Monday, October 29, 2012

To Give Up or Not to Give Up?

To give up or not to give up? That is the question that I ask of me.

Sometimes giving up is good. Sometimes giving up is exactly what God is asking me to do. Sometimes giving up is bad. Sometimes God wants me to preserve and not give up. So when do I know which one is which?

I have wavered back and forth between both. One day I may be sure that I need to keep praying, keep believing and the next day all I want to do is give up. Sometimes this is based on events that encourage or discourage me. Sometimes it is based solely on my emotions. Sometimes it is based on misunderstanding or misperception. I just feel confused about what I should do.

I pray. I have prayed about this over and over again for years. I can't believe sometimes that it has been years. I never thought I could wait as long as I have. I can think back and remember that there was no way I could wait for months, let alone years. I have been waiting years now.

I am not the only person who struggles with this. I am not the only one struggling with waiting. I am not the only person who struggles with whether or not I should keep asking, seeking, and knocking. I know I'm not the only one, but sometimes it sure feels like I am.

So, I need to know which I need to do. I need to know whether I keep keeping on or throw my hands up and move in another direction. I know that the only one who can answer this for me is God, but I do wonder if others who are waiting, or have waited, have any words of wisdom that you will share. It would help me to know there are others and I'm not in this waiting game alone.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Obedience Even When It Doesn't Make Sense

Have you ever had God ask you to do something that you've done before and it didn't work?

This morning God woke me up early, very early, and I had to ask Him why. I kept thinking if I can just get my brain to turn off I could go back to sleep. That didn't work, so I changed directions and ask God why I was supposed to be up. He told me to do something that I have done before, something I promised I wouldn't do again unless He told me to. I definitely questioned Him. I asked Him that was just some crazy, too-early-in-the-morning thought or was it really Him. I told Him if it wasn't Him to let me know otherwise I would do it.

Well, I feel back to sleep, with less than 30 minutes before the alarm was to go off, and started my day. I let the dog out, feed the cats, and climbed back into bed to read my Bible. After letting the dog back in and finishing my chapter I got on the computer to check email and Facebook. I was already trying to ignore what He had told me to do.

The more I tried to ignore it then more stirring there was inside of me. I knew that even though every other time it hadn't worked, hadn't helped, He was asking me to do it again. So I went ahead and did it, even though I was still having internal debate with Him.

I have no idea how it will work out this time. It might not work in anyway that I can expect. I may never see any result from it, but I know that I needed to be obedient and do it. And when it was done I felt peace because I knew it really was Him and not me. Even now, more than 12 hours later, I still feel that sense of peace.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Admitting That I Don't Believe

I don't believe that God is going to give me the desires of my heart.

There I said it. I have thought it, wrestled with it for years, and tried to pretend that I don't believe it. But I do.

I know in my head that it isn't true. I know the verses that tell me that He will, that He wants to. I know the messages taught, books wrote, and songs sung. The problem is that it doesn't really matter how much my head knows it if my heart doesn't.

This morning I deleted part of my post from yesterday because it included something about the desire of my heart. It was too much of me to leave out there. It was too much of what I long for Him to do and since I struggle with believe He will, I just couldn't leave it out there. I will admit deleting it hurt me, but the idea of letting other people know it and it not happening hurt just as much if not more. Writing it and feeling the overwhelming sense of rejection caused me to cry myself to sleep.

I woke up with the same ache and went straight to the computer to delete it. On my drive to work I kept trying not to cry about it and that led my to pray. So my new prayer is not for the desires of my heart. My new prayer isn't that I will know about how much He wants to give blessings to me. It isn't that I see what He can do. My prayer isn't that I will know the character of God. My new prayer is that I will know God. I want to just know Him. Maybe if I can just get to know Him, He will change my heart.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Not Feeling Very Strong and Courageous

"Be strong and courageous!" When God said these words to Joshua he was about to enter the Promised Land. So why would he need to hear those words when he was going into the Promised Land? Because it was full of giants and all sort of ites that wanted to keep the land. The whole verse is "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not fear, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9 ESV)

I have to admit that when I hear this verse it does give me strength. I mean if the God of the universe says that He will be with me wherever I go why would I ever be afraid. Well, it might have something to do with those giants and ites that are waiting for me to come into the Promised Land and they don't want to leave.

God has been taking me through my own wilderness experience and I'm on the verge of entering a Promised Land. Unfortunately, like all Promised Lands there are things to fear in it. I fear the unknown. I fear failure. I fear rejection. See, God knew that Joshua would have things to fear, that he would be afraid, so He told him not to because He would be with him. God says the same thing to me when there are things to fear, because He knows my fears and He knows the giants and ites that I will be going up against.

I keep trying to think of what I want. What I want my Promised Land to include. Of course, just because I want it to be a certain way doesn't mean that it'll turn out that way. I would love to custom order my Promised Land.
It would include a job where I get to do something creative, something that brings me happiness. (Teaching has let me be creative and has made me happy, but it is time for a change.) I can think of the things that I love to do. I love to cook and I really love to bake. Not sure that I am good enough at either of them to make a living. I love crafts and making things. The idea of doing that is very appealing to me. Lately, I have wanted to take old furniture and transform it. It would allow me to be creative. I also really like the idea of transforming something old into something new.

Of course, none of these options have the security of my present job. That is one thing I fear. I fear not the fact that I don't know what I will be doing. I fear that I might not have the financial security that I have now. Teachers don't make a lot of money, believe me, but I do have a decent paycheck that covers my bills. I have health insurance. I have retirement. The idea of walking away from those securities cause me to fear.

