John and Bethany Arndt

Header image
 

Monthly Archives: April 2014

Taking it Personally

April 4th, 2014 by | Leave a comment

So I never wrote my PART II of Diaries of a Cray Cray White Woman. Sorry about that, as if so many have been waiting in suspense. Just to conclude my last blog, I am pretty obsessed with essential oils, they have helped me, a lot more at first but still I use so many of them all day, every day, and my Dad calls me a sangoma now (African witch doctor); my mom is my apprentice, and I have recruited a few other users. If you want to learn about the powerful and natural health interventions of essential oils, email my mentor Sangoma Allison at theallisonriggs@gmail.com.

photo (5)

The last 6 months I have spent many more days on my back, in pain, than vertically enjoying friends, community life, ministry, and family. I handed the daily Baby Safe operations over to the very talented and beautiful Nosiviwe; a long time dream of mine to pass leadership to a local African. Baby Safe is in a time of transition, not just because of me and there are some exciting, long term, developments cooking.

1554379_504195556351280_1458844043_n

In January last year, someone had a picture for me about playing soccer ( ha! as if! – this has always positioned me as the black sheep of the family). This soccer player had been on the field, playing hard, but was pulled out of the game and put on the side lines; the vibe of the whole thing was that playing had been really good, but sitting out for a time can be good too.  The “goodness” of this metaphor took a long time for me to embrace. I was exhausted from playing, especially having played with an injury the whole game, but the sidelines?

That is where I have been, my time spent in ministry has been reduced exponentially. In fact my life has dramatically changed. My abilities in friendship, marriage, and parenting have all been severely effected. I am currently treating adrenal gland burn out, permeable intestines, auto immune disease, migraines, blah, blah, blah I could keep listing and I just had to get my first pair of glasses, as my vision is all of a sudden bad. (Is it weird that I am kind of excited to incorporate a new accessory into my life? I am sure they will grow annoying very soon.)

I’m not dying, in fact even as I sit here in my bed with severe throbbing, aching and migraines, for the 3rd day in a row (with my “joy” aromatherapy, oil blend being diffused next to me, no doubt); I truly believe I am on the mend. I say this even though the pain has never been worse, now that I am off 3 of 4 drugs, in order to heal the intestine, in order to heal the inflammation (hypothetically). Mostly waiting expectantly for a supernatural release,  as I’ve been clenching the hem of Jesus’ garment for a while now. I actually used to be clenching, now I am just comfortably reaching.

Thankfully over the last 8 years,  I am totally over the depression part of chronic pain. I am over the identity part of compromised effectiveness and the lowering of my standards to do things excellently, to just trying to stay afloat. I’ve even gotten comfortable with inactivity in many ways. I’m over the guilt part, and the disappointment part, and am able to admit the gravity of how much I feel like I have loss. This has been so hard to come to terms with, “loss”? To admit that I have lost aspects of who I am was so difficult because I felt like I was betraying a very real sense of gratitude for who HE is, and for how much He has given me. But grieving that loss does not cross-cancel gratitude, it only purges the heart to make room for more thankfulness and a joy that is not dependent on circumstances but on a relationship with the one who is JOY.

I have learned that when God speaks that He will do something, it usually takes quadruple the time that we expect it will. And (most of the time) at some point, what He says He will do will look 100% impossible. Often when it seems the most unlikely, that is when you know the fulfilment is drawing near. Some people simply expect that life is full of curve balls, that we shouldn’t take calamity, tragedy, unfortunate circumstances personal; that this is life. That its not evidence of God personally singling us out. But I disagree and Jesus pointed to the opposite when He taught.

We should consider all hardships training; personal tutelage from from the Father of life. We should take it personally.  We have been singled out to be invested in, to be very closely coached through the fire and the waters of life. “No discipline (training) seems pleasant at the time but afterwords it will produce a harvest of righteousness and peace.” ( Hebrews 12).  Like an Olympian who actually hires a trainer to become the best athlete in the world, we are being given free training in the art of trust, perseverance, intimacy with the Creator. That is, if we yield to the trainer and work the program. 

I know Jesus well enough now to trust His intentions; His long term perspective. I am all about the end game, zooming out of the ground level, worm’s eye view and getting the expansive, bird’s eye big picture. Our pain is not His pleasure, and He does not cause it, but rather allows it to chisel us into leaders that hear Him and more effectively channel His leadership upon the earth. If we submit to the life changing battles, and cling to humility, faith, and trust in His kind nature, we can be confident that He is always aligning things for our benefit. In fact physical pain and temporary extraction from one’s calling, is a well documented phase in leadership development.

I find it comforting than many influential, Jesus-following leaders in history have encountered long periods of sickness; Charles Spurgeon,  Amy Carmichael, Oral Roberts, Watchmen Nee, Richard Wurmbrand, David Livingston, the list could go on and on. I am not comparing myself to these people, but if you read the autobiographies of Christian leaders, almost all will have experienced a season of tragedy and intense perseverance.

My stories right now are not of neglected babies found in the bushes or suicidal mothers transformed by love, but mere reports that include not leaving my house for sometimes a week at a time, and letting someone else take care of my son because I can’t really move, depending on my husband & friends in ways I never imagined I would have too. But it’s also included resting in supernatural peace while the pain rages on and genuinely rejoicing in the experiential knowledge of His perfect love. Learning that the heart’s condition is so much more important to the Father then output and production. That all effective ministry stems from “being”, and there are specific phases of personal development that can only be achieved through the raw and intense journey of exchanging one’s values; the mismanaged priority of  “doing” for the grand and heavenly value of resting and abiding in Him.

For those of you who have been pregnant with a longing, desire or need that seems perpetually unfulfilled, I exhort you to be strong and take heart, do not abandon your expectation but patiently trust that what He has conceived in you, will come to pass. What He has spoken or promised you has an inherently dependable, quality. He does not mislead, in fact He leads, shields, guides, and teaches us so gently, and the depth of the challenge is in direct proportion to His commitment to you. He is busy refining your spirit & soul, so that you become mature and complete, not lacking anything. Pour yourself into learning the art form of rest in waiting, grapple with the truth that your value does not come from what you do for God or others. Obedience to His expectations of you, not your own or those of others, is how we must measure success.


Shall I bring to the [moment of] birth and not cause to bring forth? says the Lord. Shall I Who causes to bring forth shut the womb? says your God.” Isaiah 66:9