Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How Still Can I Be?

Here's some photos of my days as a chef/baker/caterer. Always busy...always creating things.

God sure does want me to slow down! I think I have and He seems to indicate in many more ways, that I am just not still enough! I never thought of myself as an active person, probably because I hate exercise so much (but I do do it), but in fact, God is showing me just how active I have been! I am not comfortable being still. And so what do you think God is calling me to do now? Be still! Be stiller than that! And even stiller than that!

In my recent study, it was pointed out that Abraham was told to do something initially - to "go to a land I will show you." That was it at first, wasn't it? He didn't hear all the details from God. He heard the detail he needed for now. The same is true of Moses. He was told to go back to Egypt and tell Pharaoh to let His people go. Moses didn't know about the Red Sea which was magnificent wonder from God. He didn't need to know about that until it was time - God's time.

It's the same for you and the same for me. God isn't any different now than He was then. And as I understand it with my mind, my heart doesn't like it one bit, or I am so used to living in a fashion that has to know all the details so I can get out there and get the job done, that I slip up even without knowing I'm doing it! ugh. but thank god for accountability. I have a friend who keeps telling me - "stay focused!" I need her to do that right now. I am distracted without even knowing I am.

So will the Grief Center happen? I believe so. Will I be given some ministry to do in the area of Grief? I believe I will? Will god use me to lead others to Christ? I believe He will. Why? Because I've experienced the proof that God has spoken to me in certain ways before and they came to pass. He has spoken these things to me over the past several months and I am confident of that. He's already shown me His unique way that He speaks to me. How it will happen? When? Where? How far into the future will it all happen? Will it be all at once? I have no idea!!! (I am sharing here the chaotic thoughts of this mind of mine that doesn't want to sit still!) The answer? I know what I need to do today! That's all. He gives me all the direction I need for this day to glorify Him and fulfill His will. If I am graveling to get to tomorrow, I will miss what how He wants to use me today!

The same is true of you! Join me in being still! Wait, watch, listen. that's my new Sunday school answer - you know the one that is save to give to every question? Yup...join in me in the mission god has given us - to enjoy the love relationship He wants to have with us. THAT is more important to Him than what we might accomplish so that is what we do while we wait. Keep reminding me of this!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Moldable and Teachable

In all my wrestling with God these past few months in a quest to understand this overwhelming passion to know what and where God is driving me to in this new season of life He's put me in, I have come to a wonderful revelation tonight. I've searched in all the places I am confident I could take on if He'd give it over to me. I have sort of been saying, "Lord, here am I; tell me whatever it is you want me to." That sort of sounds right, doesn't it? But my heart has meant - "I have walked a long and hard journey with you, Lord, and I am ready to take on whatever you have for me so bring it on, I can handle it, I can do it."

Tonight it dawned on me that He still wants me to be a pupil. I am still supposed to be the student while He is teacher. In fact, looking back in time, everytime He used me in one way, He first trained me. I didn't realize it until tonight but I've arrogantly been believing I'd learned enough to "get on with it"! Wow...there's some arrogance for you. But I'm not ashamed of that because I know others must go "there" too. It's part of our human nature. No. I am just so thankful for God's grace that He waited for me to see what has to happen next. I heard Pastor Yohannan of India recently say that people are often times blaming the enemy, the devil for their greatest downfalls when in fact, our biggest enemy and cause of downfall is our self centeredness! How true! I must be taught, trained and molded. He still wants to be the potter and He still wants me to be His clay. Self centered people can't be molded or taught anything!

I am so excited about this revelation, though it sounds simple. I know it may hurt a bit - think about being pushed, poked, smooshed, squeezed, spun around and around and even have pieces carved out of you. That's what God wants to do to us and I am excited about that! I am so relieved to understand where He wants me - mold-able and teachable. I'm content with that, and I better be because I'll always be there. God will keep molding me until I go Home! I'll keep you posted as to where my training takes me. Stay tuned to the journey of this little woman (well I hope to be eventually) who is trying to discern the path God has for her now in this season of her life, and as God reveals the path to her, one tiny step at a time.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Asking The Right Question?

