Tuesday, November 17, 2009
My last post was full of excitement and I encouraged all to come back soon to hear more about the wonderful things that God revealed to me this year at "She Speaks."
Since that post, at the first of August, life has happened to me in a big way. I have been dealing with frustrating complications of my Parkinson's Disease. I have struggled with many direct attacks from the master of destruction; and I am just now beginning to feel able to keep my head above water.
During all of my trials I know that my Savior has been faithful and true and He has carried me when I have been unable to walk; physically or mentally. There have been many days when I only wanted to curl up into a ball and bury myself under the covers of my safe, warm bed. Jesus would take me by the hand and lovingly coax me up. He had a job for me to do; even if I did not want to face any part of my painful world.
On the days when I would run out of energy before 10:00 in the morning and would wonder how I could possibly keep going until bed-time; my Jesus would supply my need. I walked in His strength.
The days that my frustration level, at any little life stress, would jump off the chart; my Lord would whisper softly in my ear and untangle the knot of nerves that threatened to paralyze me.
I would recall His Word from Zephaniah 3:17; "The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." I needed to know my Lord was with me. I needed to feel His might. I needed to believe that no matter how I felt, He always delights in me as His daughter.
I would love to report that today my life is restored to, what I call my "normal" life. Not that I am totally sure what a normal life should look like; but there are battles still to be fought. At least I am able; by my Savior's mercy and grace; to face each new day encouraged and renewed in my desire and commitment to serve my Master with praise and thanksgving. He alone is worthy!
"Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom." Psalm 145:3 (NIV)
Friday, August 7, 2009
God is amazing. He takes advantage of anything and everything that we do in His name to reveal Himself and His love to His people.
This year I attended "She Speaks" on the speaking track. The prior two years I had attended on the writers track. I never imagined that this change would bring about so much change in my heart. During my life I have always been told that I was gifted at weaving stories together through the written word, but I have not felt much calling to 'speak' my writing. So when I signed up to be part of a speaker's evaluation group I really knew only one thing for certain. God had given me a message and I was to present it at "She Speaks."
The main title for both of my messages was "The Voice of Truth," with the subtitles of, Who Am I, and I'm Listening God, I'm Listening.
Prior to the conference I had prayed that God would allow me to be a light bearer for Him. I asked for Him to reveal to me anyone who needed a word, prayer, encouragement, pat on the back, hug or blessing from God, and that He would allow me to be His message bearer.
God delivered BIG in so many ways, and I was blown away.
I would like to share just one example with you in which God not only allowed me to 'step out for Him,' but also taught me again just how valuable "listening to His voice of truth" can be.
During one of my break-out sessions on Saturday, God interupted the speaker with the impression on my heart that I was to leave the hotel and find a copy shop and make six copies of my pen and ink drawing of Christ. His instructions were not to be argued with.
I did as God instructed and went to the nearest copy shop and made six copies. I did not know what I was to do with these drawings, but I made the copies anyway. It didn't take long for God to reveal His plan. He led me to use my drawing as a way to open up conversations leading to prayer, sharing and blessing others with His words that He placed upon my heart.
Just about the time I was thinking, "What a gift! God has found a way to make this 'sharing His love thing' easy for me;" I was walking to the book table to pick up a few books to take home and read and passed the terrace and a group of men who were holding hands and praying. At that moment I felt the strong impression from God that I was to take one of those men a copy of my drawing.
What? Wait a minute God. I have no problem speaking to the women here at the conference, after all I am co-leader of women's ministry and speak to and in front of women all of the time. But speaking to men, especially men that I don't know; outside of my comfort zone. Way outside of my comfort zone.
So what did I do? What any scared little redneck girl would do, I stuck my fingers in my ears and hummed "I don't hear you God, I know you're not talking to me," and proceeded on my journey to purchase me some books.
Well, wouldn't ya know, the book table was closed. So, since sticking my fingers in my ears wasn't working and God was still sitting on my shoulder and whispering for me to walk out on the patio and speak to that group of men I . . .
. . . decided to go into the prayer room and pray for God to change His mind, send someone else, or for the men to be gone when I left the prayer room to go back up to my room for the evening.
