Thursday, July 10, 2014

To Be Honest...

I remember the night I decided to jump 19 months ago. None of it made any sense to me as I drove in a sort of panic, listening to the words of my friend on the other end of the phone trying to calm me down.  I knew I was listening to God, but I was still completely scared to death of the future.  It was just a few days before Christmas, 2012. 

I remember thinking that I had certainly been through much more difficult things, and that since I clearly heard the Lord tell me it was ok to concede, things would be better than ever before in just a short time, because He was directing the leap.  After all, God knew I was trusting Him with everything, so things could not possibly get that bad.

I remember the first few months believing for every lead that came across the line….believing each one was deliverance from the trial.  An opportunity would come, only to be ridden out like a cresting wave, soon crashing when the shore line was just in reach.  I would go to bed at night in anticipation of what the next morning would hold, grasping to the verse in Lamentations with all my might “…His Mercies are New Every Morning…”  Soon, I realized this was not going to be the joyful ride I had anticipated a Faith jump would be.

I remember fighting with everything I had, to hold on to the dream I had in my heart.  As I slowly released the grip on what I thought my life was going to be, I began to lose my purpose.  I would say things out loud like, “I know God is in this”, and “He has provided”, and I meant it with every ounce of me.  I celebrated in the small things God was doing, all while feeling like I had been robbed of the blessed life I had finally been living.
Whoever says that being obedient to God is easy in this world we live in is absolutely crazy.  In fact, It is down right hard.  But God never promised us it would be easy, in fact, in the book of John, we are clearly told that in this world we WILL have trouble, and we are also clearly told to not have fear, because HE has overcome the world.  What a revelation, He has ALREADY OVERCOME.  I am guilty of having fear and worry on many days.  I have complained way more in the last 6 months than I have in years, and I have wavered in my faith more in the last 2 months than ever before in my life.  Getting honest before the Lord and those I trust has been quite literally, life saving to me.  And this is the reason I am writing today….because it is time...To Be Honest.

Growing up in a Christian family, I was taught all of the things about God that I have written.  My life from a very early age was not easy, and I learned very soon that depending on Christ was the only way to make it through the evil things of this world.  I have way too many life experiences that should have destroyed me...there but by the Grace of God go I.  Somewhere in the cloud of this journey, amid all the scripture I was reading and the prayers I was praying, my stability began to shift, and my footing slipped.  My focus was not to overcome, but to merely survive, and I forgot that I was a victor.  I lost my spirit and my smile, my drive and my purpose.  I began living on auto-pilot and not caring about what was going on around me. 

I am not writing a pity me story today, I am writing an “I have been there” testimony to encourage anyone and everyone who has gotten caught up in the circumstances of life, to shine the light on the dark places.  The enemy is a liar and he comes to steal, kill and destroy.  His goal is to take us all out.  He will not stop raging war against the Spirit of the living God until He feels he has won that battle.  Often times, we do not even realize he is the one at work until it is too late….I am writing to tell you it is never too late.  You can never outrun the long arm of the Lord.  There is no darkness of this world that can stand in the Light of His presence.  When we accept Christ as our Savior, we have IN US, the power of the Holy Spirit, active and ready to overcome all the powers of this evil world. 
I am an overcomer.  You are an overcomer.  Christ lives IN us, and His power is strong in our weakness.  Live on purpose today.  Live intentionally.  Love on purpose today.  Love intentionally.  Your co-worker may be consumed by darkness you do not understand.  Your closest friend may be slipping away into cruise control.  Your spouse, your children, may be secretly battling something they thought they could handle, only to have found themselves more vulnerable in the war.  Share your story, be honest, take off the mask and spread hope for the world around you. 
I am by far not perfect, and I stumble as much as anyone, but I refuse to stay down, as prey for the enemy.  I declare a be Set Set a Standard of the Power of God at work in my life.  Join Me.  It is time....To Be Honest...

Saturday, June 7, 2014

I Have Seen Him

Then John gave the testimony: "I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.'  I have seen and I testify that this is God's Chosen One." John 1:32-34

There are mornings when I read my Bible that I hear God's voice so clearly speaking to me.  Tuesday was one of those mornings.  My mind was spinning a bit, thinking about my day ahead, going over and over in  my mind the conversations I was about to have with some of the most precious people I have ever known, and how it would be received.  I was emotional to say the least.  As I sat down, coffee in one hand, the Bible app in the other, I began to pray that I could calm down and just think of the words that God would best have me say.  As I read through the first chapter of John, these verses struck me...And I knew that God was confirming, once again, that I was walking where He was leading.  

