Posted by: bellissimanh | October 5, 2007

I AM – Your Beauty (Just in Time)

I’m just beginning a wonderful study, thanks to Lisa McKay, The Preacher’s Wife. There’s a link to the study in my sidebar, and if you haven’t already checked it out… you should!

I’ve just now finished reading through the introduction and lesson one, entitled “Just in Time.” The foundation of this week’s lesson is that God has created each of us for a specific purpose. He has selected us to be His servants and placed us in this particular space of time to be a partner in His work, and to bring glory to His name. How exciting is has been to really examine my life, the circumstances I find myself in now… today… and contemplate how the Lord has hand picked me for a specific role, right here, right now!

If you know me well, you know that I LOVE to study God’s Word, and you know that getting to the Greek and Hebrew roots of our modern translations really fascinates me. When Lisa started talking “kairos” and “eth” (go read it for yourself here), I knew right away that I was going to LOVE this study! I might have found someone else who doesn’t think the fact that the interlinear bible study tools link at crosswalk.com is one of my most visited favorites makes me strange! Ok… so I am strange, but it’s not because of that! 🙂

Here’s the way it works… you work through the lessons (which are not lengthy or extremely time consuming), and along with excellent exposition and commentary by Lisa, you will find application questions at the end of each section. Do it on your own, at home, keeping your answers between you and the Lord and be blessed. You can read the answers of others who are going through the study as well… and even post your own answers, if you’d like to share. The whole process seemed a bit overwhelming to me at first, but it’s really not as complicated as it looks. I strongly encourage you to go read the study, whether you choose to enter into the exchange with others or not. I promise, you’ll be blessed! Once you read the study, come back here and my answers will make more sense to you. 🙂

This week’s lesson is based in Acts 7:17-20 and focuses on Moses birth, and the timing of it. Excellent stuff!

1. Are there any circumstances or relationships in your life where you can see God has intentionally placed you? What do you perceive may be at stake if you do or do not speak out for Him?

I do see specific people that God has put in my life, and I recognize that He is calling me to shine forth His light to them. This past year I have taken on a position at an insurance agency that, while possessing it’s own set of challenges which belong in an entirely separate post, has given me wonderful opportunities to share Christ with my coworkers.  My prayer over the past several months has been, “Lord, let them see Jesus in me… and WANT Him.” A few weeks ago, the Lord answered my prayer and I was able to share the good news with a dear friend. Yes… for such a time as this.

I also wonder what He has planned for me to do in the coming year in my local fellowship. We are in a season of change now, and while I struggled with this initially, the Lord has brought me peace and confidence that He is weaving all things together in His sovereignty. I look around and see others unsure of the future, some even wary of what might be in store for us. As I reflect on the assurance He has given me, my prayer is that He will use me to reassure others… that as He comforted me, I will be able to offer that same comfort to others around me who are still trying to come to grips with a pastor leaving, and to encourage them to keep their eyes on Jesus, rather than the waves around our little boat right now.

As for the rest, I don’t know. I’m not sure what He will have me doing specifically in the weeks and months to come, but I know that whatever He asks of me, He will also equip me to do… and my greatest desire is to be in the center of His will.

2. Can you honestly describe yourself as a woman with a ‘yes’ in her spirit? If not, what keeps you from this?

I believe so, yes. Some days it’s easier than others, and that’s not to say that I never stumble, or miss opportunities… but in my heart, I truly do seek His will, and want to obey.

Many times my problem isn’t doing what He asks, it’s recognizing what He’s asking of me. If anything keeps me from being a “yes girl”, it is probably that I am so cautious about making sure I’m doing what He wants, that I procrastinate. It’s almost like I need things to be made abundantly clear before I take that initial step. I wonder if that might not hinder His ability to use me sometimes.

3. Do you recognize any circumstances in your life which could be described as an ‘unrecurring event’? Have you ever said ‘no’ to one and watched God use someone else instead?