After spending time wrestling with God, and being blessed by being able to pray with and for one of my sweet sisters, I figured I had spent sufficient time to allow the men to disperse from the patio. Yet, God kept poking at my heart. And I kept arguing. "Lord, you didn't tell me which man to speak to. Lord, they will think I am crazy. Lord, I'm a woman, I know how to share your love with women, but I don't know how to speak to men."
I rounded the corner, praying that the men would be gone. Wrong! They were all still seated in the exact spot they were when I went by the first time. Again, I felt the tug of God to open the door and step out in faith.
But, my feet were trying to propel me on down the hall when I found myself seated in a chair looking out the windows at those men and I heard myself saying, "Please, don't ask me to do this." However, it was clear, I was going to do what He was requesting.
Garnering all of the strength I could manage, I rose to my feet, stood on wobbly legs and walked to the door and opened it wide. I stepped up the the table and politely said, "Excuse me guys. You may think I have lost my mind, but I feel strongly that God has asked me to come out here to you and give one of you a copy of this drawing of Christ. I am not sure who this message is for but God knows. He wants one of you to have this drawing to remember to keep your eyes focused on Christ in the difficult times to come. Since I don't know who is to have this, I would like to leave it here and God will work out who is to have it."
At that point I started to turn to leave them. But one man stood up. He reached into his pocket and took something out. He said, "Well mam, when I was coming out of the airport I looked down and saw this twenty-dollar bill in the gutter. I picked it up and as I did I felt the Lord tell me to hold on to it until He showed me who I was to give it to. Until this moment I didn't know who it was for, but I feel that God is leading me to give it to you. Would you accept it?"
To say I was stunned would be an understatement. I muttered something like, "Although I don't need the money, I will never refuse a gift from the Lord." I took the money stuffed it into my pocket and said to the men, "Thank you for your time and the encouragement that your faithfulness in prayer blessed me with," and then I turned and walked away.
I think that I floated to my hotel room, because I can't really remember walking back. I was filled with the joy of the Lord, and grateful that I had been obedient.
I am holding on to that twenty-dollar bill as I know that God will direct me as to where it is to go.
As I walk from day-to-day, I continue to be blessed by God, and I constantly strive to, "Listen to the Voice of God."
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Is God amazing or what?
I knew that "She Speaks" would bless my heart this year, but I was totally BLOWN away, ya'll!!
Don't have time to share right now, but please come back soon cause ya'll won't want to miss hearing some of the things God revealed to me this past weekend.
God is SOOOOOO Good!
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
"Going to She Speaks!"
This will make year three for me. I am as excited about the trip this year as I was the first. However, this year I have a totally different perspective and reason for my excitement.
Year one was all about 'me.' I was excited about the book I had written and I was sure that I would be offered a writing contract and become the next 'best-selling Christian author.' Ahem! Boy was I ever full of myself. Thankfully God poured out His grace and even though I didn't get a book contract, I saw God and heard from Him in such powerful ways that I left the conference realizing that God's blessings are far better than the things I had hoped for in my own very small rendering of what to expect from the conference.
Year two I had a bit better perspective. My goal for the conference was not to seek a writers contract, but rather to be open to experiencing God and to listening to anything and everything that He would reveal. Again, God showed up in BIG and POWERFUL ways. I was blessed beyond measure.
Year-three, and this year my reasons for attending "She Speaks" have shifted even more. This year I will be taking several ladies who are first time attenders. I am soooo excited because I know that this conference has resulted in changing the lives of many, many ladies. These friends are wonderful Christian ladies and I can't wait to hear what God reveals to them during this weekend.
I am also excited because this year I am praying that God will use me to bless others. No, I'm not looking for a writing contract, or hoping for a national speaking tour. This year my goal is just to be present with God. To allow Him to direct my every word, action, deed and prayer. I desire to glorify my Savior, and this year allow the spotlight to shine where it should; on my Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. May I forever praise His name!
Friday, May 29, 2009
I was asked one time, “How can you believe in God, when He allowed you to have PD? Isn’t God supposed to be loving and kind?”
First, I don’t blame my having Parkinson’s disease on God, nor has my health status ever had any impact on my belief in God; other than in a positive sense.
