01.02.2018

“Deeper and Deeper must be the dying”

Elisabeth said this.  Her “dying” was in waiting for her for her Jim (she waited 5 long years).  Her “dying” was in his dying (widowhood after only being married for 2 years).  Her “dying” was in the death of her second husband after a long battle with cancer.  Her “dying” was great loneliness, and sorrow.

Why?

“Deeper and deeper must be the dying, for wider and fuller is the lifetide that it is to liberate – no longer limited by the narrow range of our own being, but with endless powers of multiplying in other souls.  Death must reach the very springs of our nature to set it free: it is not this thing or that thing that must go now; it is blindly, helplessly, recklessly, our very selves. A dying must come upon all that would hinder God’s working through us – all interests, all impulses, all energies that are “born of the flesh” – all that is merely human and part from His Spirit. ” 1

“Deeper and deeper must be the dying” for great is the harvest that it brings.  If we want a life that is fulfilled and filled we must be willing/wanting the death and dying.

Were Elisabeth’s “deaths” to no avail?  What was the gain in her “dying”? There is purpose in all pain, and for Elisabeth, you don’t need to go far before you see the purpose: the lives changed by her testimony of death; the books which rose out of the ashes of her disappointment and pain. She stands with the “great cloud of witnesses” as a hero of the faith, due in large part to the path of dying God allowed her to journey through.

The flower must die in order to produce the fruit.  Nothing is ever wasted.  In God’s economy, whether He is making a flower or a human soul, nothing ever comes to nothing.  Today’s losses are tomorrow’s gains, or perhaps eternity’s treasure.  Say that to Corrie Ten Boom, whose losses were great; whose “dying” meant a great cutting away of all earthly loves.  Corrie’s eternal treasure is great because the dying came first, and from it, a harvest of spiritual fruit.

No, the dying wasn’t wasted.  Dying is never wasted when it’s done for Him.

 

Set me like a star before the morning

Like a sun that steals the darkness from a world asleep

And I’ll illuminate the path you’ve laid before me

Bind up these broken bones

Mercy bend and bring me back to life

But not before you show me how to die

No, not before You show me how to die 2

Show Me, Audrey Assad

{footnotes:  1. Excerpt from The Path of Loneliness by Elisabeth Elliot

2. Show Me, Audrey Assad}

12.30.2017

…the 2017 wrap up from Spotify is in, so I guess that means 2017 is officially over.

I can honestly say 2017 was one of the best years of my life.  Maybe I say that about each year as they go by, but I truly mean it for 2017.  It wasn’t an easy year (just ask my dear brother who gave me my first acronym this year: WISC. It stands for ‘Why is Sophia Crying’.  I am not proud of this acronym,  in case you are wondering.  Besides, I was probably cold, thus, the appearance of crying.  Anyhow.  Moving on.

If I could give a snapshot of this year in a sentence, it would be: WAIT and Trust.  I realized this year how much Fia loves to be in control and how she hates to be patient.  Therefore, my Father put me in circumstances where I could do nothing but WAIT.  I wish I could say I learned right away, but Fia can be as stubborn as a mule sometimes.  In case you are wondering, I am not proud of this fact either.

 While I was in the midst of my waiting and wondering why God was taking so long to give me clear direction, these lyrics burst into my fog:

“Here in the dark, I do not ask to see
The path ahead-one step enough for me
Lead on, lead on, kindly Light.” 1

“You satisfy me till I am quiet and confident
In the work of the Spirit I cannot see…” 2

“And I’m restless, I’m restless

‘Til I rest in You, ’til I rest in You”  3

I realized how restless I was this year.  My feet may have stayed in MN, but my heart and mind were restless.  At the beginning of 2017 I told the Lord I would surrender all my future; everything to Him.  If He wanted me to be a missionary, I would do it; I was His.  If He wanted me to get married, stay home and take care of crabby kids, I would do it; I was His. (Now before you start thinking, wow, what an incredibly surrender-ful, humble, amazing girl Fia is….) I was stricken with the thought: “Okay.  What if God wants you to stay doing what you are doing right now for the rest of your life?  What if His will for you is to stay put and be joyful in your life as you have it?

That was a terrible, scary thought to poor Fia.  I think because to her, living a life of purpose for God meant doing GREAT and AMAZING and COOL things.  This is true.  However, God can be served in any vocation, in any way, in any land, and in any calling.

“The heart set to do the Father’s will need never fear defeat.” 4

In this way, more than in any other, 2017 was a good year.  It is not to say that I have arrived and I have successfully learned this lesson perfectly, but tasting the incredibly joy of being content where God has me planted was one of the greatest blessings and lessons I could have received this year.

Apart from that, 2017 was riddled with other spectacular highlights:

  • Riding a train for the first time and visiting my dear, dear friends in North Dakota.

  • Riding a dirt bike for the first time. (Believe me friends, it wasn’t pretty.  I nearly crashed into a fence and looked like a complete fool.)

