Miracle in the Making: The Jubilee Journey (Part 5)

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).

Written 10/22/21

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.

God, keep her alive. Keep her strong. Keep her going,” I say to myself. “So, one day she will rock the nations and be the light in the darkness you’ve always intended her to be.”

A prayer in fair intent set free from spare lament.

Yet, deep down, a different tune…

…rendering…

…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…

…as you survive us today and revive us again.”

Selah.

Cover photo creds: Lyssah Fry

Miracle in the Making: The Jubilee Journey (Part 4)

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.

Literally.

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?

*Sigh*

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…

…in Jesus’ name.

You have won.

Selah.

Cover photo creds: Wallpaper Safari

Miracle in the Making: The Jubilee Journey (Part 3)

Lately, I’ve been marveling at how the past seven weeks has mirrored the past eighteen months.

On one hand, it’s been the worst of times; on the other, it’s been the “first” of times…

…with every day an exhausting, sometimes unprecedented mix of trial and turbulence.

However, as I’ve continued to study 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, I’ve been captivated by a certain truth, a keen illumination as once eloquently captured by Joe Novenson:

The feel of faith is not strength, but dependent weakness.”

Mmm…just let that sink in a little.

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:

  1. Keep heart, take heart…but don’t lose heart
  2. 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.

Selah.

Miracle in the Making: The Jubilee Journey (Part 2)

Lately, I’ve been thinking about dust. After all, I need a new Swiffer. Possibly another Dyson.

However, in this case, I’ve been contemplating not only my relationship with God, but my relationship to God.

For when in crisis, it’s hard not to consider the contrasts…

  • When chaos is great, God is greater.
  • If man is small, how much less are his problems?
  • If man can do good, how much more can God do likewise?

You get the drift.

Granted, it makes sense to embrace these dichotomies in seasons of trials; hence, why I’m writing this.

‘Cause truth is…

When we wrestle with God during challenging times, we’re wrestling in our weakness to understand Him…and trust IN Him.

As the story of Jacob’s wrestling match (Genesis 32) tells us, there is a holy way to contend as we confront our failures and frailties.

The question is: How do we model this type of dependence?

For starters, I submit we perceive our smallness as a big deal. As the Scriptures stress, we are significant, yet small compared to the grandeur of the Almighty (Psalm 40:17, Isaiah 66:1-2, James 4:8-10); in fact, the Hebrew word for ‘wrestle’ literally translates to dust. Go figure!

As such, we can take joy knowing the freedom of living life to scale in the fullness of who God is.

For when we embrace our weakness at the feet of Jesus, we can accept how struggling with God in faith leads to peace, revelation, even blessings. This ties to the concept of divine wrestling being a grappling of our humanity and a tenacious acceptance into intimacy. Just as God relentlessly pursues us, so is there a renewing of life when we hold onto the vastness that is Him.

My encouragement to you, my friends, is this: If you’re, like me, feeling like dry bones, as if you’re going back and forth between, ‘All I can do is stand’ and ‘All I want to do is fight’, understand the reason you’re not alone is also the reason you’re more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37) with life to come back to.

While the ways to restoration are many, dare to see wrestling with God as a spectacular way to get there. Even if you feel too weak or too stuck, remember who you are in light of God and what you can do when you view perseverance as a way to discover Him. You’ll find as you abide in God’s sovereignty, the more capacity you’ll have to hope while receiving His strength in place of cheerful fatalisms.

Selah.

Cover photo creds: Shutterstock

Miracle in the Making: The Jubilee Journey (Part 1)

Written August 28, 2021

A few thoughts coming off a quick coffee chat with dad…

No question, it’s been a crazy month – probably the most intense, unpredictable 2-3 week stretch I’ve ever endured. But somehow, someway, I’ve unlocked a few secrets on how to overcome anxiety while operating in stillness. While a second post will debut later this month, I figured I share a few breakthrough breadcrumbs for now:

1) Slow It Down – When we sense the target on our back, human nature is to panic and accelerate to resolution. Unfortunately, this is where many of us trip up. While prayerful proaction is ideal, when we’re striving for answers to stay ahead of the arrows, we tend to create more stress for ourselves. We beg God to know ‘why’ to justify the cry as if there’s no silver linings in persevering; however, when we surrender amidst the chaos and still ourselves in the face of uncertainty, only then can we truly embrace that James 1:2-4 joy.

In my case, there have been many problems of late. Yet, I’m grateful for them as they’ve helped me learn how living in slow motion can be a bridge to calmness. Granted, it’s a paradox to any cultural definition of pace. Then again, we’re called to run the race, not race the run. Given the latter doesn’t even make sense, I’d say all the more reason to stay cool when…

2) Defer Worry – When we feel stuck in a rut, like the cosmos is out to get us, the temptation to worry (and the emotions involved) is completely valid. I know for me when the break I crave seems far out of reach, I often cater to self-preservation as a means to sanity. Yet, as the Juby journey has taught me, when we acknowledge our weakness as an extension of worship, we find God’s perspective scaling our issues to the point deferring worry makes more sense than yielding to it.

To use a football analogy, the next time you feel sacked by negativity, invite God into the fear, press into His promises, and punt the worry away*. As Psalm 57:2 says, “[We] cry out to God who fulfills his purpose for [us]”. We may not understand the timing of them or the reasons for them; however, when we silence our ego, we enhance that still small voice reminding us how God’s faithfulness is far greater than our ability to see how it applies in any given situation. Put another way, our contentment and dependence does not have to be rooted in knowing how God works but rather knowing God, especially through the ups and downs of life.

Going back to Psalm 57:2, this makes perfect sense. Check out this context:

“Be good to me, God—and now! I’ve run to you for dear life. I’m hiding out under your wings until the hurricane blows over. I call out to High God, the God who holds me together. He sends orders from heaven and saves me, he humiliates those who kick me around. God delivers generous love, He makes good on his word.” ~ Psalm 57:1-3 (MSG)

This tells me even though I don’t know what the future holds with Juby’s health, even though I don’t know if my car’s radiator will bust again, even though I don’t know how work and home life will balance out for the foreseeable future, I can count it all joy as I ride out the storm.

‘Cause frankly, I’m so weak right now, I have no margin to do otherwise.

Selah/Stay tuned…

Footnotes

*More specifically, as you rely on God, punt worry to the point it becomes obsolete the next time it makes sense

Cover photo creds: Cameron Fry