A couple of weeks ago at my ladies Bible study, I chose the word, “daughter” as my one word response to focus on with God. The following Sunday my pastor unknowingly delivers a sermon in which, it is the only time in the Bible where Jesus uses the word, “Daughter.” He was speaking to a woman in health crisis for 12 years. Nobody could help her. She had exhausted all possibilities for healing and had nothing left… I was seriously weeping while he was talking. People were staring, it was that bad – a snotty, wet, mess.
If that’s not crazy enough, the other night we went to the Fellowship of Christian Athlete’s “Fields of Faith” program. The youth group speaker at the event chose to speak on this same scripture. Crazy.
Probably the best craziness of the week was the unexpected friends reaching out in a loving way that you just know God sent you an angel.
One of my forever classmates sent me a message. She gave me honest experiences of hers and reached out to me in the most loving way. She suffered the loss of a child and said that afterward she had to choose: Serve the God who took her child away or serve the God who gave her the child. If you mentally put yourself in that mother’s shoes, you can see how your feelings would shift depending on your perspective AND you can feel that you really do have self-control over your feelings. To serve the God who takes away stirs up bitterness, anger, sadness, disappointment. To serve the God who is always giving and always present, stirs up patience, kindness, and gentleness. I don’t think you can serve both and that’s what I’ve been doing.
A couple months ago my friend posted that she accepted the challenge to memorize the book of James. I didn’t think I had enough to do, so I decided I’d try. She is way ahead of me, but I’m working on it. A portion of the first chapter stuck out at me in an ugly way. I haven’t wanted to address it, but I think that with the paradigm shift from my friend I can face it.
The scripture says to ask for wisdom and God will give it to you. BUT – you must believe and NOT doubt. “That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord. Such a man is double-minded and unstable in all he does.” James 1:7-8. I am that girl, man.
I think I’m afraid to trust the God who gives because I don’t know how to deal with disappointment. I’m learning. I’m learning to let GRACE be enough, not what I do, but what He already did. I’m learning to let go of me and who I want me to be and embrace what He has for me, instead.
The truth will set you free. Seeing things in black and white and getting people’s honest feedback. My friend, Keith, my friend Laurel, my friend Diana, my friend Lindsay, my friend Bryon, my friend Sara… my friends have stepped forward, stopped what they were doing, and helped me.
I’m thankful this is on “paper.” I’m thankful I got it out. I know I have shown my ugly, selfish, pitiful, and difficult side. If I didn’t have the courage to share this gross side of myself, I don’t think I would be able to move forward, because now I know I have people who can help me. Thank you, friends, for seeing the mess I am and loving me anyways. One of the best illustrations I’ve heard to show you where my heart is, goes like this:
A little boy is at home waiting for his daddy to get home from work. He decides to surprise his daddy with milk and cookies and an hour into it – the cookie jar fell and broke, spilled milk, crumbs, disaster in the kitchen, broom in the sink, dishwasher going, chocolate fingertips and cheeks. Daddy gets home, sees this mess, and scoops down to pick up his little boy and then… hugs him so tight. He knows where the boy’s heart is. We see a mess and God sees His child who was trying to show love.
I am making a mess of things! I know He must certainly shake His head at me, but I feel peace knowing that there is a gentle smile and warm hand reaching out to me. I am His daughter and I know He has plans to prosper me and not to harm me. I think that the next step in my spiritual maturity is to maintain an attitude of choosing to serve the God who gave me life – and not the God who has made this life painful. “Perseverance must finish it’s work so you may be mature and complete not lacking anything.” James 1:4