How to Forgive and Why

How to ForgiveIt doesn’t take long in a day to find an offense–be it a political division, cut off in traffic, a neighbor’s unruly yard (that might be mine!), a long-term disagreement or being unfriended on facebook.  Facebook alone is a source of irritation and strife for many of us.  I often wonder why we subject ourselves to it?

So we find ourselves needing to forgive.  Sometimes, we don’t even know when the switch from contentedness to infuriated occurred.  But it did. And now we are dealing with swirling thoughts of cantankerousness that have muddied up the happy-go-lucky waters. Perhaps at this point we need to be put in time-out?  I think so!

Sometimes, though, much time passes and we are beginning to feel the effects of unforgiveness.  It is eating away at our health, our joy, our other relationships and even our future dreams.  I’d say we are prisoners to that place of unforgiveness.  Maybe we need counselling at this point. Maybe we need to write a letter. Maybe we need to try to talk it out.  But when all of that does not seem to make a dent in it, we may need to change our perspective.  I thought I would share my own healing journey with you.

Perhaps it will lighten your own journey’s load.  I pray it will!

In 2005, my family and I followed God’s prompting to move to Colorado–it was a journey of faith that entire year.  My parents would not accept it.  They tried every tactic they could to regain “control” of the situation and to keep us in Texas–to no avail.  We moved and they refused to bless us in doing so. From this point on, our relationship, which had formerly been what we thought was a GOOD one, would be strained to non-existent.  So what’s a daughter to do?  I did what I thought any good child would do….I held up my end of the relationship as much as possible.  We sent gifts and letters (they sent gifts and letters back). We called them. We even visited four times and stayed with them part of the time (my Chris’ parents live in the same town).  But they refused to visit.  They have called a handful of times over the years.  And when we were there, we were not allowed to discuss Colorado or our lives here.  We had to play by their rules.

Deep down, I fought resentment and unforgiveness–holding it in a tight fist, so no one could see.  I had even felt like I was being forgiving in the way I responded–some of that was completely pretense.  For I was not being forgiving, I was holding a grudge and justifying myself by keeping score.  And the fact is, no one ever keeps score fairly in relational struggles.  There is a skew of perception that tells us we are alright and in-the-right.  It is a tactic of the enemy and for 5 years, it worked.

Then one day, after much distress over the tried and failed attempts at reconciliation, I felt the Lord prompt me to lay down my chess piece…to quit the game entirely.  That day, I did.  I dropped all of the doings, except sending gifts and a card that only read, “I love you.  I am praying for you.” My Chris even spelled it out that we were open to reconcile at any time, but they would need to make some steps for that to happen.  It did not fix the situation–and it may never be fixed.  The Lord gave us both the gift of peace.

The fact is a bridge being built from one end only is not a bridge, it’s a slide to the muddy waters beneath.  Both sides must work to build it for it to stand. We cannot make someone else build. We simply can’t. At this point, we have prayer only, and prayer to the Living God is a powerful tool in all struggles we face!

ONE BIG THING it did do is FREE me to forgive them and release my parents into God’s hands.  You see, I could tell you all the in’s and out’s of the story.  But there is nothing good that can come from talking about it or even justifying it–no one wins.  The effective place to be is in a place of prayer before God.  He is between us and He cares.  He gets it–and knows thoroughly all the aspects of the story.  From this place, I have begun to find freedom in other sticky relational problems.  I have begun to lose weight–30 lbs since last August! I have begun to be disciplined and more focused.  My health has turned around even–I have not been to the doctor in 1 1/2 years.  It is amazing!

Some days I still have a sadness over it all–and feel the great loss.  Some days I feel resentment creep back in.  And on those days, I get quiet and still before God.  He sees me through it all, as I live open-handed before Him, freeing them to go on and freeing myself to live fully.

This is a hard story to share.  I nearly shared it sparing the details, but I knew that this Easter time, Jesus died for ALL of us. He came to set the captive sinners free, of which I am the worst. I share this because light over darkness is a powerful thing!

Today I am so very thankful for new beginnings and hopeful for the future.

With Love,

Holly sig2

 

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A Journey of Faith | Timing and The Lord’s Provision

This is a journey story–in a few parts!  It began a year and a half ago with my friend, Michelle.  Having reached the end of bankruptcy, Chris and I (Holly) felt that God was showing us that the time had come for us to walk with our heads up–no shame–for a new season was upon us.  And OH, the lessons we have learned about God’s provision!!  The stories would fill pages and pages.

