Wednesday, February 4, 2015

GO

Recently I found myself in a place where I realized that I wasn't doing much to further the kingdom of God. I was doing everything "right". Praying, studying my Bible, singing praise and worship songs, and avoiding all the things we are taught to avoid, but what was I really doing

So I began to pray and ask God to place me where He wanted me. As this was going on, I had just made the decision to go back to school after much prayer. After praying about that, I felt that God was calling me to work with survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. That's great God. Wonderful. I can do that. But what about now? What do you want me to do now?

See, there I was again, throwing up my plans. Then, in God's perfect timing, everything fell into place for that to happen now. In fact, the way everything fell into place so perfectly, was in such a way that could only have been orchestrated by God. Actually, I am still amazed by it.

I am blessed to start that volunteer work this week. And all week, that voice has crept up, but every time God's truth has been right behind it.

Will I have time? I start school Monday.
My timing is perfect.
God, I am a mess right now. I don't know if I have the strength to help other people.
I will give you strength.
God, I don't think I can do this.
You can't. But I can.
God, are you sure?
Go.

That last word has been popping up in everything today. As I studied my Bible this morning, I saw   Go. In the David Platt book I am reading, I saw Go. At church tonight, I read Go.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 28:19

Then I heard the Lord asking, "Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?" I said, "Here I am. Send me."
Isaiah 6:8

And the truth is, I am a complete and absolute broken mess. Right now, I spend much of the day wondering which way is up. I still have my own past I am battling and recovering from along with current storms.

But the Truth is, that I serve a God who is bigger than all of that. I serve a God who can use anyone, from the smallest of people as I have seen through Barrett, to the most broken of people. To doubt that, is to doubt His power. 

I would so appreciate any prayers this week. Mostly for the women and children I will encounter. That they won't see me, but that they will see Jesus. 


  
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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Patience, Forgiveness, & Trusting

To say God has been working on me this week would be the understatement of the year. I've once again been taught that my best laid plans are fallible.
 
So, first on the agenda is patience. I've come to a place where my hometown no longer feels like home. And there are days that I feel like I could pack up and leave tomorrow. But I know that God wants me here for a bit longer. I don't know if that's a year, or two years, or five or ten. As much as there are days that I wish it was sooner rather than later, the answer I always get when I pray about it is "Wait. I have work for you here". I recently got somewhat of an answer to that when God opened up an opportunity for me here working in the path that I feel He is ultimately calling me to as my ministry. I will admit that has made it much easier to say "Ok God. I see why You want me to wait". It has also made me realize that when I think my plan is best, it's often because I can't see just yet what great things He has in store.
 
This is where that "t" word - "trust" - goes right along with patience. I don't want to begrudgingly carry out His work where I am. So I have prayed for a heart that is open to wherever He has me, and I am SO completely excited about this opportunity He has provided. It feels completely right and I can't bear to think that I would have missed it had I jumped the gun and stuck with my plan. I firmly believe that everything in life is something that God can use to shape us for a higher purpose and I am seeing that fulfilled in mine. Where earlier in my life I was asking God "Why am I going through this? Why me?", I can now say "I see how You can use that storm now to help other people". Does it take away the hurt? Not completely. But it brings purpose to the pain.
 
From that pain, stems forgiveness. Can you partially forgive someone? Because I feel like that's where I have been at in my life for two years. A stagnant forgiveness. But forgiveness isn't Instant Grits and it isn't stagnant. There was a day when I honestly and sincerely forgave someone. But then other hurts crept up and that grudge came right back and I held onto it with a tightly gripped fist. God has taught me that sometimes forgiveness is a daily choice. Today I forgive you for this pain I am feeling today. It is a process. Forgiveness is a daily surrender. "God, I am laying this down. I am letting it go". WOW that is hard to say some days.
 
Then comes that "t" word again. I can readily admit that I have issues trusting most people. I have a tendency to close myself off for the most part because I feel like I have to for protection. You wouldn't think that because it seems like I share a pretty good bit, but it's true. I build up walls that few can tear down. This week I was reminded that, just like myself, all humans are fallible; even the ones I blindly trust. And that's ok. That's the lesson I am learning. That all people are fallible and I can't expect perfection from anyone. That "f" word is creeping back up again...forgiveness. Again, it's a process. It doesn't happen overnight. Does it mean that trust is gone forever? No. It means you have to work a little harder to reach the point where you choose to freely give it again.
 
This week, I am thankful to serve a gracious God who meets me where I am. I am thankful for a God that I can call out to at any time and place. I am thankful for a God that, when I don't even know which direction to turn, He is there guiding me and when I say "God I can't do this anymore, I NEED A BREAK", I hear that whisper "Let me do it".
 
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30
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Monday, February 2, 2015

Sunrise

Usually, I do most of my scripture reading at night. It's always been my routine and in the morning I listen to a bit of praise and worship songs with my headphones while the rest of the house sleeps. But I usually don't do much reading and studying in the morning because, well, I like to pack in those few extra minutes of sleep. Terrible reason but I'm being honest. I was selfish with my morning time instead of giving all of it to God too.

The last few days, circumstances have caused my schedule to change and finding the same amount of quiet time at night has proven difficult. So yesterday morning, I opted to rise earlier and give that time to God.

And OH WHAT I HAVE BEEN MISSING. The mornings are so peaceful. The girls were both sleeping (I'd like to paint a picture of two peacefully sleeping children, but let's be real--Audrey was snoring and Cate was sideways in the bed with her feet in Audrey's face--but sweet all the same). Even the dogs opted to remain sleeping. So I sat in the quiet of my home and stared outside at the peaceful quiet that surrounded me and I just listened. 

I took a few moments to just be quiet and still. And I couldn't remember the last time I really did that. Between kids, work, school, volunteer work, and errands, etc, I never take the time to just be completely still and quiet. And I rejoiced in the moment with God where, for just a moment, I could just be--free from anxieties, and troubles, expectations, and busy schedules. The world around me seemed to disappear.

Those moments before I opened my Bible or turned on any music are something that I now treasure...the part of my day I will now look forward to. I can't believe how long I've been missing that beautiful, peaceful time with God. Sometimes it's necessary to break that routine and schedule--you never know what you might be missing.

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
Exodus 14:14