Sunday, January 1, 2012

You never let go.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
Your perfect love is casting out fear
And even when I'm caught in the middle of the storms of this life
I won't turn back
I know you are near

And I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear?
Whom then shall I fear?

The first time I ever heard this song, it was March of 2008. We were at our small group in Lansing, worshiping before we started our study. We had already eaten the yummy snacks everyone had brought, and then our friend Nate, who is super talented musically, brought out his guitar and started playing for us.

Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me

That song was used that evening to break down some major walls in my heart. I had been angry at a string of events that had happened from early 2007 until early 2008: Ryan's diagnosis with PSC in March 2007, the death of our beloved colt, Laredo in August 2007, Ryan's rejection for a job in Kentucky that I was super excited about, my best friend had had a miscarriage of her first baby, and now to top it all off, Ryan and I were leaving Lansing to move back to Oceana County, therefore I had to leave my awesome teaching job at Battle Creek Central. Really God? WHAT is going on? Needless to say, I was pretty bitter in those times and did not understand where God was leading us. And to say that my response was at all appropriate would be a total lie. I was running from God.

And I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
A glorious light beyond all compare
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
We'll live to know You here on the earth

Sitting on that couch in the living room in Dewitt, Michigan, I began to surrender my hurt and anger about the changes that life was bringing. Life was not turning out like I had planned. I would not have chosen to move back to Hart and leave my friends, job, and church down in Lansing, but I began to trust that the Lord had hold of me in that moment and even though I didn't understand or agree with His plan, I knew Jeremiah 29:11 was the truth. I just had to make a decision to trust.

Fast forward almost four years later to this morning at our church's New Year service. That song was played and I was whisked back to that time in my life where life felt overwhelming and God felt distant. That mirrors what I've been through these last couple of months. I looked back at that 23-year-old girl with all of those frustrations about where God was leading and I wanted to hug her and smack her at the same time. Those problems now feel insignificant, but largely because I now know how the story ended. God provided another job at Hesperia, he blessed us immensely as Ryan started at Grace, and he healed a lot of hurts that at that time seemed insurmountable. He also provided little Bryn for my best friend, along with Buck. I praise God for the joy they have brought Crystal and Steve. God was, and still is incredibly faithful. I think I was beginning to understand for the first time what it meant to surrender my will to His, and God proved himself to be a giver of unbelievable gifts in the next couple of years.

As I stood there this morning singing that same song, I knew that there would be another moment in the future when I would look back at January 1, 2012 and say, "Look at how my God provided for me. Praise be to Him who is faithful." I don't know what things will look like on that day, but I know what my response should be until that day comes.

Yes, I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
Still I will praise You, still I will praise You

I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth. Ps. 34:1 NKJV

Happy 2012, friends. We pray that this is a year of joy and healing for us and for you - but even if it's not, our God will sustain us.

He always has.


Darryl Jones - DJ said...

Amen Kendra...still praying

Darryl Jones - DJ said...

Amen Kendra...still praying

Chad said...

Great reflection Kendra. As I grow older, Matthew 10:39 grows deeper and deeper in meaning. We love you guys and pray for your family daily!

stephanie garcia said...

I remember a similar time in my life following our infertility diagnosis and our first adoption loss ... lots of anger, not knowing God still had amazing things in store. Thankful He is patient to reach out to us time and again!