Today, I would like to introduce to you Michelle Bentham.  Michelle is an inspired artist, and she has designed and painted a work of art to represent our journey (pictured below).  Here’s Michelle…


“The Lord’s Provision” Original Mixed Media/Acrylic on Canvas size 30×40.
Scripture Philippians 4:19
I completed this painting as we prepared our hearts for Thanksgiving this year. Painting took a back seat this year to leaving a full time job in vocational ministry at a church and launching a new online radio program. In many ways my journey with the Lord’s Provision mirrors the growth in my faith in Jehovah Jireh, my Lord who sees to my every need.


Still, this story begins before the first pencil stroke pressed itself out on a page. My husband and I have spent years struggling financially, starting out behind the 8-ball so to speak. When we met in 1997 we had five children ranging from three to nine years in age. Two oldest boys, two youngest girls and my middle child, also a girl in the middle of the alphas and the babies.


Having a long history of legally financial issues, I worked hard to make our extremely inadequate budget work with a child support payment, house payment and the many other requirements that come with raising a blended family with five children.


I worked off and on throughout the years as our kids grew up, and for some reason we always seemed to manage with a little help from our parents and God, Himself. We walked our way through a bankruptcy filing, “robbing Peter to pay Paul,” and many other sorts of Creative Financing. Even taking a turn through Financial Peace University.


God rocked our boat a bit in 2007 when He moved our hearts to leave my part time job and our secure place in a small rural church for something unknown in a larger environment. Scott and I began to explore what leaving would look like and felt strongly called to a growing young body in Southlake, Texas. You may have heard of it as it has gone from around 10,000 members to just under 20,000 in the last five years. It is a fast growing, visionary church that values people and God’s ability to transform and use any life.


I began to check out things online including a page on the website called “Job Opportunities.” I even applied for a position and eventually interviewed. Scott and I made our decision in the interim. We would move our membership to Gateway. I remember the Saturday before our final weekend of transition. We returned home from our Saturday evening Gateway service to prepare for the Sunday morning service at our previous church. I opened the mailbox and removed a letter in a Gateway envelope.


I walked quietly into the house and retreated to our master bath where I hastily ripped open the envelope and read the nicest rejection letter one could ever hope to receive. “We regret to inform you that we offered the position to someone better suited for its responsibilities.” In other words, we did not think you were a right fit for this position.


Panic gripped my heart as I considered what they could have learned, what about my life story (and there is a pile of it) had come up that would disqualify me. I reread the letter and peace covered me as I realized the meaning of the words. You are not the person for THAT position.


I presented the letter to my husband who made his way to napping on the couch. He read it slowly as I sat on the arm of the sofa and waited. He looked to me and I noticed a hesitation in his eyes. “I-I’m sorry?’


“More than that, what should we do now? Do we go back to our old church or do we continue to move forward? I mean this really changes things.”


He nodded and pulled his chin to his chest. I observed the mannerisms of my husband when in reflective consideration only a handful of times. This time I knew he was weighing the matter carefully. He smiled and spoke a single word of release. “Forward.”


We set about making plans for the transition since I would not have the income we had come to rely on for our monthly budget. Our choices: sell one vehicle, move to a smaller house where the rent payment would be less expensive and required us to clean the house so it would be inhabitable, and tighten the belt. May I add, Scott did not take the first two items on our list as well as I did, and I on the other hand did not fair so well at the last one. I never have been good at asking “Mr. Budget” or even considering much beyond the immediate need or desire.


Life would change significantly over the next two years. It also meant giving up our dream of buying the home we had come to love in the year we had lived there. Certain of God’s call we moved forward and made the painful cuts.


We landed at Gateway and Scott began to blend into the background and learn to breathe in a church environment. Something I had not really given him the chance to do in our previous leadership roles. I volunteered “us” many times without asking him. I immediately signed up to lead a small group. It was in my wheel-house and the leadership of the church called for it from the pulpit each week that August.


No one came to my group – I only received one call inquiring about it and she indicated the time and day were not convenient for her. I signed up for a couple of groups, engaged the inner healing ministry and inquired of the Lord. “What should I do now?”


Habakkuk 2:2-3 came to me immediately, write the vision and make it plain.


