Hello again. I've been wanting to talk to you for awhile but life has been busy. Sound familiar?
Last night I had a dream...you know those dreams that you wake up from but you can't seem to shake? The ones that color your entire day. In my dream my daughters had this big 'once in a lifetime' event that we were going to. We had gotten there early so we decided to go into the cafeteria where there were several kids going to the same event. I got busy talking to someone and didn't notice that the room had cleared out. When I realized that everyone had left my daughters and I ran to catch up, but we were too late. The event was over...In tears my daughters turned to me and said "Mom, we missed it! Because you were too busy talking to that person we missed it and it will never happen again." I was crushed. No amount of apology would bring back the time, no 'I'm sorry' would start the event over. The problem was that I was doing what I thought I was supposed to do. The woman I was talking to said that she 'needed' to talk. That's what Jesus would do, right?
So today I have been asking myself what am I supposed to do. In my dream we were right there, we were on time, it had been a priority. And yet, we missed it. The Scripture that has been playing in my mind is 1 Kings 19 :10-13. In this scripture the prophet Elijah is waiting to hear from the Lord on Mt Horeb. Elijah has just told the Lord that he has been serving him all this time and that he is the only one left. God has told him to stand on the mountain and wait..."
I am in a season of wondering...I used to know exactly what I believed about morality and what was right and wrong. I had standards of what I felt was acceptable as a Christian in the way people looked and how they talked and what they believed in. But lately I find myself wondering if I wasn't living in a bubble of judgment and superiority. I have begun to notice the believer who gossips and judges others without taking the time to hear their story; those that profess Christianity speak in words that I would chastize my teens for using without even blinking an eye; and the person on their way home from Bible study who yells at my daughter in the drive through window at Starbucks because she didn't get their coffee to them quick enough...But I have also begun to notice the non-believer who criticizes Christianity but lovingly asks about my day, takes the time to notice others and speaks in words of encouragement to just about everyone they meet.
I know this is an age old story, and I am not meaning to judge anybody-I am just wondering how much time I have been the one judging others because they didn't believe the same as me. I am wondering how many times I have looked at the young man with pink hair as though I was utterly disgusted and didn't even notice that he had just made a crying child smile....I am just wondering how much time I have waisted not getting to know someone because I felt threatened by them and their beliefs instead of showing them the love of God. Just wondering......
"Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person." Colossians 4:5-6
Today I had an interaction with someone close to me that did not go as I had planned. I want something for them that they do not seem to want for themselves and I am angry that they do not see things my way. So I thought I would do the 'Christian' thing and ask a dear friend to pray for us. I almost made the call until I felt the Lord gently impress upon me "Tina, did you pray?" No-I'll pray about it later... "Tina, YOU pray now." As I thought about it I realized that in asking my friend to pray I was actually giving it over her instead of the Lord. Truth is I probably would not have prayed about it. I would have listened to her encouraging advice, given it to her to pray about and then that would have been enough. I probably wouldn't have thought about it again---until the next time.
I realize that I do this often. I give my burdens to others instead of the ONE who can really help. Don't get me wrong-I strongly believe in community. The Scriptures are filled with verses telling us how important it is to pray with and for each other. But perhaps there is also a time to JUST take it to the Lord. Perhaps that is part of what Matthew is telling us in Matthew 6:6, which says "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything will reward you." (NLT) So I have decided that with this one thing it is just going to be between the Lord and I. I want to give it to Him in private as our 'little secret' and when He answers it He and I will know that it was only through Him that hearts were changed. And I will probably be surprised that the heart that needed the most work was mine...
Just a thought...
The song "No Longer Slaves" keeps playing over in my mind. The words say "I am no longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God. From my mothers womb you have choosen me, love has called my name." It goes onto say "I am surrounded by the arms of the Father....my fears are drowned in perfect love. You rescued me and I will stand and sing I AM A CHILD OF GOD!" Last night we sang these words at youth group and I stood in the back of the room and cried.
I used to be so full of fear. Childhood abuse and neglect left me with wounds that threated to drown me. There were days that fear gripped me so strongly I would fall to my knees in a puddle of uncontrolable sobs feeling as though I couldn't breathe. I have been there....I lived there. I was so afraid to face my fears thinking that if I did they would wash over me with so much force that I would literally drown from the weight of them. But through the years God has shown me that He is big enough to handle all of my fears and insecurities. He has shown me, through the stories of others who have gone before me, that I am not alone, that He will never leave me and that He sees me. Psalm 30:11 says "You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy." (NLT)
As I listened to the youth group kids sing the song "No Longer Slaves" last night I felt such a peace wash over me. I felt so free and light as I sang the words "I am surrounded by the arms of the Father...my fears are drowned in perfect love"---MY FEARS are drowned---not me. He has me, He loves me and He can handle ALL of my fears.