As soon as I opened my eyes Sunday morning however, HIS message to me came in loud and clear. Courage Dear Heart. HE was letting me know that HE would be supplying me with ALL the strength and courage I was needing to LIVE through my day, and that all I had to do was TRUST HIM. Well when your so deeply wounded that is far easier said than done. However, since HE has proven HIMSELF to be TRUSTWORTHY more times than I can count, I knew that HE had some great waiting for me.
"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34
" And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19
"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him." Psalm 28:7
"Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does." Psalm 145:13
Immediately I began Desperately Seeking JESUS, thirsting for the entire toolbox not just Sunday's tools, but ALL of my days tools, as I am so desperate to NOT have to live with, or in this pain anymore. However, since HE knows me so well, HE stopped me in my tracks and let me know that the tools I would be receiving would only be for today, and that the rest would come on their appointed days. Feeling frustrated, but also curious, I quickly got ready, and "tried" my best to prepare myself as to what it was that HE was going to teach me.
"Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them." Proverbs 4:5
Walking into the Sanctuary at church there was a table on the stage, and NOTHING could have prepared me for what I was about to hear...... nothing short of HIS courage and strength that HE continued to pour into me. Throughout the message my Pastor spoke, my heart began beating faster, and more alive that it had been in months. My mind was being sharpened, and my rebellious spirit was being challenged. I was coming alive, from the inside out.
"As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17
"So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh." Galatians 5:16
I left church knowing that the message I had just heard was a life changing message, ONE of which I would NEVER forget. I have four other messages heard from different Pastors that were life changing, game changers that have led me on the most amazing journey of TRUSTING and knowing HIM, HIS ways, and building, and creating a deep desire within me to be much more like HIM, and so much less about me.
Yesterday's message however, was like air for me, so needed. It was THE MESSAGE HE had been preparing my heart to hear. NOT only to hear, but to meditate on, soak in, and press deep into, so that I would be transformed in my thinking so that I could BE WHO HE has always intended me to BE. Yesterday as I looked at the table, HE took me through the timeline that it took me to go from one chair to the next.
Chair 1 ~ NOT FOLLOWING JESUS ~ In late summer of 2002 I was at the end of my rope in my marriage, my mothering, and living life. Thoughts of suicide consumed me, but fear of scarring my children drove me even further into the pit of despair. I was desperate for answers as to WHY I was still here, and WHY all the pain in my heart... none of it made any sense. Until one Sunday morning, the day before D and I were going to file for a divorce together, as we didn't know what to do, or how to do anything separately, and all we had was debt, and two sweet precious little girls. I will NEVER forget that Sunday the Sunday where JESUS made HIS presence known in my life, and my life would NEVER be the same. Walking into the Lakeside Auditorium at Willow Creek Community Church, the life changing, game changer MESSAGE came in LOUD and CLEAR. "Lay your sorrows at JESUS' feet and HE will take them from you." This led to a massive ugly cry from both D and I as we wept, and sobbed as neither one of us had EVER experienced anything like this before.
We went home that day with our precious two girls, and promised ourselves, each other, them and JESUS that we would give it our all to work through everything and if at the end of it, we couldn't make it work, then at least we could honestly say that we tried. For the next nine months HE began a good work deep within each of us, and I arrogantly "thought" oh we're all better now, so why not have a baby? After all, didn't we deserve some happiness? On February 14, 2003 I gifted D a positive pregnancy test. When he opened his gift and saw the test, a sadness was seen throughout his face, and what I now know as anguish filled his eyes. Heartbroken, I prayed that the LORD would soften his heart and show D was a blessing this was for us.
Our pregnancy would only last a little past 10 weeks, where we would receive the devastating news that our precious little one was no longer with us. Devastated I sobbed, I cried, I begged,I pleaded, as D sat there with relief washing over him. I was angry, bitter, and felt so incredibly alone. Then in May of 2003 Randy Travis sang his song Baptism at Willow, and something deep within me came alive. A desire, a desire to know, to love, to be like JESUS. So on June 22, 2003 my 25th Birthday D and I gave our lives to CHRIST and were baptized with almost 800 other people in Willow Creek's Lake. A day of which I WILL NEVER forget as when my life truly began.
I sat in chair 1 for 9 months before HE prepared my heart to take the journey, the next step to Chair 2.