Second, God is loving and kind; among a host of other indescribable attributes.
So how do I maintain my faith and my belief in a Holy God?
The only thing that I have ever been totally convinced of, in an ever changing and unpredictable world, is that God exists and that He loves me. The fact that I have PD doesn’t change that. God did not afflict me with PD. Many people think that God afflicts people with sickness and disease. I do not believe that, nor do I find in His word support of that.
It is my belief that sickness and disease comes upon people due to the fact that we live in a world characterized by sin. In Genesis we read that the serpent was present here on earth from the beginning. He was already at work tempting man to sin and turn away from God. (See Genesis 3: 1-7) And Adam and Evil obliged, and fell into sin.
God made His creation, you and me, with the ability to choose what we believe, and He granted us free will. When, by our actions, we make poor choices; such as Adam and Eve made, God, because He is a jealous, yet just and loving God, allowed pain into the picture of human life. In much the same way that those of us who are loving parents will allow our children to fail or experience hurt so that in the long run they have enough experience to make good choices. If there were no pain and suffering we would have no need of God.
A vast amount of our pain and suffering is self-inflicted. Over the years of my life, I cannot begin to count the times that I have thought that I knew more about or did not want to listen to another’s advice on many issues, topics, or actions. Subsequently, many times I would not listen to any advice. Needless to say my way of doing life cost me great pain; pain that in many instances could have been avoided.
I am not at all suggesting that Parkinson’s disease or most any other disease is something that is caused or even contributed to by the action or lack thereof the patient. What I am stating is that I know that you and I live in a world where there is evil, pain and suffering all around. Just one quick look at the world and you can see it. Often you can hear it, many can feel it, and occasionally we can even taste it. The pain, hurt, harshness, ugliness, violence, sexism, racism, pride, jealousy, envy, lust, and other hurtful issues do not come from God. “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” (John 1:5 NIV)
On this side of eternity with my Savior there will be pain and suffering. Many saints who have done so much to further the cause of Christ will be struck with disease, involved in automobile accidents, be victimized in some brutal way; and many will die, an early or untimely death, at least to our human way of thinking. And, unfortunately, yes, even sometimes babies or children suffer and die.
For any parent grieving the loss of a child, I can only empathize with how difficult it must be, and from experience I know that often parents want to ask God, “Why?”
I don’t have an answer to all, or even any situation other than my own. For me having Parkinson’s disease is all about learning to surrender. I believe that God is calling me to do many things with Him. (Not for Him, as He is very capable of doing anything and everything on His own. ~ a topic for some other time) When one has a health condition which impedes ones daily functionality and almost daily something else causes pain or another ability becomes consumed by the disease, it is almost as shocking as being diagnosed all over again. Patients like me know that we are living with a disease, yet I don’t think that anyone is ever fully prepared for the changes that come with a progressive and incurable disease.
When I have those rough days, what I call “park days;” it can be quite easy for me to want to blame someone. Or slip into a “woe is me attitude.” I must remind myself that I have two options; live a miserable existence moaning about my misfortune, and make all those around me miserable in the process; or I can choose to rejoice! I have made it my personal goal to try to go through my life with strength and dignity and rejoice always in my Lord. (Hence, why I have this blog.) Plus, for me I truly see PD as a blessing and a gift in my life.
Some of you may think that my husband should call the men with one of those little white jackets that lace up the back when I issue such a statement; but hear me out.
Prior to PD it was much easier for me to become prideful and think that I had done a good job when sending a note of encouragement to someone that was hurting. Now, I know that it is the voice of the Holy Spirit who calls the need to my mind. Prior to PD, I would more often than not, when involved in a disagreement with my husband, puff up my chest and say, “Well, I’m right. I’m not going to apologize!” Now, the Holy Spirit quietly whispers to me, “Apologize! It doesn’t matter who is a fault. You are commanded to love, and love is a choice, not an emotion.” Prior to PD, I would desire to serve God, but sadly, often I wanted to serve in an area where I could shine. Now, I not only don’t need to shine, I don’t want to shine; BUT I am very concerned with knowing if my actions, words and deeds allow God to shine through me.
