Gifts and Humility

I remember as a new Christian hearing so much about spiritual gifts.  How to find your gift!  How to develop your gift!  Primary gifts!  Secondary gifts! Laying on of hands for gifts!  And for some reason I got really hung up on it and it caused me a lot of stress.  I put a lot of pressure on myself to figure out my gifts and start popping out spiritual “fruit” and ASAP.

I’ve learned so much along the way that I’d like to share….

First of all, RELAX.  Don’t sweat the fruit or the gifts.  An apple tree isn’t grunting out apples.  There’s no flexing or straining, though that’s an hilarious image.  When we relax into God’s presence, when we feed on his word, when the sonshine shines on us; that fruit is going to come forth in season and it’ll will be a natural by product of our walk with God.

Your spiritual gift is going to be something that comes naturally to you.  For instance; I’m an introvert and I’d be a terrible evangelist.  That’s ok, because we’re not all called to that.  What I do really enjoy is quiet time with God in which I unearth treasures from his Word and eagerly share with others through my writing.  I’m a writer.  It’s who I am.  It comes naturally.  I may never witness to a stranger on the bus but I am witnessing to whoever happens across the things I have written.

Another thing to realize is that just because there is a need, and we have a mandate to serve- doesn’t mean we are called to everything, all the time.  In our old church there was a growing sense of resentment for me.  The church was a small one, in a small town, so there were a lot of older people.  There were also a lot of young families.  There was a need for workers in the nursery but no one wanted to be in the nursery.  The older people would bring their young grandchildren and expect there to be someone volunteering, but of course it wouldn’t be them.  They had to make coffee in the kitchen.  So I ended up in the nursery an inordinate amount of time.  I also volunteered to teach the young kids on Wednesday night (again, no one else wanted to).  It was an absolutely terrible fit.  I was awful at it.  This thing began to feel like a giant, life-sucking burden in my life.  If you’re trying to do something for God that he never called you to, that’s how it is going to feel.  However, if you’re operating in your God-given gifts, for His glory, it will be rewarding and even fun.

I’m not called, or anointed to teach children.  I love ’em but I’m just not gifted in that area.  In fact I was so bad that the pastor’s wife was looking for someone to replace me (unbeknownst to me) in the announcements during the church service (of course, I didn’t hear them, I was in the nursery) they made announcements until someone else eventually stepped up.  I was fired from a volunteer position.  Sometimes when you get involved in church you see that there are situations where people don’t handle things with integrity.  If she had come to me and said, “look, toots, you’re sweet and all but not a great fit for this role.”  I would have sighed in relief and graciously stepped down.  But people in pews are just people too.  We ultimately left the church but there aren’t hard feelings.  We wanted a church were we felt like our children were welcomed into a solid children’s ministry.

A different instance occurred where I had gifting but a lack of humility, it was a painful scenario that happened about 7 years ago.  I got invited to a Bible study hosted by another young woman who was a very new believer.  She wasn’t as versed in the Word as I was.  I corrected her a few times and was sort of “taking over” the study.  I had the knowledge and gifting but the wisdom and humility weren’t developed to match.  Our friendship ended over it and I was basically booted from the group.  It was very painful at the time but became an opportunity for me to grow.

Even at this point in my life I am working hard to use my gifting to serve God.  It’s for a very small “audience” and I have hope and dreams for a wider platform but that hasn’t happened yet.  I firmly, 100% believe that when the time is right, God will open the doors and bring a spiritual promotion.  I don’t promote my blog at.all. because I want to be waiting on God.  I have more than a sneaking suspicion that God is putting me through this extended waiting process in obscurity because the approval of man is still way too important to me.  If I had more success now it’d be easy for it to go to my head and make it all about me.  If I am swayed by people’s opinion I won’t be the solid, godly teacher that God needs me to be- A vessel that is pure that he can use.

This scenario is echoed again and again in scripture.  One of my favorites is that of Joseph.  Joseph was richly blessed by God.  He was the apple of his father’s eye.  He had a strong spiritual anointing to the point where he was having dreams and visions.  His future was so bright he needed shades 😉  But then he experienced what had to have looked like a complete abandonment by God and the utter ruin of his life; when his jealous brothers sold him into slavery.  Then, he was just working his way to the top (as much as he could as a slave) when his master’s (shameless hussy of a) wife threw herself at him.  He, being a godly young man, rebuffed her advances.  She couldn’t handle the rejection, accused him of rape, and he was thrown into the worst hell hole of a prison you can imagine.  He did get out of that prison though and became instrumental in saving countless lives from famine.  He even saved and was reconciled to his brothers.  God knew he needed the struggle to develop the character and humility that he would need to be this great savior in his time.  The gifting, the call was always there.  The humility and wisdom needed to catch up.

