Thursday, May 28, 2009

A little of this and that

How do you get to the place where you rest in Jesus asleep in the bottom of the boat.......even when life tells it should be otherwise?
We have been on this journey now for over a year.
There were times in the beginning where my emotions we in such a state of raw pain and turmoil that I really could not imagine life any other way. It had been that way for so long. Battles with a child, storms, challenges with our property, a death of a loved one, hurtful people at church, and a time without a job........what a mess!
And there were so many times when I thought that I would never be in a spot where I would find peace and joy. ( I have since learned no life situation will bring peace and joy that stays)
You know it is great to say you have peace and joy when life is good.
But can you walk in that peace and joy when things in life are topsy turvy?
Are we supposed to be able to do that?
I have often thought of Paul and the life he lived. Either he was a fake or there was something that had changed in his thinking. I mean really when is the last time you were lost at sea for a night and a day? Or you were beaten and left for dead? How about going without food or clothing? There was something so changed, so renewed in his thinking that he was able to go through those times with peace and joy.......knowing that although the times were not comfortable.......he could rest in the hand of the one who held him.
He has always fascinated me.
I have often thought how awesome it would be to have the walk he had.
And yet, I can't help but wonder if all the "hard times" were what got Paul to the place of being content in whatever state he was in.
Did he look back at a beating and time in jail and remember how God had brought him through and think......He was there and we made it through....He is faithful.
And so then as he floated on the open land in site.....was he able to rest in his spirit because he knew the presence of the Lord was there even then?
I can't help but think this was it. I think he finally got that if he submitted to the will of the Lord....nothing in life could take him down unless God permitted it. And with each new drama.....I believe his awareness of the power of His God working through him grew tremendously.
Eventually he was able to sit in prison after being beaten and sing praises to his God.
For a split second I think- oh God I want to be like that....and then my flesh jumps in and I think---back up just a minute you don't want to have to go through what Paul went through to get there!
But is that true?
There is something deep in my spirit that is drawing. Something that looks into the face of God and says-I don't care what my flesh feels...and no I don't cherish the thought of being beaten....but I would be willing to go there for You....for your glory.
And so life tumbles in.
Maybe instead of a physical beating the growing comes by way of betrayal and verbal abuse by someone who should be on your side.
Maybe instead of being lost on the open go through a time of drifting where nothing seems right and there is no relief in sight.
I can not tell you when the change began to take place in me. I kind of think about it this way. Imagine that you are busy hammering a nail into wood when all of a sudden you miss the nail and instead hit your finger.
Expecting excruciating pain-like all the other times- you are amazed when it hardly hurt at all....just a little discomfort.
You think---How Cool!......and move on with the job you were performing.
That is where I am right now. We are seeing the hand of God make changes in our lives. And isn't that what growth is all about? It would be cool if those changes took place right away....but they don't. If we really are to walk in peace and joy......there is a working out of this salvation we have been given. Well, the salvation is ours....but where we go from there.....that is a joint action between God and our willingness ot submit.
And I think the hard times are the shortest route to God working in us the life of His Son.
This past week there has been some working out taking place. And it was good!
We got word that Keith would not be eligible for unemployment. And for a second I could feel my insides start to get a little hard. So I called out to the source of strength and He reminded me He was in control.....and after I listened...peace returned. He knows...and if we let Him- He will show Himself evident in EVERY part and in every detail of our lives.
It might not be a job loss....or discouraging may be the people you live with or work with. He makes a way to abide in Him if we will just follow the truth.
He will keep him in perfect peace who's mind is stayed on Him.

So Keith went to check out the paper work we had gotten-six letters all saying not approved-
and yet when he went into the office....they said to disregard the papers he was approved.
It is just the little things in life that usually get us all ruffled and off tract.
And many times we find that what we thought was a bomb......was merely a test by our Father.
A test either to show us where we still need a little work or a test to show us the work that has taken place in us by the Spirit.

