Search and Work

24620691_s“But you are to seek the place the Lord your God will choose from among all your tribes to put his Name there for his dwelling. To that place you must go; … There, in the presence of the Lord your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the Lord your God has blessed you.” –Deut. 12:5,7

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To that place I must go, to that task I must apply my hand.

These words have been my portion this year, the great search of my heart and the great work of my hands. Great, because all search and duty rooted in God and in the advancement of his kingdom are great undertakings. Worthy pilgrimages. Excellent yearnings.

If I’m honest, the now, almost four months of search and work in 2014 have felt anything but great. The search seems to have yielded little; my work the same. This has been an odd year of spiritual shaping. The soil of my heart has been disrupted by distractions, a few of them welcomed as friends but most of them shunned as intruders.

Family commotion. Ministry complications. Writing dilemmas. Homeschooling stressors. Medical concerns. The list is full and, consequently, so is my heart . . . full of so very much. It’s tough to process some days, difficult to discern the next steps God would have me to take in each situation.

Where would I be without Jesus? Where would I turn if not to his Word? How would live if not for his sustaining grace that carries me from strength to strength?

Strength to strength. Yes, I see it in my mind’s eye and, by faith, I’m holding on to it in my heart. These have been valley days, times of grunting it out in between mountaintops. I know this; I’m not surprised by this, and, oddly enough, I’m learning to be OK with it – this seemingly endless wandering from peak to peak. This is how God is building my faith muscles, and while it’s not a new teaching strategy for him, it feels raw, new, and every now and again, great to me.

Why great? Because there is strength in movement and because there is great peace in relinquishing one’s heart and feet to the valley floor after years of trying to walk the tightrope suspended between two mountains. For so long, I’ve prayed about that place I must go, and that work I must do. It doesn’t seem as if I will ever reach that place of understanding and rest. What does seem to reach me, instead, is the ever-present search and work of the present.

This present. Commotion. Complications. Dilemmas. Stressors. Concerns. This is the valley floor, and this, too, is the place of God’s dwelling. To search for him here and to work for him here, well, this is something great, someone great to take hold of in the valley. Steady as we go, we walk these next steps together. I will not tumble to my death; instead, I’ll be held tightly through to the finish line.

To that place I must go. To that task I must apply my hand.

That that? Jesus Christ – the search and work of my present and my forever. By his grace and for his glory, I am sustained. I am blessed. And I am . . .  

Kept in peace.

15 Responses to Search and Work

  1. Oh boy…do I get this.
    I’m really working on my writing skills and trying to get better and push through the hard work. Why? Because I feel it’s my “now” task and place. But already I’m feeling that I’ll never get there because I don’t have quite what it takes for the journey. Now doesn’t that sound like “victory”?! I’m going to keep at it.

    And you’ve got a fresh, new look here! Looks great!

    • Elaine says:

      I think that doing the hard work is the victory, Melanie. You’re an awesome writer, and I’d love to hear more about your vision in this area. You have so much to show us, a woman of great depth and heart. I love the faith that you live, friend.

  2. Complications – challenges – raising 5 sons – I understand the journey in the valley, the journey of a prayer sent out – that the important stuff happens in the valley, in the journey – He meets us there and leads us to the peak. I also believe that after every major challenge, He gives us a time of spiritual, physical and emotional refreshing. Praying you find that refreshing a little ways through your valley, where it feels like your soul feet are dipped in a Holy Spirit cool stream, shaded by His protective wings!

  3. Pamela says:

    You know, I get it too. Its been hard to bring together words from my lips to my Lord this last year…this too shall pass. I aim to keep trying. I pray for my heart to embrace Him and Him only in this valley.

    Blessings Elaine~ Pam

  4. I think you are one of the strongest women I know. Even in your “searching and working” and climbing from mountain to mountain via the valleys, I see strength. Not that you trust your own strength but that you constantly lean on Him for strength. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us!!

    I couldn’t help but think of a blogpost I wrote many years ago so looked it up and am posting the link here if you don’t mind. It’s titled Mountains and Valleys.

    http://marilyn-nogreaterjoy.blogspot.com/2008/08/mountains-and-valleys.html

    God bless you my faithful friend!!!

    • Elaine says:

      I loved reading this again, Marilyn, about your trip to the NC mountains! So funny, in thinking about the view from the top of the mountains, like you I think about life in the little villages below. Yes, we are called to live them both in faith. Looking up; looking down; looking forward!

  5. preacher billy says:

    wifeforthejourney:

    When I find myself struggling with the various hardships of life, all to often my prayers are oriented towards an appeal to God to make my path easier. Yet, if I’m honest, my greatest times of personal/spiritual growth have all come when the climb up from the “valley floor” has been hardest.

    “Lord help us all to endure well and to see the fruits you have planned in those times when our journey is most difficult. Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow!”

    Love you,

    Billy

  6. I loved this today! You said:
    “Great, because all search and duty rooted in God and in the advancement of his kingdom are great undertakings. Worthy pilgrimages. Excellent yearnings.”

    Isn’t that what each day of undertakings should be about?

    I too have had my share of God giving me a task to do and hearing His voice clearly in it – yet finding the task – not exactly how I had pictured it coming out. I’m learning to trust Him every moment and keep seeking His direction and timing of things even when I’m not sure of the next step. By faith – I take that next step.

    All for His Kingdom purpose,

    [[HUGS]] Stephanie

    • Elaine says:

      It’s so good to see you here, Stephanie. I pray you are well, and I know that your faith is yielding incalculable results for our Father’s kingdom. Love you.

  7. I feel the same way, Elaine – where would I be without Jesus, where would I go if not to His Word? So very thankful to know Him!

    • Elaine says:

      And I’m so thankful for friends like you, Cheryl. This life would be awfully lonely without my good, traveling companions. Peace to your house this day!

  8. Lidia says:

    Dear friend, if there is one thing I can mention among the many other things that I truly appreciate in you, it is your honesty and transparency (two things, after all…). No pretending, no covering up. It enables me to easily identify with what you are struggling with or rejoicing in. I heard it said a few times before that the destination is worth looking forward to, but we also need to enjoy the process of getting to where we want to go! And as I understand it, that is the main point of this post. I get every word (and I can identify with the unspoken emotions behind the words). Much love to you dear Elaine.

    Lidia

    • Elaine says:

      You got it, Lidia. Learning to step the journey in peace and with Peace. Peace to your house today – the kingdom of God is near!