It’s God’s Move

I have been having these memories lately about my years as a young mother and even some from my childhood.  They are random but somehow related and I am not exactly sure what I am supposed to do with them.  They seem to be moments in time where the direction of my life changed significantly due to a decision I made.  They say that the devil uses your past failures or sins to discourage you, to taunt you or cause you to be defeated.  But I think the devil gets way to much credit for things that may be of God.

It is of my personal opinion that God may use our past to show us something about the current state of our heart.  When God is ready to deal with an area in our life I believe He may start with a memory.  The Holy Spirit may bring it to mind, showing it to our inward self much like a slide show.  There may be no real trigger to the memory it may just be God’s timing.  His time for us to sort through an experience or decision made that led to a turning in the road, a turning that changed our lives forever.

He does not condemn us but may want to teach us truth, truth about ourselves, our heart and its motives. “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1)  Yes, sometimes, there is pain involved or guilt perhaps because we did not face the truth back then.  But for the most part there is freedom in looking at it and asking God, “What do I do with this?”  Seeking His wisdom or healing in it.

While Paul speaks of forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth to the prize of the high calling, I think there are times in our lives that God uses our past choices as lessons to transform and conform us into His image.  David says to God, Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties;”(Psalm 139:23)  He already knows everything we have said and done in our lives and the moment we become a child of God He begins to transform us.  While our past sins are forgiven, often the past consequences continue to be evident in our lives, as well as the current blessings of a relationship with our Heavenly Father.

Every decision I made I made consciously but not always in wisdom.  Much like a beginner chess player I did not look ahead at every possible move that could have put my ‘piece’ or my family in jeopardy.  You know the choices we make in the past are never really at rest until we find God’s grace in them.  I have struggled so much with choices I made for my children through-out the last ten years and at times the pain goes so deep.  When I find His grace in it I am reminded that it isn’t about me at all, it is about what He does with our choices, good or bad, for His purpose. 

Gods’ word says “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) so we should not fear or be anxious about those past decisions.  We should just believe that He will do what He says He will do.  He will use “all things” to transform us into His image.  How it all works I have not a clue, why there is pain involved I do not know but I do know that in trusting Him I find the grace and mercy of His peace.

The older I get the more I often wish I had known Him at a younger age.  I wonder what my life would have been like had I known His ways before I chose my ways.  I do know more now then when I first accepted Christ as my Savior that He is sovereign and even though He chose me before the foundation of the earth it was still up to me to choose Him.  He gave me that free will.  He gives it to me every single day, to choose His ways over mine.  One of my favorite passages in God’s word is Romans 12:1-2 because I believe it is pivotal to what God wants to do in and through me. 

“I beseech ye therefore brethren, to preset your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is that good, acceptable and perfect will of God.”

“O’ God, give me the wisdom and discernment to see the temptations before me, to apply the truth of your word before I choose so that my decisions glorify you, Amen.”

At The Edge

10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. 16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule,[b] let us be of the same mind.   ~ Philippians 3

There are times in one’s walk with the Lord where the path you are walking on becomes obscure.  It becomes grown over with wild vines and perhaps even rocks or gravel strewn about before you.  If you are not careful you can lose hope of finding sure footing underneath, second guessing on whether or not you have veered off the right path.  Fear threatens to overtake you, doubt begins to creep into your thoughts and soon you are wondering if indeed you are alone on this path. Surely, God, in His promise to never leave you nor forsake you, is still true. 

So why is the path overgrown?  When did you even notice that it was disappearing under your feet?  Was there a warning sign somewhere back along the path?  Does losing site of the path mean you are lost?  Are you fearful or doubtful about the path you are on?

I have hiked trails before.  Trails that were well trodden and clear.  There were points along the path where it would narrow a bit or wind very close to the edge of a steep hill or a cliff of rocks.  They always had a marked beginning and an end.  When I was younger I did not think twice about where to put my feet.  The dirt before me had occasional rocks, branches or vines interrupting the trail ahead but there was never any doubt that I was going in the right direction.  Some trails I have hiked had signs to tell you how far you had gone or they might mention a significant piece of information about the wildlife or plant life surrounding the area.  While traveling one such trail in Germany there were signs that mentioned significant events that took place on the very spot the signs were placed.

However, there were other places I have hiked that had no clear path. I remember when I was visiting my mother and stepfather in Arizona during my 7th grade summer, some friends of theirs, took my sister and I on a picnic to Mount Lemon located just a bit outside of Tuscon.  We parked the car and began to walk up the mountain.  There were some places that a path had been carved out but once we got to the rocks the path seemed to end.  We climbed higher and higher until we came to a grassy area where another path seemed to appear.  We walked for some time and then our guides made a left off of the path into a bushy area.  I don’t remember being afraid, on the contrary, I was very curious as to where we were going.  A short time of making our way through the bushes we found ourselves among some tall trees.  The sun came down through the trees and it became much brighter than before when we were hacking our way through bushes.  Again, we began to move forward and at that point I wondered when we were going to reach our destination.  It was not but a few minutes later that it seemed to get darker and cooler. Just as suddenly as we had entered into the midst of the trees we were exiting out of them. 

What I saw and felt next I will never forget.  We were standing in knee-deep grass.  The most willowy green grass I had ever seen.  We could hear water moving and there was a fresh, cool breeze on our faces.  We were standing in a meadow hidden by a circle of trees with a small brook running through the middle of it.  The grass was actually swaying and the sun was hidden by the trees. It was completely enclosed.  This was the place we were stopping to have our picnic.  I think sometimes memories of experiences we have are sometimes more enhanced than what we actually experienced but if I had to pick a memory that was as close to perfect as any it would be this one.  One of the reasons I have never forgotten it because it was an unexpected delight.  And that is often the way I feel when God does something in my life that is totally out of left field, totally unexpected. 

Maybe that is why I do not fear my path becoming obscure but welcome it.  I believe that for me it is God simply using my “overgrown” path to remind me that I must rely on Him in every circumstance.  That to rely on myself I would surely slip or get off the path, going in another direction.  I have walked with Him long enough to know that wherever I find myself I am not alone but sometimes isolated from others on purpose so that “I may know Him.”   I also know that if I am not careful pride would blind me to His purpose for the overgrown vines and rocks in my way.   That I can even recognize the fact that He is in complete control of every situation in my life is proof that I am wanting to see Him in all things. 

This whole thought was born out of a seed of fear that my heart has grown complacent and lazy in my worship and prayer life.  I desperately want to keep my eyes on Him and keep going in the direction He has set for me to head.  My heart breaks for the depravity I see on the news each and every day.  My soul screams for righteousness and justice for the hurting and lost.  I am helpless to know how to help or even make a difference.  I stand at the edge and cry out for God to save the lost that are clinging to their own ways.  I want to pray, worship and stand corporately on His truths but often feel alone. 

I want to be conformed to my Savior, transformed that I might prove what is that good, acceptable and perfect will of God.  I want Him!!!!

Grace to you all

Shell