So I started a blog, joined a readers and writers group at church and dove into what I felt the Lord wanted me to do. I wrote my heart out for nearly two years. I recovered from grief over the death of my son. I even weathered a particularly difficult season working through some marital issues that threatened to dissolve our union, if you know what I mean.


In July 2008 our financial struggles were weighing on me. My husband seemed distant and unhappy and I felt like I scrambled every payday just to make ends meet. I lay in bed one morning running the financial calculator of my mind and I arrived at a number. Five figures danced in my head like a taunting bully threatening to undo me on a whim. I began to pray aloud. “Lord, I need a job. Any job. I need $XX,XXX today. I can’t wait. I’m going out to find it.”


As soon as that last sentence came out of my mouth the Holy Spirit began to massage my heart and I heard my Daddy God whisper ever so quietly in my mind. “You have not asked Me about that yet.”


In my dramatic, oldest child-rebel fashion I rolled my eyes and gave God the heavy sigh. “Okay! I’m asking…”


NOTHING…


The silence not only confused me, it also made me question what to do next. I had no peace about moving forward looking for a job so I resolved to wait until I heard the Lord say move. Over the next few months I would see God move in miraculous ways to help us recover in finances and He threw in saving my marriage while He was at it.


Spring 2009 I began to regularly volunteer in the office for Freedom Ministries at Gateway Church. I had gotten to know the oversight pastor for Freedom Groups well by leading a “Freedom Group.” It only seemed natural to come into the office on a regular basis and help out with the routine responsibilities that needed to be done. I got to know other staff members and within a few weeks both the administrative assistant and pastor I served began to ask me questions that suggested they might want to offer me a job. I didn’t know if they would so I prayed. I hoped. And, I kept it to myself.


By the first of June I was asked if I would like to apply for the position of administration assistant to the pastor I had been serving under in Freedom Ministries. I asked them if I could talk to my husband and pray about it. And within a few days I knew I would get the job. I emailed the assistant: I would like to be considered for your position.
 


In the midst of this glorious news we found out our landlord wanted to buy us out of our lease and they were willing to take us to court to break the lease. In the midst of this great opportunity we found ourselves homeless. We moved in with family for a few weeks while we found a new home, and decided to enter the home buying market. We found a house that we thought would do, and leased it with the intention of buying it within a year. Our solution to a homeless problem, but I had already realized there might be major structural problems with this home. I would later also recognize that God indeed had other plans for our housing problem. I did not have a clue at the time, but He had them just the same.


After three interviews I received the job offer by email. The position being vacated had been held by an employee who had been on staff for five years. The salary available was higher than what had been indicated when I spoke to human resources about the details of the position. The offer was exactly the figure I had told God I needed in a yearly salary REMEMBER: $XX,XXX PLUS a TITHE. I wept at the revelation. I began work at Gateway Church July 19, 2009. Almost one year from the day I had told God I needed a job and two years from the date we transitioned from our old church to Gateway.


The Lord shall supply liberally and abundantly, beyond your wildest dreams or imagination, all your needs according to His glorious and abundant riches in His Son, Christ Jesus. AMEN. (My paraphrase of Philippians 4:19 AMP)


To be continued…

MichelleMichelle is a wife and mother who has experienced the healing power of God in so many ways. Most significantly in her own grief after the death of her son in 2005. As a gifted artist, radio show host and communicator Michelle remains passionate about helping others, especially women of all ages, connect with God’s heart through creative expression.

You can find more information about Michelle and her gifts here:

Twitter: @michellebentham
Facebook Pages:
Michelle Bentham | Inspired Artist and Communicator
Blooming Inspiration Online
Websites:
www.michellebenthamcreates.org
www.bloominginspirationradio.com

Visit http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/1-michelle-bentham.html

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Broken Bread

One huge part of the last couple of years, really since Joanne’s stroke, for me has been my journey to getting fit and healthy.  It is a long process–life-long even–but I am seeing some great benefits spiritually from the discipline I am putting in action physically.  Let me back up…

It all began with Joanne and her stroke.  I prayed and exhorted God to heal my dear friend.  He did and He still IS!  At the same time, I was working on scripture memory verses with the LPM blog, twice a month.  I began to take my verses and TobyMac on Pandora to the YMCA 3-4 times a week.  I practiced the verses and committed them to memory, as I worked and sweated and pushed through and groaned.

