Keeping it Real
“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3
For the last couple of weeks, my well has been pretty dry…a sure sign I’m trying to do things in my own strength instead of relying on God…again! While this still feels raw and vulnerable, God told me I need to share what I’m going through so if anyone else out there is experiencing the same thing, they will know they aren’t alone…WE aren’t alone! Now, where to start…?
On July 17, 2016, God called me to come away with Him to a quiet place. How did He call me? My “Jesus Calling” devotional that day literally began, “Come away with me for a while…” and those words jumped off the page at me. After much prayer that night, coupled with several “convenient coincidences” (all God, of course), my feet have been on a new path - unfamiliar territory - ever since; which can be both scary and exhilarating. This blog has been part of that journey, and has taken me higher and deeper in my relationship with Him than I knew was possible, but I still have so far to go. I have to assume, since you are reading this, that you are on a similar journey. Please know, I am praying for you every time I publish one of these blog posts.
Fast forward 15 months and a lot of Bible study, prayer, and searching through many joyous moments and tearful struggles, and I find myself – hopefully – emerging from my current desert. I will admit, my deserts are not as dry as they used to be because I know enough now to press in - even though I don’t feel like it - instead of filling the void with movies, shopping, socializing and other distractions. I’ve lost a lot of my old self along the way, but have gained even more. I’ve learned so much, but feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of what I need to know.
Over the last week I’ve been awakened almost every morning by nightmares…anger, fighting, flooding (uncertainty), arguments, discord…struggles that do not make for a nice “Cinderella morning” experience. Instead of rising gracefully from my bed singing…it’s more like adrenaline pumping, chest heaving, tear-stained, emotional overload…not fun! This morning I awoke from my latest nightmare at 4:23am, looked at the clock and heard God whisper, “Ephesians” so I grabbed my Bible and read Ephesians 4:23, “and be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” Okaaaayyy…
In tearful frustration, I cried out, “What does that mean? That’s what I’ve been trying to do, Lord, but I feel like I’m failing miserably, and I don’t even know what I’m supposed to be doing! I can’t even pray right anymore! I feel like I am stuck between two worlds - not fully invested in this world, yet unable to access Heaven. I need Your help, but feel like You’ve gone silent on me. Please, please, please hear me, help me, let me feel Your presence. Holy Spirit, guide me, teach me, lead me, show me what I need to do, what I need to see; show me the information I need to learn to get past this wall I have come up against. I don’t get it? Please…just help me get it! I want to go deeper in our relationship, but instead, I feel even more distant, and I don’t even know who I am anymore.”
Suddenly aware time was quickly passing, I dried my face, took a couple of cleansing breaths, and pulled out my “Jesus Calling” because I needed to finish my quiet time before getting ready for work. And, of course, there was my answer! It said, "I will open up the way before you as you take steps of trust along your path. Sometimes the way before you appears to be blocked. If you focus on the obstacle or search for a way around it, you will probably go off course. Instead, focus on Me, the Shepherd who is leading you along your life-journey. Before you know it, the "obstacle" will be behind you and you will hardly know how you passed through it. That is the secret of success in My kingdom. Although you remain aware of the visible world around you, your primary awareness is of Me. When the road before you looks rocky, you can trust Me to get you through that rough patch. My Presence enables you to face each day with confidence." (Excerpt from "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young, October 18, 2017.)
WOW…just…wow! When I faced my inability to break down that barrier in my own strength, I had come to the end of myself…and finally found God's answer! And I knew that if I had read that devotional two weeks ago, without going through this struggle, it would not have had the significance it had this morning. Of course…God’s timing is perfect!
My Prayer: Father, You amaze me every day. You are so good, and respond to me at the perfect time when I call to You from the depths of my heart's struggle. Help me keep my eyes on You, the Author of my life and the Perfecter my faith, as I strive to draw ever-closer to You...my center, my strength, my every hope, joy, wisdom and peace. Thank you, Lord, for calling me, and for helping me hear Your voice and discern Your way. You are my highest, deepest, widest and greatest desire...all else pales in comparison to the glory of Your presence and the overwhelming love with which You saturate my being as I sit in silence with You. I worship You, love You, trust and believe in You with all my heart, mind, body, soul and strength. Lead me, Lord, and help me rest in You today, in Jesus' name, amen.
“…and be renewed in the spirit of your mind...” Ephesians 4:23
“Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!” Psalm 27:14 NKJV
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6