Today was a very long time coming---for a variety of reasons. We had really been looking forward to today, and it hasn't disappointed any of us. First, we hadn't been able to attend worship since before Christmas, and we have sorely missed that. Not only were we not able to receive awesome teachings from our Pastors, but we had missed the Praise and Worship and the Fellowship with those of like, precious faith. So.....when I awoke this morning, I was really looking forward to attending. The second reason was that Bethany was scheduled to have her pic line removed after church service. Yeah!
Pastor Tom gave an excellent message on "How to Stunt Your Spiritual Growth." Hmmmm. It was more of a 'what not to do,' instead of a 'what to do,' if you know what I mean. Kind of like reverse psychology. An example that made me laugh was, 'If you want your teenager to clean his room, and he hasn't quite made the time or mustered the energy, then say, "Don't worry about cleaning your room; I'll take care of it." Ha ha. Jonathan and Bethany both got a kick out of that one. As did I. More, Jonathan than Bethany though.
Anyway, Pastor asked, "How many situations would be different if we would live our lives as though we totally trusted God?" Wow! I had to really take a step back and think about that one. I knew that I totally, unequivocably trusted God with my children, with Bethany's health concerns and with my vehicles, but I couldn't say that I totally trusted Him with the rest of my life. I mean, I never worried about Bethany coming through her surgery and her host of complications; Never. Not once. I was very concerned over the fact that she was experiencing a LOT of pain. That was brutal.
I never worry about my kids salvation because I have totally entrusted them to God early on. I follow Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it." That's not to say that they would never stray from being a Christ follower; I believe it to mean that they will always, eventually return Home. Thank God. Thus, no real worries there.
Ah....then what concerns me? I hate to say, 'worry,' because I would never consider myself a worrier. I do, however, have concerns over some other things in my life. I guess that would mean that I may not be living my life with total trust in the Lord. I know that I know that I know that I know that God is ultimately in control; it's just that sometimes I wonder what is He thinking. Come on. Must He really take me down this road? Just when things seem to be going relatively well, if not great, then KABOOM! The Lord changes the direction of my life. Again.
If there's one thing I am constantly learning, admidst all of the KABOOMS in my life, it's that sometimes I need to just throw up the white flag and totally surrender my life to the One Who created it. To the One Who ultimately knows the long term plan for me. To the One Who always, always, always has my best interest. To the One Who knows everything.
Sometimes, I have to surrender daily. Lately, that's been my mantra. I surrender today, again, Lord. Geesh! I just did that yesterday, but I can tell that I need to do it again today, because I am beginning to worry (be concerned--lol) about something. So....I throw up my white flag, and offer my surrender to Him.
I also have to remind myself to continue to surround myself with Christ Followers--not just people that attend church. No. People that are actually following Christ in the daily lives, living out the Great Commission, serving and following Him; knowing that it's not a religion, it's a relationship with the One and Only. Sometimes, that is difficult, considering I am an extremely busy women. Between raising two teenagers and one 20 year old, owning two dogs (including a 105 pound puppy), working full time, cooking meals, managing a home and yard, along with a sick child, yada, yada, yada, fellowshipping with those of like precious faith tends to take a back seat.
Although I taught the Bible Study, Captivating, for many years, to countless women in my home, I am taking a sabbatical. There is a long waiting list of women who want to attend the 10 week course, however, I think that I need to rejuvenate and begin attending a LifeGroup myself. Wow! Now, that's a concept! A bible study for me and not by me. I could definitely get used to that. I just know that I couldn't commit to two evenings a week to such, so something is going to have to go. For the moment, it will be Captivating. Hmmmm.
Pastor also mentioned that we shouldn't allow our circumstances to weaken us. As I think about that one, I think, "Well, that's not me." Ha. But when I really think about that one, I think, "I've let my recent circumstances weaken me to the point of saying, 'I'm never going there again.'" I'm learning that is not the right answer. The Lord knows all of my questions, and He knows all of the answers. I am now learning that if the Lord wants me to go 'there' again, I willingly will.
According to Steven Furtick, or so my Pastor says, "All of the good stories start with adversity." Wow! Isn't that the truth. Look at labor and delivery. Moms out there, need I say anymore? Married Couples out there, need I say anymore? College graduates out there, need I saw anymore? Grandparents--same thing. It's so true, God uses our pain and trials for many things, but mainly to refine and perfect us. OK, enough already. I'm feeling mighty refined about now.
I'm really looking forward to the message next week: "Mirror Mirror--What Does God See When He Looks At Me?" It will last for 5 weeks, and it should be really interesting. Until then, though, I will continue to hold up my white flag, on a daily basis, if not hourly, and pray.
Anyway, after a great and thought-provoking worship service, we came home and started right into writing thank you notes, cooking and doing various things around house. Then.....dun ta dun dun dun....the home health aide arrived to remove Bethany's pic line. After a seemingly endless supply of questions, most often geared for an older person (i.e. do you use a cane or walker; do you need assistance using the facilities), she removed her pic line and left. Woo Hoo! Other than a little pain at the incision points, Bethany is doing extremely well. So well, in fact, that after the majority of her thank you notes were written, she went to the UT rec to watch a soccer game. Then, off to her boyfriend's house for the evening. I'd say that's nothing short of a miracle.
When I think that less than a month ago, she was on a ventilator, in excrutiating pain, helpless and tearful, I think, "Wow! Not only is God in the miracle working business, but that life can change, for the better, on a dime." I know that it can also change for the worse on a dime, but I am concentrating on the better part right now. Circumstances would have me think about the bad, but I am choosing to think about the good. :) Isn't that part of what surrending is all about? Choosing to believe the God has everything under control because He is ultimately in control and has our best interests at heart? I think so.
Nonetheless, thanks again, so much for praying for Bethany and our family. We just keep on keeping on. It's very different in our home with Joy moved out, and we really miss her. We saw her yesterday, but never for long enough. It's definitely been a few weeks of change, not all good, but the Lord knows. I am continually thanking Him for that.