November 14, 2010

God Does Give Encouragement

Last night, I was depressed. I was really depressed. I spent the day taking care of Ike, my 8 month old cat. He had been neutered in the am (and is doing just fine, BTW). After dinner, I sat alone in the living room, and was filled with such self-doubt. I cannot express just how awful I felt. It was as if there was nothing I could do to shake myself out of this deep dark funk. My son came into the room around 8 and stayed with me. He was concerned, I think, and he took notice that I was very depressed. I am not usually that depressed, and when I have been that way in the past, I have tried really hard to cover it up (for my son's sake). You know, slap on a happy face and try and look like everything is OK. Nothing worked last night, so I sunk into despair and then started to fall asleep (which is what I do normally). He came in and started talking to me and gave me such encouragement. It is hard to believe that God would use my 17yo to encourage me -- but He did. This was not the first time, either. Once before my son gave me sound advice, the advice normally given by an adult or very mature believer. Once before God used my son to come to my rescue and give me words that would soften and soothe my heart. God is so Good to me.

This morning I took my son over to church (just got back) so he could do setup for our morning services. I told him how much his words helped me, and what I had determined to be the underlying issue for me. You see, in the night, the Lord spoke conviction into my mind. I don't know how He does that, but He does it with me. It is like I have this conversation with the Lord. I hear His voice, and I ask Him something or He says something. Anyway, we have this little conversation somewhere in between being fully asleep and fully awake. It is in this quasi-weird dream state that the Lord speaks with me. He just says something and I get it. I understand whatever it is that I have done, and then I confess, I repent or I admit I was wrong (sometimes it is just admitting that I wanted my way and not His). I know it sounds very "oracle-like" but it is not that way. I wake up later and remember what I received as testimony, and then I meditate on it, ask the Lord more about it, and finally feel like I get the point of the message. I get it.

This is what happened to me last night, and this morning I am blogging about it. I will try and make sense here, and perhaps it will help me to grasp the deeper significance of what the Lord is doing in my life (the Lord knows I need all the help I can get, so maybe this will do it for me -- to write it out, kwim?) Anyway, my conversation with my son last night prompted this bit of new understanding from the Lord, and these two things are tied together, so I will explain.

First off, the Lord has given me directive to GO several places. I am like Jonah in that regard. The Lord told Jonah to go to Ninevah and he didn't go. He got swallowed by a whale, and then after thinking it over for three days, decided he would go where the Lord directed. The Lord has given me directive to go several places over the last few years. My problem is that I think the Lord should only send us one place and not many, especially when you actually don't go at all. This is what I mean:

  • the Lord has told me to go to Northbrook, IL. I know this, I know it in my heart and soul. I cannot go there because I don't have the means to go there now.
  • the Lord has told me to go to Austin, Texas. This is another place we have discussed several times. There is a good graduate school there, and potential work. I have not gone because I don't have confirmation on a job (even though I have applied to several).
  • the Lord has told me to go to Knoxville, Tennessee. Again, same as above. This is a place with a good school, but no real work.
I have discussed these places with the Lord, looked them over well on the Internet, acquainted myself with maps and where things are located. I have looked at rental homes and purchased homes, schools, shops, etc. I feel like I could go to any of these places and fit right in. I would be like a local who knows the ins and outs of the town.

Then there is Phoenix, where I live now, and the job I am waiting to hear back on (Phoenix College). What about this job? What about my parents, who are aging and need assistance?

I waffle and weave back and forth, thinking these places over, thinking that there can only be one right place to go. But...I cannot go yet. I cannot move. I am just left thinking about them, and the time seems to be slipping by (with my son's impending college only nine months away). Why am I not moving? Why am I not going where the Lord tells me to go?

In my dream-like Word from the Lord, the reason was two fold: one, I am not going where He has said to go; and two, I am not trusting Him. Ok, I get the first part -- I am not going anywhere. I get that one, I cry about that one, I pray about that one -- you'd think the Lord would be so tired of hearing me whine about it (I am). The second part, well, I am sure I don't trust Him enough. That is always going to be true, and that is something I work on daily.

I asked the Lord for help today, for help in understanding what I am doing or not doing in relation to His Word to me. This is what came back: you are not going where I send you, and you are not trusting me to send you there (my paraphrase). Yes, this is truth. I cannot go when I am not prepared to go; and I don't believe that the Lord will send me at all.

You see, the issue is this: I get the first part, that is just common sense. I need materials to go anywhere else -- a car, a house, a job, etc. That is really a no-brainer for anyone. The second part is the bigger issue for me. I believe God can send me any of these places, and I believe He is able to prepare and provide for me. I simply don't believe that He will do it. It is a matter of His will, and whether or not He is willing to send me. It is a works-type situation, in that I believe I am not worthy to go, that I am not good enough to go, and that really He won't want me to go once He sees how awful I am.

Grace, Dear Sister...remember Grace. Yes, this is the crux of everything. I cannot go without God's Grace, and I cannot believe in God without that same Grace working through me. It is a matter of Grace, it is a matter of believing and trusting and relying on the Lord for who He Is and not who I am. He doesn't need me, but He wants me. He doesn't have to do anything at all, but He wants to do it. He doesn't rely on my abilities, but He uses them. It is all about Him and about accomplishing His will for my life. I am all about me and what I can and cannot do. God says, "Go where I send you, and leave the rest to me." I say, "Lord, I cannot go because I don't have the tools, the requirements, the things I need to go." The Lord didn't tell me to go and get these things. He didn't say, "Go find these things and then get on your way;" no, rather He said, "Go." God is responsible for the going part, for the providing part, and for the entire moving process. I simply am to believe that He is telling me to go, and trusting that He will provide the necessities for me to go. It is a matter of faith, active faith that says "I believe you can and you will because you are God." Il fineto. The end. There is nothing more. God is God and He can do what He says He can do. No, God is God and He will do what He says He will do. Yes, this is truth. This is the truth, and this is the message of encouragement my son shared with me. "Believe what God tells you, Mom." Yes, DJ, I will believe what God is telling me to do. Amen, so be it, thy will be done.

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