This disease has brought many things into my life. Many are, to minimize things considerably, not fun. However, my relationship with the Lord has grown, and the peace, joy and contentment that I feel inside through my personal relationship and total dependence upon God is more than worth the price.
So, no matter what PD takes away from me in the weeks, months and years to come, I know that the hand of my loving Heavenly Savior will bless me more abundantly than I can even hope for or imagine.
I say, give me your best shot PD! I got the terminator of all suffering, pain and evil on my side and you cannot win!!!
Friday, April 3, 2009
“When we all get to heaven what a day of rejoicing that will be.” I am sure that most of us recognize those words from the song, “When we all get to Heaven,” lyrics by Eliza E. Hewitt, composition by Emily E. Wilson. I know that when we get to heaven there will be much rejoicing, but why until we get to heaven?
Today I had the opportunity to rejoice as I did something I have been longing to do for a very long time. I wrote this blog posting from my new laptop computer while sitting by the lake at the park. Although our weather here in southeastern Illinois has taken a turn back to more winter-like temperature and I did not get to sit at one of the picnic tables outside, I did rejoice and enjoy the beauty of nature from the interior of my van.
God has placed so much beauty before us and all too often we rush through life and never even notice. Today I got intentional about noticing. I watched as a squirrel looked for acorns that he had no doubt hidden before winter. I watched as a robin searched the leaves for a grub or worm. I watched a Canada goose swim and duck its head down below the surface of the water, and I enjoyed the tranquility of a quiet country morning. Each reason of its own to rejoice and praise His name!!
However, as I sat and took in the rich beauty of the morning my mind was led to a very dark morning; the morning that my Jesus was crucified. I began to ponder over the miracle that His life and death bring to those of us who receive Him as Savior. Were it not for His love and amazing grace, (two more wonderful praise songs) there would be no song singing about all of us getting to heaven. Thoughts along that line make me appreciate the beauty of nature that I am free to enjoy even more.
As I considered how dark this world would be if we did not have the love and grace of our Savior, my heart began to overflow with praise for the little things that I too often take for granted.
When I left the park and drove to pick my son up from school, I began naming a few of the things that I am thankful for, and as I named them, I rejoiced and praised God for His goodness. Sometimes this was done in silent reverence. Other times I shouted out “Thank You,” or “Praise His Name,” or even, “God is so good to me!” I found a CD with praise songs on it and sang along, just praising my Father and my Lord. It refreshed my soul and it was good, so good! I couldn’t help but smile as I thought about how my rejoicing in His many gifts must have brought my God a smile too.
This conscientious naming of some of the things I am thankful for and praising Him for His many blessings is a habit that I want to make a regular part of my life. So, now I’m challenging you! Will you join me and begin praising and rejoicing because of Jesus and what He has done in your life? Why should we wait until we get to heaven? If we have received Christ as our savior we are already living for eternity, and if we are living for Him; reading His word, praying and being quiet before Him so that He can speak to us, we even get glimpses of Him from time to time. So, as for me, I’m going to be rejoicing more and shouting the victory over the everyday wonderful blessings that God has so richly bestowed upon me. Are you coming along?
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
"These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may remain in you, and that your joy might be full." John 15:11
I know that it has been a long time since I posted, and I appologize to whomever might be out there in cyber-land that cares enough to check my blog from time-to-time.
Today I have a couple of items on my heart that I wanted to share with all of you.
First, I received notification from the Social Security Administration that my application for disability has been APPROVED!!! YIPPEE! I have been doing a happy dance since the call came in on Friday, February 27th. (Well, these days it may look like a happy 'shake,' but you get the picture.) This determination was super speedy, as most people don't hear anything for anywhere from 6-months to a year after initial application. I applied on December 20th, 2008. So, from application to approval was just over 2-months and we had all of the holidays in that time-frame too.
Folks, I know that the Lord's fingerprints are all over that one!! And, I will continue to praise Him, no matter what the future holds.
Second, I wanted to speak with you about some of the struggles of life. Today I woke up with a terrible cough and cold. Not only did I wake up with the 'crud,' but so did my husband and son. That in and of itself would have been bad enough, but any type of illness, such as a cold, coupled with my PD really wipes me out.
