Saturday, October 31, 2009
When you have placed your trust in God you will stand stronger than those who are counting on their own will-power and the walls they have built around themselves to "protect" themselves.
The best way to explain this is to give another personal example.
Just a month ago my family was facing a bit of a mountain - we were getting our kitchen renovated. (Anyone who's been there will understand the pressure.) All the family was under extra pressure, some had assignments in before leaving the house for a week and a half, music exams were coming up... etc.
Some of the family were going to visit friends three hours away, and the few boys that needed stay in town were staying with Grandma. Everyone knew where they were going except for me. Because of my work situation I had no idea whether or not I needed to stay, and if I did stay, who with? Work messed me around, not giving me an answer until the last week, and well after they had said they would. I was also in the final stages of applying for a Bible college by correspondence.
With less than a week to go I found out that the course program had been changed, and if I wanted to enroll I would be two weeks behind. (Starting that day of course which couldn't happen!) The set up was completely different to what it was previously making it much harder. I went back and forth a bit. (Can I actually pull this off or is it just impossible/improbable?) I'm not someone to not try just because things look hard, and I knew I make it work, but at what cost? Particularly; what cost to my family? To make the decision harder different family members took sides as to whether they thought I should or shouldn't enroll in the course. (Talk about meat in the sandwich!)
After praying like mad and wishing for a lightning bolt from heaven which never came, I made a choice, and I knew from past experience that I would have to really firm on it, as I would be living with everyone's reactions to me not going with their idea for possibly months afterward. So I mentally prepared myself for the onslaught, determined that I was doing the best thing. - Not necessarily for me, but for a particular other family member who probably wouldn't cope with me studying from home like that. And when I made the choice something in me died.
Suddenly I went from knowing what was doing until I graduated (1-2 years) to being in total limbo. Anyone who has been in that place probably knows it's not pleasant. It's certainly not where I wanted to be.
So, I truly had to be unmoving and firmly convinced that this was where God had me next, therefore I had to trust Him completely and not waver. And trust Him I did.
At first almost everyone was telling me that I was mistaken, and trying to push me to change my mind. However, the day before I left to stay with friends for the two weeks (yes, God provided somewhere to stay), my mother said to me, "We're all falling apart and you're going on strong. I applaud you."
Now you have to understand a couple of things:
A) I was expecting the biggest opposition from my mum. This was a complete 180.
B) That was huge praise from her. She isn't liberal with her compliments.
So I felt a bit blown away. . .
Anyway, the only reason, I repeat; the ONLY reason I was able to be steadfast when everyone else was pulling their hair out was because I was trusting God. I wasn't passively trusting Him. I made a decision to trust Him regardless of circumstances and I didn't waver. That is how you are strong.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
1 Peter 3:3-6 (NKJV)
3 Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— 4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.
When you have that sweet attitude in adversity it's that same incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. (See, it's a quiet spirit. Not stressed and agitated, but at peace.) The holy women trusted in God. You can't be quiet in spirit if you don't trust God. You can sound quiet on the outside, but be a churning mess inside. God doesn't want us to just hide our feelings, and bottle them up, but to trust Him. If we trust Him we won't be a churning mess.
I remember a time in my life when I went through quite a bit of hurt. It was probably one of the worst times I have ever gone through. (Ranks in the top 5) I felt like almost everyone I knew (my family, my friends, my church, etc.) had abandon me to whatever came my way, and I was drowning in fear and hurting badly.
After a few months I got tough. I didn't feel the pain as much. I didn't cry anymore. I hardly flinched at pain. My heart was all bricked up. Somewhere after this God told me I needed to soften my heart and let the barriers come down. I told Him I couldn't do it. When I said I couldn't do it, I really meant it. So God broke them down for me. It was like He destroyed in one second all the walls I had built over the months... and turned up the heat on my emotions. I cried so easily for the next few months. Anything would make me cry. I couldn't help myself.
The strangest thing I found was I had been proud of the fact that I was finally a tough girl. It was something my older sister seemed to be good at, and was always criticising me for not being tough enough. However God did not want me tough. He wanted me soft hearted, sensitive, vulnerable. I couldn't understand it at first. Why, why why?! When all of the culture around me said that the tougher you are the better? That was my silver lining in all the grey clouds, and God took it away from me because He didn't like it?
I remember crying to God one day during this stage saying that I felt like no-one cared about me. No-one would protect me. No-one would stand up for me. Not to mention that I felt incredibly vulnerable - more so than I had been before the whole mess had started.
Merriam-Webster's defines vulnerable this way:
1 : capable of being physically or emotionally wounded
2 : open to attack or damage
I didn't want to be any of that... and I don't know anyone who really likes being hurt.
Anyway after I had finished my spill, and started really crying God told me that He would protect me, He would vindicate me, He would provide for me, and take care of me, He cared and He loved me, etc. (A promise I've held on to many a time!)
God did keep His word to me. He has protected me, and after He pulled down the walls I had built around myself He did guard my heart and keep me from further pain. Over the next few months He healed the pain and dealt with all the problems that had arisen physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
This actually had some interesting "side affects". I used to be a very happy child. (Well... my name says it all!) However over the years I had gotten more and more serious, and it was like I had forgotten how to laugh to some extent. I just didn't have much reason to be happy. Once God healed my heart I was able to laugh - and laugh at lot. I'm one of the happiest people I know now!
God had to teach me a different sort of courage. It was several years before I was able to reach the point I have now, where I can truly say I trust God despite circumstances. I can only be at peace because I've put my trust in God completely.
It takes more guts to trust God to take care of you, and to love when it hurts than it does to be tough as a man and fight your way to the top. (And God bless the men with their strength. We need them like that, but that isn't how He made us.)
So, that is why I've come to the conclusion that God doesn't want us women to be tough like the men. He didn't make us men, He made us women. He made us gentle and breakable. That doesn't mean that our only emotions are those that fall into these categories, but that we shouldn't trample our emotions, and try to be tough like the men.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Now I don't want to be accused of putting words in God's mouth. So I'm going to pull things straight out of scripture. If you think you have a valid argument as to why I have taken the scripture out of context you can say something, but I'm not here to have a debate... I'm here to challenge your thinking - to think more like God.
Example One: Marriage. One of the reasons God gives that he wants marriage is that He wants godly offspring. Malachi 2:15 Ouch... I bet that stepped on a few religious toes. Don't children hinder your ministry opportunities? God thinks not.
But did He not make them one,
Having a remnant of the Spirit?
And why one?
He seeks godly offspring.
Therefore take heed to your spirit,
And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.
Which leads me to:
Example Two: Divorce. God says He hates it. So much so that He says He will not receive your offerings if you have "dealt treacherously with the wife of your youth". Malachi 2:13-16 Jesus says that God only permitted divorce "because of the hardness of your hearts". Matthew 19:3-9
Jesus also said in Mark 10:11-12
So He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
(Do I need to send you back to the ten commandments here?)
Example Three: Global Warming (Oh whoops... this isn't pet doctrine - it's pet ideology.)
In Genesis 8:22 God says,
While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
Cold and heat,
Winter and summer,
And day and night
Shall not cease.”
Don't we believe that God means what He says anymore?
I could give many, many other examples, but those who will get the point understand. Please, if you haven't already, read your Bible and actually believe what it says. God and His Word are one. (John 1:1) Some people think that God changes - particularly from the old covenant to the new one. Yes, we are under a new covenant, but He is the same yesterday today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)