Sep 28, 2009

Listening to His Voice

I want to let you guys in on a little secret about me. Many years ago I had said some things and acted in ways that were not okay according to the standards set before me at church. Even though I felt 100% wrongly accused of the situation, I had to stand up to a verbal reprimand. It wasn't physical of course, but it did some detrimental damage to my self worth. At the time the one thing I wanted more than anything was to mentor women, and in particular, lead up a group of ladies that would do the same. Part of my punishment, was being told that I would not be able to do this, and was not at a place in my walk to be trusted with such a thing.

It is funny to look back now and see how much of my self worth was wrapped up in the approval of others and believing that if someone else said I wasn't good enough to do something, it was so. I don't care if it is a friend, a family member or a pastor. I have learned that the very thing others try to take away from us, or tell us we can't do, is often the thing that we were created to do.

Shortly after my pity party years ago, I decided to start my own little bible study in my home with 12 ladies. It was my first bible study to lead at the time, but I knew if God placed this desire so strongly in my heart, that he would also equip me to do it. After that I continued with these same group of ladies for a few more studies until I moved away for a year of service in another church out of town. Going into a new church and only knowing a few ladies, I signed up to lead a few more studies. It blessed me so much, and the women I got to know always shared that it was also a blessing to them.

I have now been at our current church for almost a year and a half, and can you guess what I am doing? I have just started leading my 3rd Women's bible study here with an awesome group of women. Just last month I found out that one of the girls in my first study from several years ago is now leading a group of her own, and another lady from the church I just came from, started leading when I moved on. This my friends, is God working out good and bringing about His will and not man's. I don't regret having been reprimanded years ago, because now I am focused and know my purpose more clearly than I would have if it had come easily.

Is there something that you want to pursue? Is there a desire that has failed in the past, but you still long that it will come about in time? It doesn't have to be something big, maybe it is as small as leading a bible study. Maybe it is something big like changing careers. Give it to God, fully to God! Let Him have His way in you, and watch what only He can do.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

"What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies." Romans 8:31-33

Sep 8, 2009

Not Going To Let Martha Take The Lead

This morning I woke up early because I had to get to the school and get in line for the extra yearbooks that were for sale for those who forgot to purchase one ahead of time last year. I waited and waited, but the person in charge never showed up to sell them. One of my friends said that she saw the email and it was Friday and not Monday that they would be for sale. What??? I was absolutely sure I read the email right, but when I came home and checked it for myself, sure enough I was wrong. I was not only wrong about the date, but also the time. I've been wrong a lot lately. I've been attending lots of activities, signing up for many volunteer opportunities, yet I am not keeping track of everything I need to do. Basically I'm doing a lot of things mediocre and very few things excellent.

This morning was a reminder that I need to not rush into help everywhere I can, but wait for God's leading and do a FEW things well. It will only make me look foolish when I can't keep track of the simple things (like keeping track of a date and time). If you want to know a little secret about me is that when I have times like this where I completely am at a loss, I go to the expert for advice. Scripture. It never EVER lets me down.

I started by looking for scripture on wisdom, but I don't think that is the main source of me getting things jumbled. I think it is a lack of focus on what is important. I came across a very familiar scripture, but one I haven't been practicing since I began this new school year.

Luke 10:38-42 "Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Are you here with me? Does any of this make you stop and take notice? I need to be at Jesus' feet every morning before I even begin to fill in a sign-up sheet, before I even reply to an email, before I jump in with a yes to each and every volunteer opportunity under the sun. Serving my family, my school and my church are all very important, but nothing is more important than being with my Heavenly Father getting filled so that I can pour into others.

Sep 6, 2009

It's Here-Yay!

I am like a kid in a candy store when it comes to getting in new bible study curriculum. I love seeing a brand new workbook, full of empty pages. The reason I love it so much is that I know, through the 10 weeks of homework I will take on when doing a Beth Moore study, will be 10 weeks of the Lord teaching me something new about Him and his Word. It makes me tear up just thinking about it. There are so many studies I have done, that I can recall exactly what I was going through at the time just by remembering what study I did. I also love meeting new girls who are also have a passion for knowing our Savior more intimately. The excitement is always contagious too. Once you do a Beth study, you have to do another and another.

Bible studies get me going! So what gets you going and pumped about life and living? It doesn't have to be a spiritual thing either. I'm just curious as to what makes you feel like a kid in a candy store.

Sep 3, 2009

It Starts With a Plan

I am the kind of person if I don't have a plan or goal, I will pretty much run around aimlessly for quite some time and feel completely useless and unmotivated. That was pretty much my summer this year. It wasn't that it was a bad summer, I just didn't get much accomplished. Why? I had no plan.

Since school is back in session (Hallelujah praises!) I now have somewhat of a plan for myself. I'm still not quite in a routine, but I am moving forward in a couple of areas. For one, I am devoting the next several months to getting healthier. I am on day 11 of exercising (most days, not all) and eating about 75% fruit and veggies. It hasn't been great results, but the true observer (my husband Skip) can tell a difference. I have to remember that it took many years to put on the extra 35 lbs lingering on my hips and waistline, so it will probably take many months to remove them.

My second goal I am working on is letting go of things I cannot change. This is probably the hardest area for the middle child in me. I always want peace and I always want situations around me to work out. For some reason or another, I often find myself on the receiving line of people's problems. I take it as an honor that people confide in me, but when so many are hurting and wanting to share, I get very overwhelmed. When the problems turn into crisis, I really take it personal. I often think things like, "Am I really making a difference?" "Maybe I'm not qualified to counsel?" "If someone chooses to follow a different solution that God's Word, it is somehow a reflection of me." I know these are all lies that satan wants me to believe, but I tend to agree most of the time.

God really spoke to me at a recent Beth Moore simulcast when she said, "People are going to do what they want." That simple 8 word sentence stopped me in my tracks. I do not have control! Wow, how freeing is that! I'm not sure why I needed Beth Moore to tell me that, but it helped. I can pray for my family and friends, I can point them to scripture and the instructions God has for their struggles and issues, but ultimately "People are going to do what they want." I never want people to shy away from bringing me their burden hearts, but when they do, I must remember that 8 word sentence. Then I also must give it to God, and leave it at His feet.

I will have a true test of living out my 2nd goal as I begin leading Beth Moore's "Living Beyond Yourself" at our church this fall (actually in 3 weeks!). I decided to give up the comfy home setting of my living room and reach out to the women in my church. This will allow childcare for mom's of young children which I'm hoping will make the commitment to join the study. My prayer is that God will bring exactly the women who need this, and that all of us will find a connection through the study of the Fruits of the Spirit(the topic of study).

I know I have only shared 2 goals, but for me this is going to be huge to accomplish. What are your top goals for the fall? I'd love for you to share your heart so I can be praying for great things in your life too.