Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Growing closer & closer.....the path to less me, more Him.

So, lately my prayer over & over has been, "God please less me & more You. Please Clean my heart & mind of the trash from this world. Break my heart for what breaks Yours Father!!" I have been asking & asking my Father this for quite awhile. Lately however, I've been praying this with such intensity, it's been more like begging.

I've experienced a whole lot of what I'll call loss over the last several months. Really it's not the death of these people, or things, but for the moment they are being loved from a distance. God has, in some cases, ripped these people out of my life. That's mostly because I tend to keep those people & things I love, held tightly in the palm of my hand/heart. He starts out gently tugging, with His Word & Whispers in my ear. He's such a loving Father, doesn't desire to have to these changes be any harder than they need to be. But, just like my daddy here in this life, He loves me & wants me to be ALL I can, only for His glory instead of mine. He gives me a little at a time, only what He knows I can really handle. He doesn't want to hurt me, He simply wants me to have life abundantly & knows me better than anyone since He created me.

Even though I know this & that He's making me more & more like Him like I've been begging Him to do, it still is hard not to act like a spoiled princess instead of the princess I am as a child of the Most High King. I've been living like a spoiled rotten princess for most of my life & in some areas still struggle to be the daughter He created me to be. I know I'm growing, but like so many of us in this world, I'm wanting a quick, easy & painless fix. That's what we've learned from this world, more about me, less about everyone else. We can have it our way.

Every since I can remember, I've said "I was born late, I should've grown up in the 50's." Mostly because God was still "Politically Correct" then & the values & morals were more what I appreciate. I know, I know kind of an oxymoron. I know with all I am, that God doesn't make mistakes, we are all part of His perfect plan. In Jeremiah 1:5........“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”.....He explains to me, that He's had a plan that includes me & that He set me apart from those of this world & the evil ruler, Satan. The last line however, I've never really memorized......"I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." This really wasn't something I believed was His plan for me......can I just say this statement made me snicker joyously. Like I know what His plan for me is.

You see, this has been the issue with the losses. I've listened to the world's perspective on who, or how, or when to love. I couldn't imagine that the ones He was moving around, or taking out of my life, was what He wanted. I was lining up my answers to the world's views. That was my first mistake, I wasn't using God's Word as my center line. I didn't want to open my hands & give up these people I loved, I wanted to keep them so I didn't hurt their feelings or have to feel the pain of the loss. I found myself listening to others, both believers & non-believers, trying to hold them in my life, instead of listening to God & abiding in Him. Some of the believers told me "you must love them, Jesus tells us to love everyone", where that got confused in my mind is exactly what Satan wanted me to struggle against. Satan wants to take my focus of God, that's his scheme. He wants to cause us to sin, think we are unworthy & that we failed God, so why even try. But this is his lie, not God's promise.

The world tells us if we love someone, we want to be with them always, overlook all they do to us, agree with everything they do, say, are. THIS IS A LIE. God has recently shown me this is a lie. He's used so many wonderful people to share this message with me. I've learned that I'm not failing God  when I love them from where He places them, I am actually doing just as He has planned for me to. This has been a wonderful thing for me actually. I'm learning with each season, to listen to the Holy Spirit & for God's whispers.....quicker & quicker each time. Of course He's the Master Planner & He can see the whole plan, not just this moment.

This has come in a wonderful friend whom He's been moving around my life into different places & has now placed her right in front of my eyes. He spoke sooooo loudly through her recently. He is getting ready to grow me in a way I've never experienced. I'm very excited & I was also a little afraid.....a little in this case meant, all the way to tears in an instant, without any outside reason. I know He is going to SHAKE UP MY WORLD, I don't know what it will look like, I only know, it's gonna be growth like I've never known. I already have the excitement He gives me just before He does a little trimming of me.......trimming more of the fleshy, worldly me away & then He fills me up with more of Him, shapes me more like Him. I just never thought of myself as what I think He's shaping me towards this time!?!?!?

Last night I prayed like always, but this prayer was so much more than I usually ask for. This morning I found this picture. This is what I asked for last night. I felt the unmistakable urge to put my feelings into words again. So I started praying for Him to lead my heart to what I should share. I have so much going on in my life right now. Of course He is faithful in all areas of my life, He is interested in every detail of my life even the smallest detail. Today I found out  from a dear friend/sister in Christ, that she had just signed me up for a women's retreat that she goes to each time. She shared her experience at her first one, by the end of her amazing experience, she knew it was me He was telling her to invite. I could feel this too, the doubts about money, or having to leave my family for a week with just 2 weeks notice, that tried to distract me & cause me to doubt this is God's plan, were immediately wiped away by God's Truth & whispers. I have NO DOUBT this is where He's taking me to grow me, trim more of the world from me, make me more like Him.
After I realized He's taking me on  only the 3rd flight I've ever flown, to places I've never been, with women I've never met, or even ever talked to, the only one He's sending to share this experience He has for me & He's allowing me to share the experience He has for her, is this sister in Christ He's placed in my life......my friend, someone who has always lifted me up, lined up her responses with God's word, prayed for me & with me, someone He's spoken through at very important times, someone who has also been blessed with the gift of Discernment. The difference is she's farther on her walk, she's learned that this is not "her" gift, but a gift God uses for His glory through her to reach His children & share His message. This is exactly where I've struggled.
What He's got for me I don't know. I do know, whatever He teaches me, where ever He takes me, it'll always be to bring me closer to Him & make me more like Him......More than that, it'll bring glory to Him.
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
Acts 4:31

Friday, July 12, 2013

Find joy in the growth spurts.....

