Monday, April 14, 2014

Redemption Stories Series: A Look Back at "The Invisible Fire"

Today's Guest Blogger for the Redemption Series wasn't able to share her story with us after all, so I am reprinting an old post from my own ongoing redemptive journey. As I thought of all the posts I could rerun today, this one, which originally ran September 12, 2012, came to mind. It is the story of how I wound up in the home I live in now, and I see it as a true story of redemption. This home is more than just another rented dwelling. It is truly the fulfillment of a vision I had laid on my heart close to a decade ago, of living in a community of people with a common vision. Learning within that community what it means to "do life together" and reaching out to others around us to connect in love. A place that continues to grow with a common vision and dream. Out of the ashes has come something so beautiful... 
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"The Invisible Fire" 


"Deep Calls to Deep" 12" x 12" collage by Crystal Neubauer
Just a few minutes late, I made my way to the back of the crowded room where I could observe the guest speaker without being noticed. I still wasn't sure what I was doing here, what brought me back to this small church meeting in a basement room each Sunday morning. It was a difficult time in my life and I needed more then the disconnect I had been feeling in my regular church home. It wasn't them, it was me. I felt God challenging me to know Him in a deeper way, but this place was outside of my comfort zone, and this morning in particular, filled with people, standing and sitting, who had come to see Todd White speak, it was even more so then usual. My day had started with an earnest private pleading with God to still the waters of my life and bring me peace. Bring me peace God. Please. Please. Please God. I was feeling fragile and I didn't want to be seen.

As I squeezed silently against the back wall, Todd, who had been facing the other side of the room, suddenly stopped mid-sentence and looked directly at me saying in a voice that carried above the crowd "God wants you to know you are entering into a season of peace"! Tears sprang to my eyes and before I could stop it my own small voice gasped "I prayed for that this morning!" There were appropriate praise murmurings all around, but they faded to a buzz as I stood amazed at the timing of this prophecy.

That afternoon a tree lost its limb smashing the rear window of my car in the driveway. 


Today I am settling into a new home with only a few of my own belongings around. I can't help thinking this must be what it's like for families who have lost their homes to a fire. In some ways, I think, a fire might have been easier to sort it all out- the good from the bad- damaged belongings verses salvageable goods, and according to our insurance company would have meant our losses were covered.

Just over two months ago we moved to another home that my husband had agreed to renovate in exchange for lower rent. It was to be a time of sacrifice in which, if all went according to plan, we could begin to pay off debt and save our money to finally purchase our own home. But the house needed much more then the cosmetic work my husband had agreed to, a terrible musty odor permeated the air and no amount of cleaning could remove it.

By the time we realized how serious the problem was I was losing my hair, dealing with inexplicable dizzy spells while sitting in bed, and worsening skin and airborne allergy symptoms. Our precious kitty woke ill one day and continued to grow worse - the vet said her kidneys had shut down the day we had to put her to sleep- a result of the toxicity of the black mold spores unseen in the air.



In a sense it was an invisible fire. Thankfully many of our possessions –including my entire studio -were still in boxes stored in the garage, safe from the toxic air, but we had to throw away beds, dressers, rugs and other items which were at highest risk. Everything else went into storage, where we will slowly begin to decide one box, one item at a time, what we can attempt to clean and what else has to be thrown away.

A very wise counselor answered my fears one night in alarm as I lamented over what to do, not having any money or place to go, but knowing the situation was serious "Honey you just get in the car and GO! God will meet you there!" And there I was again; back three years ago in that season of begging God for peace to calm the waters that were threatening to flood my life. Without resources and with no permanent place to go - could I really trust Him to meet me in this?

Stepping back to the big picture, there is an array of core lies that God has been weeding out of my belief system for several years now- indeed through each one of these stormy seasons there have been blessings and breakthroughs- but still I wrestled with the big one. Will God really meet me in this?

Can I really trust God?

A lifetime of fears was at stake and God had lovingly hemmed me in. Bring me peace God. Please. Please. Please God. And that is exactly what He did. As I got into my car and drove away He was there to meet me. From the well timed large sale from my website the first day, to winding up renting a home fully furnished and stocked – a story I might share in more detail another day – God was meeting me in my need every step of the way and showing me just how much I could let go of control and trust Him.

It turns out the prophecy spoken to me three years ago was correct, I really was entering a season of peace – but as long as I had my eyes on the storms around me I was missing it.

Peace, you see, had nothing to do with my circumstances and everything to do with trusting a loving God.

Matt 6:19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.

7 comments:

  1. This is so beautiful and moving, open and raw, Crystal. Thank you for sharing it. It confirms what I also know to be true, just take the first step and you will not travel alone. xox

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is true, I have been on the step by step journey for quite some time and am continuously amazed over it. Thanks for stopping by the blog and taking the time to comment Lesley!

      Delete
  2. NancyGeneArmstrong3:57 PM

    This is very moving . Thank you for opening up and sharing. It will reach the people that need to read it and you will help others see the right path they need.

    ReplyDelete
  3. So good, Crystal! That's a true redemptive story. Thank you for sharing this and for being so vulnerable with those of us who need to hear.
    "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jo I am honored that you stopped by to read and leave your encouraging comment today. Thank-you!

      Delete
  4. Wow, what a journey, Crystal!
    I love the song Deep Calls out to Deep, did that inspire your piece?
    BLéSSïNgS!

    ReplyDelete