Saturday, June 7, 2008

It all comes down to a choice...

God is truly healing me. I can see it in my reactions and interactions with others, and how different things are affecting me. I guess in a way I must have made the choice of freedom and healing over, bondage and illness. Which is a good, no, great thing.

I am still working (as always) on surrendering my need for control over to Him. He knows the plans He has for me. And if I stop talking long enough, if I stop running around and trying to micro-manage everything, maybe He will be able to get a word in edgewise, and show me His plans for my day, His will for my day. Not that I don’t have free will, and can choose to do what I want, when I want; but I need to have my heart’s desire focused on my response to His love. I need to be living out my life as a response to His mercy, grace, and love.

For me that means I need to spend more intimate time with Him each day. Jesus longs to show me something new for each day, and honestly right now I need to hear from Him more than ever. If I tune Him out, I will end up back in the same place I was before. Planning my own life with no regard to Who even created me to live in the first place. I will just be running along doing my own thing, and sometimes asking Him what He thinks of what I am doing, not asking Him to show me what to do. (I hope that makes sense)

I guess what I am trying to say is, though I had a relationship with Jesus, and I prayed often, and read the bible, went to church, all the right stuff, the intimacy wasn’t there, it hadn’t been for a long time.

Now for the past three and a half years, as I have struggled through depression; worked on being transparent; sought spiritual freedom in my life; all that has relied on Jesus guiding me, and me listening, so I knew the next step to take. And all that took being intimate with Him. Especially the last year, God has been showing me every day, just how much He loves me, just how much He is guiding everything that has gone on in my life, and how He is redeeming my mistakes. How He is redeeming the mistakes of others. He is making all the bad start to work for good in my life.

How can I do anything but praise Him?

During this time of healing, and especially now as I am getting closer to wholeness and maturity, things have been thrown at me that I didn’t anticipate, which under past conditions, would have completely devastated me.

With my dear friend Kim, who has been an incredible support, being laid up now for most of the summer with a very slow, painful recovery, I have had to come to terms with possibly not seeing her as much. I also have had to work on overcoming my insecurities, to reach out and give a helping hand to her and her family. (still working on that one…)

Another thing that I have realized in the past few months, with the scare my grandmother gave us when she got pneumonia, is that I have never really dealt with the death of a family member or someone very close to me. I am afraid of my reactions to that. I am afraid of my reactions to painful health issues of others. I pray privately, but to be with them, pray with them, offer help to them, I find myself at a loss for words, afraid to say or do the wrong thing. So in the past, I have run away.

But as Tricia has reminded me time and again… when I feel like running, remember that verse in Ephesians (the one on my front page) Stand firm… and when I have done everything, to stand. I need to stand firmly by the side of those in need in my life. Even if I feel like running. I need make that choice to stand (or sit in some cases) by their side. I may not need to talk. Just stand. Be with them, stand with them through the storm they are in.

I heard some difficult news from a friend this week. Waiting on final answers from the doctor is so hard. And part of me wants to run. But I can’t. She never ran from me through all the junk I have been through. So, how do I stand?

I have been working since Thursday on integrating this news into my life, and the perceptions I had of how things should be. One joy in it all, I haven’t gone over board into depression, I haven’t gone crazy with anxiety (ok, well, not too much anyway)

Last night, I just couldn’t go home to a house full people, and the noise. So after stopping at the farm to check on the kids, I ended up taking a long drive, watching the sunset. I know, driving right now with the gas prices is insane. But I needed to have that solitude. Part of the time I prayed. I used some of the tools Tricia taught me to calm myself, and to try to reconcile this news and incorporate it into my life/emotions/heart.

Again I came to the realization that I don’t know the why, I don’t know the when, I don’t know the how, but I do know the Who! As I drove out in the country (on roads I had never been on before) looking at the old farm houses, churches, barns, and a beautiful sunset with big fluffy clouds, I saw God. I knew, in a deeper way than just head knowledge that He created all of this earth, all of us. I knew that He gave me that time to get away. I knew that He gave me that beautiful sunset out in the country side. Just to show me His splendor and to remind me that He is sovereign, and in control of everything. He knows the past, present and future. He WILL take care of all of us, but in His timing and in His will, not mine.

I am still trying to come to terms with the fact that a very close friend of mine might be very ill. I am not there yet by any means. But I do know that if I hadn’t been doing all this hard work these past 7 months or so with my counselor, Tricia, I would be running, I would be hiding, I would be spiraling down in despair and fear.
I just have this sense that God is reminding me that He is here, He is with me, He is holding me and my friend, and that He is giving me a gift. That gift is the opportunity to see that I am stronger than I thought. He has made me stronger. He is giving me the opportunity to work through some of my fears and insecurities, and He is still here. No matter how I react, fail, or succeed, He still loves me.

My Jesus still loves me. My Jesus still holds me. My Jesus still calls me. My Jesus still heals me.

How can I argue with that wild, crazy, untameable love that God extends to me? To grasp and understand just an ounce of that love is beyond me. But He still offers it every moment of every day.

Ecclesiastes 7:14 says;
“If the times are good, be happy (NKJ says: be joyful)
But when times are bad, consider:
God has made the one as well as the other
(NKJ says: God has appointed one as well as the other)
Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about His future.” (NIV)

I don’t know anything about my future. I cannot discover it. I cannot reason it out. I cannot control it. But I can be joyful in the good times, and when the bad times come, I can remember that God allows both… And He is in control, all powerful, all knowing. He knows how any circumstance will strengthen me, or challenge me, or rub off the rough edges from me, or show me things I need to work on. He will use something bad to create something good, even if we never see it here on this earth, in this brief lifetime. Maybe we will see it in eternity. Maybe we won’t.

As for me, I choose to trust that God knows what He is doing. Even if I hurt for my friend, and sometimes rage against God for this possible diagnosis, I WILL trust in Him. I will use what He has taught me these last few months. I will allow Him to use me, no matter how fearful I might be. I will choose to do His will, not mine.

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