As I worked, I also prayed and interceded for my friend.  As she fought for her life and through each step of rehabilitation, I fought my own stubborn will to show up at the gym and do the work.

One day, as I prayed, I began this way, “LORD, I am broken bread for you.  I give my brokenness, my stubborn will, my mind, body, soul and spirit to you…I give it in thanks. I thank you for all you have done, all you are doing and all you will do.”

Those words were spoken well over a year ago.  I can still picture the day, the time, the moment in my mind’s eye. I meant them.  But by winter, I began to fall away from them.  I began to ease (so easy to fall backwards) back into my normal routine and lack-of-discipline self.  The Lord saw me, and He began to set me up!  He set me up for success in the best ways possible–three friends.

ONE–Stephanie met with me in April and we talked about my goals for fitness.  She asked some very hard questions.  She prompted. She listened.  Then she encouraged.  With a winning heart and spirit, she encouraged me in a way that made me WANT to do it.  Not all friends can do that for me.  I tend to avoid and dodge certain tactics and methods for fitness and weight loss.  Not sure why, I just do. But Stephanie told me about her Dad–oh, what an inspiring man he is!!  His story has encouraged me ever since to strive for fitness for health and physical ability, as much as is in my ability to do, for my FAMILY.  I began to see the picture God was shaping. I am so thankful for Stephanie.

TWO–Then my friend Beth invited me to spin class.  I was very, very afraid.  For I had heard “tales” about spin class and was certain I would die.  But Beth laughed with me and said, come on.  She encouraged me by her friendship, by her invitation and by the way she, too, dug in and did the work.  I knew that Beth would not pin me to the wall if I missed.  I also knew Beth was cheering me on without judgement.  It means the world to me to know my friends are cheering me on.  And?  I really love spin class! I am so thankful for Beth.

THREE–Joanne, my friend…oh and I have tears of joy spilling out right now–thankfulness for her life and God’s answer!!  Joanne tells me every-time I see her, “I pray for you when we drive past the YMCA on our way to Toben’s parents.”  My friend.  My Lazarus friend!  She is praying for me, too.  I love how the circle comes back around. I am so thankful for Joanne.

So I go. I do the work.  I ask the Lord to break this bread (this body) of mine and make it obedient to Him.  I ask Him for His time to reach my weight loss goal.  And I rejoice!  How great the love of the Father–that He calls me His child, He dusts off the mud from my life and He reconciles the places that need repair.  He is the God, who sets us up for success.  Not the way the world sees it, no.  But success that is FOR us.  Ultimately, my gift to my children and my Chris shall be this–broken bread thankfulness from a life, my life, that honors Him!

TO GOD BE ALL THE GLORY. 14 pounds so far!

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other gods

A few years ago, I began an overview study in Isaiah–looking for Christ in each chapter.  Studying God’s Word is not for a select few, it is for everyone, you just need a few tools and a seeking heart for God.  In studying, all you need are a few tools to begin.  Your Bible, pen, notebook, a concordance and a Bible dictionary–or you can find all the study tools you need online with Bible Gateway and Blue Letter Bible. Read the portion you want to study.  Re-read it and write down the words that most interest you.  Engage in the Word, by allowing the Holy Spirit to direct your time. Then dig into the phrases and context.

Today I will share my insights from Isaiah 26, where there is much to glean.  One of the best messages I ever heard was on Isaiah 26:3 by Beth Moore at a Living Proof Live event in Little Rock, Arkansas several years ago. The part of her message that most struck me was about this verse: “You will keep in perfect peace, him whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts in You.” Picture laying your head on God’s lap and He has His Hand upon your head, as you lay there. He is then applying His thoughts to yours by showing you HOW to think about all the WHAT that is going on.

Do you have a difficult situation? Put your head on God’s lap and pour out your heart before Him. Then let Him speak over you in that situation. I often pray, “Lord, help me to see how to think about all this WHAT going on in my life.” Perspective. Oh, I need it! A good Word from my Sister, Beth!

What I first saw when I read Isaiah 26 was that our strength lies in our salvation! Our salvation through Jesus Christ has become the walls and ramparts (protective barrier prepared to fortify) of our city. We have a strong Defender! His name is Jesus.

