Several times during Christ’s years with his disciples he told them of his need to leave the earth so that His Gift–The Holy Spirit, could then be directly with them–in them. As the book of John ends and the book of Acts begins the disciples are told to wait for the baptism of The Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5). By now the disciples are convinced that Christ’s purpose on earth is not for political leadership but for spiritual leadership. The Holy Spirit within them is this leadership while here on earth.
For years and years I have wanted to know with assurance that The Holy Spirit lived within me. I couldn’t fathom that He did because my body was too polluted from sins done to it and sins I had committed. Yes, the sins I’d committed I knew were forgiven, but the sins done to me were someplace within me where my confessions didn’t touch. Their roots were deeper than my prayers. Little did I understand that these sins were mine to grieve and surrender. Yes, the roots were deep, but these roots, if I allowed The Holy Spirit to use them, were reminders for me how I never wanted to live my own life. The Holy Spirit wanted to show me how to actually live life for my Heavenly Father rather than for my own selfish gratification.
As I grow in my surrender each day to The Holy Spirit’s leadership in my life, I am having to unlearn so many decision making tools I’ve used. To listen and respond to this gentle but solid Voice is something I must do with trust and faith. This is an area of living I want to grow and grow into the rest of my life.
It never ceases to amaze me how thorough and specific God is. As I wrote yesterday’s blog revealing the troublesome night I’d had and the tender and loving response of Jesus, I then went to see my prayer warrior. She began to tell me the scriptures God had given her to be praying with my name used in the scripture. (This was done without her knowing anything about my troublesome night and early morning). From Isaiah 41:10 she was praying, “Fear not, for Earnie is with you, be not dismayed for I am Earnie’s God. I will strengthen Earnie. Yes, I will help Earnie. I will uphold Earnie with My righteous right hand.” I just wept all over again.
One of the things I have to learn about myself over and over again is my process of starting anything from scratch. I go into a project with great enthusiasm eager to be learning. Then, I begin to see how all of this learning will need to be used and implemented by me. It is then I question and doubt. Satan tries very hard to use this character flaw and shut me down. However, God uses the same flaw to help me realize it is not in myself He wants me relying anyway, it is in HIM and HIM alone. He has given me His Holy Spirit to enable this to take place too. Writing this out does help me see this very clearly. It moves the anxiety into expectation. Wow, God is so AMAZING!
Last night all of the activities and events of the past couple of weeks seemed to catch up with me–I simply felt exhausted and fell asleep instantly as I hit the bed. I was so glad I didn’t have to be up and going to a school today. I could focus on yard, see my prayer warrior and get my teeth cleaned. However, what I didn’t expect was awakening at 3:30 with a mind full of fear. I tried getting up and going back to bed, but Jesus was wanting me with Him so I started the coffee pot and went to the study to see just what was on His mind. It turned out that I was on His mind and He was wanting me to tell Him all about the fears I am dreading.
As I began to journal I simply poured out my heart: I don’t know how to get all of my yard work done, I feel like I’m neglecting the schools that need my best (not my leftovers), all of the training for the biblical counseling is on line (I’ve registered, paid, but how do I even find the first assignment?), next weekend is my 50 year college reunion (I dread seeing the faces of the very ones I tried so hard to not let them know who I really was and yet I know God is wanting me to face this), and mostly, like Peter, I want to do this counseling for you Jesus, but do You really know who I am? All of this and more was put into my journal.
As I do each day, I asked Jesus what He wanted me to know for today? (Today I was actually not wanting to ask this question thinking I’d hear what I expected to hear). Instead, Jesus asked me to close my eyes and see what He wanted me to see. As I did this, I saw my kids, grandkids, so many faces of those He has put in my path over the years–many needing help and some who were there to lend support. Then I saw myself seated on His lap with Him embracing me reminding me I am His child and He will never abandon me–I am HIS. (I’m crying all over again). As I closed out my devotional time I realize more than ever just how much Satan doesn’t want this to happen, but just how Faithful Jesus is in leading me through this time of readiness. I am a tool in my Father’s Hands. He wanted me to get better grounded in this truth.
