“Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens. This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are, in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:26-29
As I read this passage this morning, it immediately resonated with my shaken up life this past year. It’s been a year of breaking, a long year of continued loss. Loss of part of my heart, loss of perceived youth, loss of all financial resources, loss of health, loss of relationships, loss of belongings, loss of place, and loss of identity.
I remember in my early 30’s throwing myself into my career with abandon as the sudden need to be more and have more took over. If you do not have the career, the furnished house, the outward success, then what are you worth?
However, after this year of stripping, after selling most of my belongings, and driving half across the country with the remainder of what I had left, stuffed into the last thing I owed worth anything, my white, fairly new, but which I still managed to dent up, ’13 Civic, and driving into the unknown, I should have felt overwhelmed with the most fear and sadness, but I strangely felt the most peace and joy. Left behind was my need to be anything or have anything. Left behind was a need to prove my value or create an identity based on what I do for a living or the stuff that I own. Remaining in it’s place, was only the unshakable things. My unshakable salvation. My worth, my value, my identity in a God whose love I could never be separated from. This unshakable love had somehow been buried under my own sin and striving throughout the last decade of struggle and vanity.
This heart transformation wasn’t the result of a tap of a magical wand as I drove off into my penniless sunset. It was out of being broken throughout the year, that I began to wake up every day and sit down with a pen and paper and my bible. I read and I wrote truth. I started writing the things I was thankful for, and I prayed. Nothing emotionally charged or worthy of any fanfare. But in that consistency, more and more God continued to remove the grief, the fear, the daily darkness, and replace it with a new ability to see the good things, the work he was doing, even in the midst of the hard things. He began to work peace and joy in my heart, wholeness in the midst of brokenness.
It’s strange when you actually see the growth. Most often times God is working on us and we don’t see how we’ve changed until we look back years later on who we were. I can’t help but laugh at myself as I walk around, not as that irritable, moody person that my family often tiptoed around, but instead, full of energy and light. Somehow having even acquired an affection for the big and slobbery dogs! As I pet and feed my parent’s grumpy cat who is all but shaved except for it’s puffy fur ball head and tail, I smile and think, I may have been mostly an ugly stepsister, but through this shaken life, I’ve woken up a Cinderella. God’s Word does heal, it does transform, and you don’t need to wait for the happily ever after to experience it today.
“Eucharisteo (thanksgiving) always precedes the miracle.” – Ann Voskamp