Who knew when I listened to the speaker at Camp the other day that what he had to say would be applying to me just 24 hours later??? He said that when we are running the race for Christ, when (not if) we fall down we don't go back to the finish line and start over; WE get up where we fell down, dust ourselves off and continue the race... That's the goodness and grace that God offers us..
"For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them"
I have been one of those, who have always thought if I just do better, I can earn the love God so freely lavishes upon us. When I didn't feel as if I was doing enough I always beat myself up over and felt an extreme about of guilt and felt as I needed "to start over"!! God is working on this with me however I had an elapse the other day that had me really believing I had screwed up and didn't deserve his love or forgiveness!
Psalm 103:8-12 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
The last few weeks I feel as if I have been in a season of being in a "wilderness"
I open my devotions today and sure enough the title of the devo was Grace in the Wilderness...
Boy was that for me today!
"Sometimes we end up In a season of being in the wilderness as a result of disobedience, a wrong turn, lack of faith, or a divine appointment. Whatever the reason there is an opportunity for trust and growth with the proper perspective." I truly feel as if I am going through this wilderness as a divine appointment. At the start of summer camp I was really feeling selfish. I knew what was all involved with the summer as previously experienced. We literally sacrifice our summer to serve!!! Knowing the calling God has laid before us; I still was building up some resentment. I was frustrating because I SHOULD have felt different, so I thought. One evening, during staff training I had prayed that God would strip me of my pride, my selfishness. That he would open my eyes to give me a restored and renewed look on where he has placed me and that I would be a light and have him shine through me. I also prayed that God would create in me a pure heart. That I would discipline myself to have a better relationship with him that I would decrease and He would increase.
AT that, the summer began. The excitement and passion was not there and I was embarrassed about it. Although, I am in a different role that allows me to be more relational and offer support and encouragement which I am so passionate about, it still didn't change the fact that at home things were slowly falling apart. As the weeks quickly passed more and more things began to unravel.
The pressure to continue serving while dealing with the personal issues was slowing breaking me. I began to feel broken but didn't understand why..
The other night Mike and I had a major conflict. Everything we had learned about the LOVE and RESPECT cycle went right down the tube. The negativity entered quickly and I had given satan a foothold in our marriage. I immediately went into defense mode and the old way of fighting came into play on both parties. Needless to say, hearts were wounded and I was literally at my breaking point. Shamefully I acted in a manner that was not worthy of anyone to see.. but I know my heavenly father saw everything. The pain our family had to go through was all I could take. In the heat of the argument I began to pack up my stuff.. I no longer wanted to be in a situation that was going to continually cause heartache. I wanted to remove myself and my kids from the situation and didn't feel as if I was in a position to serve at all!! That night was a very long night. I was emotionally drained, physically drained and completely exhausted. In my brokenness, I had FELL DOWN in the race that I am running.. My mind was plagued with quilt and lies.
"We forget in Gods infinite wisdom, God allows trials in order to develop perseverance in us and to cause us to fix our hopes on the glory that is yet to be revealed.. .Our faith and perseverance can grow under the pain of trail" (The Advocate devotional book) If God wisely allowed me to go through the wilderness then I know he will lovingly give me the grace to endure it. God is doing his part but I was failing to see what he was doing.
The song "Give me Faith" by Elevation has been the song I have listened to over and over as I cling to the promises of His word I have made this the prayer of my heart!!!
I need You to soften my heart,To break me apart.
I need You to open my eyes,To see that You're shaping my life.
All I am, I surrender.
Give me faith to trust what You say
That You're good, and Your love is great
.I'm broken inside, I give You my life.
]I need You to soften my heart, to break me apart.
I need You to pierce through the dark
And cleanse every part of me.
I may be weak, but Your Spirit's strong in me.
My flesh may fail, but My God You never will.
Yes, I fell down... BUT both Mike and I have gotten back up, we have dusted the ashes off.
It took us some time, we looked at each other, grabbed each others hand and off we are running again. We praise God for his grace, forgiveness and his goodness. Even though I am still in the wilderness. I am praising God for the test he has put before my life....