Today's pics are of my grand children at Easter. I know Easter is not all about egg hunts but they are so much fun and when else would you do them? We are having a blast watching them find the eggs.

I am studying "Experiencing God" by Henry Blackaby and Claude King (for the 4th time!) but there's always so much to gleam from this study! It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that the men who wrote this study DO experience God in ways I still desire.

Being a widow after being married for so long is weird because you want to move forward in life but don't know what life is supposed to look like so I jumped on the opportunity to join a group of women to do this study again. I've been very aware of my desire to understand God's will for my life and the lessons are hitting that question right between the eyes! Here's a statement from day 2 from unit 1. "Always check to see if you have asked the right question before you pursue the answer. 'What is God's will for my life?' - is not the right question. I think the right question is, 'What is God's will?' " He follows up the meaning of this statement by pointing out the story of Moses. The question is not, 'What was God's will for Moses', but rather, 'What was God's will for Isreal?'.

As I reflect deeply on these statements and questions, I find myself now asking, "What are you doing around me?" "What is your will for those around me?" I like the statement made in day 3 (of unit 1). "We are a doing people. We always want to be doing something. Once in awhile someone will say, 'Don't just stand there. Do something'. I think God is crying out to us, 'Don't just do something. Stand there!' " I don't think I ever noticed that statement in the study before!

I do declare! Do these men know me? God sure made it clear to them that He heard the cry of many (like me) asking God to understand His will for each of us and used these men to deliver us the answer! I can picture myself going up on the mountain for 40 days while others wonder what on earth I am doing. Perhaps people would say (if anyone were looking, which they aren't - ha ha), "She never accomplished anything before and sitting up there on that mountain, she sure isn't going to accomplish anything for the rest of her life if she doesn't get going! She's already 52. What is she waiting for?"

That is really me asking this of myself, or at least I have been feeling that way. I think I've been wanting to show God that I am ready so go ahead and get on with "it". "Hey god, can't you see I am 52 and if I am going to do anything more than work for a place to live, I will need to get going!" But I am realizing that I will never see what God's doing around me unless I stop looking at myself and go join Him on the mountain first. Isn't that where Moses met God before He understood how God wanted to use him in God's plan? I want Him to show me His heart for all those He's looking at, listening to and loving on. I want to join Him in having His heart for everyone of them. I know that if I'd simply enjoy spending time with Him and getting to know His heart, He will give me a task to do and show me how, when and where to jump on board. I've always wanted a mentor - I've had one all along - my Heavenly Father! Would you pray for me? Pray that I will be like clay and allow him to mold me to be just like Him, to see what His desire is for His people, to have His heart and to fall in love with what He wants to do or is already doing around me!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Falling In Love

I don't know about any of you fabulous women reading this blog, but when I was young, the idea of falling in love, getting married and having babies one day was absolutely overwhelming at times. And when I dated anyone that I thought might be "it" it was all over for me. I was a complete mess. I couldn't think, drink, eat, sleep, talk, work, walk, or do anything without thinking of my love. Looking back, after kids, and years of hard work, it seems like it never happened that I was so "out to lunch" but I was.

As I've thought about how God wants to fill the holes in my heart (see yesterday's post) I've had to ask myself why I am not swooning as dumbfounded over the One who wants to be the perfect love of my life. Is it because He's invisible, is it because He isn't physically felt when He wraps His arms around us or hides us in the shadow of His wing? (Psalm 17:8, Psalm 36:7, Psalm 57:1, Psalm 63:7) Is it because He can't literally be heard to human naked ear? It doesn't matter the answer - it's probably a different answer for every one or every season. Here's the point - He longs for us to know Him intimately and to be the one we love above all else - ALL else!

I am attempting to understand how He wants to and can fill these needs in my heart so that I not only say, "I love the Lord my God" but I can say, "I love the Lord my God with all that I am and above all other things and people I have ever loved." If I ever figure it all out, I'll share it with you - but as I understand or experience it in bits and pieces, I'll share that too.

