Pastor 📖 | Teacher 📚 | Writer | Severe Wx Enthusiast | Champion of the Underdog | Equipping youth & bivocational leaders to live as Christ.
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‘Tis an early sunset on this gentle night; though all is not calm and all is not bright.
I guess I’m not ready for darkness’ descent; my mind is torn, my bandwidth is spent.
But alas, these signs, we cannot change despite the dawns now closer in range.
And so I press on and count the cost wondering if this year has been lost.
One thing for sure are the lessons won; these three alone are worth the run.
1) If you’re stuck between a rock and hard place, make God the latter to trust Him in pace.
2) If you’re weary at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on; let this be how you cope.
3) If you’re lost at a sea, at a point of breaking, change your course; leave peace in your waking.
To do these things in trial is hard; why not let God guide you in front and rear guard?
Footnotes (per series above)
1) When you allow God to be your rock in difficult situations, you focus your mindset on what doesn’t change as opposed to what does (see Psalm 18). Not to mention you eliminate negativity on one side of the equation to scale your problems proportionally. Why not invite the ultimate absolute into your midst and make Him your trust?
2) The beauty of crisis and chaos is this silver lining: When you feel there’s nothing else to grab hold of, you can always grab hold of your rock (see #1; verses below)
“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.”~ Matthew 5:3 (MSG)
“I’m nearly at the end of my rope. Don’t turn away; don’t ignore me! That would be certain death. If you wake me each morning with the sound of your loving voice, I’ll go to sleep each night trusting in you. Point out the road I must travel; I’m all ears, all eyes before you.” ~ Psalm 143:7-10 (MSG)
3) While some may feel like they’re holding on for dear life, for others, the circumstances may seem more like a crossroads. How many of you can recall a particular intersection you felt like no matter what direction you chose, the outcome was a lose-lose?
If you can relate, consider the fact…
When you’re at a breaking point, you can make it a turning point.
Per Romans 4:1-3 (MSG): “Abraham entered into what God was doing for him, and that was the turning point. He trusted God to set him right instead of trying to be right on his own.”
Often, when we’re struggling, we balk at full surrender or rely on our own terms. I know for me, there are times when I succeed in admitting helplessness, yet stray trying to make sense of my surroundings. If you’re ever caught in this conundrum, rather than entertain dark thoughts, let God’s spirit sustain you (Proverbs 18:15) as you steer into His presence, goodness, sovereignty, etc. In this way, you can find a corrected course divinely set without the striving.
Still rattling from another week of dodging arrows, taking them in the back in some cases.
I’m done with this. I’m so fed up and yet starving at the same time. Forget why; I just want to know when.
When will things get better? When will things start to turn around?
I look at Juby and I delight in her progress. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the journey…the literal baby steps one must take during these intense stretches.
But when it’s Monday morning and you’ve been out of home for three months. When it’s a brand new day and your only source of sanctuary betrays you, I’m sorry, I just can’t even…
Don’t get me wrong; I haven’t given up or anything. Contrarily, I sometimes wonder if not knowing how to not believe is part of what’s working.
Yet, as I continue to wrestle and keep my head above the water, I discover new depths to what faith is like at the end of its rope…
…and it is gloriously terrifying. A place you relish and long to relinquish at the same time.
Like many paradoxes, the dichotomy is confusing. After all, vertical reliance is supposed to be uncomfortable – an achy burn as opposed to a contagious high.
I guess what I’m trying to say is: I trust God has something in store for Lys & I once this season blows over. It’s just getting harder to move, to leave the house, to function really. Even though we’re hard pressed on every side, but not crushed, even though we’re perplexed on multiple fronts, but not [yet in] despair, the temptation to think otherwise entices me.
How can the life of Jesus fully manifest when all I can do is stand? How can His glory be revealed when I’m this lost searching for a horizon to light my way?
Sure, I can stiff-arm fear all day, but at day’s end, I just want to know where I am headed.
I’m sure I’m not the only one out there wondering this right now.
Disoriented and fatigued, my charge tonight is simple…
You may feel like you’re trembling on a precipice, but where courage lacks is also where much is given. In time, you will be able to strain forward to what lies ahead. For now, embrace the opportunity to receive as you persevere, let steadfastness have its full effect, and hold fast the confession of hope without wavering.
Even when you step out of your car and a freak gear glitch causes it to launch into a neighbor’s yard before you somehow, someway stop it from crashing into their house, count it all joy. Tally up His goodness and scale your conflicts accordingly.
Take it from one in the trenches with you. Your life isn’t as broken as you think. And even if it is, there’s not a solve or repair unbeknownst to God.
Why not trust the handiness of His hands as you trade in your sorrows?
Author’s note: Before I continue with this next installment, on behalf of Lyssah and I, thank you all for bearing with us the past few months. We know the content rhythm has been impacted by recent events as new territory yields its audibles; however, in the spirit of Habakkuk 2:2, my heart’s desire is to keep documenting these revelations as God tends our hearts during these trying times. Eventually, we will reach a finish line with a return to normality. For now, we press on boasting in the goodness of God and the perfections of Christ (Philippians 3:12).