All this to say, in this age where everyone promotes themselves, go against the grain.  Embrace the quiet and solitude that only comes with knowing God in the secret place.  The place where you won’t get any recognition or accolades from man, but you’ll have a prime spot to hear from God.  Trust that God’s timing is best.  He’s working things out in advance for you.  While you’re waiting do everything you can to prepare yourself for the dreams and hopes that he’s placed in your heart.

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3 

 

Advertisements

When the End isn’t the End

One major life thing I haven’t blogged about was the abrupt end of a friendship that occurred this past summer.  It wasn’t just a friendship, this person was incredibly close, more of a sister than a friend.

We have similar backgrounds and a real kinship of spirit.  Though she is wild and extroverted and I’m really quiet.  She’s the life of the party, I’m at home reading… you get the picture….We always found common ground.  She helped me to loosen up and I was a calming force in her life.

When we first met we were both very involved in the same church.  We would get together and talk, laugh, cry, pray… the friendship was a gift for both of us.

Well, life happens and we both drifted away from church and God and became more and more enabling rather then edifying.  Less “iron sharpens iron” and more gummy bear enabling gummy bear.  That and some other issues culminated in an abrupt and painful end.  There was no communication for months.

I didn’t know if it was the end.  Honestly, at first I didn’t even think much about it because I was so engrossed in caring for my son.  Around the time things went sour I was providing basically round the clock care and my son was practically an invalid.

But here and there emotions and feelings would burst forth.  Anger, regret, hurt.  Really, a grieving process.  It got to the point were I would think about her everyday and what went wrong.  I stopped focusing so much on the hurt and was able to introspect and see how I had failed her.  I had room to grow.  I should have handled things differently.

She reached out to me last week.

We met up in a quiet coffee shop.  The mood was somber.  We both had come out of very rough years.  There was a feeling of mutual muted sadness and reflection.  We were able to apologize to each other and talk openly about where it all went wrong.

Last night we got together again.  My inhibitions loosened after a glass of wine, I wrapped my arms around her and prayed over her.  I cried.  She cried.  The Holy Spirit went pumping though our bodies with his gently persistent love.

You can always come home.  

I had felt a sense of grief over the way I handled this year and the trials I went through.  I wasn’t cooperative.  I sinned and hid from God.  Coming back to a more authentic place of worship I’ve felt this grief that I had missed this chance to be sanctified through this trial.  Like dross being removed from gold in the fire.  I went into the fire and came out, cruddy dross intact.

But I’ve come to realize that God, in his grace, worked through even that.  See, I’ve always struggled with the question of, “Can I lose my salvation?  Will God still love me if….?”  This year I found my answer.  I reached new personal lows.  I did things I thought I’d never do.

God still loves me and his Spirit never left.

I now believe what I couldn’t before.  I am sealed.  I am chosen.  I am loved.  I am saved.  Period.

“And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified…  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:30&38-39

I feel a sense of grace and freedom that I never felt before.  Because I tumbled to the bottom and he caught me.

As I prayed over my friend I got a word for her.  This past year of pain and sorrow has been a process of breaking up a faulty foundation.  When a foundation is no good it needs to be dismantled, with a jackhammer or carefully inserted dynamite.  It looked like her life as she knew it had blown up and she was emerging, blinking and dazed, from the rubble.  But what God was doing was breaking up the old foundation of shame, false beliefs, generational dysfunction.  The foundation she had been struggling to grow in all her life.  A bad foundation with gnarly roots and hunks of ugly concrete and warped steel.  In the process of the mining and overturning he was preserving and exposing the gold tucked in amongst the rubble and calling her to a place of greater freedom and abundant life.

foundaton

I don’t know where you’re at but I can confidently say that God loves you.  Jesus died for you.  Because of Him the end doesn’t have to be the end.

“Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls…” Isaiah 58:12

 “Dear Heavenly Father, Lord I pray that you would touch the person reading this right now.  That you would wash over them with your love.  I pray that You would make us people that repair the ruins of our lives and the precious lives around us.  We thank you that you are good, even when we can’t always see it.  You are the Ancient of Days and you are coming soon to make all things new.  Amen”

Making Time

With God’s help I’ve been enacting some positive changes this month.

For one thing, I completely cut out sugar.  I’m feeling a lot better and one odd side effect is that I need less sleep.  I’ve been waking up super early, like 5am!  This has been really great because I’ve been spending way more time with God in the morning.

I sit here and cringe at the thought that anyone would think I’m more holy than I am.  I struggle, I’m prone to wander.  That’s why I need all that time in God’s presence before I start my day.