I also noticed that the city’s gates are not closed, they are open. Salvation is not an exclusive club. It can be accessed by anyone, who comes with faith. All we need to do is share with others about knowing Christ–his blood shed on the cross to cover all their sins and make them white as snow. Are your gates closed or open?

The third verse has been a stay for me through the years. I have often thought upon the verse to the point, where I have it memorized like this (you will not be surprised): “Holly, God will keep you in perfect peace. Keep your mind stayed upon Him! Holly, put your trust in Him.” I talk to myself like this all the time. Personalize the Word of God. It is for you. It is written TO you. Why should you not insert your name? There are scriptures and promises that through the ages have marked the way of men and women, because they took it for their own. Is His Word something you cling to as your own? His matchless, changeless character has kept His Word. It is true, every bit.

So try it for yourself with verse four: “(Your name), Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.” What does that mean when you say it? It means that the Lord God, the covenant LORD, is worthy of your trust in ALL situations. It means He keeps His promises. And it means that forever, He is strong, steadfast and firm.

Do you want your path to be level and smooth? Then look to verse seven: “The path of the righteous is level; O upright One, you make the way of the righteous smooth.” It doesn’t say He might make, it says He WILL make. Our part is to be righteous. Oh, you say, then I guess I cannot take this verse to heart, righteousness is an impossible standard for me, a sinner.

I have Good News! That Good News is Christ Jesus. When you ask Him to be your Savior, He becomes the righteousness in and over your life. Like clothing, we daily need to put on Christ. In putting Him on, we will long to know Him more by reading His Word. We will long to please Him more, by obeying His Word. We will long to serve Him more, for His love in us COMPELS us to do something for others. Ahhh, the great exchange occurs (His life for ours)…and we are never the same. Jesus becomes our desire.

Need a verse for your life? Verse eight is a life verse for our family: “Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.” I am laughing, because His Word never returns void. In our lives, we have over and over and over had to wait on the LORD. Every single time, we have understood that in the waiting, we were growing in the Lord and declaring His renown wherever we went. Oh, it is a hard path to travel, but I would never exchange it–no, not for all the wealth and fame and honor this world might offer.

You see we have longed for Him in the night, we have seen His Hand upon us, we have learned His ways (oh, there is much left to learn!) and He has established peace for us in our family.

How has this come about?

Verses 13-14 say it well:
O LORD, our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us,
but your name alone do we honor.

They are now dead, they live no more;
those departed spirits do not rise.
You punished them and brought them to ruin;
you wiped out all memory of them.

Oh Praise the LORD! I am so glad. For indeed, we HAVE had other lords besides the LORD our God. We have bowed down to other gods. They ruled over us, and we walked bent over and with a limp–blind to see anything of God’s Hand. Only now, walking under the authority of Christ, have we found that we can truly see how we were before. We are quite familiar now with all our ways during those times. God has taken His Word and spoken over those times. He has put to death our sin. He remembers them no more.

In light of who Jesus is and who we were, we begin to see that even then, He was there. Today, we walk in that Light, His Light…oh, Praise God for that. So many gods…not one worthy. Every one, cast down before the feet of Christ. Then in love, our Savior, Jesus, became the Lifter of our Heads.

Is your head hanging low today over some situation? Lay that situation down. Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly (Colossians 3:16). Let Him fill your mouth again with laughter (Psalm 126:2, Job 8:21)! The King of Glory has come in (Psalm 24:7-10)! Open wide the gates of your city, that many may come and know Him. Let Him come in and enlarge the boundaries of the city. There is room…Christ made room. Come on in!

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When Believing God Takes You *Father On…

I found these words from my journal in 2005 today.  In those days, we distinctly heard the Lord lead us to move to Colorado.  Here we are nearly 6 years later.  Sometimes looking back builds your faith and spurs others on–hope it does that for you today.  Be blessed.  Believe God.  His ways are beyond our understanding, but they are right and good. Jesus is worth the journey it takes to discover more of Him.

So here are some thoughts I had during this time Out There. I do not normally share my journal entries…they are personal, but they will take this point home, I know. Why am I writing this? To spur you on and to remind me to remember How Very Great our God is!