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
     before you were born I set you apart..."
                             Jeremiah 1:5 NIV

This verse has been one of several that have been showing up, over & over. Each time I see them, I look up & say I know that is You Lord, thank You!! I actually sent this verse to myself to remember it back on July 3....yes I do text myself, I actually have myself listed as "I'm a Child of God" so it's easy to start that name and have it pop up, since I'm not very technically savvy. But I'm old enough to forget things if I don't write them down, so this smartphone really is a blessing. I can even voice text, sometimes the auto correct thing, or word guess choices are hysterical. I've sent some of those texts with out reading them, and well I'm sure you understand. Speaking of losing focus, sorry. I'm sharing this though because it's reminding me of the signs of losing focus. I know that I never say never, but I pray that if I ever lose focus again, I remember as quickly as I am now to revert my  focus back to Him.

One of the biggest areas I'd lost total focus in was relationships. Not my marriage, or even my children, I learned about losing focus in those areas already. Really it was family, friends, or friends family that I was letting steal my focus. I found myself with pretty much my local immediate family, or just me. That was hard, one of the hardest times in my life was realizing I had to step back from a relationship with several very important people in my life. Well what I consider important, see what I consider important is exactly what God's been speaking to me about for quite awhile....I've just been stubborn & unwilling to let go, or let God. He didn't create space between me & these people I love to hurt either me or them. He is working on each of us in His time. His plan is moving us each forward in different directions, or we are standing still & trying to do life in "our" way.

He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the Word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself.                 
                          John 15:2-4 NIV

Another verse I've been seeing in my daily routine is this one. It is an eye opener for me recently. I've been literally telling myself, "no pain, no gain" which is my way of keeping my focus on Him instead of the pruning going on in my life. I had lost sight of what kind of fruit the relationships in my life were bearing. I hadn't been focusing on Him & letting Him cut off the branches that weren't bearing good fruit in my life. I was focusing on the drama those relationships were stirring up both in my heart & mind. I was the enemy's pawn & didn't even realize it. I thought I was helping, or living to love those people...I had no idea as God tenderly tried several times to get me to let go, I was holding on tighter & tighter.....I was actually feeding into the enemy's plan perfectly trying to do things on my own. With each relationship He cut off, it became easier to give it to Him & each time I handed them over quicker....I finally am learning to remain in Him. I've found remaining in Him, there is always peace, love, hope & truth. He knows all, He has been planning all since before creation......Who better to remain in, right.....of course yes is the easy answer usually, but not in this case. The truth is without Him I can do nothing!!! When I remain in Him, He is in control not me & He sees the whole plan, not just this one part. It never ceases to amaze me how relieved I am each time I run back to Him & He accepts me with open arms, no matter how long it's been, or what I've done. Can you think of one person on this earth who has this capacity of mercy, or grace??? I have to be honest & say I cant. So for me remaining in Him is exactly where I want to be.

The heart is deceitful above all thing and beyond cure.
  Who can understand it?
                                       Jeremiah 17:9

So, this past Sunday at service the Pastor asked us 2 questions. How's your heart? How's your heart with God?? Then he shared a message that spoke loudly to my heart. I've struggled for a few years with the pruning process. I trust God, I honestly do. I'm still made of flesh & bone however. So it hurts when someone who you are so involved with is suddenly, or slowly removed from your life. Our hearts tell us to hold on, we can't let go. It's like when you plan something, work so hard at planning it, getting it ready, doing it all, then the day comes for it to all take place & it seems to fly by.....then there's nothing when it's over. Or it's almost like giving up an addiction if there's a lot to focus on with them, for them, on them....like drama, or excitement, or even because it's better than focusing on ourselves. But God clearly tells us not to put anyone above Him, or to take our eyes off Him. He tells us to remain in Him. That doesn't mean when there's nothing else to do. That means ALWAYS. So, if I'm praying to Him & asking Him to remove anything that isn't bringing Him glory, or I pray that He will create in me a clean Spirit & break my heart for what breaks His. I'm asking Him to prune me & my life. I'm asking Him to chisel away at the things keeping me from focusing on Him. I'm praying for less me, more Him, He's gonna remove all the distractions & chisel at my attention span, to keep my focus on Him & His plan instead of the drama in this world.

I can say honestly today. That I'm finding joy in the chiseling, after losing my focus. He's growing me to be more & more like Him......my Creator. So find joy in the "growth spurts" & don't feed into the enemy's lie, "you can fix it." Our hearts are always deceitful, there is NO cure. If we follow our hearts, we will be led farther away from God.