Chair 2 ~ NEW BELIEVER, or as I we were called back then Baby Christians. Just learning to walk, eager, and willing to DO whatever, whenever, we jumped into serving, loving and being a part of a community of fellow CHRIST FOLLOWERS. D and I were on fire. We were getting out of debt through the blessing of Willow Creek, and were expecting our 3rd daughter. Life was good, and we were determined to make it great! Shortly after our 3rd daughter was born, people began to tell D and I how we were missing out on the benefits of being home owners. In forgetting to be LIKE HIM, we abandon all of which HE was doing and working within us, and set out to achieve the American Dream. We prayed diligently...... however, we prayed ONLY for what we wanted, we pushed, we begged, we pleaded for HIM to please let us have what we wanted.
Arrogantly when the door opened to us purchasing our "dream home" we jumped at the chance and were so easily and quickly led into one of the darkest times of our marriage and our families life. A journey that would last 10 years before I would finally understand, grow, and know WHO HE is would lead to me understanding WHOSE I am, and WHO I was created to be.
I sat in chair 2 for 10 years before HE prepared my heart to take the journey, the next step to Chair 3.
Chair 3 ~ Mature Believer, I was ON FIRE. My heart, my desire to know HIM, ALL of HIM, to be JUST like HIM blew up over night. I began making time every single morning dedicated to HIM to teach, lead, and guide me on this journey towards wholeness. I began speaking HIS word, reading HIS word, and LIVING HIS word. HIS word was all consuming in my heart, soul, and mind. I couldn't get enough of HIS word, I was thirsty, hungry, and inhaled as much as I could each and every day. Thus this is when the blog was born. I now know the significance of sitting in Chair 3 was to prepare me for the hardest part of my journey, the deepest most agonizingly painful loss I had ever experienced in my entire life. I couldn't have possibly known that moving to Chair 3 and allowing myself to become teachable to take a seat at the table in Chair 4 would mean that I would suffer the unimaginable, unfathomable, unthinkable...... that it would mean I would have to give HIM back one of HIS precious children gifted to me, I would have to say goodbye forever in this lifetime to my precious son Seth. That HE would take me on a journey where I would be leveled, crushed, and shattered, and slowly because HE is SOOOO GOOD, HE would rebuild me, renew me, refine me, and restore me to BE WHO HE has always intended for me to be. I now know and understand that this journey has always been about HIM, and NOT so much about me, and HIS mission for this world, and my part in HIS mission as HIS FAITHFUL FOLLOWER.
I sat in chair 3 for 3 years before HE prepared my heart to take the journey, the next step to Chair 4.
Chair 4 ~ Leadership, is a scary, but exciting adventure. A seed of thought planted in my heart two years ago, HE has been preparing my heart for this part of my journey with HIM. Preparing me in ways that keep me in total and constant awe as to how I could live through, survive, and rebuild after such a massive loss. How I could still be HIS light, and HIS ambassador as HIS living vessel WHOM HE would build strong to SPEAK, THINK, ACT, and LIVE out HIS word to be one of HIS bus drivers to show this world that even though bad things happen, our pasts do NOT define WHO HE IS, or WHOSE we are. This journey has taught me that I am HIS, I am chosen, I am loved, I am safe, I have a place, and because of that, a deeply immense,intense desire has been created deep within me to BE more and more like HIM, and so much less and less about me. This journey has led me to where I am now, and that is giving up my ways, my life my dreams, my hopes, my plans, to seek and know what HIS ways, HIS plans are for my life. As that is where my dreams will come true, as HE is the creator of my dreams. HE is where my HOPE is found, and I have made it this far only because I have remained anchored in HIS hope.
"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure." Hebrews 6:19
" You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." 1 John 4:4
So, while I am excited to be moving into Chair 4, HE opened my heart, ears, and mind to another chair that is away from the table, and that is "The Highchair." Currently "The Highchair" in my life is my grief. HE is letting me know that I allow myself to be led away from the table when my grief becomes all consuming, and all of my thoughts, words, and actions become more about me, and less about HIM.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him,and he will make your paths straight" Proverbs 3:5-6
To be honest, this frustrates me as aren't I the one who is grieving? Am I NOT the one who lost her precious little son? Am I NOT Sethie's Mama? Am I NOT the one who found my sweet precious little one lifeless in his bed? Am I NOT the one dealing with the aftermath of the massive trauma our family endured that day, and for the past almost ten months? Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't this my life? Am I NOT the one who is hurting, and so unbearably, unbelievably heartbroken? Am I NOT the one who receives so much "helpful" advice on a daily basis? Am I NOT the one who deals with people being offended by the way I am grieving, and whom question and continually say they are worried that I am grieving too hard? Am I NOT the one who deals with insensitive people whom don't even realize how painful that is for me? Am I NOT the one who is having to forgive people for not knowing what they are doing, and forgiving them so I can move forward, and not live in bitterness, anger, and rage? Am I NOT the one WHO is being transformed, and renewed, in this exhausting journey of walking through grief ? Am I NOT that one?
