Saturday, October 27, 2007

Count It All Joy......

I know this is not on the schedule, but I wanted to share this with you. I think it goes right along with our prayer month and everything!

Hi, thought I would keep you all up to date on the progressions of my cousin Darcy and family, after the news of the fire! What a tragedy, but they are counting it all joy!

They do not need anything except prayers. If you feel so inclined to give anything, gift cards from Walmart, Fred Myer and Home Depot would be greatly appreciated. I cannot imagine loosing everything to a fire, and then having the whole church come to your aid with clothing, food and offers of shelter. Darcy said it is overwhelming the responses she is getting because of this tragedy.

Some of the responses were not so favorable, however! Below is a response to a letter she wrote to her uncle, explaining why God would do this to people. It is an overwhelming and uplifting response. I thought you would enjoy it!(Don't worry, I got the author's permission to share this!) (The white is her uncle asking the questions!)
RE: Count it all joy...
Dear uncle,
Thanks for the encouragement about the rings. we're going to start sifting though the mess with a metal detector on Saturday, so wish us luck!
As for the rest of your note, I understand you are concerned about us, but I just can't let it go without replying to some of your assumptions and statements. I took the time to read your letter, now I hope you take the time to glimse into my heart.
(She had answered some personal questions here, that I thought discrete to leave out!)

First of all, you said "God did not make your trailer burn down; God did not burn up your belongings either. It was an accident, or just something went wrong - God did not make it happen"I completely agree with you. It was an accident. But God uses these "accidents" and the trials in our lives to make us stronger and draw us closer to Him. Good can come from every situation if we have the eyes to look for it. As a matter of fact, I believe that God MAKES good come if we let Him. Do you have any idea what this trial has done for us, for our family and friends? We have grown closer and stronger than we've ever been. It's caused us to see how temporary the things in this life are and what's really important. Do you know what's really important in this life, or has your worry over the things you own obscured that?

You said God is not in control of your decisions to do the right things, to make sure you are protected, and that if something like this happens it is not an unrecoverable disaster. I will also tell you both this - it is foolish to go through life thinking that God is in control and thinking "I don't have to do anything and God will provide, make everything better and protect me". Of course God is not in control of our decisions...He relinquished that when He gave us the capability to MAKE decisions. It is our job to make wise choices, but sometimes even when we do, things happen anyways. I believe that we're in a partnership with God when it comes to our lives. He asks us to make wise choices and be responsible and we ask Him to take care of what we can't. Sometimes He lets us suffer from the consequences of our actions and sometimes He saves us from them. It's all about our hearts and what we most need. That's what it means to have a relationship with the God who created us. Never in my life have I thought "I don't need to do anything and God will provide." Instead i think "I will be responsible and do the best I can with what I have and trust that God's heart towards me is good, and whatever happens in my life happens for a reason." But maybe you don't believe that God's heart toward you is good. Maybe you think He's just up there somewhere and doesn't really care what you do as long as you try to be a good person and maybe go to church once in a while. If that's your veiw of God I feel sorry for you. The God I know "knows the number of the hairs on your head." (Matthew 10:30)

You said You both have two lovely little girls that you must protect and provide for. God will not provide for them, it is your job to do that. You have to work, and be responsible and not wait for God to provide - you have to provide for yourselves and those two little girls - God did not create those little girls you two did - and it is your responsibility to provide for them.
But God DID provide for our little girls...He gave them parents who love them and only want the best for them. He gave them a daddy who works his tail off to provide a comfortable home, good food, and nice clothes. Of course we have to work...but God provides the work. He gives us the strength and the love to be able to provide for our children. The Bible says "every good gift and every perfect gift comes down from the Father above." (James 1:17) Do you dare to think that the blessings in your life are all a product of your hard work and your good choices? How arrogant! We are nothing without God and it is He who blesses our endeavors, even when we ignore Him and take the credit. And God DID create our girls...if you don't believe me, read Psalm 139.

