Evelyn was already in her seat when we took this picture. :)
Yesterday was our "Commencement" ceremony for the Reality Ministry Internship. 9 months. Out of the (40?) graduates, they asked 8 to share testimony, and Ben was one of them.
What he was GOING to share but didn't:
The internship was like Karate Kid. You're doing these things thinking, "Why am I doing this?" "This is hard work, and I'm not sure what the purpose is!" And then, down the road, we'll encounter different spiritual situations and bust out with a "wax on, wax off!" (It's way better with the hand motions here).
What he DID share:
The internship was like a fire. It brought to the surface so many impurities-in us individually, in our marriage, in our family. We were pressed hard in so many areas at once: financially, physically, emotionally, relationally.
What I think: it is not lost on me, the irony of a nine month internship, alongside a nine month pregnancy full of complications. So. Many. Lessons.
1. I had no power to sustain the pregnancy, just as completing the internship would be absolutely dependent on the power of Christ at work in us.
2. Bed rest. Yet another reminder that all of this hinges upon God and His work, not how hard I work to make it happen.
3. Failure. Nothing like bed rest with 5 children to make you feel like a failure in every area of life. But the most beautiful thing about this was God showing me that even as I felt like a failure, I found myself standing in the same grace that I was before. (Are we sensing a theme here?)
4. When we have reached the absolute end of ourselves-whether the end of our strength, the maximum amount of pain we can stand (think labor!!!), or we just don't think we can make it another moment....that's when the supernatural really begins. Man. I wish that I would submit myself to remaining in this place...but it's so hard because....well, as 1-4 have shown, I don't really like pain or weakness.
5. Evelyn. She is such an amazing treasure. There is so much joy in holding her and being near her. I absolutely DELIGHT in watching how a certain face she makes reminds me of Emma, or Caleb, or Noah, or Ezra, or Judah, or Ben and me!!! This, amazingly, and because of Christ, is how my Father feels about me. It delights him when I remind Him of Himself, or of Christ by the way I move or smile or love....
And so for the internship, the end is just the beginning. We have the joy of Evelyn in our arms, much like the joy of reaching the "finish line" of the internship. But the joy is really beginning. This is our hope. That the fruit that will come is just beginning, and will continue to come over the months and years ahead. Like the Karate Kid, all those papers and books and lectures....they will bear fruit because God has promised that they will:
"No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong." (Hebrews 12:11-13 NLT)
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. “The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it. (Isaiah 55:8-11 NLT)