I have been so so overwhelmingly blessed!!! This past year has been such an incredible beginning for my family that for the first time in my entire life I find myself at the end of the year not looking back and wistfully thinking that every minute of the past 365 days has been a miserable waste. Now I'm just bubbling with excitement and wonder at what the Lord has planned for me for the year coming up instead of depressed for all the misery held in the years gone by. It is simply amazing at how much time and energy I have wasted in my life being unhappy and allowing myself to continue to feel that way because I was out of God's will for my life. Those of you who know me also know that there have been some very dramatic changes made in the lives of each member of my family....changes that began taking place a bit over a year ago now and today we are living proof that if you simply give your life to God without holding anything back that He will bless you beyond anything you could ever have imagined or even known to ask for. No my life isn't perfect, it won't be this side of heaven but now that Troy and I are totally committed to living the life that the Lord wants of us instead of what our human selfish natures would dictate our lives are so much better than anything we could ever have planned for ourselves.....it is simply joy unspeakable!!
We have all learned so much and looking back now it is so very easy to see so many ways that we were our own worst enemies. Troy and I had both lived life as rebels and made it our goal to be so different from all that we saw as 'oppressive' and restrictive. We fought all authority and rules and laws were just words on paper to us. How foolishly we had behaved for so long and like the fools we were we really believed that we were just trying to be 'different'. We didn't understand then how much the Lord hates rebellion! Last nights message at church was on "A Cruel Messenger" from Proverbs 17:1-11 but mostly verse 11.
Pr 17:11 An evil man seeketh only rebellion: therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him.
Pastor Hoyle preached about how the Lord will send a cruel messenger to get the attention of someone who is rebelling, kind of as a last resort to get their attention and hopefully they will take heed of the Lord's warning before they are destroyed by their sins. I'm so glad that Troy and I heard that cruel messenger and that the Lord loved us so much that He sent one. Don't get me wrong, I never ever want to have to go through that kind of pain in my life again....but I really and truly hate to think of where either one of us would be had we not taken heed to that 'warning shot' and submitted ourselves to the Lord. I'm so thankful that even through some of the most painful events I've ever experienced the Lord was there with me just waiting for me to reach out to Him in faith so that He could help me get to the place where He wanted me to be!
We didn't know it then but submission is the fertilizer of faith and faith is the opposite of fear. As soon as we put our trust in the Lord and submitted ourselves to Him without reservation that tiny seed of faith that had lived inside of us began to grow. Because we had failed to acknowledge His sovereignty through our submission our faith had remained dormant. As soon as we turned our hearts toward him and gave our hearts to him fully our faith grew and blossomed and now is flourishing!! We have seen His works in our lives in some really tremendous ways and we want nothing more than to BE His work all day every day!! Everything about our lives is different now, no area of our life has been left untouched and I love what the Lord has done and only wish that I had surrendered to Him totally a very very long time ago. I now have no need of fear, I know that I can trust the Lord and that He has nothing but good things planned for me. No life will not be perfect in my weak human sight but I know that God has made me promises and that He will stand by His Word always! I can turn to Him for anything and everything and He will always hear me and He will always care!! He is my strength, my joy, my hope, my peace and the list goes on and on!!!
2Sa 22:33 God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect.
Ps 73:26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.
Col 1:11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;
I hate to think of where we would be had the Lord not sent us that messenger! It is easy to sit to the side of your life and murmur about how ugly and bad things are when in the pain of being dealt with for being out of God's will but if you just stop and submit yourself to His will for you completely God can scoop you up out of the mire and set your feet on that solid rock that brings such peace and joy into life. It's up to you how you respond to that 'Cruel Messenger' but it's up to God what happens to you if you fail to respond correctly.
I know now that had we not submitted ourselves properly to the Lord I would be spending another December grieving and mouring the year that has gone by and weeping for all the problems in my life instead of enjoying the blessings of God and resting in His perfect peace. Someone told me one time that if everything in your life seems to be coming against you it's time to change lanes. Don't wait until you feel like you are blocked in during rush hour traffic to turn on your blinkers!!! Do you need to change lanes?