I find irony in a lot of things…for my Monday it came in the form of “the words I shared as a challenge, that I preached to someone else, became my own challenge for the day”. Isn’t that how it always works?
A few weeks ago I was offered an incredible opportunity; to share my story with the DaySpring family. DaySpring is an incredible company committed to being good stewards of God’s blessings and resources and since 1979 have been in Siloam Springs, AR.
Today was the day!
I kinda knew all along that most of my “chat” would be my testimony. While I was there representing the American Cancer Society, I was stoked more about representing Jesus and having some time to just encourage their team.
If you are not familiar with DaySpring – you should be! (http://www.dayspring.com/)
I’ll share below some of what I shared with them today, but here’s the irony. As my day unfolded I became the recipient of the challenge I bestowed in their direction. The words I went to bed pondering last night became the challenge I found myself the recipient of. The words I shared this morning I spent this evening rummaging through and pulled them in over my head like putting on a cozy, winter sweater. So, tonight I will lay back in the branches of this willow and let them envelop me in their welcomed offering.
I am a Martha. (I think I’ve confessed that here before). I totally own it. I’m a busy body. I don’t sit still. I like to do dishes in other people’s kitchens. I have a full time job, I volunteer, I’m a blogger, I have a sewing business on the side that is registered in 3 counties in AR, I serve on community boards, I have published a cookbook of family recipes…the list goes on and I’m not ever satisfied and I don’t ever feel “enough”.
I’m a product of my mother and she is a product of her mother and that’s as far back as people that I know, but I have a feeling that the cycle stems from the Garden of Eden. Its not a new thing we women face.
It’s a curse that most women face. And that is the SACRED ART OF COMPARISON. (I didn’t let the guys off here because I think its really something that stems from the human spirit – they have it too, their case is just not as bad as ours!)
My problem, my stigma, my curse – I COVET EVERYONE ELSE’S LIFE
I want the picture that I see on the outside. I don’t know the inside so the outside life looks good and that’s what I crave.
I grew up in a Christian home. I have great parents who raised us with deep roots and I get the blessing that is. I know and understand that they cultivated in us a spirit that God was able to springboard off of. I am so lucky.
I even did what good Southern Baptist girls are supposed to do and I went to a great Christian, bible believing and truth teaching college. While I was there, God used that great environment to teach me that I didn’t have to be in a Christian profession to be a successful “believer”, I could be a professional that was a Christian and still live out His story. But somewhere along the way in the Spring of my sophomore year of college at something we called Christian Focus Week, we had a speaker that shared something that stuck with me.
You know we often find ourselves in these heightened religious situations where we choose to make a commitment to do something and we base our decision to act on the emotion of the moment. And I specifically remember holding myself back at first as the speaker for the week called on us. Because he warned us in the seriousness of the commitment that to take the stand and to make the statement meant that God was going to hold us accountable to surrendering to this call. So, I waited and I pondered and before I stood to publicly say it was what I was committing to I knew that I had to be “all in”.
So I did it, I stood. And, in my standing I committed this –
“where ever you want me to go, whatever you want me to do, I will follow” (read in repeat until it sinks in!)
I think that night as I stood in the center orchestra section about halfway back (you know perfect seats for Tiger Tunes) I thought and was worried about a call to an African Village. After all that’s what “surrendered” means. It always involves “the uttermost parts” first…right?
Never once did it cross my mind that living in OBEDIENCE and SURRENDER might in fact mean what God was instead calling me to. That I might simply be able to follow this calling at this place in life simply by living out His direction.
Then, in 2008 when I went through my cancer journey that became part of my story. Now I live in light of that commitment and that experience. And, here’s my truth –
IF I BELIEVE THAT GOD IS WHO HE SAYS HE IS, THEN I MUST BELIEVE THAT HE WILL DO WHAT HE SAYS HE WILL DO (again, do yourself a favor and hit repeat and read that again.)
A year ago I made a move. In courageous moment I picked up my life in Arkadelphia and moved to Northwest Arkansas. 400 more miles way from my family. Away from most of my life friends to follow a path I felt God calling me on; a journey that He has since used to draw me to Himself.
Now get this. I’m not saying that I was “away” from God. I wasn’t. And, if I was, I really don’t think I would have been able to sense and decipher what only He could call me to do. But instead, He has used the last 12 months to reveal Himself to me in ways that I would not have been able to understand any other way. He has grown me. Shaped me. Changed me into what I’m hoping is a reflection of Him. And, it has been hard. EVERY SINGLE DAY I talk myself through rolling over and pulling the sheets over my head. Some days I really have to search for the extra quote, reflection, or picture posted on someone’s Facebook wall before I can charge forth with the day ahead of me.
But, if I BELIEVE He is who He says He is, then I MUST believe that He WILL do what He says He will do.
Only I can live the road that’s in front of me.
Only YOU can live the road that’s in front of you.
That’s our gift. Life is our gift.
Our duty. Our Response. Our Responsibility is to live in light of what God has done for us.
My inner Martha struggles with that. She wants a plan, a road map, to control and look ahead. But, Oh the joy of the surrendered journey. Oh the joy of obedience in the moment.
I end with this challenge (the challenge that I personally encountered this evening and had to remind myself that while I pushed it out and shared it with the room of DaySpring employees…its not something I’ve stopped learning)
1. Covet the journey God’s given you – only you can live this life. Only you can find the joy in what surrender and obedience looks like to you. Covet that; desire that.
2. Let Him use you for His FAME
3. Live in light of the same promises that He made to Abraham, to Jacob, to Joshua, to Paul
In Genesis 28, we find Jacob in the middle of a little camping trip. He has pulled up a rock and laid down to rest for the evening and as all good Old Testament characters do, he falls into a dream and has his “stairway to heaven” moment. In that moment he sees the LORD and hears these words of promise beginning in verse 13 – and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, an you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
He wants to give us what He has promised us.