When my daughter was four years old, a candle caught the hem of her dress on fire. The details are listed elsewhere in my blog, so I won’t go into it all… but I will tell you that the most challenging days of my life were those when I didn’t know if she would live or die.  I’ve heard it said that “faith isn’t faith til it’s all you’ve got”, and I never really understood that until faced with the very real possibility of losing Jasmine. It was a crossroads in my spiritual walk. During those weeks, fear was very real to me. I was terrified. Yet at the same time, I came to know God in a way that was so much more intimate than I had ever known before.  He became REAL. I knew Christ before that trial, but in walking through the fire, so to speak, I came to know Him in such a different way. He truly did become my everything. He became more important to me than anything else… even more important than my daughter. Reaching a place of surrender, where I was willing to give her to Him and accept whatever His plan was… wow. I can’t even describe it, and I can’t think back on it without many tears and a huge lump in my throat. It was definitely my “unrecurring event”, and one that transformed my relationship with the Lord, as well as my faith.

I do remember a time when I said “no” and watched someone else doing what God had asked me to do. An opportunity to teach Sunday School came up. I had taught once before when I was younger, and let’s just say it was not a good experience. Not for the children, and definitely not for me. Now give me a room full of women and I’ll teach all day long… but children? Just not my cup of tea! Truth be told, I love MY kids… but almost everyone else’s drive me crazy. 🙂  At the time I was also the Nursery Co-ordinator, and if you’ve ever had that honor, you know how difficult it can be. I was doing double duty and not being fed enough myself. Anyway, I suppose that colored my response to the teaching request years later. Whatever the reason, I was adamant that I was not teaching. My husband stepped up, along with one of his friends, and they did a wonderful job. Several months later, the friend moved away and hubby needed a teaching partner.  This time, I said “yes.”  We have been team teaching wonderful children (age 3-kindergarten… talk about an age span!) for a couple of years now, and I have been so blessed to serve with my best friend in this way. How great is it when we get to minister WITH our spouses? It’s amazing. Now, at the end of two years, we have felt the Lord calling us to take a break. We are ready to let someone else step in and be blessed. But I look back on all those months that I refused to teach this class, and I can see blessings that I have missed, because of my stubbornness. The joy of seeing their faces light up when they remember their verse… their excitement over a new craft… their enthusiasm to impress us with the things they have learned about Jesus… their questions that often were much deeper than I thought they were capable of… and the absolute joy I found at working side by side with my husband to make Jesus a reality to these impressionable young minds. It was a good season. I’m sorry for the wasted months, but thankful for the blessed ones… and anxious to see what God has in store for me next. 🙂

4. Are you in an emotionally and spiritually healthy place? If yes, how are you using this freedom to minister to others? If no, what do you feel is holding you in your Egypt?

I’m not sure how to answer this one!  I feel that spiritually, I’m in a good place right now. My quiet time with the Lord is very guarded, moreso than it has been in years. I am trusting Him for the future, and confident that He will continue to work all things (even the messy ones) for my good and His glory.

And yet at the same time, I’m at a kind of fragile place emotionally right now. Since January I have been working four days a week at a job I love. While I love the job, I’m finding that I really resent the time I’m away from home. My children are in school during the day, and I am home from work before they arrive home from school… but still, so much in my house is slipping, and I feel totally out of control. I know that God gave me this job (the way it all worked out was too perfect NOT to be God — perhaps another blog entry). Recently we began looking at the possibility of my going full-time at work… so that I would qualify for health benefits. Being self-employed (hubby), we really struggle with this. We have catastrophic insurance, and because of dh’s heart health history, most insurance plans are way out of our budget. The health insurance at my job is not based on his health history, so it’s much more affordable than what we currently have, not to mention better coverage. The problem is that it requires me working even more than I am now, and I am truly overwhelmed. Joel mentioned having everyone else pitch in and help with the things around the house, but I don’t know that it would help. I am so stressed over this whole thing… I told him I think that having others do the work won’t help me feel peace about working those hours. The problem (as I see it… today, anyway) is that God has given me this role of being a wife and mother. It’s built into who I am because that’s how He designed it to be. I think the reason I am so miserable at the thought of working even MORE might be that even if someone else picks up the slack at home and everything gets done, I won’t be doing it. I feel like I’m not fulfilling my purpose. Then the other half of my brain kicks in and thinks, “Well maybe you’re just lazy. Maybe you just don’t WANT to work… think of the savings this health plan will give.”  Financially, it doesn’t make sense for me not to work the extra hours… but everything in me is screaming against it.

