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Archive for June, 2012

His Grace is Enough

For those of you who follow our blog and aren’t part of our local Springs Fellowship church body, a dearly loved man and spiritual father in our congregation passed away unexpectedly this week – Don Dawes.  While we will miss him more than words could ever express, we rejoice with his wife, Melody, and his sweet family in celebrating the life he lived – one of extending Our Father’s grace to all he met, one of encouragement through his wise words, through his amazing hugs, through his teachings on the Word, and – yes –  through his “punny” and corny jokes.  He truly was a man who loved God AND loved people.  Micki Jackson was stirred to share the following post with us.  Thank you, Micki, for being willing to be vulnerable and real with us and to let us see a glimpse of the journey God’s been walking with you the past few weeks. 

 

Wow, what a week, right? For me this week began a little over three weeks ago. Confused? I will explain.

 

On June 6th I read a Facebook update about my friend Kim’s 3 year old daughter, Ava, who had fallen. In running tests on her from the fall they discover that she has a malformation on her spine that requires surgery. Then, on Friday, June 9th, I get a text from my dear friend Jennifer, who is letting me know that her dad has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and asked me to pray for their family.

 

Now, understand, in all of this, my heart has also been so heavy thinking about my/our Kamie, and her mystery illness.

 

When I went to bed on June the 9th, I tried and tried to sleep. But, I just kept thinking and getting madder and madder. Then, Ken started to snore really, really loud. This perpetuated my anger, but not at Ken. I was getting really made at God. So much that I couldn’t contain it any longer. I huffed around the bed enough to wake Ken up so that he would ask me if I was ok. I screamed back at him in a whisper, as not to wake up Ken’s mom, Berta who also lives in our house. I said, “I’m just pissed”. He says, “Ok, about what?”

 What followed is not my finest statement and I will use symbols to keep it cleaner (since I’ve already used the “P” word).

 

“I think God is the biggest *@@$%*^ “.

At which time I quietly stomped out of the room, fumbled with unlocking the back door, and sat on the back porch in teary-eyed anger. It took Ken a few minutes, but he soon joined me. I was asking those why questions that can be very dangerous to focus on.

“Why cancer?”; and, “I’m really glad that they found Ava’s malformation by testing her from her fall, but WHY can’t it be that she just doesn’t have the malformation?”; and, “Why can’t Kamie just get a break? Why more hardship for her?”

Then I said it……”I think I’m tired of having hope.”

I didn’t really truly mean it. And Ken did assure me, later in the conversation, that if Jesus had returned at that moment that He would still have let me into Heaven.

 

So, needless to say, by this past Monday/Tuesday, my heart was already hurting. Then I got Kacey’s text to let us know that Don had died. My heart sunk. It sunk in pain for Melody, for the rest of Don’s family, and for our Springs family. And once again my why questions came to the forefront.

I spent the next hours praying (just me talking – you know, the one-sided conversation), trying to distracting myself so that I wouldn’t have to think, and finally listening. And what I heard was the song “What Joy” resonating in my head.

These particular lines:.

“What.joy.what.joy.for.those.whose.hope.is in.the.name.of.the Lord.

What.peace.what.peace.for.those.whose confidence.is.Him.alone”

Huh….Joy, Hope, Peace and Confidence…

Well, I have to say I have not been joyful, hopeful, confident or peaceful. I wondered why this song. Then I heard, “I promise you will understand (not audibly, but in my heart I heard God say, “I promise you will understand”.)

 Then, this morning at Don’s service I got it (not that it wasn’t something I didn’t know, but something that I must have placed the full meaning on hold for a little bit).

 

While rehearsing beforehand I was sitting in the worship center, and there is was:

“Your.grace.is.enough.

Your.grace.is.enough.

Your.grace.is.enough.for.me”

There’s the promise…the greatest promise we have from Jesus…the reason we have for living through this sometimes crummy world.

His. Grace. Is. Enough!

My heart is still hurting for those I love. But, now I realize that Grace is that what I kept forgetting is the answer to my why questions.

And from Grace comes, among others things, Joy, Peace, Hope, and Confidence in Him alone.

– Micki

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This post is the first in a series of posts being shared with us by Mindy Lentz.  I’m really excited to hear what God has laid on Mindy’s heart to share with us – so here’s Mindy:

 

Disclaimer:  Some of you who are more “mature” (the term I will use for older), will find this blog somewhat amusing.  Feel free to raz me about it later.

 

Last March, around my 28th birthday, I began to feel a pressure in my chest…almost like an elephant sitting on top of me.  I also felt like something was chasing me and was just an arm’s reach away from  reaching me. 

