Returning to Trusting the Lord 101….

I’ve done it again!  The last time, I wasn’t trusting that the Lord would remember that I desire to be married and have a family if I don’t remind him every few minutes.  This time, it’s a bit different, but the result is still the same.

About six weeks ago, a friend, whose church is very small, asked me to teach Bible lessons to the children when the adults are having their home group. I thought about it for a couple of weeks.  I would like to say that I prayed and received an answer, but that’s not exactly what happened.  I may have mentioned before that I’m not a great pray-er and wait-for-answer-er.  In any case, I finally answered that I would teach the children.

The first time I’m supposed to teach them is tomorrow.  So, I’ve been pondering and pondering about what/how I can teach them, to make absolutely sure that they don’t stray from their faith when they are older.  I don’t want them to feel disillusioned with the faith of their childhood later in life.  Therefore, I’ve been trying to think of exactly what I need to say, in order to make absolutely sure that these children genuinely accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and don’t just follow along, because they are young.

RED FLAG of DISTRUST!

Do I have control over these kids’ salvation!?  No, I don’t.

Will God’s plans be thwarted, if I don’t say the perfect words?  Let’s go with “no” again.

I’ve heard several people talk about how we must hold our children (biological or heart children) with an open hand, in front of the Lord.  We have to trust that His will be done.  There are no guarantees that they won’t stray.  That they won’t all go to prison.  That they won’t stop going to church as soon as they start college – or earlier.  The Lord knows all of these things already.

I do know that I have a responsibility to teach them with care and make sure that they are hearing sound doctrine.  However, what they do with it is out of my hands.  Fortunately, these kids’ families are pretty strong Christians.  Plus, the children have regularly attended Sunday School at another church for quite a while.  So, I’m not starting with a blank slate.

Please pray for me and the children.  I think I have found the lesson that I would like to teach.  I just did that in the fifteen minutes between writing the previous two sentences.

This is all in God’s hand.  May I be humble and obedient while teaching His truth to these sweet, little ones.

First Blog Swap – Six Reasons to Rejoice that Christ is Enough in Our Suffering

I’m excited and honored to participate in my very first blog swap with Michelle Lesley, a Christian author whose writing is encouraging, and more importantly, theologically sound.  Up until now, I haven’t written much about theology.  Let’s say that I try to exercise great caution when I recommend someone’s teaching to others.  Michelle’s writing has encouraged me and challenged me; and I hope you will have a similar experience!

christ-is-enough

Michelle’s post, Six Reasons to Rejoice that Christ is Enough in Our Suffering, really spoke to me, as an Highly Sensitive Person.  It serves as a wonderful reminder of the hope we have in Christ, even in the midst of deep pain – especially when we seem to feel this pain with greater frequency and intensity than most.

Be blessed by Michelle’s post, and be sure to follow her!

Doing the Opposite Today of What I Said Yesterday – Almost

Make me absolutely honest and don’t let me be too poor or too rich.
    Give me just what I need.
If I have too much to eat, I might forget about you;
if I don’t have enough, I might steal and disgrace your name.

Proverbs 30:8-9

Yesterday at church, the pastor preached on the ideas of “expansion” and “contraction” in the Christian life.  He talked – in part – about the usefulness of times of difficulty (contractions) in our lives.  One way is that difficulty has a way of drawing us closer to the Lord than we typically are in times of great ease and prosperity.  During times of ease (expansion), we tend to fall into the trap of feeling that we have accomplished that circumstance in our own strength, and that same strength will empower us to remain in the comfortable circumstance.  Obviously, as self-reliance increases, reliance on the Lord will decrease.  Intellectually, Christians (should) know that it should never be the case that we stop relying on the Lord to supply our daily needs – one day at a time.  But does it really ever play out practically?  And for how long?

Yesterday evening, we had our small group meeting, at which we discussed the morning’s sermon.  One question asked how close we felt to the Lord during times of contraction versus times of expansion.  One person in the group said that they are going through a relatively good time right now, and don’t feel terribly close to the Lord.  They mentioned that a few years ago, there was a particularly difficult period.  During that time, they felt much closer to Him than they do now.

