You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Lena's (first) mission trip toCan't wait to see what God has in store next.....
Haiti turned into our
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
I'm not who I was....
There is verse in a song by Brandon Heath called I'm Not Who I Was:
I wish you could see me now
I wish I could show you how
I'm not who I was"
This is one of my favorite songs because it applies to me and my life.
The Bible says:
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"
2 Chronicles 5:17.
This song, and this verse remind me of how blessed I am to be growing and changing every day. My role model is Jesus and I want to grow more like Him every day. I want to think what He would think. I want to say what He would say. I want what breaks His heart to break my heart. I want to do what He would do. I want to do something, anything to improve things for other people and let them know just how much God loves them. God loves you and me so much that He sacrificed His son in order to get us back.
When I first heard those lyrics by Brandon Heath-it made me think of my life as a young woman, in college and after. I made a lot of bad choices and hurt a lot of people, including myself. Sometimes, I marvel at the fact that I am alive at all. Only by the grace of God. When I say I made a lot of bad choices. I mean ALOT. And I mean BAD choices. God was there, even when I wasn't listening or looking for Him. And He protected me and was working in me all that time, during those 'lost years'. (I grew up in church, and new the story-the facts. Most of what we learned (not all) was based on ritual, tradition and memorization, not a relationship with God. I did not really 'get it' and a fully personal relationship with Christ until much later in life.)
Hopefully, we are all growing, maturing, learning each day, so that we can say "I'm not who I was". I used to hear that song and smile. Now, after living and experiencing a little more life and growing closer to Christ, I hear that song and my eyes well up. I'm starting to get it.
I grew when my first marriage ended. I grew when I moved thousands of miles away from home. I grew when Bob and I had NO money and plenty to fight about. I grew when I found a new seeker sensitive church. I'm so grateful for that church-the message of God's love-exactly what God knew I needed and He used it to draw me back to Him, even after those 'lost years'.
I grew when I went back to school after being out for several years. I grew when I got a job working in a Christian environment. I grew when my mom got sick, right after I took that job with Christians living their faith-integrating it into their work. Oh, did I grow after my mom died. Talk about a dark night of the soul. I have had three of those in my life-and each one brought with it profound new growth and added depth to my character. Although, the first two-I tried to deal with my way, rather than God's way. So that growth was much delayed. But God is merciful and patient. He was waiting for me!
I grew when I found a new church-a high challenge, Bible teaching, Truth speaking church that focuses on accountability and Bible study. My how I am grateful for the blessing of my church family. I grew when I got involved in a small group Bible study and Women's ministry. I grow every week as we delve into God's word and study it like I have never studied it before.
I can see clearly that the most painful times in my life have produced the most growth, when I chose to cooperate with God. I'm sad to say that my mom's death is the first time I chose to do things God's way, rather than my own way. My way included denial and avoiding mostly. And putting on a mask and hiding the real me. And many other unhealthy 'coping mechanisms'. God's way involved turning and facing what I feared most. God's way involved prayer and support. God's way included people loving on me and praying for me when I could not even speak or hold my head up. God's way included letting people help me. Very different from my way.
Polar opposite of my way.
I can confidently (from personal experience) say that God's ways are better than my ways.
And so, was pleased with the work I saw and felt God doing in my life after I chose to cooperate with Him. Lots of growth, lots of learning. Lots of stretching. Working out my 'faith muscles'. Changing me from the inside out........Life was good.
And then one day about a month ago,
I went to Haiti-
and God wrecked my life.
In a really big way.
God wrecked my nice comfortable suburban middle class happy vanilla life.
Wrecked my life.
In ways I cannot fully comprehend let alone explain.
And you know what?
I am so excited, so THRILLED to see what happens next. I don't know what is going to happen or when, exactly. However, I do know God. The God who says:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Chronicles 5:17
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
I could go on and on with verses that I have LIVED. These are not just words. They are Truths that I have experienced, witnessed and lived through. That's what I love about the Bible-it's the real deal!
And then, imagine my delight when I read this verse:
Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.
That is my prayer while we wait for the boys to come home.
I will pray it every day and trust that God will do what He says He will do.
Will you join me in this prayer?
More importantly, will you join God on this great adventure called a faith filled life?
~~~~~Thoughtfully composed by Lena Just Lena at 7:57 PM