This morning the ladies in our church gathered together for a wonderful ladies breakfast, and I had the honor of leading the devotional or testimony. As my first or second speaking engagement since graduating college, I basically just read something I wrote for them. The first time is a learning experience, right?
Anyway, here are the words I felt the Lord lay on my heart last night, I hope that you will enjoy them.
Bundled up in a bathrobe, clutching a cup of warm apple cider I sit, finally attempting to figure out what to say. For weeks I have been praying about this message, trying let the subject grow and wrap it’s way around my heart. Pleading with the Lord to give me something tender and yet convicting, personal and yet relate-able.
The more I prayed, the less I felt compelled to write about. The more I begged God to show me the message, or to give me the time and passion needed, the busier and more chaotic my life became, the more cluttered and clouded my mind was.
Even now I’m struggling to put words onto paper. To pour my heart out and hope it turns into something magnificent.
It occurs to me that two things may be simultaneously happening.
The first thing is that the devil knows what I’m up to and has been doing everything in his power to shut me down. To cloud my life and my mind with closed day cares, backed up sewers and Micah’s persistent anti-sleep 2-3 hour battles before nap and bed time. He knows what I’m up to, he knows each and every one of you who are here and what the Lord wants you to hear, and he does not want you to hear it.
The second thing that could be going on, is that the Lord is desiring to challenge me, to use what the devil is doing, to increase my obedience, to stretch my creativity, to create a God honoring message, something beautiful that will transcend the here and now, something that each of you will take on with you throughout your weeks and remember upon when the Lord desires you to. A challenge to create something beautiful, for His glory, out of nothing. Literally.
Isn’t that just like those two,the perfect characterization of each?
The devil constantly digging his feet in, pulling you in three different directions, slamming doors in your face just as you are about to walk through them, blowing up garbage disposals or a babies diaper when the Lord needs you the most.
Our father, patiently waiting for us to respond in obedience, defeating all of the devils nasty tricks by stretching the creativity, and working all things out for good, and creating something even more beautiful and precious than what would or could have been without the challenge.
I can think of so many different examples of this in my life.
Vague examples that many of you have probably experienced as well, such as a friendship rooted more deeply through a shared trial, a lesson learned about my son through a trip to the ER, a conviction on my friendship skills through the hurt and pain of changing relationships.
Beauty (so to speak) from ashes.
Then there are the personal ones specifically related to my life and my experiences, those that I can’t hide from, that have everyday reminders.
The pain and heartache that surrounded my youth as my mother battled Multiple Sclerosis, has been re-birthed into reluctant acceptance because the time was used ultimately to teach me important life lessons, reveal things about myself and my personality that may have taken several decades to figure out otherwise, and show me how important it is to trust the Lord through trials.
The surprise and joy over finding out I was pregnant just as the devil had used a doctor (and cancer) to try and strike fear and panic in us over our future family possibilities.
Most recently the blessing of a new home, perfectly suited to meet our every need (now and in the future), after heartache and pain over losing out on several other homes, waiting as contentedly as possible for nearly 7 years while the Lord brought us to and through our medical trials preparing us financially. The blessing is that much sweeter.
I realize that I’ve clearly mentioned two different types of trials. Those from the devil, specifically geared towards choking you up, and those that the Lord is clearly trying to teach you something through. It is my belief that nothing that happens will surprise the Lord, He knows far more than we could imagine, and that it is His desire to USE each and every circumstance God breathed or not to teach us, to transform us, and increase our faith, our blessings. However, I also believe that the devil will use each and every circumstance God breathed or not to cause us to stumble, to choke us up, busy our lives, strike fear and panic in us, cloud our minds and hearts so much that we cannot hear or see the Lords hand.
Sipping on my second cup of hot apple cider, I feel it’s warmth spreading throughout my being. I blow gently into the cup and the heat returns tenderly kissing my lips and cheeks, I feel the peace of the Lord coming over me at last, a sweet and warm reward for choosing to be still and listen.
What situations do you have in your life right now, big or small that the devil is trying to use to shake your faith, but the Lord is trying to use to bless you?
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