I answered this question from the other side of the coin.  I have had financial and job stress for a little over a year now. Month after month, God has sustained me in different ways:  a large tax return; a couple of roommates at different times; friends who allowed me to eat with them; benevolence from the church; Christmas presents of household necessities; and more.  I have also been working, but just that income has not been enough to cover my expenses.

There have also been some personal difficulties:  disappointment with my current work situation; learning how to navigate being an HSP; transitioning from one church to another; experiencing loneliness on various fronts.  All of these things have kept me pressed close to the Lord, as I try to figure out what in the world is going on with my life.

I have experienced great joy and closeness, because of the trust that I have had to exercise lately.  As part of my answer, I also said that I hope that God will allow me the chance to trust in Him and depend on Him, even when I’m not struggling so much financially.  In other words, I hope He won’t leave me without gainful – and meaningful! – employment for too much longer, just in an effort to keep me close.  (I’m sure there’s some faulty thinking on my part, but it’s just what I hope.)

Already this morning, I had a chance to “prove myself.”  And almost failed.  Not even 24 hours later!

This morning, I woke up feeling a bit ill.  So, I went back to sleep for a few more hours.  (Okay, there are some perks to just working part time.)  Suffice it to say, I got several hours of sleep in.  When I finally got up, I knew that I needed to spend some time in prayer. My first thought was something like, “Well, I’m not in any particular distress right now and don’t have any new need.  So, I guess I don’t need to pray.”

What?!

Thankfully, the Holy Spirit immediately reminded me of yesterday’s sermon and discussion on contraction and expansion, closeness to and distance from the Lord.  Thankfully, I was convicted enough to hit the ground and pray.  Admittedly, I did not pray for a considerable amount of time, but I did pray.

I praised the Lord for being who He is.

I thanked him for His free gift of salvation through Jesus the Christ.

I tried to bring to mind any un-confessed sin.  And confessed it.

I tried to recall the prayer requests of loved ones.

Let me be honest:  I’m a very lazy pray-er.  And I do get distracted easily.  Praying “on-the-go” suits me more.  Of course, prayer is not really about what suits me, and I would do well to remember that.

In any case, I’m grateful for the somewhat non-dramatic wake-up call that God gave me today.  I don’t want to ever be in such a good condition that I forget my God.  When I do find myself in more positive circumstances, my prayer is that I will continue to pray.  That I will continue to seek the Lord’s face.  That I will continue to acknowledge that it is all from Him and all belongs to Him.  That I will always find reasons to cry out to Him – even when my heart is not heavy with tears and stress.

New Year’s Eve Revelation

i started this post on New Year’s Eve, but was not satisfied with it. Truly, I still am not satisfied. However, I have not posted nearly as much as I’ve wanted to. So, here is my somewhat incomplete offering.

As I have done for the past several years, I took some time today to pray and reflect on my year with a journal entry. Usually, the entry turns out to be a list of events and changes (and more than likely, heartaches) that occurred during the year.

This year, as I writing, I noticed something different. I wasn’t describing events. I was describing lessons learned. I was charting my growth in the Lord.

This, in and of itself, became another evidence to me that God is with me and is growing me.

True, there have been many instances of deep, deep pain. (Happily, very few of them were romantic.) Still, God has revealed so much to me through this pain. Unfortunately, most of what has been revealed to me have been areas in which I have sinned and fallen short.

Later today, as I was driving, I was listening to a call-in radio show. The host was asking listeners to call in to share praise reports and give glory to God for what he had done in their lives in 2014. I started thinking of all of the ups and downs of my own year.

I thought about how every year has come and gone and has never transpired in a way that I could ever predict.

Still, through all of that, God has been there. He has been right beside me.

Today, I realized that I’ve always imagined the Lord as looking down on me from afar. I’ve (unintentionally) imagined him caring and directing what happens in my life, but also being detached in some way.

When I realized how wrong I am about that, I felt a new excitement. I felt a new motivation in my walk with God. Realizing that he is walking beside me through everything helps me know that I can handle everything! Sure, it might be through a flood of tears, but I recognize even more the extent of presence and power in my life.

I truly dislike falling into cliched-sounding statements, but fear that I have. Still, it’s very exciting to me to have finally grasped something that I have always known, but apparently have never truly apprehended.