I have never been good at juggling major assignments. I am quite singular focused so when I have the work of the schools to finish in these last weeks ahead, yet I have all of the info regarding the start of the counseling program running through my mind, I find myself in a whirlwind. This is exactly where I am this morning–caught in the middle of it. I don’t want to lose a single thought provided through the conference last week and I fret I will if I don’t keep focused on it. Yet, as I go to each school during the week I don’t want to let them think I’m anything but committed to their success.
As I give all of this “whirlwind” to Jesus, He simply reminds me to take the day and give it to Him. He is the real leader, not me. When I try to keep both projects in the forefront of my mind I completely lose sight of the One I am to keep there–Jesus. He is the very One who knows what I’m to do this day so trusting Him with all of this, I let go of this entanglement and give it to Jesus. It is amazing what Jesus does with stress once we recognize our humanness and see His Strength. How many times I have to relearn this process of surrender!
Something that I heard at the conference last week stuck with me as I was headed home yesterday from the school district. One of the keynote speakers told of his visiting his father’s grave as an adult. His father had died when he was only 7 years old. His father had a wicked temper. He didn’t beat his children or spouse, but he made life miserable being around him. This speaker, now as a young man, went to his father’s grave to bury there with his father’s body, the characteristics he didn’t want to carry into his upcoming married life. He committed all of them to the grave and asked God to replace these characteristics with those of The Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control.
I heard this and marveled at the thought of this. I had done similarly with my father, but what had hit me was that I’d never done this with my brother who drowned when he was 36 and I was 26. That was literally 45 years ago. He had come to me a year before his drowning and asked me to forgive him for what he’d done to me. He said God had healed him and he wanted to make amends with me. I said I did forgive him, but it was such a superficial forgiveness since I was very steeled-off from my emotions at that point in my life.
Yesterday on my way home I went by my brother’s grave. I left there all of the anguish I’ve carried over the years. Things like: believing I might be gay like Rich was or why else would he desire me, the images of the nights he’d come to my bed, the tormenting beliefs of value/worth and so much more. I stayed long enough for these to be buried, surrendering them to our Healer–Jesus Christ. Just as my brother is not at that grave site, for he is in heaven, the bondage of beliefs are not within me any longer. I’ve asked Jesus to replace them with His truths about me and fill the place in my spirit with the beautiful characteristics of His Holy Spirit. The freedom Jesus provides just keeps getter richer! How much I love our Savior and Lord–Jesus Christ!
It was so nice to get home yesterday. I had 3 grandsons at our house when I got here and their family ate dinner with us last night which was an added bonus. There was a good deal of watering to do outside for all of the garden areas, but that got done too. Today I head back into the realities of home. It is a different reality as I come to the end of my time with the years of educational involvement. I asked Jesus to lead this time so I don’t lose sight of ending this year with a full commitment as I am stepping into this new area of biblical counsel.
I marvel at the Jesus I know today compared to the Jesus I thought I knew not so many years ago. The truth of scripture is just as real for me personally as it is for each and every one of God’s created beings. There is no comfort like the comfort of knowing and believing that everything God has said in His Word is true for you (me). I’ve lived a long time with this yearning and now I yearn no more–the TRUTH has come out in brilliant LIGHT. What an AMAZING GOD I get to serve with each and every believer.
A hiccup occurred yesterday as I was to come home. My flight from Dallas to Denver was delayed so my arrival to Denver was when I was to arrive in Boise–10:30 pm. I finally got to a hotel room at 11:30 pm so I could spend the night and I will catch my plane home this morning at 11:15 am. I was supposed to be at church this morning at 8:00 for the worship team and choir practice. These things bother me when I can’t complete assignments I’ve committed to doing. I contacted our director so she would know, but that doesn’t remove the guilt.