You said Praying will not make this better, only your hard work and taking from this the lessons that YOU have to be in control of your life and you ARE in control of what you do and how you do it, and YOU are responsible to provide. Do you really believe that prayer accomplishes nothing? Do you think that God cares so little for us that pouring our our hearts to Him doesn't do any good? Do you really think that you can be in complete control of your life? Is your Jesus so small that you think He's left us on our own to figure out this "unforgiving" life and lick our wounds by ourselves? That's a scary place to be and I don't envy you in the least.

You said just go ask the hundreds of thousands of people in California who are battling to save their lives today. I can tell you this, they are protected and it is not God who will provide for them, it will be the insurance companies. So you would rather put your trust in men and their insurance policies. How is that "taking control of your life" when you're placing your life and everything you own in the hands of imperfect men who aren't out to help you or do anything but make money? I'll take my chances with God. (by the way, I have nothing against insurance, just the inconsistancies of your thinking.)

Now let me answer your questions:
Did prayer save your belongings?; did it save your wedding rings?
Since when is the purpose of prayer to get what we want? I didn't ask people to pray for that. I asked to pray for US...that we would see the good even in tragedy...that we would be drawn closer to one another and closer to God...that we would know what direction to go and what step to take next.

What have you learned from all this?
That everything we have is temporary. That the things that matter the most in our lives cannot be destroyed by fire. That God is good and He does work miracles, even little things that we wouldn't think matter to Him. That even in the midst of tragedy, there is always hope. Remember the garnet cross that your mother always wore around her neck? My mom gave it to me for my 21st birthday and it was in the trailer when it burned. The next day, Sky and I were kicking through the outskirts of the rubble when we saw something sparkling in the sun. There, lying on top of unrecognizable ashes was Nana's cross. It wasn't even blackened. The nightstand and jewelry box it was in were nothing but ashes. Coincidence? Or God speaking healing to our hearts just when we needed it?

You call youself a Christian. Do you even know what that means? You say you believe in Jesus. Do you even know who He is? Christianity is more that a ticket to heaven or a moral codebook. It's a way of life, an active relationship with a living God. A God who created us, cares about us, and calls us His children. Sky and I have that kind of relationship with Jesus, and so do our friends. Do you? Are you confident that your heart matters to Him? That what happens in your life matters to Him? Do you live every day with the knowledge that "neither life nor death, nor angels nor principalities, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord"? Or are you too busy trying to control your life to even think about such things?
Jesus said He came to give us abundant life. Do you think you can find that apart from Him? God's heart toward us is is always good. He allows us to suffer from our mistakes, learn from them, and press on. My Jesus not only died so that I could be free, He LIVED so that I could know what it really means to live. I do not live in fear. Fear of getting to the end of my life and wondering if I mattered. Fear of losing things that seem important but in the end are just things. I know that I am investing into my life and my children's lives the things that really, faith, hope, and joy. Those are the "possesions" that can never be burned up. At the end of your life, what would you rather your kids said. "My dad had lots of cool stuff, bought plenty of insurance, and now I get it all," or "My dad taught me what it means to truly love, to live life with joy, no matter what the circumstances." All the insurance in the world can't compare to that.
I appreciate your concern and understand that you love us and want what's best for us. But your fears are misplaced. Call me a religious fanatic, but at least I'm a joyful, happy religious fanatic. while everything else in this life can be taken away from me, my joy can never be taken away. My love for a God who knew me before I was even born can never be taken away. Even when I don't understand why things in my life happen the way they do, I know for certain that God is in control and that His heart towards me is only good. I pray that you can find that same joy and confidence that can only be found in Jesus Christ.
Your loving neice,
Darcy =)
Wow, isn't that great! God has certainly been with my cousin, and I thank the Lord on my knees for that! I can see that the Lord is with them, and will continue to provide!

Have a great day, and may you be encouraged as I have!
Laura H.


Anna S said...

Laura, what an amazing, truly awesome letter your cousin Darcy wrote! It is so uplifting. And especially knowing they just went through such a trial, and their faith isn't only intact - it is strengthened. What a blessing it was for me to read this.

Rebekah S. said...

Wow. I'm left speechless! Oh, what a wonderful, uplifting, encouraging, amazing letter! Thank you so much for sharing it with us! Your cousin and her faith are nothing short of amazing!

P.S. I LOVE that story about the garnet cross! Simply amazing.