This Saturday, one of my favorite devotional/bible study sites: She Reads Truth turns 1 year old.
I love their devotionals/ studies and they have really helped me read a LOT more of the Bible. Color me weird, but I have a tough time just reading the Bible straight. I do not focus well at all. I’ll start talking to God, which is not a bad thing, but then I just stop reading. Or I’ll just hop around from book to book, and not really take in what I just read. Or I’ll get distracted by a noise. Or something shiny. ADHD much? Probably.
Devotionals make reading the Bible a lot easier because I have questions, themes, etc that I can focus on while I am reading. I hope this changes for me though.
Currently they are doing an old testament series (which I have been DYING to get into, but SQUIRREL) and I just finished their study on Nehemiah. While checking their site for a new old testament book to study, I found that the site wanted everyone to vlog about their journey. I’m not good at talking about how I feel, especially on camera, but I’m pretty good at the writing thing, so I’ll stick to that. Here’s the questions we were asked. Here are my answers. So pop some popcorn or make some trail mix if you actually decide to read all of this. It’s going to be a long one, and you’ll probably get hungry.
How have you seen His faithfulness this year?
Oh man, there has been sooo much. I might need to give you a glimpse of what I went through last year so you can understand how much I’ve seen his faithfulness this year.
Last year was rough. There was a lot of growing and pruning. It wasn’t all bad, I got some pretty sweet blessings (new job, deeper relationship with God, friends, family) but it was definitely a tough year. I basically threw a fit with God and finally admitted to how much I do not trust Him and I did not forgive Him for my mothers death, which was hard to finally own and admit those feelings. This was the root of the not trusting junk.
So He put me on a HUGE trust walk so we could repair our relationship, and I could work on my faith. Of course, I was met with obstacles. Things and relationships that I thought were solid started to fade. Promises that He had made seemed out of reach. The enemy tried to discourage me and tell me that everything I ever wanted would not happen and pushed me to give up. I felt very lost and out of control…which is where God wanted me and I finally broke a lot of my stubbornness and started turning to Him first. The enemy didn’t like that of course, and turned up the heat. Instead of giving up, walking in unforgiveness and running, I reminded myself of the promises God had for me. I prayed a lot and dived into the Bible (with the help of devotionals of course ).
Towards the end of the year, awesome blessings happened. And my, how they have continued! The promises I had asked for really started to show fruit. Relationships that I thought I had lost started to bloom. I was able to walk away from harmful relationships without guilt (HUGE for me). I started getting answers from a job that I have been trying for for several months (still waiting for the job, but I know that it is coming) so there is finally a light at the end of that tunnel. I got honored at my current job by the CEO and the active duty members that I serve. I got blessed with the chance to take a huge, much needed vacation with a friend.
I got an amazing word from God, thanking me for walking in forgiveness and I was told that the promises that I asked for are coming and that He is quickly working over them. I will have so much happiness, I won’t know what to do with it. SWEET!
How has the Holy Spirit wrecked and rebuilt you?
Sometimes I still feel like the wrecking ball is still swinging.
It’s a good thing though, because there are a ton of things He needs to wreck. There’s a lot he has been working on, but I’ll go over the biggest thing he’s trying to knock down first.
What I have always viewed as being independent was actually just a mask for pride and fear. Ouch.
When God pointed out my independence thing as actually a pride thing, I was so confused:
Me: Look God, I got this done by myself. It turned out pretty awesome!
God: Here’s the thing, what you keep calling independence is actually pride.
Me: God, I thought you liked my adventurous, driven, independent spirit?
God: Yes, I love those things and gave you those gifts. However, you need to come to me and depend on me.
Me: I do. I ask for your guidance.
God: Yes you do, but then you just do your own thing anyway if you don’t get answers soon enough.
Me: But God, if you want something, you go after it. So I ask you and go after it. I’m just independent, just the way you created me.
God: No, that’s pride. You can’t do it all and you can’t do things independent from me.
Me: I’m not. I ask for your input, and I figure it’s what you would want me to do anyway, so I just do it. I’m just using the gift you gave me.
God and I had several of these conversations. Finally, I started getting smacked by my independence. I’d try to take control…SMACK…it would fall apart. It kept happening over and over again. The biggest area I got smacked in was in my career. Do you know how infuriating it is to turn down 7 jobs because you didn’t listen to God? Or have to bail on interviews because you thought you could move things along faster if you had “control”? Lemme tell you, it’s awful and very humbling.
Don’t be dumb like me.
So after I finally grew tired of getting smacked, I came into agreement with God that yes, what I viewed as independence was actually a ton of pride, and when He asks me to do something, I do it. I’m now on a YES walk.
It has not been easy, to be honest, it’s been scary. But, its been a good scary. I need to let go of the kung fu grip I have on my life. My need for control is actually fear based. God has made it very clear there’s no love in fear and that there is no room for fear in our relationship. So I say, yes. Great things have come out of just saying yes. Lots of great things (see above).
Do I still freak out…oh yeah. You don’t stop being a control freak overnight. But, I say yes, panic for a bit, God listens, reminds me that He’s in control and I keep moving. It’s better than what I used to do and that was run away. In reality, I found that when I ran from God, this is what I was actually doing:
What truths have you read in His Word that have drawn you closer and deeper in relationship with Him?
I know I’ve said this before, but when I saw this question these were the first verses to pop in my head:
Count it all joy, my brothers,when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)
When I first saw this verse, I kinda laughed. Joy and trials just don’t seem to go together. I am supposed to be happy and grateful for the tough times? I’m supposed to willingly embrace these moments as chances for growth?
It took me a while, but as I went through tough times I saw a lot of value in these verses. After a particularly rough patch, instead of giving up, I would recite James 1 2-4. There were days I would read it over and over again just to get through the day. It was a constant reminder that God would never leave me nor would He fail me.
Through my past trials, my mothers death, losing relationships, job opportunities, disappointments, all these things have caused me to cling to God and grow my faith. Once the trial has ended, and I’ve gotten to the other side, I can see the growth and change the Lord has done in me. I’m not dead or lying on the ground in defeat. I’m a lot stronger than I started. It’s a cool thing.
So that’s it. If you haven’t checked out She Reads Truth, you should because it is awesome.
Here’s the link: http://shereadstruth.com/
Thanks for reading.