If I had to describe the past year in one word it would be REFINE. The dictionary defines it as follows:
1 : to free (as metal, sugar, or oil) from impurities or unwanted material
2 : to free from moral imperfection
3 : to improve or perfect by pruning or polishing
4 : to reduce in vigor or intensity
5 : to free from what is coarse, vulgar, or uncouth
During our furlough God has been working in my heart doing some quality pruning. It has not always been an enjoyable situation for me and at times my soul feels in disorder as my flesh and spirit meet head to head for a dual. My flesh wants to always take the easy and quick way, while the spirit quietly emerges to take a higher road. My heart has felt pulled in two directions, until I yielded to my Master, Creator. All the while God was working under the surface, healing, mending, molding, renewing, refining. The beauty at the end is something worth marveling at, but the process seemed grueling, confusing, daunting. One day I looked back behind me to see what looks to be a battle ground with lots of questions without answers. Looking before me I can only see God's goodness. His love, mercy, patience. And I can relate to the butterfly who emerges from the cocoon into a new beginning, only I feel like the same butterfly who continually goes through metamorphosis. It's powerful, He's powerful. I am grateful. My flesh feels a little more free from the unwanted material. A little lighter and a lot closer to the one who was without sin. The process was not what I expected, as it never seems to be. But again I am grateful for His sovereign ways. Thankful that He is never finished with the change, never quits at cleansing the filth. I smile at what is ahead, for what He will keep doing in my heart. With my head held high and my identity rooted more firmly in my Maker I eagerly await the next chapter.