Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thank you.

Thank you thank you for all that commented or contacted me about my worry post. I even received a couple things from people I wanted to share today real quick. How awesome to have this forum where we can share, cry, laugh, surprise, and learn from one another!

This is from my friend Leah, she happened to be reading that day. I just LOVE LOVE LOVE the part about how God's No's are stepping stones to His amazing yes'. Please read:
* Lynn Cowell

"The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, 'Follow me.'" John 1:43 (NIV)

Illuminating a small circle just in front of our feet, the flashlight provided safety and direction for only our next step as Rose and I took our pre-sunrise walk. Anxiety eventually gave way to comfort as we discussed the day ahead. We knew the light would lead us in the right direction. We just had to take the next step...

Taking the next step is something Jesus recommended a very long time ago. "Come and you will see." "Follow me." These were the words Jesus spoke to the disciples as He called them. He didn't sit them down and reveal what the next three years would hold. He knew they would be overwhelmed; possibly even turn around . He chose to keep it simple. "Follow me" was all He said. Take the next step...

As a teen, I wanted to know my future. Will all my dreams come true? What college will I attend? Will I work in a church; marry a pastor? Will I live in Iowa near my family?Jesus knew the answers to those questions all along. I didn't go to college. I don't work in a church, nor did I marry a pastor. He knew. In wisdom, He chose to reveal only enough light for me to take the next step.

Sometimes, I catch myself wishing again that I could see my future. I get wrapped up in fear or worry. Career worries: Will I still have this job in five or ten years? Mom worries:Will my children marry spouses passionate about Jesus? Marriage worries: Will my husband and I enjoy a long retirement together? I can spin around issues that really don't have anything to do with this day, with my next step.

Jesus knows. He knows which answers are "yes" and which ones are "no." He knows when and where to reveal to me my next step. My part is simply to take the next step in obedience.

When I was younger, I did not understand those times when He said "no" were stepping stones to His amazing "yes." I learned in the dark that when I step forward in trust and obedience, blessing is down the path. I also had to learn that even those pathways that held pain where part of the process. They were stepping stones in my journey of choosing obedience over worry, fear and control.

Now, when fear and doubt surface in the dark I silence the "what ifs." I remember Jesus' words, "Follow me," and get back on the path that is flickering just ahead-and simply take the next step...a step of trust. I ask Him what I need to do for just today. I walk away from worry by expressing my concerns to Jesus and trust His ability to take care of each and every step.

Dear Lord, the dark can be frightening. Jesus, sometimes my ability to trust seems s o much smaller than the step I need to take. Help me to build a history with You. A history of seeing You will help me trust You over and over and over again. I want that. I put my trust in You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

*My blog friend, Kelly, also shared that this is one of her favorite verses when she is feeling fearful: God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.

* And, last but not least, this was my devotional last night. Anytime during a time of suffering or hardship I will be saying this verse to myself over and over and over. Just so perfect. No one can convince me that God doesn't speak to you. :)

December 15

Rejoicing in Suffering?

We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope (Romans 5:3, 4).

Scripture: Romans 5:1-5

Song: "The Joy of the Lord"

When my husband died suddenly, I was so devastated that I thought my own life was over. However, at that time the Lord began to work powerfully in my life, teaching me to persevere in my loneliness, molding my character, assuring me of the hope of eternal life.

As I went through that challenging time, the things on earth lost much of their value as my eyes focused more on spiritual things. My hope in Christ became clearer and dearer to me. God showed me that adversity is part of life, that it is temporary, and that He wants me to focus on Him instead of becoming entangled in fears and worries.

The apostle Paul reminds us that the early Christians suffered much. Even though they were persecuted for their faith, they rejoiced amidst their tribulations because they had set their eyes on the hope of eternal life. Even in times of trial, God showers us with unconditional love as He draws us closer to Him, imprinting eternal values on our hearts. That is our hope, and in that we can rejoice.

O God, creator of Heaven and earth, thank You for the joys and the challenges You bring into my life. Please help me to persevere in times of trouble, knowing that Your love is sufficient. Give me more perseverance, more Christlike character, and an ever-deepening hope. I pray this prayer in the name of Jesus, my merciful Savior and Lord. Amen.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

I find myself dealing with worry too, especially now that I have children. I'm so thankful we serve a sovereign King who always takes care of his children.

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    I used to be an elementary teacher but am now a stay-at-home mommy with three sweet baby girls. Bella is 6, Brynn is 4, and Brooklyn is 1. We also have a sweet Golden Retriever named Beckham. I have been married to the love of my life, Vincent, for almost 12 years. Although I hate the cold I am a Chicago girl through and through. And thats about all I've got!

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