  • Visiting Cuba.  There are no words to adequately express my gratitude for this opportunity.

  • Working at my job for 1 year.  I am so blessed with such a great job and amazing coworkers.

  • Spending 2 weekends in the heart of Minneapolis, visiting my dear friend.  (and running into a creepy guy who asked to take a picture with my dear friend.  Gladly, he did not ask to take a picture with me.  I would have gathered my skirts and fled.  Fia does not enjoy taking pictures with creepy people.)

  • Seeing my bros again after they were gone for in Florida for the summer. Man, I missed them so much! They are so dear to me.

  • Seeing the blooming tulips at the MN Arboretum with my little sister.​

  • Sunsets, sunrises, lunch-break walks, too many pictures, numerous books that have impacted me, walks and runs in the country, deep talks, praying with friends, coffee, etc., etc., etc.,

  • Running the Mudman in Kimball, MN with my friend and becoming a ‘chocolate-covered Fia’.

  • Buying my first car. (He is a Prius and I still haven’t decided whether to name him Pistachio or Wallace.  Any thoughts?)

  • Having the WHOLE FAMILY (all 13 of us) together for labor day.

       Thank you, Lord.  How could I ask for more?

{footnotes: 1. Lead Kindly Light, by Audrey Assad  2. You Speak, by Audrey Assad  3.  Restless, by Audrey Assad  4.  quote by Elisabeth Elliott }

10.30.2017

O hushed October morning mild,

Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;

Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,

Should waste them all.

The crows above the forest call;

Tomorrow they may form and go.

-Robert Frost

Ah, October.  How quickly you came and how quickly you left.  And how quickly we wished you back.

(but gladly, we have oodles of pumpkin butter to remind us of your past existence).

That, and Eric Whitacre’s October:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EoUAbODO34

(if you are a fellow classical music enthusiast, I would advise listening with a box of tissues nearby)

she lost herself in the trees among the ever-changing leaves.

she wept beneath the wild sky as stars told stories of ancient times…

-Christy Ann Martine

Faithful God, every promise kept
Every need You’ve met, faithful God.

– Laura Story

10.15.2017

dear nobody:

thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  it is a strange thing to write to nobody and pretend that they are somebody.

(if somebody happens to read this, I hope they don’t take this to mean I think THEY are a nobody; nay, quite the contrary.  at this point in young Fia’s life, there is nobody reading these words, except she herself (which, last time I checked, doesn’t count), and perhaps a lonely spider on the wall, which doesn’t count either, because. duh. spiders can’t read).

so, why write?

Once upon a time, a wizened old man who had been through far too much trouble and horror and sorrow than any human should have to go through was asked the same question.

He answered it in many ways, but chiefly this:

“….if memory grew hollow, empty of substance, what would happen to all we had accumulated along the way?  “Remember”, said the father to his son, and the son to his friend.  Gather the names, the faces, the tears….”If, by some miracle, I emerge alive, I will devote my life to testifying on behalf of those whose shadow will fall on mine forever and ever.” 1

We write to capture.  To document.  To remember.

but is this all?

why do I write?

Perhaps because I must.  Perhaps, because, just like Eric Liddell who couldn’t help but run, I can’t help but write. perhaps because, when I write, I feel God’s pleasure.

Is my writing any good? (if anybody reads this, it is for that one to decide on their own)

But in a way, I do not write just for YOU.  Just as Eric Liddell didn’t necessarily run for others.

Eric ran for the Audience of One.

A bird sings, even if there is no one to listen, because it just can’t help but sing.

I write, because even if the world scoffs, ignores and calls my bumbling works as fit only for the literary graveyard, I must still write.

Even if no one were to read, I must still write.  I don’t know if I have a gift in writing – perhaps not.  (and I dare not compare my writing to the gift Eric had in running – time will tell if anything I write is worth reading or knowing).

But I write because, as long as God gives me words, thoughts, and ideas….I want them to be mosaics. Pieces of light that are intertwined and fitted together through letters to speak of something greater than myself.

I also write, because (get ready for a good laugh) I am afraid to write.

Yes, this is true.  I have been afraid to write, because I have been afraid of the mind of the reader; what they would think.  What they may think if the correct comma was not inserted, or if my poetry stumbles poorly, like a young child just learning to walk.

I was also afraid of who would read. (I’ll just leave it at that, because I know who you are, O person(s) who I am afraid will read).

I love to write, yet I am afraid to.  So, I must do it. Because I must do the thing that I am most afraid to do.

….the old man mentioned above also said of writing:

 “Write only if you cannot live without writing.  Write only what you alone can write.” 2

I, Fia, am still figuring out what I alone can write.  I know I haven’t figured it out.  And perhaps I shall never.  But hopefully one day I will look back and be grateful that I even tried.  That I attempted (however feeble my attempts were) to grasp at those mosaics, those sunbeams of light and memories and thoughts and ideas and words and journal them.

{footnotes: 1. quote by Elie Wiesel  2. quote by Elie Wiesel}