My husband had a wonderful idea and I am going to attempt to use it to remember what God has taught me through the various books and music I have listed on this blog. He suggested that I start with the most recent book and work my way back to the oldest.
So here I go...starting with A Sweet & Bitter Providence by John Piper.
The subject of providence is one that is near and dear to my heart. I know the belief of providence causes some (including my 7-year-old) much frustration and anger, but it is what brought me out of my deepest darkness. Let me start by explaining how this book was a wonderful reminder of that in my life.
First, Ruth's and Naomi's lives were ones that had great sorrow and suffering. I haven't had suffering and sorrow like they did, but I have tasted what it is like to not see God. To feel like Naomi did and call myself "Mara" which means bitterness.
Second, I have felt, like Ruth, the joy of finding a "wing to hide under". Boaz said to her that "God will bless you because you have taken refuge under his wings", and then he became the refuge for her when he married her. My comparision is that God used my husband to be a refuge for me to bring me out of my darkness so I could taste what it feels like to be under God's wing.
Now what do those things have to do with providence? Just like God used these troubles and sorrows to let Ruth even meet Naomi, and Ruth to meet Boaz, and let Ruth (a Moabite, a descendent of Lot and his daughter's child) be in the lineage of Christ, so God has used my trials and sorrows and darkness to take me places I would have never gone without them.
God has given a strength in my marriage that could have ended at one point. God has given me children that I love and want to take care of - happily - that I didn't even like at one point. God has shown me where sins of pride and laziness where hiding in my heart and has removed a lot of them. God has given family and friends that are very close only because He caused trials and hurts and offenses that made us trust Him for the answers. And those answers were what healed the relationships.
Finally, I think the main reason I found 'light' in this book, was that it reminded me of where God has taken me. It reminded me that the reason I am here - alive - is because of God and not me. It is a lesson in humility and that is bringing me peace and joy in Christ. I have no control over my path and I prefer it that way. I know that I would mess it all up if it were in my hands. I would always take the easy way out and avoid all the conflict.
Thank you Lord for these trials. Thank you for showing me that you are with me always, even when your back is turned. Thank you for the reminders you bring to show me how much you are doing. Thank you for having a place and plan for me in all the million things you are doing. May I see how blessed I am and all the mercy you have granted me and may I not neglect to be grateful for it. In Jesus Name, Amen.