, and celebrate the fulfillment of her dreams.

May 11, 2006:
It is a lonely place, my King. Perhaps that is the nature of the altar, and most particularly, of mine. My heart says, “No one else is offering up on their altar—is this really what I must do?” If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me! (John 21:22) This is my call today. “If it is my will that your friend marry and you, Natalie, remain single all your life, what is that to you? If others may have children and you cannot, what is that to you?”

You follow me.

Forgive me, Father, for looking around and being dragged down. I have kept my eyes on others instead of on You. It is enough that I follow You wherever it pleases You to take me. It must be enough.

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16:24, 25).

These things I offer up—indeed all of myself—are not mine to begin with. How can I say it is all a gift and then feel cheated or as if I am suffering when I don’t get the gift?

Let the fire burn! Sear away these impurities and flaws—I do not want the intensity to lessen. I want to be like You. I make the choice. I choose the less-safe road. Thank You that You are pleased with even the weakest, faltering step.

Be ye steadfast, immovable. I know the choice I made was right. And even when the emotions come, the natural (God given) desire to be loved and adored as that man did me, I must stand firm. It is not enough.Natalie, you know what sort of man you want and even more, what God has taught you to desire. Nothing less will do.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10, 11).

May 12, 2006:
Thank You that we are not to walk alone, but that You support, help, and love us through the Body. Thank You that You will not be content to leave me as I am now but will continually work to make me like Jesus. I long to be conformed into the image of Your Son. I see now that path leads through valleys and fire. By Your grace I will continue on, one day, one hour at a time.

One sees great things from the valley;
only small things from the peak.
– G.K. Chesterton

Read the entire Journey series. 

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One thought on “Journey – Part Four

  1. Comments from the archive:

    At 9:26 AM, Jennifer Amy said…
    Natalie I know how difficult it is to share deep feelings. I certainly cringe when it comes to sharing mine. Thank you so much for your willingness to use the lessons the Lord has taught you to help others on their journeys.
    God bless you!

    At 10:57 AM, Anonymous said…
    “Last year’s emotions are still fresh on my memory but my journals provide an even clearer look at the internal wrestling I hid under a smile or a laugh.”

    Oh how much I can identify with that. Thanks for your thoughts Natalie!

    At 11:21 AM, Stephanie said…
    Natalie –

    I am going through a season of pain, and I want you to know how very much your “Journeys” articles mean to me. I am learning much about trusting God, and it encourages me to know that others have walked this road before…and made it through. God bless you!

    At 11:59 AM, Anonymous said…
    I, too, stopped a potential courtship in the bud. It wasn’t easy. I’ve yearned for a family of my own since I was 5… what else do I need to say? God gave me and my parents insight to see that God had better plans for both me and the young man. I can only pray that we will each find the right person that God chooses. It happened right around the time my sister was courting, too… which made it even harder.

    It’s hard to wait, esp. when you’re not often around people your own age. I get so lonely sometimes, and I confess, I wonder if I’ll ever be in a position to actually meet my true love. I just have to remember to keep trusting our God, who is all powerful, and who has become my strength.

    ~Kate~

    At 2:47 PM, Lisa of Longbourn said…
    This post, Natalie, is poignant and very dear to me. Thank you.
    To God be all glory,
    Lisa of Longbourn

    At 4:23 PM, Laura Anne said…
    Thanks again, Natalie. I am so inspired. I love that you help me to feel that I’m not the only one who struggles, yet you also help me to see I need to put my focus on Him alone– no matter what.

    Thank you, Kate, as well. I had a godly relationship with a young man that I chose to put an end to last fall, and it was a time of confusion and heartache for me. I didn’t (and still don’t) understand what God was intending with the experience. Yet I have to believe that He guided me when I asked, that He never makes a mistake, that all things will be worked out for our good.

    Surrendering,
    Laura

    At 7:28 PM, Brianna said…
    Natalie,
    Thank you so much for sharing so openly about everything you’ve gone through, and continue to. I’m always blessed to hear about other’s struggles (a relief to know you “aren’t the only one”)- thanks again for sharing. All of it’s been good- I’m looking forward to the rest.

    Blessings,
    ~Brianna

    At 10:30 PM, Cheri said…
    Thank you for sharing yet again! I can well identify with this, but I must confess that you have turned more to the Lord in your pain.

    For years I have, up until recently I realized I have been going to other outlets instead of the Lord for the last several months. By His grace, I am back to “swimming up stream” and looking to HIM.

    At 6:28 AM, faithfully_waiting said…
    Thanks, Natalie, for this series. Within the last few days, I found I can share your (as well as Laura Anne’s) sentiments completely. There is nothing more I could add. This path truly is a lonely place.

    Also surrendering…
    Jenna

    At 2:13 PM, Anonymous said…
    I have been reading this series with mixed thoughts. On one hand, I wondered how we in America, with our comfortable and abundantly-blessed lives, can presume to claim we have suffered through great trials. I wonder if we really even know what suffering is. I have often felt childish and guilty to struggle so much when I have so much to be thankful for. But I think, on the other hand, that every Christian, no matter how affluent or “comfortable” in life, still wrestles in their own particular battles. After all, our struggle is not against things of this world, but against things in the spritual realm.

    By far my most painful trial came last fall and winter. Until last year I never knew the gut-wrenching pain that can come with saying no to a suitor. I never used to think about how much it would hurt ME to have to hurt someone else. The temptation to say “yes” even when I knew it wasn’t right was unbelievably strong. Every instance involved misunderstandings or miscommunication of some sort, and I quickly grew fearful of ANY interaction with young men. Overcoming that fear became a trial in itself, apart from the pain of saying no (three times!) to what I so dearly wanted.

    I would be interested in seeing a blog entry on how to overcome the fear of misunderstandings in relationships – the fear of having to say no again, the fear of the awkward relationship that inevitably ensues after a refusal.

    Unless, perhaps, I am alone in fearing this?

    –Shawni (the “self-proclaimed lurker” quoted in an entry last year… I’ve decided to come out of hiding! ;)

    Like

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