Thursday, April 4, 2019

things that are hard for me and the ways that God helps me

I thought I'd share things that are hard for me, when I try to do things in my own strength. 

I was thinking about this yesterday, on the day each week when I feel so sick to my stomach all day.  I'm a small group leader at our church, in a bible study twice each Wednesday.  I've been a small group leader before, but in a whole different way and capacity, so this time feels way different.  I know that the Lord prompted my friend Amy to reach out to me, and I know He prompted me to do this, but that doesn't mean it's easy for me.  I can lead a group or facilitate a conversation all day long, and even more so when it's a group of teenagers.  But the Lord has pulled me away from teenagers, and has put me more soundly with women of all ages.  I felt that transition happening two years ago this coming October, and I know it's from God.  Teenagers and women are MUCH different.  Women make me nervous! 

That being said, way before these small groups started meeting, I was praying for them.  I prayed that the Lord would multiply their time to study His word while we were together, helping them be faithful in doing the homework.  I prayed that He would help them all be totally open and transparent, and that I would be that way with them, taking part each week in the discussion.  And I specifically prayed that the Lord would help us do more than just give the typical answers.  I asked that He would let the discussion flow each week, naturally and freely.  And He did all of that, and even above and beyond what I could ask or imagine. 

I am so thankful to Him for that, and each week (as I was so sick to my stomach) I would tell Him how desperate I was for Him, for His presence, not just for that day of bible study, but every single day of my life.  I would tell Him that I could never do any of this without Him, and I asked Him to help us in these ways.  He was so faithful to hear all those prayers and answer them week after week.  I never could even leave the parking lot without praising Him for who He is and all that He has done.

Another thing I struggle with sometimes is understanding what the word of God is saying.  I never just jump in and start reading.  I always ask the Lord for wisdom and knowledge over what I'm reading, I ask Him to open my heart and ears and eyes to whatever He might be saying to me through His word, and I ask Him to help me understand and apply it to my life.  There are times when the reading seems easy and I "get it", but there are other times when it is just plain hard.  When it's hard, I just go really, really slow.  I'll read it one time, quietly, then I'll read it again out loud.  There is something about reading the word of God aloud that makes you more clearly "hear" what the passage is saying.  Almost always, though, when I'm done, this verse describes how I feel about what I've just read. 

And when I'm done, I can't go any further in my day without praising God for who He is and all that He has done.  Now, this is not to say that I know all the answers to questions people have about verses.  I do not, trust me.  Just last week I was asked a question that I couldn't answer, I could only say what I thought it meant, deferring to someone who knew more than me on that particular passage.  I've never been to seminary, I don't have special training, I am just me, someone God caused to fall in love with Him and His word.  I've read through the whole book multiple times, but I don't know even close to what some other people know, especially the ones who've been to seminary. 

I say these things are hard for me, because they are...IF I don't stop first, and ask God for His help.  I ask Him to lead me, guide me, and I commit the situation to Him, telling Him that I trust Him and in His plan.  And I do.  I mean that, from the bottom of my heart.  I've learned the hard way, that I have to ask Him for His help, because my own strength is worthless.  I don't want MY words to be remembered, I want HIM and His words to be remembered.  And about the bible, I can clearly remember when I was young, thinking how boring it was to read and that it was no longer applicable.  (Yes, I've gone back and asked God to forgive me for that way of thinking.) 

My point in even writing about this is simple: God calls us to do things that aren't easy.  He has this way of getting us outside of our comfort zones and stretching us beyond our own abilities.  When we ask Him to use us,  He will and He does.  Trust Him to get you through those hard things!  Proverbs 3:5 and 6 says that we can do just that.  He also doesn't call us to do things, and then leaves us hanging.  He sees it through to completion.  I always ask Him to help me to be humble, and I always ask for His help in helping me keep focused and to not let me be easily distracted.  I also ask Him to show me when the enemy is trying to work in my life, and He does that, as well.  I wrote about that last week, and then I say out loud to God, "Lord, the enemy has no place in my life."  And it's like my mind is opening and I can see more clearly again. 

Don't let fear keep you down, my friends.  The enemy loves to operate in us in that way, but don't let him succeed.  I am always asking God to just show me what He wants for my life.  If He wants me to write, then someday, I know He will give me something to write about.  For now, He keeps me here in this little slice of internet otherwise known as my blog.  If He wants me to go back to work someday, I trust He will show me that as well.  He will open doors of opportunity for us, and sometimes He will also shut them.  I have asked Him before to help me in that as well, knowing when I should act or move, and when I should sit still and wait on Him.  Just pray.  It all starts there, in my opinion.  I often pour out my heart to Him.  He knows what I think about, why not just give it all to Him?  He knows our thoughts, what's on our hearts and the desires that we have, that might have been put there by Him.  I also ask Him to align my heart with His heart, and to take away the desires in my heart that are not from Him.  And then I ask Him to do His will in my life, not mine, and to help me walk in submission to His authority in my life. 

I know, that is a lot, but these are all things I pray almost every single day of my life.  I pray this encourages you today.  Love to all. 

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