I have a confession to make.
And I know it may sound weird to some.
But in short, these past few months, I’ve been somewhat selfish, somewhat swollen…
…with heavy margin centered on the artist known as Jubilee. The final quarter of progeny at halftime in the NICU with a score only heaven knows.
Each day, I wake up and take down a familiar theme.
A prayer in fair intent set free from spare lament.
Yet, deep down, a different tune…
…oh me, oh my, myopic me.
If only I wasn’t so shortsighted, maybe I could have spared the vanity and considered the pressing present.
For while it’s easy to tie Juby’s survival to her future, the reality is:
Her future is now (as evidenced by her middle name, Nileen, which translates to “surrender”)
As much as Lys & I cling to Immanuel, we can’t neglect Hosanna.
As the beat goes on…
“Yes, God. Keep Juby in perfect peace, in perfect health as her preemie mind is steadfast on you knowing she’s been purchased at a price. But, oh, would you start something here at the NICU to save the lost and the empty walking through these doors. As much as we believe you’ll use this life, use it now to share the wow of what and who you’re consistently are. A thread in the tapestry, not the tapestry itself, sow us into your supernatural intentions. Refresh and restore this land on which you, not us, are the epicenter…
...and forgive me for thinking the miracle of her survival is enough. It’s not enough. It’s only the beginning. So keep me humble to your next and together, we will get there…
So…I was going to write about some more NICU life lessons today…
…however, as you may have heard, the game-plan got rained on.
Thanks to a washer malfunction, a waterfall formed in my house for the first time…leading to a half-inch of pipe water sloshing from laundry room to front door.
Of course, of all the seasons for this to happen, this happens now.
I mean…I know when it rains it pours. But c’mon, life, this is ridiculous.
Seriously, dear God, I know you’re up there! Can Lys & I catch a little break…maybe?
Oh, wait. That’s right, Lord. You are the break when we need to brake. How foolish of me to think otherwise. When we need to stop and breathe, you are the breath in our lungs. I only have to look so far as the ventilator in front of me.
And as the bells and whistles go off again, I’m reminded to the extent we endure crisis with character and fear with faith, to that extent our capacity to trust in You increases.
Knowing this, I thank you for not only trusting me and Lys with Jubilee, but also with smaller-scale (yet still significant) troubleshootings through which we can model perseverance to our neighbors, both literally and figuratively.
Per 2 Corinthians 4:8-10 (see below), reset that big picture once again so I may be good to go by your goodness.
As for you, my friends, when physical, emotional, and/or relational pipe bursts in your life, count in all joy, consider what God is expanding in your life, and ‘baby-step’ your trust in Him as you walk with Him.
It always takes a journey and often a village, but take it from a broken man. If all you can do is say, ‘Yes’ and roll with it, you have won…
The feel of faith…a dependent weakness. What a remarkable association. And apologies in case you heard that noise in the background.
That was just a mic drop echoing deep within the bowels of my soul.
For as many of you know, this Jubilee journey has been the epitome of humbling. In all sincerity, words can only go so far as the joyride (Jubilee’s name compels me to call it as such) has left me mesmerized wrestling with the scale of God’s sovereign strength amidst the chaos.
Still, the more Lys and I have endured and persevered, the more we’ve been able to taste God’s providence and assurance. To the extent we’ve anchored our trust, to that extent we’ve been able to mutually rely on God in unison, even harmony.
Again, it’s a unique paradox but one I’m discovering and profoundly grateful for.
‘Cause the way I see it: The specific season we’re in, from Jubilee to Covid caution, is more than one we’re suppose to ‘get through’…but one we’re meant to bear through.
The question is: In our various conflict resolutions and troubleshootings, what are we bearing (or forbearing) along the way?
While I’m still seeking God for solutions, what I can say is sometimes all we can do is stay the course and know God will set our paths straight. Especially in a time when many are forcing restarts, from marriage and relationships to work and church life, we can be prone to manufacturate tranquility. Why we’d rather rush to refresh and blank our slates as opposed to conquering with confidence? Honestly, your guess is as good as mine.
Yet, as I continue to struggle amidst the unrest, I will gladly embrace a holy dependence that isn’t withdrawn like the trends around me. What I’m learning in my walk with God, with Lys, even at Foundation Group, is the sweet reminder the greatest victories are shared and beared. As much as we want to thrive, as much as we crave a new chapter, we can’t possibly ‘get there’ without partnering in weakness with what and whom God has already established.
My charge to you, dear ones, is two-fold:
Keep heart, take heart…but don’t lose heart
You can struggle and live abundantly at the same time.
Don’t disengage what your challenges are tied to; rather engage the reason you’ve been entrusted to overcome them. Sure, it may take some time. Perhaps a year or two or ten. But together, we will ‘get there’.
‘Til then, don’t sign off yet. At least until God says it’s time.