Posted by: bellissimanh | October 26, 2007

I AM – I Was

Another great week of Lisa’s “I Am” Study! To learn more, just click the link over there in my sidebar. You’ll be blessed, I promise! 🙂

Discussion Questions:
1. Have you ever found yourself ‘in faith’ yet bewildered or demoralized?

I have often felt like the man of the ninth chapter of Mark, crying, “Lord, I believe… help me in my unbelief!”  Sometimes although we know that God is good, that He is loving and kind, that He is looking out for our best and working all things for our good… we can still take our eyes from Him and place them on our circumstances. I think that’s when we begin to feel bewildered and demoralized.

I’m a PK (preacher’s kid), and for nearly my entire life, my parents and I have attended the same church. Even after my Dad retired from the ministry, we attended a different church, together. A couple of years ago the Lord called my parents to a new church home. My faith was fairly strong at the time, and while I knew that God was working… I felt so overwhelmed. I couldn’t imagine not doing ministry WITH them. I couldn’t begin to picture what it would be like to worship without them right there. I was frozen in place as I thought of all the ways I depended on them in MY ministry at the church. I trusted the Lord, and yet at the same time I couldn’t figure out what He was doing, and that was confusing to me.

After a few weeks of sleepless nights, anger, frustration, depression, and worry… it was as if I felt the Lord gently chiding me: “My dear daughter, it’s time for you to take your faith from your parents and place it in Me. Trust Me. Alone.” Even now I smile, with tears in my eyes, at that precious revelation. That He wanted to be everything to me… that He is enough. More than enough. It took separating me from the familiar to make me see that I hadn’t been comletely trusting Him. And what a wild ride it’s been since then. 🙂

 

2. Do you consider yourself content? Would you describe it as Decidedly Content or Dreamily Content?

I have days that could be considered dreamily content. I have days when I am decidedly content. And sadly, I have days when I am neither.  By God’s grace they are fewer than they used to be. I wish I could eliminate them altogether. Slowly I am learning, though… that as I seek His face and strive to be in the center of His will… that’s where I will find contentment. In His presence is fullness of joy, Amen?

3. If you are not content, are there circumstances that keep you from this feeling?

Generally, if I am not content, it’s because I am not grounded in the Word and not spending enough time alone with Him. When those areas are neglected, it is so easy to grow discontent.  I love that Paul, in Philippians said, “I have learned in whatever state I am to be content…” Did you catch that?  “I have learned…” He didn’t get it all at once. Over the course of time, the Lord was able to develop in him a spirit of contentment. Spurgeon calls contentment a science…. something to be acquired gradually; something to be learned. Learning is fueled by desire and discipline… a longing for the knowledge of God and the will to discover it. Contentment is not natural to us… but by the grace of God and through His strength, we can find it. Thank heaven for His grace and strength!

 

4. Have you ever found yourself in a place where you looked back on a period of your Christian walk and believed a great opportunity passed you by?

I guess that depends on your definition of a “great opportunity.” I can’t think of anything huge in terms of human understanding… but I do know that there have been times the Lord gave me perfect opportunities to witness and I didn’t make the most of them. I regret those times, but pray for the ability to make the best of the new opportunities He puts before me. I love that He doesn’t give up… that He continues to give us chances to serve Him, even when we’ve failed in the past. I think of Peter who, having denied Christ three times… was given the opportunity to affirm His love for Christ… three times. What a gracious God we have!

 

5. Do you ever believe your faith was stronger in an earlier time in your Christianity and find yourself floundering now?

Not really. I do look back at the faith I see in my journal of the days after Jasmine’s fire and wonder who that woman is… she was so able to remain committed to the Lord… so trusting in Him… so surrendered to Him. I wonder how I could have been so surrendered in that big thing, and yet refuse to surrender in so many small ways now… but I also believe the Lord gives us grace as we need it. He knew that I needed triple portions during that time, and faithful to Himself and His name, He delivered. I have no doubt that if I were to go through a similar circumstance now, He would once again step into the midst of my inadequacies and show Himself mighty, giving me grace to sustain me.

In general terms, though, I believe that I am even stronger spiritually today than I was then. The Lord has continued to draw me closer to Himself… to reveal more of Himself to me. The more I study… the more I know Him, the more I realize I don’t know… but Scripture is full of strange paradoxes like that. I’ve come to love them. 🙂

6. Can you recognize that this season may be one of great preparation instead of a period of “I Was”?

I’m coming to believe that every season is one of great preparation. As I look back over my life, there are so many times that I can see God was preparing me for something that was yet to come.  A few months before Jasmine was burned, my SIL was involved in a car accident that nearly took her life. It should have. As we trusted God for her healing, as her life hung in the balance, He was teaching me to trust.  One month before Jasmine was burned, at the age of 42, my husband needed angioplasty. As I waited for him to return from surgery, there was nothing I could do but place Him in the Father’s hands and trust that He knew what was best. And then, when the Lord asked me to surrender my child to Him… I knew that He could be trusted. He had prepared me for this, and I was ready to accept whatever He had for me.

I came across another beautiful testimony of a mother’s surrender to the Lord this afternoon. Read Angie’s story… and you will see God at work in a beautiful way.

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Responses

  1. I totally agree that when I find that I am not content, it is because my eyes are so often looking around instead of up to heaven! Getting back in the Word certainly helps.

    The story of the fire was a beautiful testimony of God’s hand in your life. Thank you for sharing it.

  2. Thanks for your comment on my blog. God can definitely use our experiences to minister to others. I am so thankful for His grace, mercy and love!!!

    Take care and Have a wonderful weekend!
    Karen
    http://thetagblog.blogspot.com/

  3. What great questions (and answers). Thanks for making me think about some tough questions.

  4. I am glad to hear that you do this too… trust Him in the big things, but then yet the little day to day things.. not so well! I am so glad that when we cry to him “Help my unbelief” he answers. I am glad that He is trustworthy, even when we can’t see the way. I love Him. I love you, too.

  5. Great study! I hope you are feeling encouraged by all you are learning.

  6. I love your answer to #6 – How wonderful God was gracious enough to brace you for what was coming.

    Oh I love Him so!

    Thank you so much for all the energy you are pouring into this study. I love to read your responses! 🙂

    Lisa

  7. I enjoyed reading your story. Please join our minister’s kid community at http://www.ministerskid.com!
    Thanks,

    Walter


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