Saturday, September 26, 2009

Taking me up on it

Are there moments in life that made your relationship with God what it is now? Here's what I think of in my own journey:

1. Summer camp in Jr. High--On a dark night by a roaring campfire my heart was stirred to rededicate my life to Christ. After being saved at 5, for the first time I knew I wanted to live as a real Christian, "110%" as the speaker enthused! --"Take me out of my comfort zone, Lord!," I prayed as I went forward, and thru my stick in the fire. And when I told Him that, I really meant it!

2. Working at Disney--I read thru "Experiencing God" while I worked at Disney and lived in crazy college dorm-like circumstances. It was a powerful combination, the truths in that devotional along with being surrounded by party-time, all the time. I loved it, what God showed me while I was there. As I read thru the study, I came across a phrase that stood out like it was written in bold: "Lord, send me anywhere, only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me. Sever any tie, but the tie that binds me to Yourself." That phrase became my prayer and I cried it I out to God many times. Even now when I read it I think. WOW! that's an intense thing to ask for. But no matter what I wanted that to be a reality in my life. And I really meant it!

3. The Acting Bug: Doing theater for a living was my passion for years and years, and after college, I had doors opening wide to pursue it. I had thought if God ever asked me to give up this desire it would be too hard. But the only way I can describe how He spoke to me over the course of a few weeks in 2001, is that He painted a portrait and thru it showed me what to do. I had a powerful, life-long desire. Then God changed things. He didn't take away my love for theater, but in a peaceful way that left nothing to question, I knew clearly what He was saying:
He had more for me than the pursuit of this. He wanted me to lay down my talents and drive and let Him rebuild the next phase of my life.
And remarkably, it wasn't hard. I don't know when I've been more sure of what to do, and been more at peace (even happy) to do it. So, before a big performance (where recruits from New York were there), I knelt down with a grateful heart, and lifted my hands in prayer. I told God I trusted Him, and I sacrificed one of the hugest parts of myself (at the time) to Him. I promised that I trusted His ways are higher than mine. I told Him that if this was part of the journey of making me into His image, I was all in, even if it meant the sacrifice of my greatest desire.

4. Living Beyond Yourself: After Andrew and I moved to Florida our life became very real. Meaning real hard! The lonliness of leaving behind a life we loved, and rebuilding in a world so unlike Lynchburg was overwhelming. I literally had only one friend down here in those early days and she thought doing the Beth Moore "Living Beyond Yourself" Bible Study would be good for me. Being very hesitant of the whole "Beth Moore" part of the equation, I reluctantly said yes. Before starting each days reading, she asked me to pray that the Lord would speak. And, boy, did He! I swear, from the time I opened the first page, to the final question on the last, God was there! Overwhelmingly present! I cried and prayed as God opened up my eyes to myself. I was about 27 at this point, and God had already done a lot of life "pruning." But thru this time a magnifying glass was held up to the inner selfishness, fear, immaturity, inflexibilty, control and so much more. I knew I couldn't be the wife, mother, friend, and strong woman I wanted to be with so much insecurity holding me down. So, I promised with renewed vigor that I wanted Him to do what it takes to break me and mold me into the person He had in mind when He created me. I wanted to be a confident, vibrant woman of God and I was willing to do what cross any waters it would take for me to get there.

I'm going somewhere with all this, I promise! I am now, 31 and trudging through some extremely difficult circumstances. And I have to wonder, is God answering those prayers now? I don't know. To be honest, I have way more questions than any thing else. But I do know that I am pushed to the brink. Is He taking me out of my comfort zone? FOR SURE. Is He laying a heavy burden on me, but sustaining me? YUP. Am I becoming me a more patient, mature woman with a story to tell? I think so. Now don't get me wrong, I know I have a lot more living to do and a ton more learning, and I have no idea when or if this pain is going to go away. But it provides hope to know that through hard times God changes us the most. And since I've promised Him over and over to do what it takes to make me like His Son, I wonder if now, more than ever....He taking me up on it.

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