Saturday, January 31, 2015

Gifts Are Meant To Be Returned

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans
for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)

Abandoning my daughter and husband were not part of my weekend plans, but time had come to let them go.

Nausea hit me like a ton of bricks. My body responded to my spirit. Sick to the core. Tears streaming I pleaded, “God, I want to say yes. But nothing is more important to me than my husband and daughter.”

“Exactly, my child,” He whispered. God knew my nothing included Him.

Panic set in. All the small steps of saying yes to God over the past several months led up to this extraordinary step of faith. With each surrender, the next area became easier to let go. This time it was different. What God was asking of me really didn’t have anything to do with me. Or did it? I knew God asked me to say yes to Him in a big way.

My soul ached. I sensed God’s nudge, “I want them both.” Tears flooded my vision as I struggled to hold on to the two most precious gifts God had given me. The wife and mother within me wanted to clutch them even tighter. To wrap them so tightly that nothing and no one could hurt them.

I dedicated everyday to see they were cared for. I didn’t want either of them to experience pain. If it were possible I think I would have wrapped them in bubble wrap and kept them from the world. “They need me to protect them. How can I let them go? Who will take care of them?” I questioned.

“I will.” God assured me.

“But they need me,” I pleaded.  God responded again with a sure and strong, “I will. I knew both of them before they were born. Do you think I do not want good things for them?”

Agony consumed me. I was sobbing and physically sick. This was it. All I had left to offer.  Fighting no longer, I surrendered.

In an instant of submission, they were out of my grip and in the arms of their Savior where they belonged.

Reality sank in. I had abandoned my two year old – alone with no protection. The intensity was more than I could bear. I wailed and cried out to Jesus. But in my soul I heard, “Emily, I’m with you. Trust Me. Just trust Me.” His tender words assured me I had not abandoned either of them, but provided them the greatest Protector possible. The weight of control lifted as each tear fell. 

Up to this point, I was living in fear and my trust in God was shallow. Releasing my husband and daughter allowed me to be empty of everything. Empty so God could fill me with Himself. His peace. His strength. His love.

God is an amazing gift giver. He loves to lavish us with His blessings. But if we hold on too tightly, we will not have room in our lives for the blessings He has waiting for us. I filled my life and heart with the two most precious gifts I had been given, leaving very little room for the Gift that should have overflowed out of my heart all along.

We fear the unknown. In panic we hold on even tighter, refusing to let anyone touch our gifts. God didn’t ask me to stop loving or caring for my husband and daughter. He simply asked me to let Him be in control of their lives.

With a heart and life overflowing with Christ, I now can love and care for my gifts like never before.  

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Dare to Change

I am not naturally a got-it-all-together individual.  I lock myself out of the house, lose my keys, and forget things often.  Laundry is never finished.  This list could go on.

I think we will all agree we are rarely where we want to be in life. 

I want to be organized.  However, I do not embrace the discipline it takes to do so. It takes very little effort to hang my keys on the hook beside the refrigerator, but it is easier to throw them on the counter by the door or just leave them in my pocket.  

The same lack of discipline to stay organized bleeds into my spiritual life and hinders growth. I want to grow closer to the heart of God, but when He begins working in my life I seize up and refuse to make the changes needed. I find it much easier to stay where I am and just want to be different.

Change hurts. It is uncomfortable. However, anything of real worth takes time and effort. God doesn’t ask anything of us that is unreasonable. He sacrificed His one and only Son so that we may live. It is perfectly reasonable that God desires His children to live a life committed to Him.  

Growing in our relationship with God requires us to pursue Him. Though our first instinct may not be to turn to God in prayer or read His Word on a regular basis, as we make the choice to do these things they will become more natural for us. We must begin wherever we are and move forward.  There is always from for growth. From the person on the front pew to the person in the back God wants more of us.

Though growth and change is tough and uncomfortable at times, God only expects what is reasonable from us.

Embrace the self-discipline it takes to grow and enjoy the journey with Him. Dare to live different and take hold of the changes God is prompting. 

“ I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, 
that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, 
acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” 
Romans 12:1

Sunday, January 4, 2015

In A Moment

My fingers have not moved across the keyboard for much too long. Much has changed in the last three years since the last post, yet much has remained the same. Life refused to slow down and somewhere along the way I was swept up and became lost in the whirlwind of it all. I went into survival mode, just trying to make it from day to day. My dreams and ambitions were pushed into the furthest corner. They seemed to disappear among life's demands.

Three years later, my fingers find their place on the keyboard once again and it feels good. It feels like life isn't in control so much. There is something peaceful about the clicking of the keys as I find myself gaining perspective on the happenings around me. The last few years have brought some of the toughest times in my life. My focus remained on the circumstances. Life continued to suck every bit of confidence, joy, and love I could muster up. That is until I had another But-God moment. This moment infiltrated my perspective and has allowed me to dig in the corner of my soul. This moment resulted in grace breathing life into my God-size dreams and ambitions once again. 

Life is messy and hard. That will not change. In the midst of it all, we must know there is a force much stronger than whirlwind of life that seems to carry us away.

If life's circumstances have you fighting to survive the day - stop. Stop fighting against life on your own - it will win every time. You must have something more within you to gain the joy, love, and confidence you once knew or the peace you long to know.   

I pray a But-God moment for you.