Friday, April 25, 2014

Blessings come through tears

Hebrews 11:6 Without faith it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exist and that He rewords those who earnestly seek Him.

Some of you know that I relapsed this past year.  I have a mental disorder, but was doing very well for the last few years.  I was very discouraged by this.  I went to stay with some of my family to get 24/7 care so I didn't have to go to the hospital, but needed to be treated like I was in the hospital.  My doctors orders were no iPhone, no reading Christian books, no church, no driving, no computer, no talking to my friends about God.  He wanted my mind bored so it could heal.  I have read how horrible it is to be bored.  You read of inmates counting the cinder blocks when in isolation to keep their minds from being bored.   The lights from the phone and computer and other things I loved could weaken my mind.  I told my doctor, I could not give up my faith.  He agreed.  I was so upset.  God couldn't use me.  How could I hang on to Him through this without these things.

Then one of God's promises in Romans came to mind.  That God would use all things for our good and His glory for those who are called according to His purpose.  So I began to pray that somehow in my limitations I would grow.  I had no idea how this could happen.

At the beginning my family was all I was allowed to see.  I decided to help and be with my family any way I could.  I cleaned, organized, cooked, folded clothes.  I went on dates with my grandson.  Instead of email I wrote letters to my family, to Pastors and Christian leaders, to inmates in prison hoping to encourage them.  I did sketches and send them to my grandchildren in Texas. I meditated on Gods word.  I prayed more for others.  Then I was allowed to go out with friends.  I enjoyed beauty and Gods creation who whispers who He is.  I went on hikes, took pictures with thoughts and talks about God.  I meet with other women who struggled with the same thing.  I talked to them about resting in God and giving up striving for acceptance.  This blog was kept up by my friend Martha with old writings and it grew.  My devotional book was given to over a hundred women in prison and in addiction homes.

My focus had been on me and my limitations.  God was about teaching me many things, about how to pray for others, how to love, how to persevere, how to trust Him,  how to keep my eyes on Him and not my circumstances, about how my life is about His glory, how He is about blessing HIs children with good gifts.  That it was not me holding on to Him, but Him holding on to me.

I have been thinking a lot about the life of Peter.  Jesus called out to him, to come to Him and to walk on water.  Peter took a few steps, then he looked down and he began to sink.  He was looking at his circumstances and got his eyes off Jesus. Jesus reached out a hand.  He rescued Peter.   He refused for Jesus to wash his feet.  Jesus was pointing the disciples to the cross.  He said you have to be washed to be cleaned.  We are washed by His blood.  Jesus told Peter, satan has ask to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed your faith would not fail.  Jesus knew what Peter was about to go through and He prayed for Him.  Peter said he would never deny Jesus, but Jesus told him he would deny him 3 times.  Peter cursed and denied Jesus.  I cannot imagine the tears and the grief Peter felt as God granted him repentance.  After the cross, Jesus had an intimate dinner with His disciples.  I can only think on how Peter was feeling after what he had done and seeing Jesus.  Relieved but full of shame.  A bitter sweet.  Jesus ask Peter 3 times do you love me.  Peter answered yes, you know I love you Lord.  Jesus did not condemn Peter.  He said feed my sheep.  Jesus was full of blessing.  He used Peter to build the church.  He told Peter you are going to be led to go somewhere you do not want to go.  We are told in history books that Peter was crucified up side down.

It came to me today to quit praying my life gets easier but that whatever it looks like, God is glorified through what Jesus has done for me.  Somedays I feel as if I can't function.  I feel lost and disjointed.  I don't know what to do and I don't have the power to do it.  I can so tell when my eyes get on me.  I have to completely rely on Him.  He rescues me every time and I get through it by His power not my own.  I pray everyday for Him to keep my mind.  That I won't sin against Him in my thoughts.  Many days I do.  I weep at times it makes me so sad.  The Spirit reminds me of my sonship.  That I am Gods child.  I claim that I have the very mind of Christ.  That He is my righteousness.  I collapse on Jesus and my Father.  He rescues me from guilt and condemnation.  From looking at my sin instead of Him.  From looking at me instead of what He has done for me.  His love for me.  Much joy fills my heart.  I live life again to the fullest.  Being such a self reliant, strong person I see it is Gods mercy in me making me weak.  That is where I have opportunity to rely on His strength in me.

Even though I should ask for nothing more than what I have been given in the gracious gift of the Father's Son, Jesus and His Spirit, I do.  I ask for blessings and I believe them to come, not because I deserve them but because of who I am, my Abba's child because we are promised it so.  Not only that, but I am surprised by His many blessings.  I believe giving me good gifts delights Him and He receives great joy in it.  Sometimes though, they come through heartache.   Have you noticed how you have to go through the thorns to reach the rose?  We go through suffering to reach the blessing.  Life is lessons on how to follow Jesus.  We as christians, reflect some of who Jesus.  We are trophies of His grace.  Taste and see that the Lord is good.  Just as a writer is expressed through a novel he has written so creation speaks of God.  We can enjoy God and what He created.  We are created in the imagine of God.  We are His creation. Jesus went through great suffering on the cross for the joy set before Him.  What we go through does not compare to what Jesus suffered, out of love for us and the will of the Father.  What the Father suffered.  But we have to see, blessings come through tears.