Wow. Talk about a tangent. Anyway, that’s why I say that while I feel spiritually strong, at the same time I feel emotionally weak. I’m at this strange place and this decision is weighing so heavily on me. I’ve had a headache for a week and I wonder if it’s not stress… tension… whatever. And I think, “If I’m so strong spiritually, then why is it so hard for me to give this over to the Lord? Why am I wrestling with the decision so much? Why can’t I just get a clear answer from Him and accept it?” 

Please keep us in your prayers regarding this decision… that God would make the way plain, that I would let go of what I want in favor of what He wants (if indeed they are not one and the same), and that we will all feel peace about whatever decision we come to.  Thanks. 🙂

Who knew this study would be so intense? *s* God knew exactly what I needed, and as always, He provided. Thank You, Lord!

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Responses

  1. Sounds really cool..I will have to check it out:) And I will be praying about your decision… I pray that God will give you peace regarding which way to go:)

  2. Praying for you, Heather…Wow…I understand the hard decision. I’m home and our finances are over-tight right now. I wonder, should I do more? Here is what I’ve heard the Lord tell me, “Rest, I will supply all your needs.” I hear that and think, “Yes, but I should be DOING something more!” So I have been learning how to walk this one out. Each month is a reminder of our need.

    I am BEYOND blessed if anything I have written has blessed you, Sister! That is beyond anything I would/could ever put a value to…Praise Jesus!

    Again, I’m praying for wisdom for you! The Bible study sounds awesome…I like that kind of teaching. I look forward to your posts on it!!
    With love,
    Holly

  3. I’m going over to check out the study. Sounds great. Thanks for the reference.

    Shirley Buxton
    http://www.shirleybuxton.wordpress.com

  4. Wow! What great answers! I am totally with you about loving my own kids, but finding other kids a little irritating! Playing my small role in the children’s ministry at church is helping me with this, but it’s nice to know that I’m not the only one!

    Your unrecurring event….wow. Just, wow. I hope that if I am ever faced with a situation like that, that I will have the grace to draw near to God and not pull away.

  5. Sounds like this is the perfect study for learning to walk where God wants you to. I am anxious to read more of your answers. Thanks for the honesty and truth that you shared.

  6. My husband is also self-employed, and we have also had the rounds with health insurance, so I feel your pain! My husband does NOT have a health history, but he did have some tests run a few years ago that I was stupidly honest enough to mention, naively thinking that because they showed that everything was GREAT, they would be GLAD to have him! ha, ha, ha. Joke is on me. So, the kids and I are on a healthcare savings account type of program, and heart issues are out for me (I also had a test run, same naive honesty problem, despite the EXTREMELY HEALTHY HEART!), but they took me. Not too bad at $150 a month for all 4 of us. John finally got a catastrophic type insurance for himself, too. Bleh. What a pain that was!
    I don’t envy you the decision. I totally understand the conflicting emotions. It’s HARD to face not being able to do everything all the time, from providing to managing a home to helping our husbands. “You can’t have it all and have it all be perfect!” Too bad, huh? 🙂 I think my problem is, I pretty much expect to.
    Keep praying!
    Jen

  7. It sounds like a great study. You gave really great and thorough answers. Thanks for sharing them with us!

    I appreciated what you had to say about the situation with Jasmine. I remember one of my friends sharing with me about a similar experience and the act surrendering their child to God. It is a powerful testimony.

  8. Wahoo Heather!! You’ve got it all figured out!! 🙂

    I fixed your link so you should be good to go.

    Thank you so much for the thought you put into this study. I’ll be praying with you that God will make your decision about your work abundantly clear. He tells us He will cause us to will and to act according to His good pleasure. If He wants you to work the hours, ask Him make you want to!

    blessings on you Heather! 🙂

    Lisa


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