In my devotional this morning I was surprised to read this: “Life is busy enough without you feeling pressured with religious duties. Despite what any man may tell you, I don’t need you to perform for me. I don’t need you to behave just right, dress just so, or wear a mask to cover your emotions or personality. I love you completely, just the way you are. Life with me is not a life of bondage and duty.”
Jesus is truly AMAZING! It seems as though He had this devotional written to coincide with every detail of my life this year of 2022. I am reminded over and over just how much He cares for every detail in my (our) life. I love Him!
I ended yesterday’s entry with “Abba Father”. As I was journaling this morning I was recalling the first time I remember hearing this name for our God. In our lay terms, it was referenced as “daddy”. I was in my 30s when I heard this and I recall at the time that it was a belittling term for God, I thought. God was much bigger and much more powerful than a simple–daddy.
These past couple of days has awakened in me and shown me the powerful, loving side of God which puts the fullness of daddy in our God. I had no idea 40 years ago that my reference to God was so dependent upon my own father’s influence. This God we serve is a loving, caring, healing, intimate Father who has given us His Son and His Holy Spirit to lead us into the fullness of His Glory! What I’ve known in my head I am experiencing much more fully in my heart. I didn’t come to this conference thinking I’d walk away with this awakening, but it is another gift of God He wanted me to have and share with those He brings to the counseling room.
Today will wrap up the conference and I’ll fly home this evening. I do so with an assurance that my Abba Father is leading completely. Even my devotional reading this morning said that when God opens the door, man cannot shut it. I see very clearly how God is doing so with this new ministry. What a humble honor to be part of this work with Abba Father.
The journey of yesterday was a fabulous time to realize I was in the right place at the right time. I met some remarkably good people and heard the messages I needed to hear. I wrote and wrote reminding me of the days when I was young in education and couldn’t write fast enough to glean all that I thought I needed to know for tomorrow’s work. I am in that same mindset while here.
In the later afternoon, the breakout sessions began. I was looking for the map of this gigantic church so I could find where to go when I looked up and there were the very directions on the wall for the room. Once again I thanked God for the details He provides for this one who is directionally challenged! I wasn’t sure which track I should attend because all of them seemed pertinent. I chose the session on PTSD because I have always wondered where God fits into this mysterious struggle I’ve had and so many others have who come to Celebrate Recovery. How does God use His Word to heal what one cannot describe or find buried so deeply within? I have found great victory, but it still seems mysterious. I’d have to write another book to explain all I began to glean, but what I want to share here is one simple point–write a psalm to God.
Writing a psalm to God was spoken by two different speakers. I use to dislike the Psalms thinking all they did was give light to “feeling sorry for oneself”. I needed to be bigger than my problems and I needed to understand more fully that I just didn’t know God well and hadn’t done enough to be worthy of His attention. Well, at 3:30 this morning I wrote the first half of a very lengthy psalm to God. It is starting as a lament but I know it will end with victory because I am victorious today and gaining more ground with each day. This God of ours is truly THE ABBA FATHER!
I’m in Fort Worth, TX. Yesterday I arrived without any issues, rented my car and found the hotel without making any u-turns. That is a first for me! Once I got unpacked I then found the church so I can get there this morning. As I began to journal earlier this morning I was about to outline for Jesus all of the expectations I hoped to learn today. However, as I was starting to write He nicely informed me to instead, listen well and learn all that He had in mind for me to learn today. Doesn’t that sound just like a nice Leader? He already knows just what He wants me to learn here and I don’t have to fret about completing my list, He wants me focused on His List. OK, I have this much down for today.
As I began my Bible reading, it was John 15. Christ is telling the disciples in verse 5, “I am the sprouting vine and you’re my branches. As you live in union with me as your source, fruitfulness will stream from within you–but when you live separated from me you are powerless.”
Jesus has done a good deal of pruning in my life getting me to a place of BELIEF seeing Him as the One to believe. I’ve needed to let go of so many old lies seeing me in my old self instead of BELIEVING in the new creation God has made me to be. I humbly thank Him for this new, remarkable opportunity to serve Him.