God never ceases to amaze me.
Last weekend we had a dear lady over for dinner. We were celebrating J's birthday, and this lady has been a special part of her life the past yr. She was so significant in building J up in the Lord, when times were so uncertain for us.
We had just moved away from everyone we've ever known. Not to mention, just prior to our moving, she (we all) had lost her dear grandfather aka GaGa to the dreaded C word...cancer. God sent to J, Bubb, David and I this encouragement by way of a piano instruction, and this very godly woman!
Well, during our lunch celebration last weekend with this sweet lady, husband and I got into a very "deep" conversation about certain questions; concerning the Lord, and the Bible. One that we got stuck on: "How do we truly know the will of God for our lives?"
This is an age old question for christians, that seems to always come around from time to time for us. We pray, we seek God through His word...we believe God is leading us in a certain direction...them BAM, God has us going in another.
Does anyone go through this too?
In our conversation, our friend told us this: "I believe if God wants you to be in a certain place, it will come around again if we truly have a heart to serve the Lord, and yield to his will".
Since this past weekend, I've thought about this. I asked of the Lord to show me if this is true.
The children and I have been doing our Bible studies and reading of God's word in Proverbs 2, and the word of the Lord says that above all else to seek wisdom through the Bible. First, in the word of God, time with God, but also through wise believers in Christ who are older, and wiser in the Lord. I've noticed so many folks much younger than I (and some older too), do not attend their ears to the wise godly counsel and experience of the older who are spiritually wiser. I don't want to be that kind of person. Of course, I'm approaching 50 myself, but those ladies who are older and wiser need to be heard. Even with hearing, we always need to be sure it lines up with the word of God.
This week God has shown me the importance of this. Many years ago the Lord put a desire to lead worship in my heart, since I was a young girl. When I was around age 7-8, I'd walk the streets of our neighborhood, make up songs and sing them to God. At an early age I had an awareness of God's presence with me, and so loved that comfort of His presence. I attended christian schools where I had to memorize scripture, so many of my songs were of me singing scriptures.
Later in years, choir was my favorite! I've never learned to read music, however I could sing what I heard. So this is what I did...mostly with groups...then later in church choirs.
Through the years God has been calling me out, yet staying in the crowd was more comfortable. It wasn't until I was in my late 20's that I actually got the courage to sing with a small praise team at Lower Creek Baptist Church. Then little by little I tried duets, then solos. Still, I never felt worthy enough or good enough.
The first "official" tryout I had was at Mountain Grove. In front of the music minister...and 3 other music ministers from the area. Shaking from head to toe, I sang, "God Loves You". After singing it I went home and thought to myself...it is OK that I didn't make it. I can still sing in my car and in my shower. :) Then found out later... that I HAD made it. :) The first opening to our church membership classes, a Wed night... I sang for the first time in a church of 800-1000! Yikes! God was taking me out of my comfort zone!
Still today, I have trouble being out of my comfort zone. Sometimes I wonder if this keeps me so relying on God.
My life through the yrs has been a series of attempts, and fear of failure. I pull out, just when things get going...and get a little tough...something might happen, and I mentally sabotage everything with my sense of not feeling worthy enough.
The instruments I have always wanted to learn was the piano, guitar, and violin. I've taken up piano, and put it away about 3 times. I was given a keyboard, and gave it back out of discouragement. When we moved away, God led me to another instructor, and to another keyboard. Then we moved again. It seems like something is always breaking the flow of this process. I've taken song writing lessons...didn't get to complete those due to finances (and have unfinished half written songs in my notebook...some that God woke me in the night with)
So, I asked God...are the struggles and roadblocks You saying to me "no"? Or not yet?? Or are these struggles and times of discouragement normal opposition (the enemy trying to distract and discourage me), and I just need to press in and press through...even if it is with the instrument, by myself, and with God...do I keep going?
Well, God has shown me through the music, that He does not let me go in this area. He does love me and pursue me with my calling of worship, because He knows how much I love Him, and desire to serve him.
Sometimes I wonder if other distractions come into play because it is easy for me to focus on something that comes natural AND is comfortable (such as art/photography) So...Do I do both music and photography? Or do I only focus on the music? Do I finish my degree which is in a totally different field??? These things I do not know. But do know that God keeps bringing the music back. Also, my family and children's education are of first priority. Wonder how those who are in ministry keep everything in balance!
Ok, so this morning??? I look down on my shelf, and notice an old journal that I had not picked up in several yrs. It is one that was given to me for my birthday...by my friend Cindy Lou Who. It has a coffee cup on the front (YUM LOVE COFFEE), and a beautiful piano instrumental CD in it (AHHHH LOVE THE PIANO). This friend knows my heart! :) I used this journal during a women's conference back home that Wade and Francine Ivey led. Francine always did a part of the conference encouraging women to walk in the Love of Christ...reminding us that we ARE "daughter's of the King of Kings".
There were interesting words on the pages of that journal. Words that eyes had not seen, nor hands have written in several years. In those words, the dreams God placed on my heart; one about creating a worship CD that would encourage the wounded and hurt hearts of the world. There are scriptures, and encouraging God given words on those pages. One being *We are being transformed from Glory to Glory. EVERY day put off the "old you", and allow the "new you" to come alive. This statement (which is based on scripture) reminded me that this is a DAILY battle of the mind. God never said he waves a magic wand over us, and we are all of the sudden happy and perfect. He said in this world we WILL have troubles, but to take heart because He has overcome the world. God's word reminds us that we are "renewing our minds every day".
Part of the struggles are from so many years of being called names, being told I am fat and ugly. Yes, those things are in the past, but they did effect who I am today. They are struggles in my mind that I daily choose to overcome. So yes people, those kinds of words hurt kids, and cause long lasting effects on people's lives!!
Recently a new friend from our church here gave me a book titled, "Do You Think I'm Beautiful" by Angela Thomas. I've not read it yet, but will soon.
Guess what was in this journal from the women's conference of yrs ago??? A suggestion from Francine Ivey to the ladies, to read the book, "Do You Think I'm Beautiful". Along with the verse Colossians 3:9-10 (New Living Translation)
9 Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. 10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.
Isn't it so neat how God works? When He knows something is going to be good for us/part of His path and plan for our lives, He presents it again and again. (Thank you Cessie for hearing from God and bringing me that book) Not only the words, but even sometimes the people who once encouraged us in the Lord. In the past yr I had hooked up with Francine, and several of my friends from that conference who deeply shared that experience. God is so neat like that!
Our pastor back home in western NC says this saying a lot; "God never wastes time or circumstances". Also, the sweet lady here in eastern NC says a similar saying, "Nothing is EVER wasted with God".
So, do I think I am beautiful? The answer is No. It isn't really all about what I think though...it is about what God thinks of me. It is about knowing that in Christ, he made me new and that He sees beauty in me. He created me and he thinks I am beautiful. So what He thinks of me is all that matters.
Other's around me will always be judging me or gossiping about me...or telling how I need to do certain things certain ways, or telling me who they think I am...or telling me that I am no good, and do not know how to do anything right. God knows the heart, and he sees things others don't. He sees it all, knows the real me, and the honest truth of the matter! He sees the GOOD in me, even when others (or I) don't.
God, You put the desires in my heart, as I seek You through your word, let me hear only Your voice gently guiding me. May I know and recognize whether others are speaking from Your heart, or from their own.