Thursday, June 10, 2010

God is doing good work in my life today.

I am happy and amazed at all the Lord has done in my life (in general), but especially over these last few weeks. For the longest time now, I have been missing the comfort and companionship of a church home. I could feel the void inside me and would often think to myself...I really need to get back to church...I need to find a church and I really would like to get involved. These thoughts would surface ever so often and pass without much action on my part...even though I knew that it would leave an empty void.

Since I decided to rediscovery myself and make changes and so has been a constant thought, but I would make excuse after excuse. Finally, I had enough. I knew that it was something I was longing for and that I really needed God in my life if I was going to make all the changes that I wanted and needed. The church that I had originally thought about attending was literally a block away, but you would not believe the number of excuses one could make for not going. My biggest and most frequently used excuse was one of being tired and having to get up early...I'm sure many have used this one. :) Yet, as I would justify to myself why I couldn't make it to service, I knew the true reason...I was afraid. I know, I know...who's afraid to go to church?! The absurdity of it is not lost on me, but nonetheless, it is it. I was afraid. I have always had the fear of being judged...low self-esteem/self-confidence...always worried that I would not be good enough. Being surrounded by a large group of people that I did not know and still feeling so new to the faith (even though it's been 6 years since I was saved...but 3 that I've been away from the church...eek!) freaked me out. The devil knows my insecurities and had no problem running them through my mind and I was quickly defeated time and again. Not completely though, I have still been studying the Word, reading my daily devotional, and listening to Joyce's [Meyer] podcasts. I love her! 

A few weeks ago, I decided that I was tired of being afraid. I remembered my life verse 2 Timothy 1:7: "For the Lord did not give [me] a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind" and I made the decision to go to the 11:00 service the following Sunday. Every time the devil tried to sidetrack me with my fears, I just became more determined and would run my verse through my mind. I made it to church and no, no one attacked In the bulletin, they were advertising the Women's Conference a couple of weeks later. It occurred to me that it was around this same time last year, that I had tried the church for the first time and attended very sporadically (maybe 4 times in the whole year) ever since. I had wanted to go to the Women's Conference then too, but with my work schedule and other reasons I didn't pursue it. Well, this year I was going to do it. I wanted more God in my life and more fellowship with others and to grow in my faith. I even took the time to call two Ladies' Bible Study groups to see if they had room for one more. I joined the Wednesday morning group and the Thursday evening group. Since then I have met several great women and have so many wonderful examples of women after God's own heart. I attended the Women's Conference last week and learned so much. It was such an awakening! I encourage everyone to try to attend one in their area. To be surrounded by so many fellow Christian is just amazing!

I have been working over the last several months to pull the weeds and remove the overgrowth in my heart...making room to plant new seeds of humility, grace, peace,patience, love, and faith. Using a metaphor of Joyce's, there are several stones...mine are more the size of my river of life. It's had to get the river flowing if it's stopped up with fleshy business. Through prayer, faith, and hope...I am working to make those boulders smaller, to stones, then rocks, then pebbles smoothed over by my river and at the bottom. Trust me, God has a lot of work to do within me...but I'm happy to say, I'm being made ready.

The reason I'm sharing this is because I have felt a change in my of peace and forgiveness take hold. Rob has even noticed that I seem happier, that I have been happier. My anger passes much quicker than it used to and when my frustration comes up, I look to the Word to replace it with love. The Lord is doing a good work in me and I wanted to let everyone know. I am growing roots...deep roots...and surrounding myself with like-minded ladies to help me continue to grow. 

Right now, I am still without a job. We have no more money set aside to cover our budget and Rob is being to worried. Yet, surprisingly or maybe it isn't, I'm content. I know that I will find a job and we will be okay. I have faith in God and believe that this a trial set to strengthen and grow my faith. I have hope that a job I applied for will come through. Every time my worries start, I use my words in confirmation that He hears my prayers and will answer them. He will provide. For instance, a woman in my Thursday group has an unsaved husband...just like mine. She also had the book Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis and she offered to loan it to me for Rob to read. God was working, because he is actually reading it and interested in it. I believe that God is going to use this book to open his eyes and plant that seed in his heart. By the way, for anyone who has not read this book...I would greatly encourage it. Even as a believer, I have learned so much from it and I'm only on page 60. He makes the argument so logical. 

In summary, while my life is nowhere near perfect I am content and happy. I have peace in my heart and plan on continuing to sow and reap the good life. :o)

I know that this is already incredibly long, but I wanted to include this message from Joyce. It has been something that I have been focusing on for the last month or so, because it is the biggest boulder in my river and I believe that this will be helpful for everyone. 

The Mouth Has a Mind of Its Own!
by Joyce Meyer

What if I told you that the source of most of your problems could be found within you—from the neck up? You’ll find it in the thoughts that come from your mind and the words that come out of your mouth.

We must realize and understand the power carried by our thoughts and words. They’re so powerful that they can bring either blessings or curses into our lives, depending on their nature. Our thoughts and words are like the rudder of a ship—they may seem small, but they affect the very direction of our lives.

Many years ago my life was in a state of chaos because of years of wrong thinking and speaking. I had encountered so many disappointments because of all the devastating things that had happened to me. I was afraid to believe that anything good might happen. In fact, my philosophy of life was, “If you keep your expectations low, you’ll never be disappointed.”

Over the years I became very cynical and negative. I often said that if I had two positive thoughts in a row, my mind would’ve gotten a cramp. My thoughts were negative, which caused my words to be negative…which all reflected poorly on my life. Finally, I decided to change my ways and stop talking so negatively. After a while I realized that I needed to do more than just not talk negatively. Cutting out the negative wasn’t enough; I had to begin to think and talk positively!

For example, a person sneezes and says, “Oh, I’m probably getting the flu.” Or someone hears a rumor that the company he works for is going to lay off some employees, so he thinks,
That’s the story of my life. Every time things start to go well, something always happens. Then he says, “I’ll probably lose my job.” These types of negative statements seem to come so naturally to all of us. We need to discipline ourselves to be more positive—it’s not so easy!

When we react negatively, we allow fear to take over our thinking. We begin to dwell on things that haven’t even happened and may not happen. Our negative thoughts cause us to speak the words that’ll shape our future.

We’re constantly tempted to think wrong thoughts, but we don’t have to accept them! We have a choice! We need to purposely choose right thinking and speaking. In the Bible, Proverbs 18:21 says,
Death and life are in the power of the tongue…. We must choose life generating thoughts. When we do, positive, powerful, life-giving words will naturally follow. I think some people try to control their mouths but do nothing about their thoughts. That’s like pulling off the top of a weed—unless the root is dug up, the weed always comes back. You’ll never control your mouth unless you first learn to control your mind.

Believing is the first important step to switching our thinking from being negative to positive. Remember, what’s in our hearts and minds will come out of our mouths. If our soul (mind, will and emotions) is full of negative things, we’ll find those things coming our way. On the other hand, when we hear, read, think and talk about God, the Truth and more positive things, we’ll find that those good things will come our way. The choice is ours!

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