Libbie Groves just posted an update on life in the Groves' household since Al "graduated" in February.
If you don't know the Groves family, some of the newsy blurbs will be relatively uninspiring. But there are several paragraphs that show the "treasure of the trial" (to steal a favorite phrase from Keith and Kristyn Getty) -- oh that I would be a faithful steward of life and a blessing to others in my trials as Libbie is!
Here are two particularly insightful comments:
"In addition to coming up with the beach idea in the first place, Kristen said something there that stuck with me. She collects shells and said she used to search for perfect, unbroken ones (and rarely found them), but now she picks up broken shells and enjoys beautiful things about them—unusual colors, interesting shapes and so on. She just made an offhand comment that maybe that’s how life is: we want things to be perfect, but they rarely are, and instead we can learn to look for and appreciate the surprising beauty that God works into the broken world around us.
"I think that is some of what has happened for me this past year. Up until a year and a half ago my life seemed pretty close to perfect. I grew up in a wonderful family where I was loved, nurtured and encouraged. I married a wonderful man who loved me and with whom I shared a wonderful life of God’s love. I have four wonderful children who are an incredible blessing to me. But now I have a slightly better picture—or at least a little glimpse—of the way most of the rest of humanity regularly experiences life. It’s a rare person who gets to live a “perfect life.” Most people’s lives have lots of brokenness in them, or they are worn down by the constant tossing of the waves. And yet God brings joy, blessings, beauty, and redemption into the brokenness. It is good to see and experience that—to feel pain and sadness and yet to see God’s infinite and transforming grace in the midst of it, perhaps even more clearly for the contrast."
"I don’t think there is inherent virtue in expecting a “default setting” that renders life either easy or difficult. Expecting that God will give abundant pleasant blessings all the time can be the result of a secure grasp of God’s generosity, but it can also potentially come from presumption and selfishness. On the other hand, expecting that God will send hardship and trials as daily fare can flow from an appreciation of the hidden blessing of growing closer to God in suffering (it may even “feel holy” somehow), but it can also potentially stem from doubting his goodness. Rather than expecting either one, assuming we know what the Lord has in mind for us and why, I think he wants us to simply walk with him on whatever path he chooses for a given day or season. He wants us to be content to put our hand in his and trust him because he is the Lord, because he will bring into our lives what he alone knows is best, because he will walk the path with us, and because he has promised that ultimately he will turn every circumstance to our blessing and his glory.
"That trust, of course, has to be a continual choice. For me, these days, there are so many details to deal with and stay on top of that I can feel overwhelmed, and when I discover that I’ve dropped the ball on something important it makes me worry that there are other important balls out there somewhere that I’ve forgotten about and am in danger of dropping, too. I sometimes wake up at 4 or 5 in the morning (possibly because of the birds singing), and, given half a chance, thoughts and worries will rush into my mind and keep me from going back to sleep. They can be as simple as phone calls I’ve forgotten to make or as complex as single parent issues I need to navigate. Last week I was reading Psalm 3 about God being a shield around David, and noticed that David said, “I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.” The setting for the psalm is David’s flight from Absalom. David didn’t know whether he would wake up at all or whether Absalom would find him during the night and kill him, yet he was able to lie down and sleep because he trusted in God’s care for him. If God is so reliable that David could rest in him in such dire circumstances (and he didn’t even know about God’s greater love shown in Jesus), then I can too. So now if I wake up at 5:00 I firmly head off the details that would like to storm into my mind, and I choose to remember instead God’s unfailing, trustworthy love and care, and I am able to drift back to sleep."