 

Fear.  It was Fear.

 

I only felt this fear when I thought about turning 30. 

 

This is where you can laugh at me.  I began to think through the typical mid-life crisis thoughts.  Over the course of 9 months I went through the list: Different husband? Different job? (I actually considered trying to become a country music star- insert laugh) Go back to school? Different house? Different car? Different hair? None of those things satisfied the fear and anxiety I was feeling about turning 30 (though I will tell you – a new hair-do does help the situation).

 

In January, I finally had the presence of mind to ask God to show me what I was feeling.  In an instant he said very clearly to my heart:

 

“I don’t want you to continue to carry the baggage you carried through your 20’s, into your 30’s. “

 

It wasn’t a mid-life crisis according to the worlds standards, it was a mid life crisis according to Gods standards.  Talk about a lightning bolt, life changing moment.  I’m sure God had a chuckle when I said, “You mean I can be free of all this?”

 

Through the course of the next 8 weeks leading up to my birthday, God showed me there was to be a marked season set aside for prayer and fasting.  He showed me that through this, he would shape me and mold me into a woman of discipline and a action for His Kingdom.

 

I had never fasted in my life.  I knew others who had fasted…people who seemed WAY more spiritual than me.  I didn’t know what a fast looked like or consisted of. I imagined lightning bolts and 40 days of crying and moaning and being super spiritual while God rooted out my impurities. Ha.

 

Before I go any further I need to add in this disclaimer.  If you sense God speaking to you about a fast, do not proceed on your own.  Get covering from your spiritual authority and research the concept of fasting.  It is vital to have the proper knowledge of fasting before you begin to cover yourself from potential attacks. 

He very clearly showed me the season was to begin the day after my birthday, March 13. 

 

The week before, God spoke to me about my schedule being the very first thing to be refined.  Talk about stepping out in faith! He led me to commit to a 5k Memorial Day weekend, which meant I had to train for the 5k.  This led to me joining the run club at Cardinals at 5:15 AM, 3 days a week.  This also included other workout classes during the week at 5:15 AM. 

 

I quickly found that 4:40 AM alarms are a hard battle to fight!  After my workout, my brain was awake though… and very sensitive to God’s voice.  I don’t know if it was the adrenaline clearing my mind or my obedience to the schedule He was asking of me – either way, I could hear very clearly.  I would finish up at 6:00 and have quiet time until 6:30, something I had never done before.

 

It took 2-3 weeks to realize to realize how God was using this discipline in my life.  I began to sense His spirit with me throughout my day in a clearer, deeper way than before. 

 

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me”

John 10:27

                                             

Know.  “I KNOW them”.  The word “know” in this verse has an interesting definition.

 

Transliterated Word  
Ginosko  
Phonetic Spelling Parts of Speech
ghin-oce’-ko    Verb
 Definition
  1. to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive, feel
  2. to become known
  3. to know, understand, perceive, have knowledge of
  4. to understand
  5. to know
  6. Jewish idiom for sexual intercourse between a man and a woman
  7. to become acquainted with, to know

 

I think that Jesus is trying to illustrate the bridegroom relationship he desires to have with us.

 

This word also shows up in John 17:3

 “And this is life eternal, that they might KNOW thee, the only one true God, and Jesus Christ, whom though has sent”

 

“An experiential knowledge of God and Jesus is our salvation” is what I take from the statement above. 

 When are you experiencing God? When are you experiencing being saved?  I believe we can be saved and walk through life by going to church, listening to Phil’s sermons, getting tidbits of God through our Christian music and preachers on the radio.  I truly believe that there are sincere believers who live off of these tidbits of God.

 

Before this season, my excuse was ALWAYS time.  I never had time. 

 

 Here is where I feel some freedom to step on some toes because God stepped on mine. 

 

I never MADE time.

 

For me, positioning myself to hear God meant a pretty structured schedule.  I had to get up before the sun, which meant bed at a decent hour, which meant the dishes and laundry didn’t get done all the time (My husband would have a field day with that last statement).

 

I cut out some beloved TV shows (we will touch on that in part 2 later on) to make time to spend with Harper and get other things done so I could go to bed.  Now I see that my whole center has shifted to when I need to get time with God. 

 

What can you cut out? Can you cut out 30 minutes of sleep?  Can the dishes wait? Can you sit down over your lunch break and soak up his presence? Can you put your kiddo in front of Veggie Tales for 30 minutes and spend time at your kitchen table with God?

 

My challenge to you, sisters, over the next week is to closely examine where your time is spent.  You might have to get creative, but I want you to come back to the blog and comment on here what you did to carve out time to get still and experience your salvation God.

Mindy

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