Sunday, January 4, 2015
It must seem like that I am always struggling in life, at least, it seems that way to me. I wonder often when I sit down to write just how interesting could this even be to anyone else. Everyone has problems and I am not special on that count. But I just can't help but share what happened to me today. You may believe or you may not, but it happened all the same.
For several weeks I have been in a battle of wills. Not with anyone but myself! I have been reviewing and reliving certain situations and could not come up with an answer on how to move forward. It was eating me up inside.
When I woke up this morning, I reached for the iPhone to peruse Facebook and I went to my homepage. There, it lists the past years and if clicked on, certain posts and events will display from that time period. I noticed that there were many posts of peace, joy, and contentment during 2010, 2011, and 2012. Many of the posts were cheery and hopeful and a far cry from how I have been feeling lately. As I laid my head back on the pillow to consider what was different, it all came flooding back. I used to be very involved in helping other women finding their life path and also active in seeking out my own. Once a weekly, regular attender of church services, now found me weeks, if not months from my last visit. God had noticed and was beginning to tug at my heart. I had once been so close with God that I knew when He was talking to me. I felt His leading. He was here, trying to reach me.
I had plans for today. It didn't include going to church. I wanted to sleep, get a coffee, try to resolve that nagging issue, and watch Wild Card Sunday NFL games. I shut my eyes trying to shut out that tugging on my heart but ever so clearly God spoke...not out loud, but to my heart. He told me if I would go to church today He would bless me. "Oh good," I thought to myself. "I need a blessing." I was only thinking of my nagging issue and not about God at all.
I was aggravated about going. It messed up my plans. Now nothing was in order and it looked like I would miss the Cowboys playing this afternoon if I was to accomplish my to-do list. I got ready for church but had an edge on me and a battle played out in my mind. "Did God really say that?" "Surely He didn't mean it." "Do I have to go to East Hill? It's so far away." "Maybe I can just go and leave early." I even thought about stopping at just any nearby church so I could say that I did it.
When those thoughts popped into my head, I heard God say: "Do you want a little blessing or ALL of my blessing?" Oh sheesh. Looks like I am going to East Hill and I am staying through the entire service, and no sneaking out early!
Well, wouldn't you know it....the very first song had these words: "I will praise Him because that's what I was meant to do." I was singing but my mind was on a million different things and I couldn't focus on church. After a few rounds of the chorus those words finally penetrated my cold, hard, heart. "I will worship Him because that's what I was meant to do." NOT for the blessings He might give me or for any other reason. Just because. I got a little teary-eyed and began experiencing a warmth in my heart and wetness flow from my eyes.
As the singing continued, more words pierced the edgy cloak I clung to: "I have tasted the sweetest loves where my heart becomes free and my shame is undone." I suddenly thought of my granddaughter, Araceli, and Liam, both little ones in my life. When I am with them, I feel wonderful. There is no thought of anything negative or sad and I am constantly smiling. I often say I feel like I am at Disneyland. I feel free and loved and no shame. But as I sang those words about the 'sweetest of loves where my heart becomes free and my shame is undone,' I realized that as good as I felt with those little ones, God had something even more and even better in mind. As my heart took that in, I was overwhelmed to get a real sense of what God was doing. He wasn't blessing me with personal gain but He was blessing me with a renewed spirit. Hope, my long-forgotten life word, was filling me. He wanted to shower me eternally with sweet love and freedom from my shame.
Then, Pastor read about "where there is no revelation, the people will cast off restraint" or, "where there is no vision, the people will perish."
And there it was. I had lost my vision and with that, I had lost my way. No longer did my faith just spring up out of an often pumped well. No effort was made to even prime the pump. The vision was gone and I was set to perish. Simple decisions about basic needs were not being made well or with restraint. Small situations were feeling like do-or-die moments. Basically, I had given in to whining, kicking and screaming like a toddler. No revelation, and no restraint.
Pastor also said: "When the context of life is bigger than the Rock-that-is-higher-than-I, we must get closer."
My faltering steps, my disbelief, my inside struggle with the simplest issues of life were all a call to get closer; an open door to find the vision again; to remember who God said I was and just be that. Tears and mascara were flowing now as I realized just how orchestrated this day had been. I stood in awe and wondered at how much God must care about me to have put such a plan together. It's not the first time He has demonstrated Himself to me and I pray it is not the last.
Pastor had one more thing he said several times throughout the sermon. He said, "Everyone ends up somewhere; few end up there on purpose."
So I come back to the question God asked me: Do I want a little bit of blessing or all of it?
I left church today a different way than how I went in and I will be taking my messy, weary, self back again, on purpose, next week. Because I don't want just a little bit.