Prayer

Finding My Voice

I began following Jesus after my first child was born. God grew me in my faith right alongside my children as they grew up in church. I started serving in pre-school, children, and youth ministries until God had me step out a couple years ago when I agreed to be part of a women’s writing team for a study on Psalm 46:10. I would be jumping in the deep end without my floaties, and trusting God with His plans for me.

I have no problems talking to strangers, or oversharing for that matter.  But one of the hardest parts of the study was the moment I had to stand up and publicly give a little insight into myself. Now mind you, I am typically comfortable speaking in front of large groups of children or teenagers, but these were women: Godly women, women of all ages, backgrounds, gifts, wisdom, and status in our church and community. When I got up on that stage, I was physically shaking and terrified. I heard it in my unsteady voice.  The enemy was on full attack mode and whispering all sorts of doubts and telling me how unqualified I was to speak to others. I persevered, and what you are about to read, was what I read aloud to a full room of ladies whose eyes were parked on me.  

About 7 years ago, I was in a bad place and stayed there for some time. I felt alone, I had health issues, and feelings of failure for quitting my job as a Jr. High science teacher, and at the bottom of my spiral down I was on the verge of ending my 20 year marriage. Thankfully, I sought help. At the conclusion of my very first session with a Christian counselor he told me these 3 things about myself:

  1. I have Mommy issues
  2. I have abandonment issues
  3. I didn’t have a voice. 

The first two were well realized, and self diagnosed years before. However, I wrestled with that last one for a while. I didn’t have a voice? How is that possible? I didn’t keep things in, I’m an open book. But I soon realized that for most of my life I wasn’t being heard, or not by the people that mattered most. I began writing then as part of my therapy. It didn’t start out great either. There was some ugly crying, ripping up papers, and what I like to call “serious butt time.” A nice way to put it is that a whole lot of time, and work has gone into the transformation and healing I have experienced.

But you know what? I found my voice in writing. I found that despite my ADHD tendencies, I could focus when I dove into pen what started out in a old partially used cheap spiral notebook. I found that I naturally began writing to my audience of ONE.  My therapeutic writing, pouring my guts out morphed into prayers and meditation and lessons from God.

My intimacy with the Lord has grown exponentially over the years. Early each morning my time with God isn’t just a luxury, or a box to check on my Christian to-do list. Plain and simple, it is hard work, takes time, but it is worth all of the effort and has become a daily necessity for me. Why? Because HE hears me. He always has time for me. He extends grace. He created me and loves me beyond measure. He is mine and I am His. He will never leave me, nor abandon me. Jesus is all I need.

To be continued…Finding My Voice (conclusion)

After my obedience in posting I’m back, I was prompted to make an entry every day until God tells me to stop with the daily submission for public viewing. I want to keep it short, so tomorrow check back to read the closing of this public testimony. Have a blessed day, and know that you are not alone.

faith

Control

I have been parked in the book of James for many weeks now. I am reading scripture, praying for wisdom and deep understanding. I plainly ask the Holy Spirit to shine a light on any dark places where I do not fully allow his truth to penetrate and expose my hardened callouses and sinful pride. I am watching Francis Chan’s video series on James, working through a guided study by Max Lucado, as well as healthy discussion in my adult small group.

Lucado posed a question that seriously captured my attention; it is this:

Would you change the way you are living if you could see your future?

Why or why not?

In high school I lettered in debate of all things. Believe it or not, I am not fond of arguing. I do like researching and presenting logical facts, as well as being able to present and defend both sides of a question. My first response to this question on a personal level is YES. Yes, I would want to see the results of my lack of faith and sinful actions. Therefore, if I could quickly see the bellyflops and heartache of my poor choices, I would steer clear and adjust my words and decisions. Wouldn’t anyone want to avoid deep hurts to themselves and others they love? I would certainly change the way I am living if I could see into my future.

Take time to read James 4:1-10

Let’s look at it more pragmatically. As Christ followers, there are certain truths we all profess to believe.

  • His ways are higher than our own. Isaiah 55:8-9
  • We pray for God’s will to be done. Matthew 6:9-13
  • All good things come from God. James 1:17

I’m about to sound like I’m steering off course here, but stay with me. Do you remember the popular television game show, Let’s Make a Deal? The audience was typically dressed up in crazy costumes and trying to get noticed. As the chosen contestant was presented with different choices along the way hoping to be one of the final standing to play for the big prize hidden behind a door, box, or curtain. The excitement was fun for all, and what made it even more entertaining is that there was always the possibility someone may get ZONKED and end up with nothing of value other than a good laugh.

All of us have a free gift of grace, Jesus took care of that on the cross. He knows each one of us, and knows us better than we know ourselves even down to the number of hairs on our head. We live in a fallen sinful world, and many of us may think we get zonked more than average. Moreover, what the world would consider a ZONK, bad luck, a series of unfortunate events, etc. isn’t always what it seems. Many of the worst situations in my life, have been times that I turn to God and lean into him with a comfort that can not be explained until you have lived it personally. In life we have choices to make everyday. We don’t know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.

If I truly want to pray, and live according to God’s will, I must trust him. I must be willing to be obedient to let him lead me. I must give up my craving to know ahead of time and stop “helping him out.” That is something I have a tendency to do. I want control, so sometimes I try to get a sneak peak by snooping around, nowadays cyber-stalking is such an easy temptation. I tend to want things to go the way I want and I find myself manipulating situations to formulate my desired outcomes. When I do these things, I am not letting God do his will. I am acting as the world would and quite honestly seeking their approval and applaud. In my meddling, I am working against God. I must allow God to do a work in me and be content, satisfied, and filled with joy without knowing what is behind each door. I must stay in his word, able to hear his voice, and go where he leads. I desire to know God’s will, but more than that, I must be willing to do God’s will. I must be obedient to act (have my go-shoes on Designer Shoes of Peace). Faith and love are action words. Create in me a pure heart Lord that allows me to bravely walk upright along the path you have designed for me. I humbly give up my rights to be in control. Let my life be lived for your kingdom, and set apart from this world. Thank you for delivering your Holy Spirit to reside in me. Continue to transform my thinking through the reading of your faultless God-breathed scripture.