The first story is of the last 2 weeks.
This Spring, I have really been hopeless. I know enough to know that I can’t hold together life without Jesus, and it has been a long 3 years of feeling far from Him. After I resigned from helping with Student Ministry Sunday school, then with Student Ministry small groups, I was really struggling to go to church at all. I’m not a great faker… so if I don’t feel it, I don’t do it. Unfortunately, since my Precept bible study ended in March, I haven’t been reading my Bible at all, or praying much either.
Several things got me thinking this month, though. In Sunday school, Chris Yee, brought up I Peter 1:7 “so that the genuineness of your faith–more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire–may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” and discussed how the refining of metals works to strengthen the metal. But I was thinking while he spoke “I don’t feel strengthened by the recent trials”, so I asked, “What happens to metal put into and out of the fire?” And he said, “They become brittle.” So I’ve been dwelling on this… how I feel so brittle and not refined… and why.
Then a progression of thing related to Student Ministry camp happened…
- I was included in the “leadership” group for camp… I really just signed up so Arabella could go.
- Then I was paired up with my sweet friend Mollie who has been taking walks with me that challenge me to walk with the Lord… and I became worried that my spiritual “brittleness” would affect her.
- Then I went to the camp leadership meeting and really got anxious about helping lead, but at the same time, I saw the curriculum was really amazing.
Along side that, some other things happened…
- A women’s stay-local retreat was planned for the weekend before camp
- I didn’t think I wanted to go, and I also didn’t think I had time to go…
- But Mollie mentioned there would be a game night during the retreat at the church… and I love games, so I considered just sneaking up to the church for the games.
- But I also realized I probably needed the retreat to help me get ready to be a leader at camp… so I signed up (after the deadline)
So this brings me to 2 weeks ago, June 7.
I had received a text that:
- The church was asking everyone to fast on June 7…
- Student Ministry was going to make waffles to serve the students who fasted that day at 8:20pm, after the worship gathering
- They needed adults to cook the pancakes.
So for a pretty unrighteous, but also desperate reason, I decided to fast on Wed June 7. I STINK at fasting… I usually get headaches, and distracted, and fail within an hour, and feel like the most undisciplined person ever.
But I left for work on Wednesday fasting – and begging God that He would understand I did not want this space between He and I anymore.
It was a very busy day for my work, and then the opportunity for my nephew, Cody, to join us at camp came up, with texts between my mom, my sister-in-law, the church, etc. making it impossible to keep my thoughts in order.
I felt like this was a perfect day to talk to God about how hard it is to focus on Him in the chaos that is my life, my parenting, my jobs, etc.
Nothing profound happened, but I was able to carve out a small time to study for camp, and felt like God was showing me good stuff in the Bible that made me want to read it more.
But by Friday June 9, the pressure of preparing for camp (spiritually and packing) made me feel like I didn’t have time to go to the women’s retreat. I was pretty sure that I would be sitting in my seat distracted and making a packing list. Out of desperation, I asked for prayer from the Facebook army of friends.
Yikes, those prayers worked.
From the 1st sentences by the speaker, Jackie Kendall, I felt like God was answering the questions I have had. As she shared her testimony, she talked about finding out immediately that she would starve if she didn’t feed on the Word of God… and about how many anorexic Christians she meets, who have nothing to say to each other during hard times since they do not know what His counsel would be.
Conviction #1: I need to be in the Word like when we were in ministry… and then I wouldn’t feel so disconnected from Him.
Then, Jackie’s 3 talks over Friday & Saturday covered:
- Surrendering your “junior god” badge – why we are controlling as an outgrowth of our fear
- Fear of things that might happen
- Fear of being vulnerable
- Fear of disappointing people
- Fear of making wrong choices
- Forgiving the Unforgivable
- Excuses we use for not forgiving
- The offense was too great
- They keep repeating the offense
- We struggle with the memory of the offense
- We want people to pay or be punished before we forgive
- The person didn’t apologize
- We are too angry to consider forgiving
- Whining and Snoopervising
- Ways we try to BE God, imitating His characteristics
- Trying to be omnipresent
- Trying to be omnipotent
- Feeling personally responsible for happiness of children
- Trying to be omniscient
- Trying to be the shalom
- Whining is the native tongue of the controller
- Snoopervising – meddling instead of talking to the Father
Conviction #2: I have worked harder to come up with a “solution” to the place my family is in than I have begged God relentlessly to heal us.
Honestly, this was the first time I have been able to see what my sin would be in my current situation. I don’t have many “sins” that are purposeful wrong things (sins of commission) but I can now see these sins of omission – not doing what God has instructed me to do.
Thank you, Lord, for revealing You to me through Jackie!
This is the first time I have felt like myself in a long time.