Monday, January 27, 2014

When Do I Need God?

There are plans for our church to train some people to be lay counselors. When I first heard about this I was quite excited because one of my dreams has been to be a counselor. I have a bachelor's in Psychology but have not yet pursued a master's degree. I wasn't able to determine exactly which route to take (MSW or MAC) before my life veered in a different (and wonderful) direction. I have talked off and on with my husband about whether or not to go to grad school when the kids are older. So when I heard there might be an opportunity to pursue my dream in a slightly different way, I was interested in pursuing it.

Before service yesterday one of the women involved in this potential ministry asked me again about my interest and mentioned a potential timeline for it. While I was sitting in church I was thinking about how exciting the opportunity would be I also thought about how much I would need to seek God when I stepped into the role. I know that I have no wisdom of my own that can encourage someone exactly how they need it. I know that God will know exactly how he wants to use me in others' lives and I will need to faithfully seek him to do this. I was excited by this, by stepping into a role where I needed to rely fully on God. 

And then it hit me. Am I saying that I am doing all of my current roles in my own power? Am I saying to God, "I've got this marriage and parenting and friend thing"? Because I surely do not! I cannot have a thriving, loving, encouraging, supportive marriage in my own wisdom and power. I am naturally selfish to the core and that will not work for marriage. Nor can I raise two kids with the compassion, grace, love, and wisdom that will yield godly adults without seeking God daily (sometimes hourly). I am too prone to frustration, tiredness and impatience. Without God, I cannot truly care for another person (we're back to that selfish thing where I focus on my little world). I cannot have a deep, intimate relationship with someone that includes genuine concern, compassion and giving of myself and my time. 

Duh. Thanks, God, for reminding me that I need you right now. You have already given me more than enough to bring to you each day.

I'm still excited about the potential new opportunity, but right now I will refocus on seeking God in the roles I currently hold.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Blessed Are Those Who Mourn

Yesterday's message at church was based on Matthew 5:4, Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. It made me smile (seems contradictory I know) because I have been going through a grieving process of sorts recently in the loss of a close friendship. It didn't really occur to me that this is what I've been doing until Aaron began talking more in depth on the verse. I see that it is good that I am trying to sort everything out with God so that I will be able to move forward into new friendships without bringing along any bitterness or hardness of heart.

And the verse is accurate. Jesus has come right along with me to give me hope and encouragement and peace throughout the process. No one wants good things to end but that is life. If we continue to try to hold on to what was, we will miss what is and what could be.

Another thing that humbled me was realizing how small and insignificant my "loss" is compared to others. There are people dealing with lost jobs, poor health, a family member's illness, death. It almost seems silly to mourn a lost relationship in light of those. And yet I was reminded that God still cares about my loss just as much as the losses of others. How incredible my God is! He loves me so much that nothing is too small or insignificant to him. If it matters to me or you, he cares. Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens (Psalm 68:19).

Praise the Lord, my soul;
 all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul;
 and forget not all his benefits -
who forgive all your sins
 and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
 and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
 so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
             ~Psalm 103:1-5~

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Is Jesus Enough?

Here's a follow up from my last post.


Dear God,

 I think you are finally getting through to me. My mind keeps harping on this best friend thing. Why do I want one? Because I want to be known intimately. I want to be able to air my dirty laundry - my shortcomings, struggles, temptations and weaknesses - and still receive acceptance, love and compassion from the one who hears it all. I want someone who can say "I understand. I can help." Saying all of this to you, I know feel kind of silly. You are that someone. You are able and willing to be all that and more if I will just let you. You are enough. I keep telling you that "I need this" and "I need that" - that I need things other than you, things apart from you. And you are kindly and lovingly showing me that no, I don't. You know my needs and you want to meet them with your vast stores of love, compassion, acceptance and wisdom. You are always with me. You will never forsake me. You can answer and help and encourage. You will always listen You are enough for me. Thank you, Jesus, for showing me that I have not internalized this truth. Help me to remember this truth and live it. 


Monday, January 6, 2014

On Becoming Poor in Spirit

I have been terrible at regular posts. I'd like to blame the busyness of the Christmas season but I must also admit a bit of a lack of inspiration. Anyway, after yesterday's church service I felt a desire to write a letter to God as a response. I thought I'd share my heart with you today.

Dear God,

Thank you for reminding me this morning that I need to be humble before you and trust you to provide for my needs. I admit that I have gotten into the habit of pretending I am the expert on what I need and also pretending that I must also figure out how to meet my needs myself. I struggle a lot with independence (or rather willingly depending on others). Please forgive my pridefulness. I was not created to live life on my own or in my own strength. I know that my current desire for a deep friendship with another woman - a best friend if you will - is known by you. You know my needs and wants before I can verbalize them. I need to trust you to handle it. This is me admitting my dependence on you to meet my needs. Lord, give me what I need. I trust your wisdom and timing. Show me my next step - here I go wanting to do something. Help me to lay down a doing mentality and simply rest at your feet, accepting your gifts as you give them.