HE is letting me know that the answer to ALL of that is YES, YES I am that one, however in it, through it all I must remember WHO HE is, and remember that ALL of this pain, sorrow, anguish, and tears serve a purpose, HIS purpose to teach me how to be HIS light, to show other's that even when it hurts, HE is still good. To show them that even when the unthinkable happens HE is still good. HE is wanting me to know that HE knows how badly I am hurting, and TRUST HIM that HE is with me always. HE is wanting me to TRUST HIM with and in my pain, that HE has a plan, and it is amazing. HE is telling me that HIS plan for my life doesn't include me staying in the grief forever, but rather to press through, work through, accept and embrace, cope with the pain, so that HE can expand and stretch my heart so that I will be able to BE WHO HE has always intended for me to be.
"being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6
" And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28
This morning HE is letting me know that the ONLY way I can ensure that I will stay out of "The Highchair" is by keeping my eyes, ears, heart, and mind focused solely on HIM. HE is telling me that this means I must choose to be led by HIS HOLY SPIRIT and NOT by the flesh. HE is reminding that in choosing to be led by the flesh that is when I am led straight back into the pit of despair, and locked in my own prison with a key. HE is telling me that in order to remain in my chair at HIS table, I must choose to be led by HIS spirit, and not by my flesh. HE is wanting me to know that HE hasn't brought me this far to make my life all about me, but rather to sharpen my mind, and renew my spirit to make my life, to surrender my life to BE ALL about HIM.
"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry," James 1:19
"The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." Proverbs 12:18
Looking back over the many years of my life with HIM, I can SEE through HIS vision where I have allowed, and how I have allowed myself to be placed in "The Highchair." I can SEE why its taken me so long in this journey with HIM to get to where I am now. I can SEE how and why I struggled for so long with PTSD the first time around. I can SEE how I felt defeated the other day when the same diagnosis was placed upon me as I could remember how long it took me to get through that same diagnosis almost eleven years ago. Ten years of heartache, pain, and struggle was daunting to me, and to have to go through that again, seemed impossible, and unbelievably unbearable. However because HE is WHO HE says HE is, and I know that HE has been, is, and will continue to work deep within me. I know that through HIM, and with HIM I am strong, I am much stronger than I was ALL those years ago. I know that my mind is much sharper in being able to identify what is from HIM, and what is not. Through soaking in, meditating on, and breathing in HIS word daily, HE is preparing me, preparing the way in to which I am to walk, to think, to breathe, to speak to act. HIS way for me to LIVE, truly LIVE my life with HIS True Confidence, as I am walking in HIS True Freedom as I know and TRUST HIS word to be TRUE. I know and understand as HE has proven to me time and again that HIS word is TRUTH! I am no longer living in a prison without a key. I am recovering so much faster from spin outs, and setbacks than I ever have before.
" I can do all this through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13
"Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful." Joshua 1:8
"Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers. Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction." Psalm 1
Therefore I must choose to remember that the greatest way I can be led by HIS HOLY SPIRIT is to T.H.I.N.K. before I speak. I must ask myself is it true, honest, inspiring, necessary, or kind? I must choose to speak HIS words, words that breathe life, and NOT death. I must choose to surrender ALL of me so that I will become more like HIM. I know that through my surrender that is how HE will renew and sharpen my mind, and will avoid that trap that my enemy has set in placing me right back into "The Highchair."
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Ephesians 4:29
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in CHRIST JESUS, it is my fervent prayer that each time, each day you seek HIM, and HIS will and surrender yourself to HIM, that you will know that HE is giving you the tools that you need just for today. I pray that you will know that with each new tool you are given for your own toolbox, that you will know that is HIM preparing you to move to the next chair. I pray today that if you too are hurting, instead of lashing out in anger, despair, and anxiety, I pray you will give it all to HIM. HE knows you are hurting, HE is holding you, HE wants to take it from you, and pour HIS living water into your aching and open wounds. HE wants to bind them up and heal you, so that you too can walk with HIS TRUE CONFIDENCE, as you too will be living in HIS TRUE FREEDOM. I pray today that you will choose to live in HIS TRUE FREEDOM, and choose to forgo "The Highchair" your enemy has set to trap you.
" You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." 1 John 4:4
always in love, support, understanding, grace, and compassion,
Your Sister in CHRIST JESUS,