(2-22-05)”You Lord, who formed the peaks of the mountains and yet those same mountains melt like wax before You. Be glorified, Jesus, in my life. Be exalted O God in our family. I want to bear fruit that lasts. I want to steal back what was stolen from me. I want to fulfill Your purpose for me. Only by your blood and Your sacrifice, Jesus, may I even enter in this Most Holy of Holy places to ask, but HalleluYah, because of You, my Precious Friend and Savior, I know that not only may I enter in and ask, but I can know that what I have asked is mine. Like a child, Lord, I say mine over the many promises You have made to me. Only teach me how, Lord Jesus, to remain in You, to write Your Word on my heart, to hear, to understand, to see, to know all the good promises that are mine in You. Then Lord, I will proclaim Your Name in the assembly. I will ascribe to You all that I have, all that I am and all glory , honor and praise! I love You, Jesus.”

(2-27-05) “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14
“How can I be insistent of You, Father, and not be still and know? It’s as if I want to see the fruit and it is not even showing nor ripened. Help me then to wait on Your timing. Please, as You did in days of old, send travellers to encourage us on this walk. To say we heard You and know that indeed we did is true; yet, so many doubt and think we are either crazy or deluded or looking for an adventure! Well we certainly are on an adventure, a Wild at Heart one at that. But I believe it is one that You set forth in our lives.”

(3-1-05) “Indeed (Jesus), You are more than I understood you to be when I first met You…not only are You my new beginning, but Your Spirit rests in me–amazing! Can this really be?”

(3-4-05) “Within two weeks I may be writing that Chris has a job and that we are headed to Colorado!! I’m so excited, I can hardly keep in the excitement, but Lord I cannot share it with people I hold dear and care about–they are not excited, but anxious each time we bring it up. That’s hard, Lord. My heart is so eager and willing to follow You wherever You lead. I know that there is plunder and glory for Your Kingdom at stake. I know that only You can make them (our hearts) thrill to follow You, even when it means leaving ones so dear to us. My heart may feel near to breaking at times in the future, but I know You hold my heart and you will not allow me to be overtaken–weeping may last for a night, but Joy cometh!! Praise You Lord.”

(3-8-05) “I cannot wait to have the truth of what we believe settled and confirmed! It will still be hard, but not debatable. I surrender it all to You, Lord Jesus. You must have felt this way when your mother and brothers questioned your sanity. You just kept walking, didn’t you? Oh, but then when Your Father turned His face as You prayed in the garden?! How did You endure it? For the joy set before you, You saw my face and the faces of countless others and said we were worth it! Oh bless you Jesus! Thank You for scorning and enduring for my sake, for the sake of my family.”

(3-9-05) “I do feel the pressure from every side that says we’re foolish, looking for an escape, even crazy. It seems so incongruous to them that we’d leave–as if we are owned or something. Oh Father, we are! But You are the One we live for and love and serve. We don’t understand the why or when or even how, but we clearly heard you say, ‘Go.’ ”

(3-10-05) “You are so much bigger than the box I place You in Lord. In fact, You are the box. It’s an extraordinary and abounding box that has no limits, no definition, no boundaries, only eternal qualities that reach around all areas of our human understanding and breaks all the rules. God You are so much more.”

(3-14-05) Oswald Chambers from 3-11 “It is essential to practice the walk of the feet in the light of the vision….we cannot attain to a vision, we must live in the inspiration of it until it accomplishes itself…waiting for the vision that tarries is the test of our loyalty to God.”

(3-15-05) “It may be also Lord that we need an angel to close the lion’s mouth…we stand in the name of Christ Jesus.”

(3-26-05) “I am waiting expectantly. I am trusting fully. By the power of the Holy Spirit in my life, I’m giving the reins fully over to the Lord. He began this journey. We believed it. Now we need to step in time to His voice. I had a meltdown yesterday. It was cleansing and revealed my impatience. Lord continue to work this out in me–to change me….Thus far hath You helped us!”

(3-30-05) “What can be shaken has been. What cannot be shaken remains. Oh my Precious Father, consume the part of me that brings You no glory. Though I have nursed it long, remove it and sift every part that does not honor or praise You!…You are near me and clearly at work–turning me inside-out…showing the hidden parts and motives.”

(4-4-05) “If we knew the time we were moving, I’d not be spending nearly the amount of time I am reading Your Word Lord and other books, too. I’m not hurried at all–there is nothing great to be done. But once we know, the work will increase and be very busy throughout until we are settled. Also I wouldn’t be learning from the many trials that we are now facing. The internal work of the journey is just as (if not more so) important as the external.”

