My 3 yr old daughter took this pic of me

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Warning - I'm Not Listening

I became a Christian when I was 4 years old. I remember sitting on my mother's lap in our "school room" by the window. She had her Bible open and she told me what Jesus did for me. That He died for me to pay for my sins and keep me from hell. I remember saying a simple prayer. It was great! I grew up in a Christian home and to say the least, it wasn't easy. My parents stood up for what they believed in and they stood firm. That wasn't always very popular and it affected us as kids. But to this day I respect them for that. That is one of the things that stuck with me. It meant something to them. They weren't just doing what they were doing cuz they felt like it, but because God led them.

So I lived out my life as a Christian. That was my label. At times I was passionate about it. Wanted to be a missionary. And at times (my teen years) I was wild and far from God, but I still carried that label. I still went to church...most of the time. I remember back in my "drinking beer for breakfast" days, a non-Christian friend of mine said to me, "If you're gonna say you're a Christian, then act like one." Ouch! I've never forgotten that.
After having my son, Logan, I started trying to turn my life around. I feel like Logan was sent to turn me back on the right path. I became very strict and legalistic and very desperately sought God's will for us. I did not want to be a mess. I did not want to parent alone. I wanted something better. After a year or two, I started to "mellow" out a bit and it was then that God introduced me to Matthew. We dated and got married and things have been so good! But, my walk with God has been ordinary at best. I read my Bible about once every 3-5 months, other than what was read at church each week. I tried to do things the right way, prayed with my kids about lots of things, tried to teach them how to have self control, love, patience, etc. But I was not able to do those things myself. I was an angry/loving mother.

I have always struggled with my emotions and even take medication for it. The doctors said I had a lack of serotonin production in my brain. I knew I was happy and that life was good, but I couldn't feel that way. So it has helped tremendously. However, my spiritual life has remained dull. I could feel God's presence at church during worship. I even felt that Jesus was standing in front of me, looking me right in the face a few times. But at home, during the week, nothing changed. 2011 rolled around and I made some new year's resolutions, as usual. But something felt different and I felt it with my entire being. This was the year. Everything was going to change. But I didn't know what or how much would change.

I read a handful of books on a month. I felt empowered. Then I read Just Like Jesus by Max Lucado. Everywhere I turned I felt God was saying to me, "All that matters to Me is Love the Lord your God with all your heart and Love your neighbor as yourself." I felt the Holy Spirit stirring inside of me. I have always known He was there, dwelling in me, ready to guide me, but I had not paid much if any attention to Him in a long time. I watched 2 episodes of It's a New Day where they interviewed my youth pastor (when I was 16) Kirk Bartha. He talked about a spiritual journey I wanted, but hadn't touched yet. Where God speaks and you listen and do what He is calling you to do. Whether you understand the how and why or not. I vowed to God that day, last week, that I was going to lead my children in a new way. God's way. I sat the kids down and told them what Jesus really wants from us. Relationship with Him and others.

The very same day was the worst day of parenting I think I've ever had. It started with the Bible and ended with screaming. "What is going on, God?" I said. I wanted to serve Him and now I'm a mess and doing everything wrong. He brought me back to Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." My focus was on doing the right things the right way and not only on Him and His leading. I apologized to my kids, my husband, and to my Jesus and started over. A couple days later I went to the Crown Financial seminar at my church. Near the end of the seminar, the speaker asked us to sit quietly for 5 minutes and just listen to what the Holy Spirit had to say. I did. It was powerful.

I had always prayed for things in my life, but I had almost never listened. So now I am reading devouring my Bible, I am praying, but I am listening too.

There is sooo much more I want to share, so many more stories and details, but it needs to come out slowly. One bite at a time. Take time to digest this and see what God might be trying to say to you. Take that time, even 2 minutes, just to say "Hey, God, what do you want to show me, what do you want me to do?" and listen to what He has to say. Your life will be transformed. No more mediocre Christianity. I'd love to hear what God has been saying to you and working out in your life!

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