The Path (May 2012)

I am 42  year’s old and realizing with almost excruciating pain that I am a jumper by nature. For the first half of my career I jumped from job to job. I have jumped from church to church. I have jumped from state to state. I have jumped from relationship to relationship. Sometimes the jumping was all me and other times it was my mother who was leading the jumping but in all cases, it was a way to get instant gratification through something new. I think that just as there are adrenalin junkies there are change junkies and I am one of the latter. I love change because it’s something new and there are no problems with new. Nothing has broken yet, I don’t see people’s baggage and I havent’ shared my own. It’s like a yard of new fallen snow that no one has walked on yet and ruined. Here’s the problem with that…new snow doesn’t stay new.

As I approach my 43rd birthday, I realize that I don’t want to be a jumper anymore. I realize that God hasn’t called me, or anyone, to be a jumper…He’s called us to be followers. If you think of someone who is a follower, it is someone who walks a path the has alraedy been tread on by the leader. You can look at the new terrain but you don’t CHOOSE the new terrain. You might be able to see ahead but you can’t run ahead of the leader. The follower, by nature, is content to have limited influence and complete trust in the leader. COMPLETE TRUST! Do you see the freedom in being a follower?! As the follower, I’m not responsible for chosing the direction which means I can’t ever get lost. As the follower, I’m not responsible to review the terrain ahead and make sure I’m equipped I just get handed what I need and put it to use. As the follower, I don’t have to worry about the time because I don’t set the pace. As the follower I get to enjoy the sights and sounds of the road I am traveling. God is my leader which means that I have NO FEAR, NO WORRY, NO NEEDS…all I have to do is follow and He’ll guide me exactly where I’m supposed to go. Do you feel the relief in that?? It’s like floating on water.

Over the past couple months I got off  a little and I had to make a correction and get back on it. I was still following my Leaders, I was just doing it off in the bushes instead of on the true path. I made a committment I shouldn’t make for a church ministry I shouldn’t have jumped to so I had to apologize, back out and get back on track. I was feeling like the path I was on was too slow and my desire to get further down the road, jump ahead of the leader distracted me. I’m so thankful for God’s voice and for the desire to seek God’s voice. The peace I feel today from getting back on the path I’m supposed to be on is awesome. And God has used those around me to say, welcome back to the journey we are on. Thank you Lord!

If you are not on the path you should be on, do whatever you have to do to get back on it. I’ve traveled off the path so many times and I’m finally in a place where I have said to God, keep me on this path please because the pain of getting off is too much forme. This last diversion wasn’t painful as much as uncomfortable, thankfully. But as most of us, I have the scars to show the diversions that were more serious. There is pain in getting back on track but that pain is NOTHING compared to the pain of staying off track. Seek help. Seek partnerships in prayer. Seek counseling. SEEK GOD. He’s the only true Leader for us. He’s the only one who can keep us peaceful. He’s the only One.

Please email me at kaprayingforyou@gmail.com if you need prayer. My hearts deepest desire is to help you get back on track following the only Leader who will ever meet your needs and love you forever and ever.

KA

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Crying Out (April 2012)

During my quiet time with God this morning I found myself actually sobbing. This emotion had 2 contributing factors: Fear of God and Love for God. It’s really quite amazing that I could have both ends of the spectrum of emotion in the one moment and I’m sure that’s why I was crying.

Now to be clear and transparent, I wasn’t crying or emotional out of respect for God which we call “fear”. I was emotional because I woke up this morning realizing that I am actually AFRAID of God and what he might allow to happen in my life. As I read more of the Bible, I am getting a better sense for who God is and part of that character is, quite honestly, violent to me. Lots of people died horribly in God’ will. Job lost his entire world in God’s will. Jesus died a horrible death in God’s will. The list could go on and on but I think you get the point. God has moments where He not only allows pain to enter our lives, He has moments where He brings the pain in our lives. The issue for us, as always, is how we respond. We can be fearful like I was feeling this moring, or we can claim the power that He has given us and the promise from His word that, “we know that God causes all this to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Rom 8:28) If I trust God and put my entire life in His hands, then the only response to the fear I was feeling this morning was repentance and digging in to the Word to draw closer to Him. I want my response to challenges and trials to be, “God, this is your life, live it through me to bring glory to You.”

It’s more than a little frightening to be that open with God and to give my life over to God to use as He will. I’m a control freak and am prone to anxiety and panic. Giving my life and my circumstances to God is a moment to moment endeavor. Some days are easy because the waves of life are small. Somes days are harder because the waves of life are cresting my boat. In the end, God is in charge of all things and He has my life in His very safe and capable hands which means that I am never actually in danger. Oh sure, I may be in a situation where this physical existence is in jeopardy but who cares? My eternal life is secure in His hands and I have nothing to fear.

I’m certain that for the rest of my life this will be a moment to moment challenge. My heart desires to be as Paul and fully embrace, “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Phil 1:21) My natural response is much more Peter who after seeing Jesus transfigured into glow and talking with Moses and Elijah said, “if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here..” Basically saying, Jesus, let’s just stay here ‘cuz it’s all good right now. Of course, Jesus didn’t have Peter set up shop there and instead used Peter mightily to establish His church.

Dear Lord, use me, take me, live through me. You created me and you know that is a challenging idea for me and because of that You have given me your Word that promises to strenghten me and uphold me. Thank you for loving me and help me show that love to those around me.

Keeping My Guilt From Me (April 2012)

So for the past few months, I have purposed to find verses that support the truth that I’m forgiven, a new creation in Christ…my past is behind me and has no place in my present or my future. One morning as I was reading through Psalm 18 I came across an absolute gem that I want to share with you. Psalm 18:23 “I was blameless before him, and I kept myself from my guilt.” I kept myself from my guilt. So if I can keep myself FROM my guilt, then I can also keep myself IN my guilt and why would I do that?! When those thoughts creep into my head rehashing my mistakes and my sins, I need to shift my thought and recall verses like Philippians 3:13-14 which says, “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” When I sit in the muck and mire of my past, I cease straining ahead toward the life that God has planned for me because I get caught up in the thoughts that He can’t use me. How self-centered and arrogant those thoughts are and just plain useless.

Another critical application of this verse in Psalm 18 is to keep myself from doing that which makes me feel guilty in the first place. There is no way to not sin, I’m going to do it every day. However, if I watch my steps, follow closely to God and his direction for my life, then I’m less likely to make the big mistakes that cause me pain. I must remember that though I may be tempted to fall into the trap of my past, or even new sins, God has already provided an escape for me.  1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” Awesome!! I belong to a God who says look, I know you’re going to stumble and you’re going to sin so how about you just trust me to help you?

My prayer now is that I never turn away from God again. That when I do sin,I want to repent immediately and not let there be any time that passes between me and God that would cause damage to our relationship. God is good and faithful and he will keep me no matter what the circumstance I just need to keep seeking Him and drawing closer. There is no “too close” to God. This life I have I live for Him because there is no other way for me to live. I’ve done it on my own and I only mess things up.

Praying that you will find the desire in your heart to reach out to God and give Him your life completely. There’s nothing easy about it and it may come with pain, but the joy on the other side is amazing and truly unexplainable. You must experience it to fully understand the magnificance of life completely surrendered to the God of the Universe who loves YOU!

KA