Although the struggle that I have faced today is mild when compared to what many others are going through, I began to think about how we often cope with the difficulties of life. How do we cope when life seems to be out of control?
I have a very dear friend who is currently dealing with a broken relationship. The struggle to hold on to faith and to reach out to God for comfort are very real. During times of crisis such as this one would not usually find joy.
I also have several friends who are dealing with cronic and debilitating disease. I know of others who have experienced the loss of a loved one lately.
It is during these very real and very difficult life experiences that we have the ability to make a huge impact for the Lord. People are watching all of us who claim Christ as savior even more closely during times of stress in our lives. What a powerful witness we can be during those times!
Is this an easy thing to do? Not at all! However, Paul tells us, "We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28 NASB)
I was listening to a Christian radio broadcast the other day and caught the tail end of a conversation between the radio host and a couple who had lost two of their four daughters at one time. From what I could gather they were shot and killed. The one thing that really hit me from the interview was at the end the radio broadcaster stated that this mom and dad had been able to meet the parents of the boy who killed their girls. The broadcaster asked the parents of the murdered girls how they felt about that meeting. Both parents were so gracious and they stated that the death of their girls was not the fault of the parents of the shooter. They said that as Christians we are all called to forgive as we have been forgiven. They said that blame and the what if's would not change the fact that their girls were gone, so they choose forgiveness.
Those parents really knew what it means to carry the banner of Christ high! Even in the midst of their very real pain and suffering they never once blamed God, nor did they loose the joy of their salvation.
Having heard that story, I had to ask myself, "How am I reacting to the stressors of life?"
This is what I discovered when I cut away all of the excuses and got through my 'pity party' and reached the bottom line: "When Christ forgives your sin and fills you with His spirit, you ought to know the joy of the Lord in your life." *1
Let's circle around to my opening scripture verse from John. It was Jesus who was talking and said, " These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full." These words were prayed by Jesus to His Father shortly before he was to die on the cross.
Now, if you are like me you are probably thinking, "Jesus is about to be crucified and He prays a prayer asking His Father for the disciples to have joy. What's up with that?
In his book, "Going the Second Mile," by Mel Blackaby, Mr. Blackaby explains things like this. "Knowing what had been entrusted to the disciples, His prayer is amazing. Notice that Jesus didn't pray, "Father make them to be great preachers. . . [nor did he pray] . . . give them insight to teach theology. . . Why was the Lord concerned about theri being full of joy? Because He knew their countenance would validate the message of abundant life in Christ. Their faces would testify that there's freedom from sin and hope in Christ." *2
As I look in the mirror today, does my countenance validate Jesus Christ and His life? Am I a testament to His power? Am I living our James 1:2, which says, "Count it all joy when you fall into various trials."
Okay, okay! I know how difficult this is! I know that the last thing one wants to do, when a loved one is taken too early by a senseless act of violence, is smile and shine for Jesus. Yet, the couple who lost two young daughters in just such a manner still managed to shine for Him! They maybe didn't have a smile on their face, but they made it clear that Jesus is in control of their lives and that they 'choose' to trust Him. They made it clear that their two daughters really belonged to God, and He had just entrusted their care to them until He was ready to call them home.
Huh? Oh, yeah, I said I was getting to the bottom line didn't I?
I am convinced that the Lord doesn't ask us to do things that come easy to us. However, He does ask us to do things that He, through His grace, has enabled us to do. It is God's grace that sustains us! Everything we enjoy about life in this world He created or allowed to be created. It is ALL HIS! This life is not about US! It is about us being created in His image (see Genesis 1:27), an image of radiance and light. Remember what happened to Moses when he spent time on the mountain with God? Talk about a joy reflector, Moses truly became one!
The sooner we begin to reallly believe and accept the fact, that apart from Jesus we are nothing, but with Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit indwelling us we are everything to God, the sooner we will be able to display His joy even during the most difficult time. When we fully grasp what it means to be a child of the King, our God most High, and we daily experience His love, it should not be difficult for us to be radiant for Him!
Off now to shine for Him. PD won't keep me down, nor will this cough and sore throat. What about you?
