This post is long. If you want the summary…cliff notes in playlist version at the end.
I left for CityReach thinking that I was in a pretty good place spiritually. But this week, God used CityReach to teach me more about His nature and began to remake my heart. You probably know this about me already, but I’m a total problem solver and peacemaker. I have real trouble with unresolved conflict. Even as I type this, I’m worried that some of the people who read my blog for book stuff will be offended by this post. If that is you, I apologize, but I feel like it is important to share a little bit of what I learned this week because it has forever changed me. Maybe this can help someone else who might be struggling too.
For the past year or two, I’ve noticed a real trend in my life that is frustrating and hard to understand. God has opened doors and done AMAZING things, only to then have those same doors shut. Sometimes I know He is the one shutting them, sometimes others, and sometimes probably my own stubbornness. This week that really came to a tipping point with me spiritually. God had opened huge doors for the makerspace track (I suddenly wasn’t working that week, we got flyers in the public schools/libraries, I was able to get most of our items donated, and we even got a promo spot on the news) but yet this week only about ⅓ of the kids who had registered showed up. Don’t get me wrong. I KNOW that God used it for good, because those who came heard the Gospel and we even had one profession. I just really felt like God had planned so much more, so it made me wonder about this pattern I’d been seeing. This is where my peacemaker heart struggles. It is a constant battle for me not to understand why God does what he does. He doesn’t owe me an explanation, but something in my feels like if I knew why it would be easier.
Here are some other examples that have weighed heavily on my heart.
- God burdened my heart for several ministries at church, but those didn’t happen. We have had a lot of changes in our church and some of those were painful. I’ve really struggled if I’m where I’m supposed to be. Loss of people means that sometimes people are serving where needed and not where they are called.
- I love my job, and yet sometimes I feel like God might be calling me to more. Just when those things start to line up, and I feel like God has moved my heart in a different direction the plans change or don’t work out.
- I really felt a leading towards missions, but other than just doing short term stuff (and depositing some checks for our missionaries) that is all that God has opened the door for at this point. As I say that though, God is reminding me that I have a mission in the kids I teach…and I do love those guys, so maybe this shouldn’t count.
- Maybe the toughest one is that since I was a young child, I always felt God called me to be a wife and mother. I’d seen good and bad examples growing up and I longed for a husband to partner with and children to raise up to serve the Lord…and yet I’m still single. I know that I am complete in Christ, but I also know the longing of wanting a partner and the emptiness of coming home to an quiet house. This is doubly compounded because I know this is a source of stress/confusion for my unsaved family. They don’t understand how a good God would “keep me single”. They gauge success on a monetary scale/family scale; neither of which I’m doing too hot on right now. LOL.
Then this week, as I was trying to verbalize what I was thinking to someone, and they mentioned to me that my struggle was control. I’m sure part of that is true. When you grow up trying to help everyone solve their problems, and trying to make everyone happy, it is hard to admit when you need help. You feel like you let people down if you can’t do it on your own. This week I really tried to be better about being honest about my concerns and needs. Those people probably didn’t even know what a big deal that was for me. It was kind of liberating. But one night after a broken-hearted text with a friend (sorry about that), I finally realized that this week and these issues really wasn’t about control, it was about trust. Do I really trust the heart of God? Do I really believe that He wants what is best for me? Do I really know that He hears me when I pray? Do I really believe His word is true? Do I really believe God is good? The answer to all of those is yes… BUT…. It is that but that has been causing me trouble for years…kind of like the man in the Bible who said “Lord I believe. Help my unbelief.”
At a base level I know all those truths, but I think God keeps having me practice them because I keep forgetting to apply these truths. God doesn’t want to see me hurt, but he wants me to crawl up in His lap and talk to Him if I do. This week I realized that I don’t need to know why God has allowed (or not allowed) certain things in my life. I just need to know Him better. The closer I am to the center of His will, the less I will worry about trying to see the puzzle box and just allow Him to start connecting the pieces. If I want to see others saved, I have to share Christ and actually continue to pray for them. If I’m hurting or happy, God is able to handle the full range of my emotions, but He still wants me to talk to Him and trust His intentions for me. I think in some ways doing the right thing/churchy thing becomes easier than a genuine relationship with Christ. I want to truly know my Abba Father.
This week I also realized that I spend too much time focused on work. I know why-I’m successful there. I think that I’m well liked by most of my peers, and I try to do a job that brings God the glory. The trouble is, that I spend too much time focused on that, and not enough doing my job as a Christian. How can I truly know Him if I don’t spend enough time in His word? This week Cory asked who had read the Bible all the way through. I read about 100 books a year, and yet It takes me about 3 years to get through the Bible. Why is that? If I want a closer relationship with Christ, the Bible is one way of getting a glimpse into His heart.
So when I pulled back into town today, I immediately saw it differently because I was changed. I’m making some goodies this week and I’m going to talk to the neighbors I only wave at normally. Hopefully this week I’ll continue what started at CityReach, and allow God to continue what he started in me.
P.S. Whoever was praying for my ankle not to hurt this week, will you pray for my future husband next? LOL! This was my first pain free (mostly) week post surgery. That was a huge answer to prayer!
Playlist version of this week:
- Hold my Heart-Tenth Avenue North
- Psalm 73-Barlow Girl
- You Tell Me So-JJ Heller
- King of My Heart-worship chorus we sang at CityReach
- Need You Now-Addison Road