Monday, July 23, 2012

Because It's Worth It

I sat on the bank of the lake, looking out at my children playing in the water. It was Sunday morning and I knew where I should be, but wasn't...

I must have stared at that water several minutes before I realized my hands were clasped together below my chin, and I had moved straight into prayer. The kids were having a great time, and I was too truth be known, but it still bothered me, that there was a worship service about to begin, and I wouldn't be there. As the waves rippled through the lake's surface, it appeared that the water was all moving backwards, away from me...but as soon as the little waves crashed against the shore-line, I knew it had been heading in my direction the whole time. The sun, the shadows, the wind and the passing boats made the water appear to be leaving me, but just when I thought it was gone, a refreshing splash wet my feet. That made me smile.

I thought about how often things in my life appear to be pushing me backwards only to find out that I was being giving choices. I could follow the eye of the world and go farther and farther back, or I could hold on to my Faith and know that He would bring me in. That made me smile too.

The kids didn't want to leave, in fact they begged to stay the rest of the day. It crossed my mind briefly to just stay a little longer. I was tired, I was already limping from previous injuries but I knew if I stayed longer, I'd likely miss the night service at church. I wanted to go, because I knew it'd be worth it.

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I knew as I walked in for the service, many people were missing. Several are on vacation and traveling just as we had been, but I took a seat. We sang hymns that reminded me of why I had shown up. I grabbed a tissue as the lady from the back was asked to sing. She took her place delicately on the piano bench, and "Stroll Over Heaven With You," rolled from her heart, which made her sound even more beautiful. I teared up, as expected, but it was worth it.

I watched a preacher stand to welcome us. His voice echoed off the empty pews. I was glad that I was one of the few that had made it in through those doors because there was something there for me. He set the tone for the service. His voice showed strength, even though many of us felt weak. As we were called to pray at The Altar, I placed my hands down on the long piece of wood, below the phrase, "This Do In Remembrance of Me". My head felt so heavy as I dropped it onto my hands. As we prayed for those mentioned, those in need of prayer, I added my family...myself into my prayer as well. I want a brighter light, I told Him. I know I'll have to go through some things on this side to earn it, but it'll be worth it.

We took our seats, and another preacher walked with his Bible in hand up to the front, and laid it on the pulpit. He began soft and gentle. But as soon as he began talking about the Lord, his voice grew strong and loud as if all the seats were taken. His sermon was on...It'll be worth it...

I smiled because The Lord does that often. He'll tie things all together for me in obvious sequence just to put the message right there in front of my face. Sometimes, He doesn't. Sometimes, I have to take things home with me and eventually, they consume me, before I figure it out. But it's always worth it.

The preacher spoke of Christians of the past, some within the church that have passed on now, and told us if we lined them all up in a row and asked them if it was worth it, they'd tell us YES, without a doubt. I watched the man continue preaching a very strong message, despite the tremble this world has placed in his hands. I knew that it was worth it to him as well, to push through and give us that message from The Lord.

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I left there knowing that everything we go through in this world, is going to be worth it. I cranked up my car and headed home, only to hear a song with the words, "It'll be worth it all, when He calls us away..." Again I smiled, because The Lord is intent on me hearing those words this day. I'm glad I was one of the few that made it into the service. I was obviously one of the few in that room that needed it. I can't wait to start this week now knowing, it'll all be worth it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What a Child Can Hear

I knew The Lord had something special for me today. I've really worked hard on being Obedient this week so when I woke with that feeling, I knew I'd be touched by Him.

I had already prayed by the time I sat down at my computer and read about Carson. He is the teen that I started reading about just over a year ago, as he battled an aggressive form of cancer. He was an amazing musician and everyone that ever met him, acted as if he had the special ability to awaken something inside of them. His dad writes the most touching memoirs about how much his son gave him and others around him. I left my computer in tears. I was so moved by the fact that hours before his death, his closest family and friends gathered around his hospital bed and sang Amazing Grace and other songs to comfort and encourage him as he journeyed from this world right up to the throne in Heaven where he was to meet his Father. They "had church" his Dad wrote.

I hid my tears as my children and I walked outside. I sat on the front porch and I pretended to watch the kids play, but I was talking to The Lord. I became very thankful for what I was feeling inside. I've always thought I kept The Lord close my years before I found the perfect church for me, but if I'd only known what all I was really missing. There's a big difference between attending church, and having church.