So I guess the question is, do I continue to stay where I am and let the fear win or do I step out into my Promised Land? Do step out into the unknown? Into a land full of giants and ites? Honestly, part of me says no, but the other part of me can't wait until I get to make that first step in.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Judge Not

This morning I was convicted of holding other people up to my standards. It is so easy to judge people based on my perspective, my experiences, and my belief. It is so easy to expect people to react like I would react, but it is not right for me to do so.

Recently someone decided to stop speaking to me. She has her reasons, although they are not based on what really happened. I could judge her reaction based on how I would have handled it, but I choose not to. Not to sound like I have it all together, I have make this decision daily, and sometimes it is not an easy decision to make. It is so much easier to choose to react badly.

Another situation, one that doesn't involve me at all, recently happened and someone made a comment about how they would have reacted if they had experienced the same things as another person. It is easy to say, but it is so not true. We have no idea how we will react to situations that we have never faced. We can't look at our own lives and think we will know how we will react to situations we have never faced, possibly will never face.

But neither of these situations were what I was convicted of this morning. I realized that I had been holding another person's life up to my standards. I had to stop and think about what my life has been like, what my exposure to Christ has been, and what my relationship with Him means to my life. This person has not had a life like mine. This person has had infrequent exposure to the Truth and has been mislead more than not. My childhood wasn't easy, but even so it wasn't as difficult as this person's. I don't know how I would react to life if it was like this person's. So I was convicted of judging based on my life.

Ultimately, this conviction lead me to tears and prayers on a deeper level. On a level that looked beyond me and even beyond this person. The prayers were for this person to have a chance to be exposed to Truth and to develop a true relationship with Him.

Will I slip into the habit of judging? Judging based on my life and believes? Yes, I am sure that I will, but I hope that it will become easier not to.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The One That I Love

This blog exposes me. It makes me put out there things that I would rather keep all to myself. Things like fears, feelings, dreams, and longings. I especially want to keep my longings to myself. I keep just enough of me back. I have such a hard time letting it all out, letting it go. I don't want to risk being judged, being rejected. Part of me wants to spill it all out and let it go. Part of me dreads that possibility. But right now I feel like I will bust if I don't pour some of me all over this post.

I love someone. I mean truly love this person. I want this person to experience joy, especially the joy of a relationship with Christ. I want this person to not have to experience the pain of strained relationships with family. I want this person to know he is wanted, that he is loved. I want him to experience a stability in his life that he has rarely had. I want him to have great friendships. I want him to have success in the things that he loves to do the most. I want him to smile everyday. (He has a great smile.) I want him to feel loved. I want him to know that I love him and that no matter what I always will. No matter the miles of separation. No matter the past. No matter the present. No matter what the future may bring. I want him to know, but I fear that he never will.

Oh, I have said it. I have showed it. I just don't think it has been enough.

You see this person I love is not an adult, but a child, well a teenager. I first knew I loved him when he was only 9. I had the strongest pull on my heart that I have ever had in my life. I am not a parent and although I can't be sure, I believe I love him like he was my own child. Like I said, I have never loved anyone like it before or since. And just when I thought maybe he would become more apart of my life, it all crumbled in front of me. I was devastated and the pain of that time is still with me. In some ways the intensity of the pain has diminished but in some ways it is just as strong as ever.

I have tried to keep my hands totally off and let God do what He will, but it has been hard. I have put my hands in and it hasn't gone well. This morning I was trying to convince myself that I could put my hands in just a little bit and it would be okay, but I knew that it wouldn't be. I knew it wasn't for me to do. I knew it wasn't about him. I knew it was about my selfish feelings. I knew I had to stay strong in my faith and keep my hands off.

That doesn't change the fact that I want the pain to go away. I want the joy of being apart of his life. I miss him terribly. I pray for him. I cry for him. I hope for him. And for right now, that is all I can do.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Change Is Happening!

Life is full of change. And I am pretty sure this is one of those times for me.

Right before I started teaching my last year in New York God spoke to me. He told me "don't look past this year." So in faith I knew I was supposed to finish out the year and then quit my job, sell my place, and move. Move where? I will admit  a few times that year my faith was shaky to say the least. The school year ended and I no longer had a job. I had decided to move to Texas with my parents, but I still owned my place and my last paycheck was coming soon and then what. I had August left. After August I would be broke and stuck. In August a man came along and with only a day or two before the I was supposed to move my place sold. The moving van was packed and my brother and were set to drive to Texas.

God came through on the last moment. Can't say I didn't wish it had been sooner, but He was right on time.

My last year in Georgia I knew it was my last year even before school started. I knew I was going to move to North Carolina. I put my house on the market and it just wouldn't sell. A few came and looked, some even acted as if they would buy and then nothing. I got new job in North Carolina and I knew I was to go, but the house wasn't selling. My faith was shaky again. I left North Carolina but this time the house didn't sell at the last minute.

It never sold actually. It was foreclosed because in almost 2 years I had eaten away my savings paying for it and living in here. My faith was really shaky through that whole process, but the end it all was for the best. That is another story altogether.

Last school year I felt like God was doing some major work on me, preparing me. The school year was difficult and I kept thinking that I wasn't sure how much more I could take. I thought something was going to change. God told me on January 1st that this was the year. I, of course, had my ideas of what that should mean, what I wanted it to be. None of what I expected has happened and my faith has never felt so shaky as it has the last month.

Then yesterday I finally realized whatever change He has in mind has to be better than this. So I made a decision to embrace it. I have no idea what the change will bring, but I know embracing what He wants for me has brought me peace. And I am excited that someday I will be posting about all He is doing and showing me!