Yesterday was a gift from God. From the moment Bonnie and I began to share early in the morning to spending the day together, God was visibly working. When I asked God yesterday morning during my devotions what He wanted me to know for the day He had given me a message for Bonnie. I was insecure in wanting to share it however when she joined me in the kitchen she was obviously hurting. She said she needed some messsge that Randy is ok. So I told her what God had given me and she just wept and wept saying that was exactly what she needed to know.
All my life God has been the same intimate Almighty God. However, this loving, compassionate God is revealing Himself so much and I’m so humbly honored to begin knowing and learning this about Him. Thank you God my Father.
God is so good. It shouldn’t be amazing that He’s so good yet I find myself being amazed each time I see what tremendous work He’s doing. Bonnie is struggling of course, yet God has been showing Himself in so many tender ways. He’s such an intimate Father! I’m learning to love Him far and above what I’d ever known before.
As I started my devotions today I was heavy with concern for Bonnie. I was also weighed down with all the weight of burdens I was carrying for some others and also weight I was carrying that I wished others would carry in responsibility but weren’t. As I write this I see my first glimpse of me being co-dependent. We probably all have our moments of this. Anyway, as I got to the journaling part of my devotional time I asked God to show me where I was off track. Immediately I could see that I was carrying all this weight as the old Earnie, not the new creation Jesus made me to be. The new creation sees already where God and Bonnie are working together. I recalled at that moment Bonnie’s words to me yesterday when we talked. She said that she had been able to “forgive God for taking Randy home.” In my own selfishness I was wanting to be there with Bonnie. I didn’t want someone else helping her, I wanted too. This wasn’t for her, it was for me.
Today I am ready to better help as a new creation. The other weight I was carrying as I awoke is already gone. I knew how to let it go once I recognized the fact I was carrying it as the old me–worrying. As a new creation I can see in spirit that Randy is abundantly complete now and joined with a host of loved ones awaiting his arrival. In my spirit I can also see Bonnie eventually seeing this same picture. I am not the one to help her see it, God will complete His work when His timing is right for it. Of course Bonnie is grieving, that’s the humanness. God, in His timing, will help her to look up and see His Ways. Bonnie’s spirit is alive and well but clouded with human burdens at this time. I and a host more of family and friends will also assist as God’s timing opens the door for it. Thank You Father.
It is nice to be needed, and it is also nice to be supported. However, for some it is a lot easier to support than to accept the support. My sis has always been a supporter and her husband was just the same. As I was asking God this morning to help me know how to support He reminded me to look with spiritual eyes and hear with spiritual ears. Even though Bonnie and I have been very close all of our lives, we have differences. Today I will listen and watch to see how to best give kindness and support. I was also reminded in my one book study that the relationship God pursues with us is real and personal. In listening to Bonnie last night, she told me about an act Randy’s life-long friend did for her just yesterday. It made me realize just how real and personal God is and how He uses us kids to complete His kindness if we are listening and responding to Him.
One more thing God showed me this morning is that it is hard to listen to Him and hurt at the same time. We become to self-focused when we hurt and listening is harder to do. However, that is a good time for others to do the listening. For these reasons I want to be an awfully good listener to God today to see how to give this needed support so it completes what God is doing.
This day began rather early, 4:00 am. I had a phone call from my sis, Bonnie, just older than me who lives in S. California. Her husband Randy died in his sleep about midnight. She said she called because she needed to hear my voice. We both wept. This was all so unexpected. Randy had fallen asleep on the couch after Bonnie had gone to bed. Bonnie awoke to find that he was gone. I don’t even know why I’m putting all this in my blog except to say, it is part of today’s journey.
Life is so fragile and we so often forget this piece as we live from day to day. Randy and Bonnie had 47 years together. They have 2 sons and daughter in laws. Each of them has a young girl. They are a close-knit family and I know they will pull together to support one another. Kathy and I will leave to go down as soon as we know the right time to be of support for them.
God is good and His kindness is also just as good. I started to wonder why God would take Randy at a time like this, but then I was reminded of this truth–God is good and one of his fruits is kindness. It will be good to watch Him work with Bonnie and her family at this time. Prayers would be appreciated.
This day started with me awakening at 1:17 am unable to sleep. I found myself anxious about items that were on my mind. I didn’t know they were bothering me so much until then. I was brought to an awareness that even though they aren’t major things in life, I was anxious because they were out of my control. Even though I surrendered them many times during the night, I didn’t fall back to sleep until sometime after 3:00 am.
This morning in processing these items with God I realized that as God and my relationship builds I can’t expect the same relationship to be in place with others in my life. God was showing me that our relationship is ours, not theirs. Of course some of these are family members. I would love for them to have a close relationship with God, but I do know that they must be willing to surrender as I’m learning to do. My learning is only mine. I can’t transfer it. If I try to push it on them, all I get is resistance which feeds the wrong learning.
The other thing I’m learning from this is what intimacy/sensitivity looks like in real life. All my years, God has been faithfully waiting for me to awaken to my need to fully trust Him with my past. Now I do and tell it when the door is open. His intimacy and sensitivity has all the fruits of the Spirit in it. One is these fruits is patience. God was telling me this morning that His patience can be mine if I will open my eyes to see with spirit instead of with flesh. I really needed this today. These defects of character are rooted in me but thanks be to God, He is faithful in chipping away at them and replacing them with a new sensitivity. No wonder I (we) love Him so much. I tell Him to hurry up, but then that falls in that patience factor again!