A cool morning breeze brushed over my bare legs and suddenly the clean air sunk deep into my lungs. I began to notice everything which brought a smile to my face. I love it when HE does that. I saw a tree we recently planted and for the first time I noticed it had heart shaped leaves. My children giggled freely as they approached the front steps. My daughter sat on the edge and dangled her eight year old legs off the side of the porch. She kicked her feet back and forth and looked around. I told her to close her eyes and tell me what she heard.

Part of me was curious as to what a deaf child would hear through her prosthetics but part of me wanted to know simply what a child could hear. She did as I asked and she listened. "Birds, I hear birds." I said, "Good. Now listen again. Tell me more." She closed her eyes again and said, "Bugs, I hear bugs and the wind...and machinery or an airplane."

As she darted off to go play with her brother, I sat there and knew there was a difference. Had I not spent so much time with HIM this morning, I might have just heard birds and bugs, the wind, an airplane...

Just moments before she came up to the porch, my eyes were shut. I was Listening. I heard happy birds in full chatter. I could feel how happy they were as they fluttered and played and flew around my yard. With my eyes still closed I knew their little bellies were plump from a full feeding after the heavy, much needed rains through the night. The light wind that brushed over my skin, felt calming and cool. Bugs flew by in leisure instead of desperation with a bountiful water supply for them all to share. An airplane above carried people across the country where lives were being changed. Some were facing heartache when their feet landed again, yet others would experience profound revival from unexpected sources. Today, I could have just heard, but I had more...I Listened.

I knew I had just experienced a revival of my own, and I am thankful for what a Child [of God] can hear.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Disobedience

After barely sleeping during the night, I awoke to an 8 a.m. phone call. My voice barely projected as I tried to speak and rough didn't even begin to describe what lack of uninterrupted sleep will lay upon you as burning eyes try find the coffee. But my child was in pain for most of the night and I gave her the comfort only a mother can provide. But the day had already started without me, and I knew I needed to get to the church house.

With only half of the family, we got in the car and began our drive. I longed to see that white steeple atop my church's roof. It had been a full week since I'd been there and the days of life in-between had really taken a toll on my Spirit, sadly. I could have just stayed home with the ailing child but I already knew HE had something to say to me. I knew with every mile I drove, HE was going to be speaking to me today. I felt like a teen who had disobeyed parents and got caught doing things she wasn't supposed to be doing as I pulled into the parking lot. In fact, I had been doing everything, all week long, EXCEPT what HE had instructed me to do.

I took heavy steps and pretended that it was just an average Sunday as I sat on that pew. A preacher stood up front and read a verse or two:
1Kings 18:44 "And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not."
My son looked up at me with his mouth dropped open because just two days prior we had seen a cloud in the form of a man's hand just before it rained. It looked very similar to the one I saw a couple of months ago that seemed to reach right down and grab me. I can see as the days go by, small little things touch my child and helps him Believe. He's been praying, and having the prayers answered.

I knew that The Lord had something He needed me to hear, and my ears were open. The Pastor began his sermon soon after Sunday School had ended and immediately I knew, he was talking to me. He was talking about The Lord's specific instructions for us and being obedient. I was told to do something months ago. I knew it would take time, but I've gotten to a point where I have made excuses for allowing distractions to halt the progress of His instructions. When He gave them to me, they were perfectly clear. I still know with certainty that this was His Will and He was the One that told me to do it. However, I've been delayed, and it's all my fault. I have been disobedient. The Pastor's entire sermon was exactly what I'd come for. I needed correction. I needed to know that I'd have consequences for my disobedience. I am ashamed that I would do that to The Lord.

As good as He's been to me, Blessing me so much with each visit of that church, with the little things that make me smile or make me weep outside of church, and I directly disobey. He's prepared me all week for this. He's sent me so many reminders of what I should be doing as opposed to what I find myself doing. I have to refocus this week, and finish what He blessed me with months ago. I can no longer allow activities, people, children, life, to interrupt what He has told me to do. I have no idea what comes next, when I do finish. In my heart I know He won't tell me until I complete the task He told me to do, but I look forward to whatever it is. He's Amazing. It should be my privilege to do what He has asked me to do. I really enjoyed today, I feel refocused on what is important. It may take a lot of praying to keep that focus, but it is something I must do.
~~Refocusing on Obedience~~