September 17, 2006

Some History...So I Don't Forget

As I wrote earlier, God has reminded me of the purpose for my blog...to journal what He's been teaching me. I need to memorialize what He's been showing me, so that I can testify to His power & glory.

I've given some recent background, but I need to go further back and mark certain points in my walk with Christ that have led me to where I am today. (This will be long, so stick with me.) I've got to be brutally honest, so I ask that anyone who reads this please understand that I'm sharing my heart here. I may take some hits, but I've already hashed this out with God & we're okay.

My single greatest struggle in my Christian life has been to have a consistent walk with the Lord. I've experienced times of great joy...mountaintop experiences where I've heard Him speaking so clearly & guiding me so obviously that I could almost physically feel Him holding my hand. I've also been through deep valleys...times when I've not read His Word or spoken to Him for weeks on end, and generally ignored Him except for church. I was always been in church & I always looked the part, but I was as far from God as I could get. I've been cycling this way for years.

Despite these cycles, I've felt Him pulling me toward women's ministry. I've found some things I wrote back in 2004:

May:
A couple of years ago (2002), I felt the Lord pulling my heart towards women’s ministry. By my very nature, I went full-steam ahead with what I perceived His calling to be. I fell flat on my face, because I was moving in my own strength & not His. Disappointed, I felt I must have misinterpreted His call, and so I gave up. Flash forward to January 2004, I started facilitating a Bible study titled “Believing God” by Beth Moore. Early in the study, the Lord showed me that there are times when He calls us & then we must wait…He has to grow us deeper before He can grow us taller & wider. He affirmed His calling to me, and told me to just trust in Him. I can’t describe the experience, but I made a commitment to Him then that, even though He wasn’t telling me what He wanted me to do, I would follow His leading.This was a HUGE step of faith for me, because I like to know what’s going to happen in advance. I don’t like surprises, yet I had no choice but to leave it in His hands…because He was not going to tell me where we were going. He gave me the willingness and strength to do this. Believe me, He had to do it, because I couldn’t have! Not long after that, He started giving me the devotionals I’ve been sharing. What a blessing that has been for me!

July:

During my most recent struggle with His calling, He responded in such a way that I was completely undone.As He has given me confirmation, I’ve written the Scriptures on index cards. Last night, I laid them all out in front of me on my dining room table, and I was astounded at His goodness & faithfulness! As you know, the Lord told me to write the devotions I’ve been sharing with you. Not long ago, He began tugging at my heart to start an interdenominational Bible study. The sessions will be expanding upon the written devotions. I needed to be clear that all of this was from Him. Are you ready to hear what He said?

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

"Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them. They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. - Jeremiah 1:17,19

"I know, O Lord, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps. Correct me, Lord, but only with justice – not in your anger, lest you reduce me to nothing. - Jeremiah 10:23-24

"But the Lord said to me, “Do not say ‘I am only a child.’You must go to everyone I sent to you and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.- Jeremiah 1:7-8

"But be sure to fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things He has done for you. - 1 Samuel 12:24

WOW! All of these words came after I prayed for guidance from Him.I was not deliberately seeking Scripture to meet my needs. All of these came during my regular Bible reading. To me, there is absolutely NO doubt that He has ordained this ministry. I still do not know exactly where we’re going with all of this.


August:

A few of you started on this journey with me back in the winter, as I began to pour out the messages God spoke to my heart. Since that time, He has rained tremendous blessings upon me, to the point that I can hardly think of His goodness without just falling to my knees. I have been amazed to watch the list of recipients grow and move across the country. More than that, I have watched in awe as He has worked in my heart & in my life. I’ve said this before, and I mean it from the bottom of my heart – this has been the absolute most fun I’ve ever had with Jesus.

Once I decided to believe that God really could do anything, He started proving Himself in ways I never imagined. My nature is to take everything at once and run with it … BIG mistake. I’ve run too far ahead. Not only did I get ahead of God, but R & CJ as well. Thankfully, my Lord has called me back before I left them completely behind. He has impressed upon my heart that I need to take a break...

After that, I was angrier with God than I care to admit. I spent a lot of time spinning my wheels, and NOT being happy with the fact that He was putting everything on hold. Here's my reaction in October:

Even while God was pouring blessings upon me, I began to pull away into my sinful nature & think I could direct my life. I began implementing MY plans for ministry, and trying to accomplish what I wanted…all the while, giving Him empty praise & lying about being okay with His timing.Whenever God would slay me, I would seek Him again…but it wasn’t long before I was back to my old devices. He has continued to be merciful to me, and hasn’t destroyed me.Praise Him…He realizes that I am only flesh!

Last night, I sat on my bed heartbroken. I came face to face with my own deep need for grace. I accepted Christ years ago, but I have been trying to save myself ever since. I have tried so hard to perform for Him & earn His love. I knew enough to pretend that wasn’t what I was doing...but it was only lip service. I was on a crash course…thankfully, I crashed into a loving, forgiving God who picked me up!


So, that brings us to last summer, and how God started to orchestrate the new Sunday School class. In the last few weeks since our class started, He has used my study and preparation time for the class, & other circumstances to put the puzzle pieces together. He's pulling the veil from my eyes, and I'm amazed. I can't wait to share...and that's where we'll pick up next time.

I have a feeling this may be a slow process. But, as I put in a comment to Boomama (who I won't link, because everyone in the blogging universe knows how to find her!), I want to make sure I put HIS words down, not mine.

And if you made it this far, thanks for listening!

Because of Jesus...

5 comments:

Big Mama said...

I know that for me consistency has always been my greatest struggle in my walk with Christ. Thanks for being honest and sharing your thoughts.

BooMama said...

I am loving your honesty here...and I see myself in so much of what you said. That phrase "empty praise" - that got me. Big time. I've been there, too. Consistency and faithfulness are such easy words to throw around when we "talk the talk" - but WALKING those two things - oh mercy, it's hard.

Love this, Melissa. Love it.

Chandra said...

When I read the 3rd paragraph of this post talking about you were tired of not being consistent with GOD I knew I was directed to your site. I have been dealing with feeling inconsistent with GOD for @ 6 months now. I am tired of the emotionally roller coaster I go through when times get tough. I have to love him and show him love the same during the bad as with the good. I am working on that. Many Blessings.

Barb said...

Inconsistency in our walk probably happens to all of us at one time in our lives or another. It's definitely a challenge I've faced, more than once. Thank you for being so honest here. It's really encouraging to know I'm not the only one who battles this.

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