Monday, February 13, 2012

Deciding to GO.

I stumbled on to the pictures below in my iPhoto yesterday. They reminded me of something I thought I might share here. For a few years I had been frustrated, significantly frustrated, with a number of things. At the heart of it all; it was me I was frustrated with. I think I knew that all along but oh how easy it is to find other reasons and people to blame. This of course, only magnifies the angst of the frustration. I can be quite resourceful and so I put myself to the task of peeling off the layers that were weighing me down. With every plan I came up with to clear away a situation bothering me I became more confused and yes, frustrated. Once the confusion got annoying enough I had an epiphany (the one from which I had been running), I knew where confusion came from and it was not God. God is the giver of peace, such peace we can’t even understand, but we do have complete access to. I also knew my frustration and confusion were directly related. I was frustrated because I was not giving God 100%, and I was becoming increasingly confused the more ran from what he was asking of me. James is clear about the end of that, For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. James 3:16

As a young girl one of my favorite things to do was go out to my father’s garden. I enjoyed gardening but what I really liked doing was teaching the vegetables. Dad’s asparagus stood straight up and at attention. The staked tomatoes were tall and seemingly attentive the way the seemed to reach upward and outward. The pole beans on their wig~wam style sticks just climbing up so quickly seemed eager to hear what I had to say. Imagine my delight when dad decided to give Brussel Sprouts a go. For one thing by autumn the other plants were in canning jars but the Brussel Sprouts were just coming up, a couple more months to teach! And, each plant had many attentive little heads, what joy!!! Yes, each vegetable plant was a part of a wonderfully captive audience.

Somehow, no matter what I considered, I always knew that sharing and teaching was to be  a part of my life. Truth be known, I knew it was to be what I did with my life. I love my family, nutrition and healthy habits for healthy living are things I enjoy reading and talking about, but it has always been the Bible, God’s Word, that I have enjoyed hearing taught. I even enjoyed just the simple Sunday School stories and the flannel-graphs and well.... really anything at church as a child. When I decided to make Jesus the Lord of my life those stories became real to me, they started to become a part of me. As I grew older and life presented less than fun experiences; the Word of God became what I leaned on and trusted in. By this time I was enjoying the Bible on my own. Have you ever thought about how a baby needs milk from its mother and as that baby grows it begins to feed itself and can manage meat on its own? I look back on that time in my life when I picked up my Bible and began to feed myself rather than counting on a Pastor, Youth Leader, Sunday School teacher or Grandmother to nurse me. What a warm and lovely thing to to ponder. I felt so independent and yet knew that I knew I depended on God and God alone. I could just stop here and bask in that, but I want to say something so I will move forward.

Forward. I have wonderful children, each unique and amazing. I love to look back and think of some of the wonderful times watching them grow, think about some hard times and how God molded all of us through them. I enjoy thinking about their accomplishments, everything from first steps to some of the things they have done just recently. I enjoy thinking about some of the things God has done through me. But.......  You know that verse that Paul encourages us to move forward?

I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Philippians 3:12-14 NLT

I have heard that verse used to preach how we must not look at our failings in the past, after all Paul was the in the natural, and by his own admission, one of the worst of sinners. I do not remember ever hearing a sermon or teaching on not dwelling in the past about our good memories or accomplishments. Only a handful of times did God tell His people to wait to do something and there was always a purpose for future benefit when He did. For instance, when Jesus told some of the disciples, his mother and some other women and his brothers to wait there in Jerusalem until they received the Promise His Father had made about sending the Holy Spirit. He did this because once He was gone they would need the Holy Spirit to endue them with power to continue in ministry. Overall however, God is a GO God. We are told to GO to all the nations. Abraham was always being told to GO. Moses same thing, GO. God told Joshua that yes, Moses was dead, now get up and GO over the Jordan, you and all the people because He was giving them the land He promised. He told Joshua just as He promised Moses, every place Joshua placed the sole of his feet God had given him. God also as with Moses, told Joshua He would never leave or forsake him, just GO. I am not saying it is not good to remember good things and to think on the wonderful things God has done. What I am saying is we are not to camp there. We are to continue walking, GOing forward in the steps God has put before us and Jesus left example of.
I had become most frustrated and wanted to find any reason I could to not take responsibility for it. I did begin to talk with God about how the frustration was getting to be too much and that the pain of staying in that rut was quickly surpassing the pain of facing whatever it was I needed to face to get to the other side of the barren land of Frustration. In a later post I will perhaps go into some detail about how that happened, but for now suffice it to say when I completely yielded myself,  God showed me why I was being so resistant. I stopped my world right then and there. I had known on some level why I was not moving forward in the things God placed before me. Now, He gave me a clear and pretty full picture of the whole of that dilemma. Somehow now I believe I am suppose to put that out there, so here it is.
God called me years ago to teach, and not just anything but to teach people how much He loves them and specifically teach His Word. Here it is. There are things in my past I am not proud of and things I regret. As with things that bring shame and remorse; those things were sin. People look at the actions of people to judge God by. People that want to discredit God do this, but more grievously people who claim to be Christians do too. I did not want to bring anymore blows to the name of God and I thought stepping out in His Name, teaching His Word would bring undeserved marring to Him. The enemy had me right where He wanted me, and deception at its finest, I thought I was doing God a favor.

When God got through to me that day last August, and I realized the bondage I had been in and that God wanted me to do exactly what He called me to do and He would take care of me and anything that came of someone trying to taint my testimony or tarnish Him, I made a quality decision to get up and GO. God will never leave or forsake me and when my journey on this side of glory is done I want it to be said of me:

[That] I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to doJohn 17:4 NLT

So now I am pressing on to do just that. I enrolled August 11, 2011 in college and am majoring in Biblical Studies. I have eight classes done, my lowest overall class grade being a 94.40% with my overall grade thus far being 98.25%. Even at that, the beautiful thing is I have had that peace that passes human understanding that we have access to, and I have had that peace from the moment I decided to follow God and give Him 100%.

These note cards are one of the little projects I did back then when I was so frustrated. I went through some time of searching my heart and seeking God. These were made while I was earnestly seeking Him and just prior to my decision to obey God. Thank you Father for your patience and for never giving up on me. Thank you that you will never leave or forsake me. I love you, all of You, with all of me.


Kim said...

I'm glad you're feeling that freedom to serve the Lord as He has called you. When you worry about marring God's reputation by your own failings, remember that He can take it. He's been blasphemed, belittled, hated, you name it, since Man became a sinner. He's heard it all and knows your heart. You're not responsible for how other people react to what God speaks through you. That's their business with God. Be obedient. That's all.

Lovely cards, my dear. So frilly! Very comforting to look at.

Love to you!

Barbara said...

How blessed we are to know that God NEVER gives up on us and to experience that.
The cards are beautiful and the previous post one.