The Loss of a Dream (Day 2 from an untitled collection)

 


       

 I would like you to walk with me for a minute through a pecan orchard. Preparing for the harvest begins as early as spring and continues through summer. All the fallen branches need to be removed, the grounds mowed and kept up, and the brush piles burned; so that the orchard will be free from debris when the shaker is brought in for the harvesting.  The shaker has an arm with a very large clamp on the end that fits around the trunk of the tree, once it clamped on it begins to violently shake the tree causing the pecans to rain down like a hail storm. This shaking process can take place at two different times during the harvesting season; once during the early fall while the tree has not shed all its leaves, the other during the latter part of the fall seasons when the tree is barren of the majority of its leaves with the pecans shucks have opened after the first freeze. When the shanking is over and the pecans have been harvested, looking over the orchard, the trees are standing tall with their branches, like arms, outstretched bare of any signs of life. This illustration fits the way I felt, shaken and emptied, all I had to give was gone, and I stood baron.

          Every night was the same thing either I would cry myself to sleep, or wake up crying asking the Lord not to let me go. The next day I wandered aimlessly doing everything out of habit. I didn’t think or feel anything just existed. Oh, how I longed to hear His voice, but I didn’t believe He had anything to say to me and I wasn’t sure I wanted to know if He did. In the book of John Jesus is introduced as the true shepherd that is known by His sheep and when He led them they followed because they knew His voice. The first time He spoke, after months of silence, I was caught by surprise and I dismissed it as my imagination, but deep down inside I knew that voice.  I remembered how He had spoken to me before; it was always in the little things happening around me that His still small voice would speak to my heart. The scripture He led me to was in Job 14:7-9, “There is hope for a tree; if it is cut down it will renew itself; its shoots will not cease. If its roots are old in the earth, and its stump dies in the ground, at the scent of water it will bud and produce branches like a sapling” (CJB). This single scripture was like an electrical shock awakening my senses and clearing my mind. There were three key phrases for me, ‘there is hope’ He had a plan and a future for me; ‘it will renew’ my sorrows were for a night but joy comes in the morning; ‘at the scent of water’ with Jesus as my living water and I would never thirst again. I became very aware of my surroundings as I look forward to any whisper of insight I was given, to any sign of His presence; in time bit by bit, I came to accept the reasons for the loss of the store, but not the why. I still had questions.  Why the loss of yet another dream?  Why was the ministry given only to be taken away?  Why did I feel such a deep pain of emptiness?

               From the beginning of my walk with the Lord He taught me to look for the answers I was seeking in His word, so that is where I went; Deuteronomy 4:29 says, “. . . you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (NKJV)  If you are truly searching for the truth, and not just well-meaning ‘feel-good statements’ then you must go to God’s word, the truth is always found when you seek Him. 1Peter 1:6 tells us we are to rejoice when we have been through various trials if you’re like me the phrase that stands out is ‘various trials,’ but let’s take a closer look. In different translations, the words grieved, distressed, suffer and heaviness is used. All this time I didn’t see it, I saw it in others every day, but not in my circumstances. You see I worked for a cemetery and saw people grieving for the loss of a loved one, I even held support groups to help people through their grief, but I didn’t relate what I was going through with death. I had lost the store and the ministry it had become so many, and yes I had lost a dream, but that wasn’t all.  Remember when I told you it wasn’t my faith in God that I lost, but faith in myself? I was also grieving the loss I was experiencing from not hearing His voice and feeling His presence, that’s what was causing my internal anguish.  My identity was tied to my walk with the Lord and after the store closed I didn’t know who I was and I felt empty inside like I had been in a deep well. I didn’t know who I was anymore and when I cried out no answer came. I felt like that part of me had died. Simply put I was grieving, but because I didn’t recognize it I had not allowed myself to work through my grief. I had some people like this in my support groups, from day one to years later, every time I saw them they would relive the experience all over again. No matter what anyone said, or what they were taught through the group, they just couldn’t move beyond their loss. Like them, I was stuck in grief.  But if you look back at 1 Peter 1:6 the phrase “for a little while” is used, in others words, we go through a season of grief; God never meant us to live there. Have you ever asked yourself---why do we have to go through so many trials, I know I have. God gives us the answer in 1 Peter 1:7&9; He is testing our faith, that we may receive His goal for us, which is the salvation of our soul. Peter is indicating that the trials we go through are also valued in God’s eyes. God knew what it would take to bring me back from a very dark place, a place I thought I would never visit again.  He was patient, loving, and gentle. He was like a father who saw his little girl hurting and his only concern was to see me whole again.

               

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