Hello friends! It has been a couple of months since I have shared some of my experiences on this lovely blog.
Though a lot has happened that I could fill you in on, but I would love to share at this time what God has been revealing to me most recently.
I will admit, the past year and a half or so has been a difficult time where I believe God has take a step back, not in abandonment, but as a Father does in teaching His child to walk.
I imagine a Father and daughter in their living room. The Father is keeping a watchful eye on every movement of His little girl, but knows that if He keeps coddling me through life, there is no opportunity for me to develop into the new creation He has made me. So, the daughter must learn to walk.
The Father is standing right in front of me, ready to catch me when I fall, and leading me down a path where He is able to steady my feet and grow my faith and hope. My arms, though they should be, are not always reaching out to Him for balance as I uncoordinatedly take one stuttering step after another. Instead they reach for what is around me for support. They reach to anything that may seem closer or easier to attain balance and stability. Sometimes these side steps look more appealing that my Father’s outstretched hand.
More Pleasurable. More Fun. More Safe.
Unfortunately directing my attention to these desires only leads me to a place where I am off course, stalled out, and left on the floor after my balance is thrown. The dog runs by, a toy sounds. And my focus changes.
In this moment of collapse, sometimes the Father steps a little closer, with a smile that shines up through His eyes. Other times, He calls to me, guiding me back to His path and presence with a warm and generous voice. And yet during other times, and shall I say most times recently, my heavenly Father remains silent. When I am snapped back to reality as I hit the floor, I am left disoriented, and many times my head swivels back and forth to look at where I have led myself. It may take a moment to realize my bearings, but when I do, I have a choice.
I can continue my journey to the empty table, chair, or even the appeal of a television screen, but I know when I reach my goal, these things can only serve me for a time, and I am left desiring more. Unfulfilled.
My other choice is much more rewarding in the aspect of long-term fulfillment, and is in fact the way I was created to follow. It is to turn my head, and to see my Father’s smiling face. Even though His voice has not called out, He is still standing there, eyes fixed on me, still full of the joy and happiness of His smile. Tears form as my eyes meet His, and He begins jumping and dancing. My Spirit sings, whispering the truth that my heart remembers for times such as this,
“Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your week knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed” (Hebrews 12:12-13).
I make a choice.
I ease my balance back onto my feet, and straighten up my folded body. Then, continue with my little toddler-like steps back to the direction of His arms. These wise, warm arms will welcome me, dance with me, and provide all my needs for the next steps of life.
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing” Zephaniah 3:17
“Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand” Psalm 73:23
Learning and growth is hard. As much as I know these facts in my head, there are many times where I find myself surprised when I see God developing my character through difficult situations, ones that often occur by my disobedience and wrong choices.
In my life as a staff member of the Navigators, these decisions don’t seem quite as clear, but harvest similar consequences.
Every day is a battle of waking up and being lazy and living for myself, or choosing the opportunities to dwell in the fortress of Jesus, running to Him in every decision. Even as my job requires hours of being in the Word, in study and meditation, in preparation for teaching, I am still left the option of how to approach these tasks. Do I let them become monotonous, just getting them done so I have some time for myself, or do I let them slowly transform me and mold me further into the creation the Lord is crafting?
In this daily process, I have been praying that the Lord would lead me to obedience to His will, and the desire to spend time with Him more and more. Recently, I have begun to see this prayer being answered, and John 14:21 being fulfilled,
“Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will loved them and show myself to them”.
I have a choice, to follow my Father, or to follow my distractions. My desires. My sin. I can’t do both. I am not physically capable in walking towards two different goals, and alas, we are at a crossroads again.
I have found myself in the lonely, barren trail often in the past few months of my life, and many times that leads to a place of guilt for straying. But recently, I have been reminded that I have a choice. I have a choice to further sin by living in self-pity and inward living, or I can look to my Father, and join in His laughter and singing as I turn back to Him.
I can choose to spend time with Him each day. And the most exciting part about this option? The more I walk towards my excited Father, the quicker and more excited my steps become as a grin spreads across my face. The closer I get, the more I feel a tingle in my fingers and soul that is magnetic. As I draw closer, my tongue thirst for more of this real thing than anything else I could imagine. My prayers are being answered as I covet time spent growing closer to my Father.
I may stumble and fall on the way back to my Father, but I will again choose to snap my head back up to the eyes that love me.
And I will choose joy. I will choose to be joyful in this journey I am on.
I will choose joy as the muscles of my faith strengthen and develop, and as the Lord allows challenges and new experiences in my life to discipline and shape me into the perfectly new creation He is making me to be.
I will choose joy when I am so weak and downtrodden that nothing but my Father’s strength is the ability to keep moving forward.
I will choose joy when the only way to be provided for is to rely on.
I will choose joy when I am lonely and fighting to internalize and draw into the sadness and hurt inside myself.
Will you join me?
Choose Obedience. Choose joy. The blessings that follow are unimaginably beautiful.
“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love; just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in His love. ‘These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full’” John 15:10-11