Today I have spent an incredible amount of time talking with, encouraging and being encouraged with an amazing group of women. We are each getting ready to undergo a year of stress and worry. We don’t all live near to each other or know each other that well. Most of them I had never heard of or talked to prior to today, but we are all joined together through our husbands. We will be undertaking something that most spouses, or most people in general for that matter, will never understand. However, we are committed to being here for each other and creating friendships.
You never know the extent to which you could touch someone’s life if you don’t branch out from your little circle of friends and family. Each special circumstance in your life needs someone who understands and is committed to upholding good morals. An addict needs a group of people who are striving to maintain a clean and sober life. Moms need other moms. The deaf need people they can easily understand and communicate with. Christians need other christians who are seeking a relationship with God. Military spouses need other committed military spouses.
Each and every one of us have a MIGHTY and ever present God to turn to for everything! However, he places people and circumstances in our life for a reason. We are created for a purpose and for fellowship to share our God given gifts with others. A day ago I felt completely alone in my circumstance and today I feel encouraged and excited to make new friends! I prayed for this for months and God answered my prayer on a day that began with my brain trying to convince me that I should be discouraged.
I don’t feel that God “just decided” to answer my prayer. There have been many things that happened prior to today but the biggest thing was, I started to step out of my comfort zone. It started with understanding, and truly believing, that Christ has redeemed me. I have heard the term used over and over but I never really quite understood what that meant on a personal level.
I no longer have to, nor can, cling to the sins of my past. My old ways of dealing with situations, my old ways of thinking, my old triggers….essentially, my old ways of living my life battling the desires of the flesh that I still clung to, have been paid for and are no longer mine. I have been washed white as snow. I have been made a new creation in Christ. I have been given a new heart and, as we know, our heart is our life source. Without it we die. There are machines that can do the job of the brain, but without a heart, we are hopeless.
I struggled with trying to understand how my heart felt new but I was still stuck in my old sinful habits. It was my brain, my old self-programed brain that kept interfering. I had to allow my heart to nourish my brain with the life saving blood, the life changing truths, and the life giving promises that God made when I came to believe in the saving power of Christ dying on the cross for me. I was born with free will and I had to willfully decide to change the way I thought.
I don’t have to defend my anger or hurt because I know God will in His timing. I don’t have to fear the unknown because God is good and He does and always will have something better in store for me. I don’t have to lash out, criticize, manipulate, control, belittle or plead out of fear for being misunderstood, abandoned or unloved because none of those things will or, honestly, have EVER happened to me. I just didn’t realize it until now. It sure felt like it at the time and I had convinced myself that it was true…that I had to act that way in order to protect myself. However, they were all lies I had convinced myself of.
Christ endured many of the fears I had, but he endured them with love, kindness, patience, faithfulness and grace. Our pastor asked us today “Why do you worship God?” I worship God because he can and has changed my past and he will change my future. Yes, you read that right. He changed my past. It’s not to say that the things in my past never happened…they did and I acted the way I did and I treated others the way that I did. However, God said, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” (Hebrews 8:12)
God can change your past because he is mighty! He raised people from the dead. Jesus being the most important one, but He raised countless others. Their past was changed…pretty radically! I have been raised to walk in newness of life and it doesn’t mean just bits and pieces of me. My old ways of thinking and handling situations since I was given a new life were the cause of me still allowing myself to believe lies, and they were holding me down. They were keeping me in that familiar bubble I had lived in.
There is a part of scripture that I came across a while back that kind of scared me because I see the truth in it. “When the unclean spirit is gone out of man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.” (Luke 11:24-26)
After each rock bottom that I hit and God helped me out of, I still felt lost and I eventually returned to old habits and eventually got worse than I was before. After being saved I realized I was still seeking rest in old things. I was still inviting in old habits and old thoughts. I have seen so many others live good lives that follow Christ’s teachings but endure so many hardships and slowly slip backward. I don’t want to go back to what I was or worse! So I was reminded that I am redeemed. Christ paid a price for me and I am his now. I can no longer go back to my old “master” if I want everything that He is offering to give me so freely.
I also surround myself with a good, faithful support system that encourages me and allows me to practice my new skills and to use the gifts that God has blessed me with. I soften my heart towards people who upset me instead of criticizing them. I thank God for the blessings that He has given me instead of just asking for more. I stop looking for the “right” situation or the “right” time, and instead I ask God to use me as He wishes, as He commands, and to allow me to make the situation and the time right.Tags: Calmness, faith, God, Jesus, peace, Redemption, Salvation, sin, spirit, Truth
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