This week has brought a lot of snow and ice, which gave me time to go through some files that have needed to be cleaned out. I found many things that I had written in the past. I think I will be adding some of them periodically.
This first one was one written in the late 90’s while going through a study of the book, Finding God, written by Larry Crabb. One of the questions asked about what drew us to finding God. This is my response.
I was saved (became a believer in Jesus as my Lord and leader of my life) as a child of five in my bedroom, at the prompting of my next oldest sister. Through my growing up years, our lives really centered around the church. I was always busy in church, and was growing from the teaching of our pastor. When I was in high school, I taught for two summer with CEF (Child Evangelism Fellowship) as a summer missionary. That experience taught me ways to present Christ, as well as teaching me many life skills due to the number of people I had the privilege of working with during those summers.
As a child, my dad would discipline me with the Bible. He would show me from God’s Word where I had sinned. So, much of my feelings toward God were shadowed by always getting a “spanking” when I read the Bible.
After I married, I realized that God was a God of individuals – He loved me individually, He ministered to me individually, and there were things in the Bible for me individually to learn. A few years later, I also realized that if I would speak God’s Words by memorizing scripture, then I would have important things to say because I would be saying what God said. I didn’t want to shame people into knowing God – – I wanted to encourage them in their situation to get to know Him.
When children came along, I learned so many lessons God uses with us because I saw how I would deal with my own children. I would hear the excuses of my own children, and see what I might sound like to God.
After many moves during my marriage, we ended up on top of a mountain in Madison County. My husband would work in town, and I would spend the days alone at the house with my children. I really sensed a deep loneliness because we were so far away from people. The Christian radio station was a lifeline for me. I would listen every day to Dobson and Swindoll, to help me keep a proper perspective on life.
One of my favorite things to do is to read. On July 7, many years ago, I was reading a devotion for that specific date from the book, Joy and Strength, by Mary Wilder Tileston. The reference was Colossians 3:23, which reads: “And, whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” Then the devotion read as follows: “If you love Him as I want you to do, you will offer Him the whole use of your day, as you open your eyes to the light of each morning, to be spent in active service or silent suffering, according to His good pleasure. You will not select the most agreeable task, but His task, whatever it may be; you will not disdain humble service, or be ambitious for distinguished service; you will lie, like a straw, on the current of His will, to be swept away and be forgotten, if it pleases Him, or to be caught up by His mighty hand and transformed thereby into a thunderbolt.” And then: “Let us pray Him, therefore, to shed abroad in us the mind that was in Christ; that we may offer up ourselves to be disposed of as He sees best, whether for joy or sorrow; to be slighted, or esteemed; to have many friends, or to dwell in a lonely home; to be passed by, or called to serve Him and His kingdom in our own land, or among people of a strange tongue; to be, to go, to do, to suffer even as He wills, even as He ordains, even as Christ endured, “who, through the Eternal Spirit, offered Himself without spot to God.” ”
Later that same day, I was listening to Swindoll (Insight for Living), who was going through a series about Elijah. He mentioned how much Elijah had grumbled to God for taking him away from people – – how lonely he was, but that was part of God’s plan for him.
I also began reading a book to read that day – Lord, Change Me – by Evelyn Christenson. The very first page, she shared a prayer she had prayed, where she was willing to change every part of her life to be the kind of wife God wanted her to be – – to the point of giving up all of her ministry, to never speak again if that was God’s will.
Three times in the same day – – God was telling me that if He wanted me to be lonely, then I needed to be able to accept that as HIs best for me. I wept as I realized that God had set me on a shelf, away from people, away from many opportunities to be involved actively in a ministry. Yet, He had promised to be sufficient for me.
And He was, and He is.
Today, I feel that God has moved me to the place where He wants me. As I have traveled through the beginning steps of my healing journey, I have still found Him to be sufficient. I have felt, however, a distance from Him, that I don’t know Him as well as I want to. My desire is to be able to talk with Him from my heart – – regardless of who is there, or what the situation is. I want to be able to have a relationship like one I would have with my more-than-best friend.
Three times in one day – it was not a mistake. I certainly did not want to hear that He was using my loneliness to draw me closer to Himself. What was He thinking??
He was drawing me to Himself – He was the One to run to when the opportunity for loneliness was shared with me. I want to keep running to Him.