(4-5-05) “What I now know is what I need to know. The work I have for this day is the work You have called me to–nothing more or less. I need not go out looking for my calling or grasping for something that in the end is empty. The life You have called me to is full and I may walk in this fullness and trust You to lead me when more or different work is needed. Trusting You to all nature of my worries and anxieties, I may have joy and peace.”

(4-6-05) “I ask this believingly (to go to Colorado soon). But Father, if there is more at stake than my small understanding can take in, then please delay.”

(4-13-05) “Many are watching the unfolding events and hopefully being encouraged in their faith, maybe even they’re coming before You Lord. Oh let it be so! Please Lord continue to work out this testimony and do what ONLY You can do. There is not one thing right now that we could do to make this happen. .”

In fact, we made it even harder–Chris quit his job early and we took the biggest leap of faith of our lives! We ended up in Colorado on October 12, 2005. That’s a long time, when every day you are waiting–believing what you do not see. Here is my journal entry on the last day at our Wonderful home 10-11-2005:

“What do I say on our final day? Praise the LORD! How can I rightly praise You Father? Bless Your Name! I lay down all glory of this journey–crowns at your feet, Jesus. I thank you for the principle of trust You are teaching me…Take us farther on today Lord. May our mouths be filled with laughter and a song of joy overflow–to Your Praise Jesus. We give You alone the praise.”

 

*[sic] Funny, I meant to write farther on, but Father on fits, so I shall leave it.

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Confetti in the Air

The past couple of weeks, I have been sitting in a pile of thankful confetti. I pick up each piece of life from this past two years with mixed emotions. All in all, I come away from a very hard 2009-2010 with a more thankful heart than I have ever had before…so I wouldn’t trade it. In fact, I celebrate the difficult as well as the good from this past year. And right now…this very minute..I am taking every single piece of confetti–motley and colorful–and I am tossing it in the air with great, exuberant joy!

For the year is over.

And I have grown.

What I feared did not kill me.

What I anticipated did not always happen.

When I was needing direction, the Lord always gave it.

When I was trembling and scared, He held me.

When I was confused, He led me.

When I felt bereft, He filled me.

When I hit a wall…and I most certainly did…He caused me to scale that wall, baby.

And I cannot tell you how much I love a new day, a fresh page and wide-openness…I am running through fields of joy to it! I am throwing off the weight that hinders-physically (I have lost 50 pounds!), mentally (shedding those old tape recordings), emotionally (clinging with happiness to the great renewal that Jesus has done in my life) and spiritually (not getting caught up in the rules, but practising the Presence of God every moment and thrilling to the fact that as much as I want to get to know God, He wants me to know Him! Relationship without the fear of rejection…now that’s what I’m talking about!).

I have asked the Lord to give me some Words for the next year and these are what He gave to me: Resolve to Journey. Can you picture it? Moving forward with His motion, pressing on and deciding, daily choosing to be under God’s authority. Seeking and finding Jesus…staying in His Yoke.

I want resolve and not resolution. For resolution carries with it the present connotation of “I hope to do this!” But not really doing anything or going anywhere or growing.

Resolve, however, holds the original intent of a strong, determined, decision–a will to be willing.

Journey is the choice I have to go with God, wherever He leads. In that, I choose not to limit Him in my estimation by saying what I will not do, thus believing that He could not carry me through that place. For I know He can! For He has carried me through some places that before I would have said, “I could never do that.” Well, now I have. And He came with (as my friend Cassie used to say!).

Journeying with God is a choice to fully release control to Him and let Him lead me–for my good and because He has good intent towards me and for me. So I resolve to journey.

Resolve to Journey is a willingness to be soft clay in the Hand of God–desiring above all to become who God created me to be and fully realize that I am here for a purpose. That purpose is in partnership with my brother, Jesus, who calls me to journey with Him. And the best part of all? He likes me! He thinks the world of me. He is cheering me on. He is running the race by my side. He will not forsake–for any reason.

And that my friends is worth celebrating! Grab your confetti with me, consider the moments and times, and make them an offering to Jesus. Throw them all in the air! For a new year is on the march. And Jesus? Well, He’s right beside us. Happy New Year everybody. And thanks! Thanks for journeying with me. I cannot say it with enough emotion here, but I am thankful for you.

 

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