It has been a good journey.
We are not out of the tunnel yet.....but He is guiding us.
Even on things like unity between Keith and I. The time we have had together has been good.
We have fished and talked....some deep level stuff.
It is amazing what comes out when life gets quiet.

One little thing and I will close....promise ;)
We attended a meeting the other night at is called a Newcomers class. Neither Keith nor I have been sure if God wanted us to join the church we have been attending. We really love the pastor and the church staff...but we did not know if God was planning on keeping us here.
The meeting was just amazing. We listened to the pastor and church staff tell us about themselves and how they arrived at the church. They spoke of their passions for the work they were called to do and how they saw the evidence of God moving.
It really felt like we were having church....the presence of the Spirit was incredible.
We had a time of question and answer......also a great time.
And then we left. We had not gotten far from the church when Keith began to talk about what God was telling him. Now some of you may have husbands who have always been strong spiritual leaders in your home. Mine has been a little on the silent side...probably having to do with what God was doing in his life under the surface. But to hear him opening up like this really hit me. We both left the meeting knowing without a shadow of a doubt that this was where we were supposed to be. So this Sunday we will join with this body by our transfer of letter from our last church. (this is what Baptist do)
Of course we are already a part of this body because of the work of Jesus.....but this allows them to know that we want to join in the work and support the purpose of the church.

There is more....but I have already taken up to much of your time.
I will say this....God is FAITHFUL!
He has a plan.....and when we bow our knee to that plan the walk becomes amazing!

And this is for Melaniejoy....those flowers.....they do open in due time! ;)
And that is a lesson in itself!


MelanieJoy said...

Oh! Girl, I was standing as I read and as I type! How powerful God is on our lives right now! Faithful...our Faithful God. The sound just doesn't compare to when the feeling is this strong.
Do you know another thing that blows me away right now? You know the saying..."we are friends in sunshine and shade"? It so amazes me how we at first were in this stage where when one was down the other was up. So we kind of balanced in encouraging each other. Now it's like lately we have been sitting in the shady season and stormy times at the same time. And know the sun...Son is shining bright on us at the same time!! How crazy good is He?!!
Love ya Girl!! Walking the Journey out...woohoo...I'm standing up again. Heehee.....Let's keep going, ok...=)

Denise said...

Such a wonderful, very inspiring post sis. God is so amazingly awesome.

MelanieJoy said...

P.S. and you know what's funny...
I like the flowers as much if not more when they were a closed...when they were WAITING to open! =)

luvmy4sons said...

What a wonderful open heart felt post. I think my favorite part was the line that said that you had learned that life never brings peace and joy that stays! Amen. Only Jesus does that. I believe there were many moments in Paul's life that he had great angst and tredpiation calling out to the Lord for help. We see his letters written and God had poured out great faith and joy into the man's heart...but in those moments before he had too many to look back upon...He had to grow too. I love it that God took care of your unemployment. It was as if He was reminding you He has your rear guard. Great pictures...thanks again for sharing your heart. You know very much so that you do not walk alone in this walk of faith. Blessings to you.

Melanie said...

You know I am always thinking "okay, if I can just get this taken care of so I can stop worrying about this, I'll have peace and be happy." But when one trial ends another one seems like it is ready to start. I am learning to really lean on God and to trust that he has my best interest at heart. It's amazing how things just "seem to happen" when I start to pray.

Shirley said...

Awesome post...thanks for sharing.
Also, thanks for the email....God
gives us such wonderful friends
here in blogland. I so enjoy your posts.

God bless.

Michele Williams said...

Such an awesome and inspiring post! So true! Through it all... God is always faithful! Amen! God bless you dear friend.

Oh Sew Good said...

I think I get into the most trouble when I try and make my finite mind think like His infinite. Sometimes there's no way around it and all we need to do is T - R - U - S - T Trust!

Oh and RYC: I'm not telling you what to blog but I wonder if you might elaborate on what you said a little more. I am intrigued. (foreign country/church, etc.)