If you’ve done the Experiencing God class you know that the 5th step in it outlines–Crisis of Belief. When we are getting better acquainted with God, listening to Him, building a strong relationship with Him and obeying Him, we will be brought to a crisis of belief. It isn’t easy to obey anyone all the time. At some point obedience may come up against our own beliefs. When it does, there is usually a confrontation of some sort. This has been happening to me of late regarding my relationship with God’s Holy Spirit.
God’s Holy Spirit is all about sensitivity for me. Sensitivity and intimacy are much alike. Both are in tune with the other one/s involved. Well, my struggle of late has been to grasp the awareness that sensitivity and intimacy are strengths and not weak. Both terms are vulnerable. Vulnerability has been a weakness in my mind for most of my life. As a child I was totally vulnerable to my bother and my dad. I was abused over and over because of this too. It taught me things that have been character defects all my life. This is what God is now showing me about sensitivity and intimacy today. He is directly using His Holy Spirit to do this.
If I am sensitive to people, it means I’m in touch with them. I understand them, respect them and more. It doesn’t mean I let them walk all over me. I have needed to be awakened to this truth. I have always kept people at an arm’s length so I wouldn’t be too susceptible to them. I’ve always been friendly, but…. God doesn’t want me living that way with Him, His Holy Spirit, or with His kids. I can be sensitive and intimate and still be strong. I know this but it has perplexity in it for me. God is working this out little by little and I want to find this truth so my relationships can be all God wants them to be. I’m curious if any reader relates to this?
Today I started Leviticus in my Bible reading. I must admit that I’ve always read through books like these with intent to get them read so I could simply say I’d read them. Today, now being conscious of being a new creation, I’m reading it with a different set of lens. Today I read all the legalistic rituals the Israelites completed in order to be clean before God. Little did I think about how Christ took care of all these rituals for me. Somehow, I was still taking them in spite of Christ’s work on the cross. I would punish myself for sins committed, I’d distance myself, I’d create shame and guilt because I saw myself as the person who needed to do this in order to be worthy of Christ’s redeeming love and grace.
Today as I started reading Leviticus I saw all the steps Christ replaced. The other piece of Christ’s work on the cross for us (me), is the Gift of The Holy Spirit. It is He–The Holy Spirit that is shaping me into the redeemed person God originally created me to be. I am now becoming this person because I see myself as a new creation. My step study lesson for tomorrow is entitled: Gratitude. I am most grateful for the redeeming gift of Jesus Christ and His personal Gift of The Holy Spirit. Together, they are creating a new person for which I am so grateful. There is an old hymn which words say: “Oh how marvelous, oh how wonderful, and my song will ever be–Oh how marvelous, oh how wonderful is my Savior’s love for me.” I am humbly grateful!
Listening with spiritual ears and seeing with spiritual eyes. I’ve already said a couple times that this has been an assignment. Little did I know how much learning I needed to do with this. My challenge this morning during my devotions is how much do I trust what I hear when I hear from spiritual ears and see with spiritual eyes? This is a rather new thing for me and I find myself questioning rather than trusting. I want to test this rather than trust it. In my Experiencing God lesson I am being challenged to believe. If believing is used it wouldn’t be very long before I’d know I’m off track. So, why would I procrastinate about stepping into trusting? I don’t want to not trust.
Yesterday I felt God nudging me to step into an area where I questioned Him all day. I even wanted to do a fleece this morning. Then, God asked if the fleece was questioning His voice? Indeed it was. Today I’m going to step into trusting and see what develops. If God’s voice was truly the voice of the message I heard, I will know from what develops.
This is a big step for me in continuing this journey of mine. I pray that as I share these steps it is also a help for you to examine your own belief system. My past has always been clouded when it came to trusting. I want to be like Paul in Philippians 3:12-14 where he says: “…forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal….” In pressing on I will believe!
I mentioned that God wanted me to learn to listen with spiritual ears and to see with spiritual eyes. When something like this happens I always think it’s nice, but then I quickly wonder what it actually looks like or what does this really happen? In meeting with one of my pastors yesterday morning for our weekly book study, I mentioned that God had wanted me to do this. It was interesting to hear him say that he needed to learn this too. He said, “I listen with human ears. I listen so I can respond to what I hearing. I know I’m suppose to listen to understand, but this is something I’ve not yet learned.” A key element in this I’m finding is the word “understand”. How many times have you seen something happen or heard something said and you want to instantly respond to it? However, when you do, you find that the situation wasn’t at all what you thought and when you went deeper into it you understood why it was the way it was and your need to respond disappeared.
Apply all of this to God’s Work. I’ve spent most of my life wanting to please God with my work. The thought of completing God’s work because I sought to know His work ahead of time takes on new meaning. I’ve always hoped that what I’m doing is Godly and good, but actually doing God’s work takes on new meaning when we have this intimate relationship with Him so we know in our spirit we are doing so.
I know this is what God is wanting to teach me–listen in spirit and see in spirit so I can recognize what the Holy Spirit is confirming within me for the areas of work I am to do. This is going to take more time, but I’m enjoying this challenge of approaching life through the spirit rather than through the more self-centered ways of man.