Disclaimer: I know that there are many people who are grieving and may have read this post and felt as if I slapped them in the face, rather than serving as an encouragement. If you fall into this category, please accept my apology. It is not my intention to hurt anyone, yet I ask that 6-months or a year from now you come back and read this post again. Read this again when you have been able to put some space and time in between you and the pain. I believe that if you know Christ, He will have restored you and carried you through the difficult time. Hopefully you will be able to praise Him for seeing you faithfully through, and your joy will be restored.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Well, I told you that I would come back and share when I had something that I felt was worth saying. So my profound statement for the day is . . .
. . . Praise God for He is so good!
After an intro like that I bet you expect me to have a wonderful story to tell you about something grand that has happened in my life today. Well sorry to disappoint but no earth shaking story to tell.
Today was just an ordinary day in the ordinary life of an ordinary wife and mother; except for the one extraordinary thing ~ I am a child of the King, God Most High! Me(and you too if you know Jesus)a wretched sinner. I am loved by God. The God of grace sent His very own Son to redeem me so that I could have a relationship with Him!
Now people if that doesn't make you want to say "God is so good," well lets just say I think you better check your priorities!
So, I'm gonna say, "Ta-ta" for tonight and go sing a few praise songs to my Jesus!
Friday, February 6, 2009
Have you ever been in a place where you felt a sense of unease or discontent; almost to the point of feeling numb, or like you are just walking through the motions of life? This is a place where you perform the daily tasks of life in something of a fog. You are not angry, worried, or fearful.
You wonder and question what is wrong, yet you cannot put your finger on anything specific that is out of place. When you consider your life you realize that you have so much to be thankful for. You realize that you are truly blessed, especially given the economic times. Yet, you continue to struggle to find the rest, peace, joy, and contentment in your heart that you so long for.
For me, that has been the way my days have rolled by lately. I have wanted to write something to post here on my blog, but I have felt that I had nothing to say. For those of you who know me best you will know that it is a rare occasion when I can’t at least come up with something to praise God about. And, that is just it!! I do have many things that I should be praising God for. But, I just don’t seem to have the energy, or the heart to sit down and type anything out.
Given my health status I wondered if my Parkinson’s Disease was causing me to be suffering from apathy, or an increased level of depression. But, I don’t really feel apathetic. Nor, do I feel that my depression level is increased. So, I decided to pray and think about what I am feeling and see if I could come to some conclusion about this strange malady that I have felt was trying to consume me.
Today, Praise God, I think I may have been hit on the head by something.
“The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.”
“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him. By this he meant the Spirit,. . .”
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.” John 16:13a
What do those verses mean in relation to what I have been feeling lately?
What I felt God was speaking to me is this, “I have not been fueling myself through a connection with the Holy Spirit. I have not been tapping into the power of the Spirit living within me. I have not connected with the stream of living water, nor have I sought His Spirit of truth."
This must cease! I will not allow the evil one to steal another minute of my time, or waste anymore of my days by filling my mind with thoughts like, “I have nothing to offer. Who do you think you are? Who would want to hear anything you have to say anyway?”
In and of myself I may not have much to say, but the Holy Spirit who lives within me does have Much to say! He desires that I proclaim the love of Christ to everyone who will listen, through whatever means I have at my disposal.
No, I may not be gifted or talented in the skills necessary to get the message out, but I don’t need to be. I just need to allow the Spirit to speak through me. I just need to allow the Spirit to fill me with God’s truth, refresh me with living water and sit with my fingers poised over the keyboard and ask Him to be the driver.
As I typed those words, the lyrics of a song came to mind. "Oh, praise the One who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead!" (Sing along here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onxhvivQYfI )
Okay, so now I’ve got us in the mood to praise HIS name, go ahead and sing along with this one too! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-08YZF87OBQ
Be blessed everybody! I'm gonna run off now to have myself a little talk with my Savior and then listen to the Spirit to speak truth to me!
I know I have a whole new attitude now; now that the Lord has my full attention. I’ll let you know what He wants me to reveal soon, so come back and check me out again in a few days!
Friday, January 9, 2009
“Knowing the correct password – saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance – isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience – doing what my Father wills.” ~ Matthew 7:21 MSG
Have you ever struggled over and over with a problem and not been able to bring any resolution to bear on the situation, much less been able to come to a point of peace? If so, then this post will resonate with you. If you have never experienced the feelings that I will discuss today could you leave me a comment to let me know your secret, because obviously I struggle; boy do I ever.