Be blessed and ask God how you can also be a blessing to others....

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Finding Joy, Peace and Fulfullment

(These are pics of when I was a little girl. The littler girl is my sister Nance; the man is one of my step dad's brothers.)

When I was a little girl, I lived with a step father who was mean to me. I was scared to death of him and often did things that physically hurt me but I didn't physically feel it. I had a bad habit of biting my nails and cuticles (even though I got spanked pretty bad for it on a number of occasions). I remember one season of my life when my parents noticed that the skin on the pads of my fingers were raw. They asked me what I'd been doing or what chemicals I got into the basement that would have eaten the flesh off my fingertips like that. I had no clue. They even took me to the doctor and the doctor had no idea. Looking back, it fit the trend I had in other things but I lived in such a cloud of fear and sadness that I didn't pay any attention to things I did because of it, things that hurt me. It became clear to me once when watching a puppy chew the wound of it's paw; it had to hurt. But I realized I had done the same thing. I would gnaw of my nails and cuticles and tear the skin off my fingers without even realizing it. The pain in my heart was greater than physical pain. Besides, numbness became an element of some kind of survival.

I am sorry to be so graphic, and I won't go into the detail of other things I did to my self as a kid, including three attempts to kill myself (a kid's version). At age 10, though, I was given some hope - or so I thought. I found out this man who beat me, threw me around the room, spanked me until my bottom was raw, and even almost killed my mother (at least once that I know of) was not even my real dad! The hope this gave me was that there was a daddy 'out there' that was going to be a perfect daddy, who would love me, hug me, tell me I was a good girl, a pretty girl, a smart girl (the lie I believed my whole life until I was in my 40's is that I was 'good for nothin'). I had the hope that one day I'd find my perfect daddy and he'd take me in his arms and love on me like a momma dog on a lost pup. (Let me add here, that I forgave my dad many years ago, even before I became a believer, and thanked him for things I had learned from him over the years. We reconciled before his death in the 1970's).

When I was thirteen I found out I had a brother. He came to visit us for a few weeks that year. During his stay, his (and my) dad replied to a letter my brother sent him. My dad's letter (which I found and read in secret) said that he didn't know he had another child but he was not interested in me. My hope was crushed!

When I became a Believer in Christ in 1994 at the age of 38, God spoke to my heart. He asked me to think about the hole I'd always felt I had in my heart. (It's hard to remember what that was like now-it was a very deep hole.) He also told me that He wanted to make sure that the hole would always make me wish for a perfect daddy so that when I came to that day in my life, a day pre-ordained by God Himself many, many years before, I'd know that HE was the PERFECT Daddy I'd always hoped for. HE was the hope I'd always wanted.

There's more to the story of my past and the story of my salvation, but as I sometimes hear people talk about loneliness, even in the midst of their own families and their own lives filled with a lot of people, I can't help but wonder what my life would be like now that I've lost my best buddy in the whole world, if God hadn't already shown me this basic truth (and is still teaching me). He wants to be the one to fill our heart. God has been teaching me for years that HE is the one who desires to fill up every single hole in my heart. Even though it still hurts at times, He wants to be there to fill every hole and be the very ultimate element that brings satisfaction, joy, and fulfillment in my life. There is not one person, no not one, who is not given the same opportunity to find joy, peace, and fulfillment in Him, the One who made each one of us. Giving ourselves to Him and trusting Him with our life instead of finding those experiences by obtaining more clothes, shoes, jewelry, a spouse, children, career, a bigger home, a dream vacation or whatever it might be (and I'd still love anyone of those things) truly is a deeper and more fruitful and fulfilling way to live - even when the dearest of those things are taken away from us. I praise God daily to know this awesome truth!
Here's a picture of my biological father and another sister. I met them both for the first time when I was 29 but we parted ways soon after until I became a Believer. Since then, they both have become Believers and my dad and I have reconciled.