One thing I pray everyday is that the Holy Spirit would enable me to surrender my will.  It’s a daily dedication.  Because if we don’t, we have a way of assuming control again!

One great quote I heard was this, “God made no provision for you to live the Christian life.  You have to allow Jesus to live it through you.” Pastor James Macdonald.

The amazing and wonderful thing is that as I’m faithful to show up, God is faithful to meet me.  I sense his presence as soon as I open my little pink leather-bound Bible.  It’s great.  It’s wonderful.  It’s worth dedicating an hour to in the wee early hours.  It sets the tone for the rest of the day.  I feel more joy and peace and less struggle.

So I want to encourage you to make the changes necessary in your life to carve out more time to meet with the God that created the Universe, the God that cares uniquely for you. 

Lessons from Daniel

I started reading the book of Daniel a couple mornings ago.  I prayed that God would show me new treasures in the text because I’ve read this book quite a few times.

Well, treasure has been popping out!

Daniel was stolen away from everything he had known as a young man.  He was immersed in Babylonian culture.  He was well-versed in their literature.  He was completely removed from the practice of worship as he would have been able to practice it in Israel.

He was even given a new name.  Which is incredibly meaningful.  A name wasn’t just a name in those days.  It carried meaning.  King Nebuchadnezzar rebranded him as Belteshazzar.  His birth name had meant, “God is my judge.”  Belteshazzar literally meant “Bel (their idol) protects the king!”

Even though he was taken from his homeland and they attempted to take his very identity, Daniel never compromised.

I find it interesting that he was so uncompromising that years later, in the fifth chapter of Daniel, the Queen states that “an extraordinary spirit, knowledge and insight, interpretation of dreams, explanation of enigmas and solving of difficult problems were found in this Daniel…”  

Daniel, though immersed in this pagan culture, stayed faithful to his God and his own identity.  He lasted through multiple Kings and in the end he was still “Daniel” after that “Belteshazzar” title had faded away.

God blessed his stout devotion and prospered and protected him.  We all know how God shut the mouths of the lions, right?  It wasn’t just a couple lazy lions either.  When Daniel was rescued out, his accusers (and their families) were thrown in and didn’t even hit the ground before they were mauled and broken by these same lions.

The practical application for us today is that we need to be faithful to our God and our God-given identities though we, too, are immersed in an increasingly hostile environment that would attempt to lure us away and bring our identity into question.

“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26

 

 

A Monster and a Father

In the news today is the story of an enraged father lunging at the “pedophile doctor” who molested his daughters.  I couldn’t watch the video without getting tears in my eyes.  How betrayed the entire family must feel.  I can’t imagine that there are many feelings worse than knowing your children were abused by someone that you trusted.

They entrusted this man as a professional to help their daughters become top gymnasts, like so many other families.  He betrayed that trust in the worst possible way.

What stands out to me is the ripple effects of this one mans actions.  So far 140 women have come forward.  There are likely many more that were affected.

This one man used his tremendous influence and impact on so many lives for evil.

He is now facing spending the rest of his life in prison.  Maybe even worse, being completely exposed for the disgusting monster that he is.  Even beyond that, he is going to have to deal with the wrath of a righteous God.

“It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.”  Luke 17:2

But on the flip, though one person can have such a negative affect- what impact can a godly person have?  Someone who is determined to use the impact and reach they have for good?  You can see the massive negative impact this one man had.  Let’s determine not only to not do harm but to leave a legacy and heritage of blessing, joy and love in our wake.  Let’s use whatever reach we have to be spiritual defenders of the weak.  Let’s determine to do what God calls us to stand in the gap for them in prayer and deeds.

“Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that through the power of your Holy Spirit, that you would lead these young women and their families on a path to healing and freedom in forgiveness.  I pray that any other predators currently getting away with similar crimes would be exposed.  I even prayer for Larry Nassar, that you would bring him to a place of true broken repentance.  That he would grasp the enormity of his sin and the irreparable harm he has caused and truly grieve.  Amen.”

 

Healing Autism

Hey guys so I made this video to update you and how my son is doing with his detoxing program.

I’ll give a quick rundown on what supplements we are using and why and the improvements we’ve seen so far.  The video is about 18 minutes long (sorry!) but it’s really hours of research condensed down.

Here are some sources from where I’ve gotten my info…

https://www.naturalhealth365.com/aluminum-autism-2396.html

https://www.drperlmutter.com/vitamin-d-just-bones/

https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/health-centers/children/fish-oil-for-adhd/

https://www.naturalnews.com/034756_silica_anti-aging_heavy_metals.html

http://thesupermandiet.com/detox/

View story at Medium.com

View story at Medium.com

View story at Medium.com

View story at Medium.com