Sometimes I can be such a dunder-head. And, I say that with sincerity and acceptance. Since the Christmas break I have been struggling with the feeling that I was being sucked down into a black hole. You see, I have me a sit-u-a-tion, and I have been at a loss to figure out how to fix the problem. This hole was not only getting deeper, but I began to notice that the hole was filling with a great deal of mud and muck. Along with the mud and muck I began to notice that the air was also becoming foul.
I began to search for a way out. I didn’t like where I was at in my struggle to find resolution, but I was failing to see the way out. I pondered the issues facing me. I rolled them around in my mind. I struggled in my own way trying to find clarity and solutions to the dilemma which was my adversary. I stayed awake at night and read some books by a few experts on the topic. All to no avail.
By now a few weeks had passed and to be honest I was beginning to become quite peeved at the notion that I, a usually bright, articulate, caring and responsible adult could not find an answer to my conundrum. Then today, thankfully, the light-bulb moment finally came.
GOD! God came through! (Praise His name, He always does!) I finally (told you that I sometimes am a dunder-head) realized that I had failed to seek God and ask Him to provide an answer to my problem. Well, if I’m being totally honest with myself and you, I probably was blocking my mind from seeking God’s wisdom because I kinda already knew the answer to my problem is that I need to change.
It came down to the fact that I needed a good ole dose of being “seriously obedient” to the Lord. I was being stubborn and selfish. I can be that way at times! Oh, yes mam I certainly can! I didn’t want to speak to God about the issue because I didn’t want to hear what God’s will would be in this situation because I wasn’t ready to do His will. Are any of you ever like that too?
So, I realized that I had myself a case of serious need for repentance going on. I was looking for a shortcut. I didn’t want to give my total and vigorous attention to the problem. I wanted to be selfish and keep doing things my way and asking God to bless my pitiful efforts and have Him change the situation so that my way of doing things would work. How pitiful is that?
Today however, God finally broke through my toughened, calloused heart about this issue. I finally heard loudly and clearly, “Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need.” (Matthew 7:7 MSG) I realized that what I needed was not to be right, but rather to be happy and at peace. I realized that the only way for this to happen was for me to give in to God and come into serious obedience and do things God’s way.
I spent time on my knees confessing my need. I confessed that I was being sinful, arrogant and proud in my efforts to solve my problem in my own power. I cried out to God asking Him to reveal His plan and His solution. I asked Him to soften my heart to hear His voice and to follow His prompting.
Now I am feeling at peace. I know that walking according to God’s plan and direction will not be easy. Hence why I was so stubborn about seeking Him for answers in the first place. But confessing my need has freed me from the bondage of sin that was holding me captive. I may not get things perfectly right, but I have once again learned the lesson that I need to depend upon my Savior for all things, not just be willing to give Him the easy places in my life. When I am stuck between a rock and a hard place, well, that’s where and when I need Him the most. I just have to remember that and go to Him constantly in prayer and allow the Holy Spirit to lead me and keep me on track, confessing my failures as I go along to keep me balanced.
I am so grateful that God never gives up on me, even when I am being a dunder-head and am failing to live in serious obedience.
BTW ~ For a little insight into what my sit-u-a-tion was, drop in on Renee Swope’s blog. This week she is providing tips and encouragement to parents about all kinds of parenting issues as she teams up with the D6 team.
Further Verses to Consider:
Matthew 7:13-14 MSG –
“Don’t look for shortcuts to God. . . . The way to life – to God – is vigorous and requires total attention.”
Matthew 7:7 MSG –
“Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need.”
Isaiah 16:3 MSG –
“People with their minds set on you, you keep completely whole, steady on their feet, because they keep at it and don’t quit.”
"Dear Lord, give me a hunger and a thirst to always seek Him. May I always take everything to Him in prayer. Not as I did in this situation, as a last resort, but first and foremost for our God alone can show me the way through a difficult landscape. His guidance, love and grace are all I need! In Jesus name, Amen."
Blessings to you all!