There are so many circumstances in our lives where we are met with a cross road, and sometimes, making the decision of which direction to take can be almost impossible.  As I walked through the last couple of weeks, I have had such mixed emotions and thoughts, often wondering if I was doing the right thing.  With all of my heart, I knew that logically, it made such great sense, but I have learned not to follow my brain and my emotions on things, but to challenge them with the litmus test of God's truth and the words He speaks.  Sometimes, I will admit, my choices have not always been the right ones, and as I have gotten older, I have realized that living for myself is a demise, and living for Christ is the reward.  All I want to do is what God has planned to further his message through me.

The decisions we have made as a family over the last 18 months has not been received well by everyone.  Some of the dearest people to us do not understand why we have chosen the path we have.  It does not make sense to them, and I understand, they love us, and they want the best for us.  What I have said since day one is that we are following God's desire for us.  We have not understood every obstacle in the course, but with everything that I am, I have trusted that God has already gone before us.  This does not mean I have had 100% perfect days, I have not, ask my friends who have listened to me countless hours, they will tell you that I have gotten weary and wanted to retreat, but I have made it through every one of those days because of God, and His mercy and grace when I want to scream that I HATE THIS! All I want to do is exemplify Christ to those we love.

The words of John, "...I did not know him,....I have seen and I testify that this is God's Chosen One." He had faith in the words he had been told, and when he saw Jesus, he told everyone who He was, the Messiah.  Can you imagine the excitement John felt when He saw the fulfillment and the confirmation that the one who He served was standing right in front of him? That is how I feel.  As I walk into this next chapter of my life, I want everyone to know that I recognize God, the one I have had faith in, the one I have trusted, the one I have clung to.  He has fulfilled His promises to us that He would never leave us or forsake us, and that His plans for us were for our good and not our harm.  He has been Jehovah Jireh, our Provider, and Jehovah Shalom, our Prince of Peace.  He has been our Strong Tower and our Hiding Place, our Comforter and our Deliverer.  He has been our Faithful guide, and our loving Father.  He has held us in His hand and kept the enemy from plucking us.  He has been all of those things and so much more.  All I want to do is bring the Glory back to Him, so that His gospel reaches beyond me.

I have seen Him and I testify that this is God's Chosen One.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

When It's Too Big

"Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give to you.  Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh.  Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it." Jonah 3:2-3

I have probably said it more than 1000 times in the last year, both out loud and silently.  It comes out in many different ways, but the meaning behind it is always the same; This Is Too Big.

It is one thing to hear the voice of God, it is quite another to obey it.  Jonah heard God's voice and he completely disobeyed and went the other way.  This got him in a huge bit of trouble with the people doing life with him, and ultimately, he ended up in the belly of a whale crying out to God to deliver him.  What did God do? He heard Jonah's cry, rescued him from the belly of the whale and sent him back on that same assignment to Nineveh.  Nineveh, a city so big it took three days to go through.  Ever been in an assignment from God that felt like it was too big? 

When I look around at where God has placed me, I often feel like it's too big.  I have a go to statement for days when I feel particularly too small for the assignment, "This is a big girl's job...I'm not a big girl."  It is always on those days when I have to step out of my comfort zone and do something required of the task, something that is going to make me stretch a little farther than I feel is comfortable. I spend way too long in my little pity-party, saying things like, "God, this is not what I thought it was going to look like" or "God, can you just help me out here and make this path straight so I don't have to do so much moving?" and even, "God, this is not fair, this is not what I signed up for"....Yep, I say that sometimes.  

Over the last several weeks, God has been revealing His reply to those statements. Very clearly, in many different venues, God has spoken "You were born for this" to my spirit. And with those words, I have been reminded that I did not "sign up" for anything, I was CREATED by DESIGN to do exactly what it is He has me doing in this moment.  It may not be comfortable, but it probably is not comfortable for the first sprout of a seed to pop it's head out of the soil.  It may make me hurt just a little bit, but it does hurt when we're stretching to the place we are growing into.  It may make me cry out for help, but that is exactly what He is there for, to direct my sight back to His purpose for all of it.  Right in the middle of me expressing "THIS IS TOO BIG!!!" He answers, "YOU'RE RIGHT!!! IT'S TOO BIG FOR YOU, THAT IS WHY YOU MUST DEPEND ON ME!"  

I have not yet arrived at the place where I can say, "I've got this", and I am beginning to think that is exactly where God wants me.  Too many times I have grown so comfortable that I have gone on auto-pilot, allowing myself to navigate; I am convinced God does not ever want me to get to that place again in the calling He has on my life. 

What are you facing that shouts "THIS IS TOO BIG"? Perhaps it's time to hand the wheel back over to the one who created you...for such a time as this......