My spiritual journey: moments of clarity, ponderings, and vast irritations

Monday, August 25, 2008

Not MIA... Just BUSY!

This has been a very full month, as the month of August usually is. I've been running around way more than I'm used to. I really need to get set up for mobile blogger!

The biggest most fantastic thing that happened this month was our baptism service on Sunday the 17th proved that God truly does exceedingly and abundantly above all that we ask or think! We had prayed for 20 to get baptized, and as of Sunday morning we only knew of 6 or 7. We baptized after church at my Aunt Sandy's swimming pool, and ended up with 26! WOW! They just kept coming! And mind you this are people who have been saved within the last 6 months all the way up to that very Sunday morning! There were very few dry eyes that afternoon. God is good. People are not only getting saved, but they are growing in the Lord!

As for something that has personally touched me, it would have to be when my Uncle Tim asked me to make the unleavened bread for communion this past Sunday. Wow. What a privilege. I got to be a part of a tradition that goes all the way back to that first Passover in Egypt when Moses and the children of Israel huddled behind the bloodstained door posts. Not only did I remember Christ as I took the bread and the cup, but I remembered him as I mixed the bread and baked the bread. It was an amazing experience. To think that something so simple as flour and water symbolizes the Saviour... for thousands of years woman mixed, rolled out, baked and handed to the head of the household this simple fare, barely realizing the significance. Yes, they were spared in Egypt. Yes, the sin was swept from their homes. But there was so much more to be found in that bread. A sinless one would come. One who would take away our sins. One who would be broken and save us all from the death angel for more than one evening. He would save us for eternity.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Blessed Beyond Measure!

As I said before, I've been focusing on the waves for way too long. Fear, anger, frustration, anxiety, depression: it's kinda where I've lived. Boy, have I been foolish to doubt God. God is so good to me. So good to my family. I mentioned some things that he has done for us in an earlier blog, but somehow even with my thankful attitude, it just wasn't enough. I still felt like I was drowning. Enter Jesus! (not that he had really left, of course!) He moved upon our church family to shower us in blessings. I think that I was touched more than I ever have been before. I felt surrounded in love, in hope, in peace, in comfort. I am not alone. Not only is Jesus still watching out for me, his church, his body, is also caring for me. I am blessed. I am blessed!!!
Ezekiel 34:26 And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.
Yep, that's pretty much it.

So thank you Jesus, and thank you FBC!

Oh, and the little picture frame says,

A Blessing
May the windows of heaven open and pour out a blessing upon you. Malachi 3:10

I've been looking at the waves for too long...

It's funny just how quickly I can spiral to the lowest of lows in mood. God can be so good to me one day, and I can be so thankful... then I feel kinda lost and alone again wondering just where God is. Why is it that some days he just seems more real, more good, more present, more ALIVE... and then other days he seems distant and uncaring, almost as if he's playing a game of hide and seek with me. Is he playing games?

Obviously God is still here, as he promised to never leave, certainly Jesus is still abiding in me, and of course I still have the Holy Spirit just as always. So what is different from one day to the next?

I am reminded of Peter as he bravely, trustingly stepped out of the boat into the raging stormy sea, eyes only on Jesus. Wow. What a peak in this man's walk with Christ! He was not only witnessing a miracle, but actually taking part in it! But something happened. Peter began to sink. What was going on? Had Jesus disappeared? Had Jesus lost his power? Had Jesus decided to let him step out, only to let him die? I'm sure many things went through Peter's mind at the time. I'd have been wondering what in the world I was doing stepping out of the boat in the first place! How foolish! But Jesus hadn't changed. Peter had changed. He went from being full of faith to full of fear. He looked about him and began to focus on the 'real' situation: he had stepped out of the safety of the boat and was in the middle of the giant waves of a storm! Of course, we know that he cried out to Jesus and Jesus rescued him, but what really happened here? Peter focused on the wrong reality. The big 'R' reality for Peter was that Jesus told him he could step out. Jesus was all that was keeping him up, and all that mattered was faith.

This is me all over! God has this absolutely amazing Reality for me. It's beyond my wildest dreams. All I have to do to obtain that Reality is focus on him. Keep my eyes on the Master of the storm. But what do I do? I look all around me. I worry. I panic. I get frustrated. I get angry. I become afraid. I pretty much freak out! It would be so easy for me to just live there all the time. It's like second nature for me. Then starts the nasty spiral of depression and anxiety. Of course, I excuse it away because I'm just being realistic. There's a bunch of bad stuff going on in my life, and nobody is going to fix it but me. I have to deal with it. I have to figure it out.

This is a vicious cycle! I can't fix it. I can't figure it out. These are circumstances that God has allowed to surround me as I walk toward him. Who has the power to stop the storm? Me? Or Christ? It's kinda like he's testing me to see where I'm going to look at. I think I fail more than I succeed. But then Christ reaches out for me. He never lets me drown. I sure think I'm going to, but he doesn't let it happen. He calms the storm, even if only for a few moments, and reminds me who is in control. He tells me that it's going to be alright. He catches me in his sweet gaze and says that I am blessed, loved, protected, everything that I need to hear. In those moments I feel as if my heart would burst into a thousand pieces. How can I ever look away from him again? This one who loves me like that deserves far better than what I give him.