Thursday, February 17, 2011

Surrendering, Stronger, Joyful

What if I could be courageous enough to act and react like a complete person - a Jesus girl who has His joy in her, sustaining her, and directing her?

I am full aware that much of what I am going through is nothing compared to what many endure in this life. I have it so good. I still deal with many fears. Many of my expectations are not met in this life and that causes me great stress- Did I ever mention that I like to have things planned out, controlled and no inconveniences? Some of my expectations are not met because of my own failings, my own sin, my own willfulness. I am learning to extend myself some grace and let go- to surrender- lift my hands to God to pull me out of the danger and threatening situations. He is in total control. He has orchestrated my life and the the life of my family to be in these circumstances and environment. He does work all things for His good and for my good. His ways are higher than mine - He does infinitely more than I could ever imagine. I could go on and on with all of the truths I know about God being in control and for my need to rest and trust in Him alone. Give myself some grace and just surrender to Him. Rest in Him. Stay close to Him. All that I have encountered in my life and in the recent years has been for a reason. I am where I am for a reason. I know that I need to focus on being mom and wife and to wait and trust Him for direction in other endeavors. He is in control, He will direct my steps each day-each hour, minute and second. But I must surrender it all to Him and allow Him to use me for His glory and purposes. In return I get to see God in action, my kids and others get to see and experience His love, grace and provision as well. I am changed - hopefully, even ruined for good. I will be made stronger, better, more complete in Him. I will be that Jesus girl I so want to be- acting and reacting full of joy, sustained and guided by my LORD.

Snow, Sunshine and Grass

I have described the ever present snow as God's grace that quietly and gently falls on us each day. It silently and often unbeknownst to us it covers us. In the midst of a white snow covered world, the sun comes out and shines so bright and crisp off of the snow. It is such a contrast to the mostly gray days that you have to notice it and just enjoy its warmth. I have described the sun as God's glory and majesty- His great power! His glory, majesty and power are something to behold and not easily ignored. It is a stark contrast to the bleakness and darkness of a life lived in sin or apathy of right living. Focus on the trials and struggles of this world can also lead to a pretty bleak and gloomy outlook. God's glory, majesty and power is amazing, warm, awesome. It gives one a sense of warmth, comfort, hope and brightness that there is more to our existence than the dull, gloomy, and bleak toils and struggles of living life here. We have a hope of life in the eternal light and warmth of God in heaven!
But as the snow melts and becomes stained with car exhaust, I am reminded that we can forget that God has given us grace. We take it all for granted. Sometimes we need a renewing of our minds and hearts. Worship, study, prayer, resting, trusting, serving are all ways to renew ourselves. When we are renewed, hopefully, daily, then we can appreciate the snow. Enjoying the renewing process is like seeing the green grass after so long covered, it gives us a reminder that the Creator is busy and at work in our lives just as He is in the creation and the changes of seasons. His glory and majesty are a displayed again in a vibrant way. God is good and God is great! I am thankful for the quiet snow falls, ever impressed by the warm and bright sun, and thrilled for the soft green grass.

Soul Tired

Soul tired- how that term resonated with me this week! That word is the perfect word to describe how I have felt for so long- tired from the inside out. This condition did not occur overnight. No, ma'am! This condition has been coming on for a few years now. I remember sitting in Pastor Mike's office about 2 years ago and him expressing some concern about potential burn-out. I assured him that I had been there and done that and well knew the symptoms, yet I did nothing significant to prevent burn out from overtaking me. I kept right on going and doing all that I could for Kidsville and its little ones and the mommies in MOPS. I was good, I told myself and everyone, I get to worship with the little ones, I have my study prep I did for the Bible studies I was leading along with the ministries' preps. I even led a study about rest as a spiritual discipline. Oh, yes, I was not going to burn out! No, siree!! But when the trials and stresses of Dana's job came - almost like a wreck you saw coming but denied it was going to happen- until.... Well, it became more difficult to stay focused and to keep going. I knew God was going to use this season in life to work on me because I was out of whack- no balance and most of all soul tired. No worship, no significant and intentional time with God, no prayer except the 911 issues that come as a mom, wife and minister. But there is another cause of soul tired. That would be Satan. I am confident that he is so pleased when I or anyone else for that matter focuses on themselves and their circumstances instead of focusing and relying on God. He is going to make sure that I am soul tired and continue to keep my attention on the negatives and other difficult issues. It becomes a cycle- negative thoughts lead to more negative thoughts and feelings which zaps one of joy, peace, thanksgiving, looking upward, hope, kindness and then the guilt and wondering "what is wrong with me?!" sets in and more negative feelings ensue! So I end up soul tired!
I know the cure, the treatment, the remedy for this and that is simply choosing to surrender it all to God and make a choice of staying as close to Him as possible.
Psalms 63:1 O, God, you are my God. Earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for You in a dry and weary land where there is no water. If I would intentionally spend time with God in the Word and in prayer much of my soul tired condition would be healed. By getting closer to Him, I also know that my focus would change. My thoughts would be dwelling on the positives in life and not the negatives. I would be more positive in my thoughts, words, more energy and enthusiasm. I know full well that God is with me and in control. He is directing my paths, His plans for me are already laid out. I simply must trust- must surrender my fears, my control, my insecurities, my will for Him and His will for myself and for my family. This is not a terminal illness unless I allow this soul tired condition to be the only thing I live for. This is just a viral type condition. With the proper rest (abiding and resting in God alone), and with a prescription of prayer, reading, memorization and obedience I can make a full recovery quickly. I alreay am feeling a bit better.