As I type, I am in awe of our God, of MY God and the way that He is constantly at work in my life. This morning, as I typed out the scripture that I send out daily to my people…my “Prayer Warriors” as they are titled in my address book in my phone, actually, as I searched for a scripture to send out, I found it in the Joyce Meyer study notes that I had downloaded this past weekend on “Contentment and Satisfaction”, which God has chosen as the theme for my life with God this year. THIS is what God is doing in my life right now, in case you were wondering…
Anyway, this theme keeps coming up, as God is always faithful to do when He wants to tell us something. The verse I decided upon was Philippians 4:13 “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.” You hear it all the time, right? Well, as I type this I am also listening to a sermon by one of my favorite pastors, a good friend of ours, Jacob Armstrong at Providence United Methodist in Mt.Juliet, Tn. What verse is he preaching on? Philippians 4:13! What is he talking about? Being content in all situations, in ALL circumstances.
Why is this so important, SO life-changing to me right NOW? Because last week I had my own version of a mini-breakdown. I admit it. I threw a royal fit….with God. I screamed. I cried. I told Him that I knew that He is BIGGER than THIS. This situation. This circumstance. Which one, you might ask? I am ashamed to say, but I will confess it to show you just how selfish and ungrateful a person I REALLY am. I was mad at God for not selling our house yet. For allowing us to find yet another home that I “fell in love with” and that would be “perfect for our family”. I was MAD at God for putting this desire on my heart and not filling it…YET. I was MAD at God for Miller pooping in his pants…AGAIN. I was MAD at God because I have been working so hard to keep the house clean, working SO hard to read my devotionals (all, like 10 of them) everyday, working SO hard to try and BE the woman He wants me to be, and in all reality, to EARN the grace and the reward that He has promised me. Striving. Toiling. Working. IN VAIN. At least in my own mind. I actually decided that I was done with it. Done with trying. Done with thinking about what I NEEDED to do all the time. Done trying to please Him all the time and DONE trying to figure Him out.
Do you know what He said?
GOOD. Now I can actually do something in you. NOW I can actually work with you and use you.
Now that I KNOW that I am useless to God unless I surrender all of me to Him, NOW He can make BIG things happen. I understand that my “righteous acts” are as “filthy rags” to Him, because He is so pure. So righteous. So GOOD. And I am me. I am weak. I am inconsistent. I am flesh..and that’s it! WITHOUT God, that is.
But WITH God, WITH His Spirit in me, “I can DO ALL THINGS” through Christ who strengthens me….
He didn’t tell me this at that moment, like I wanted Him to. He didn’t immediately comfort me with this…or actually maybe He did, but I wasn’t ready to receive it. I repented later that night, for feeling blasphemous and disobedient. I prayed for God to show me how He loves me. I prayed for His love to be all consuming. I prayed to start over with God. Luckily, God happens to be in the business of fresh starts. Of new beginnings. Of doing a “new thing” and giving us a “new song” to sing.
The song “How He Loves Us” by the David Crowder Band has been in my head and heart all weekend and still today. Even as I was sitting on the couch Friday night, I heard Josh playing it on the computer in our room, randomly. I don’t know why, but he was playing it. Then he told me that the praise band would be singing it on Sunday. I didn’t actually get to hear that, because AC had gotten sick, but that was ok. I knew that God wanted me to know that it was being sang.
How has He loved me? Well, He’s told me over and over to just trust Him. Whenever my mind starts going to that place of anxiety, to remember that I trust Him. That He ALONE is trustworthy. Even when I don’t see things happening the way I think they should. To whisper to my Spirit, “I trust You”.
Just a little while ago, as I turned on my laptop to check e-mail and Facebook updates, I came across something that caught my eye, something that a friend had posted. I watched it in amazement and cried and praised God at the same time. Something that God put on my heart a LONG time ago. Something that I had very easily given up on because of life circumstances. Something I very honestly DID NOT WANT anymore. But today, as I watched and read and listened, I heard something that wasn’t on the video clip. I heard something move in my heart. I heard God whisper something in my heart that I realize now that I have been very adamantly pushing out of my mind and heart for a LONG time.
Not that anyone ever reads this, but even so, I am not going to tell you what it is. This is between me and God, at least for now. I’ve got lots of praying to do about it. Lots of spirit searching. But I will tell you this. The fact that I am even CONSIDERING this, is an act of God ALONE. But you know what? I HAVE PEACE. I HAVE TOTAL PEACE about this AND about our house situation, and about just about EVERYTHING else. Because if God is BIG enough to make this happen (and I KNOW that He is), then my God is BIG enough to do anything. And THAT is what I trust.
I couldn’t make this thing happen if I strived day and night. Not a chance. But thankfully, God doesn’t ever want us striving, for anything. If He wants us to have it, He wants us to have peace about receiving it…from Him. That doesn’t mean He doesn’t want us working hard in obedience to Him, just as Nehemiah worked hard after he prayed to God for His wall to be built (yet another story God keeps presenting me with on this journey!). It just means that when we are STRIVING and toiling, that if whatever we are stiriving for is in God’s will for us, striving is NOT part of the process. “Toiling in vain” doesn’t mean “working in vain”, it means “toiling or striving”. That may not make much sense, but I don’t know how to explain it, except that toiling will ALWAYS be in vain.
Trust God. Don’t toil. Don’t strive. Work hard. Pray even harder. “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will GIVE you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4.
“Living with joy and power because you’re connected with Jesus.” -Jacob