I believe….

4 Nov

Those who know me well, know that my MOST favorite Bible verse is found in James. I got to thinking earlier this week of when I first came to find it, but I truly cannot remember. Sometime after November 2006, that much I know for sure.

You see, four years ago, I was rushing head first into the unknown. I loved Jesus and knew the redemption, peace, and love that He gives…but I was a baby Believer and had (and still have) SO much to learn. I learned the hard way in June of 2006 why we are to not date unbelievers – Read this blog: Redemption. But after I promised I would not date unbelievers, I went Christian boy happy…and was known as a serial dater. Yikes! Definitely not a title you’d want on your shoulders when you are new to a church!
I embarrasseed myself and hurt those around me. Not just the boys, but my friends, too.
I would say yes to go on a date, only to have conviction and heavy shoulders to bear. Knowing how I react to prolonged conviction, I knew it was impossible to proceed with those relationships…and it hurt them. And the worst part was, was that I was a repeat offender. Trial number ONE.
My whole WORLD was twisted, turned upside-down on November 6, 2006 – when my childhood home was obliterated by one of the worst floods to hit the Stillaguamish River. Trial numero DOS.

The night after the flood, the bridge washed away…

 

Our house was known as the “bridge house” for we had a bridge from our front door to mid-way up our driveway. It was the selling point for my parents, it made the house unique. But in November 2006, my older sister watched as the flood washed it away. The funny thing though, was I wasn’t worried about my house – at least not as much as I was worried about my cats. Ha.
But even though my family and I had NO idea what to expect once the horrible waters began receding that night, I knew everything would be okay. I told my mom that it could be the biggest blessing of our lives, and you know….it was. I got new carpet in my room 🙂 But MOST importantly, having 30+ folks from church come out to our house and serve two days in a row, broke my mom in a MUCH needed way. She hasn’t been the same and it’s because of Jesus 🙂

…And then we were snowed in during my mom’s birthday. THREE.

…And then my 13 year-old cat, Oreo, was attacked by a black lab in our front yard as my mom watched in horror. I held her as she took her last breath. FOUR.

 

 

 

 

…And then Sarah, Andrew, and I were in a car accident that could have VERY easily ended everything as we knew it.

God had His hand on that Jeep. We BARELY missed the guardrail, the biggest tree just so happened to be in our path and stopped us, the roll-cage in the Jeep saved our lives – we rolled twice. My seat came out of place as if someone (or Someone) used the latches to remove the seat out of place. My seatbelt came off. I was smashed up against the “ceiling” of the Jeep – uninjured. Sarah got a cut on her face and some nerve damage around her eye-but that was the worst injury.FIVE.

As I said earlier, sometime after the flood, I came across James 1:2. And I was taken back to a time earlier that Fall when I asked the Lord for maturity. I was tired of being a bum, tired of being called immature by those i love. I needed maturity, and as James 1:2-3 says…

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when encountering various trials. Knowing that the testing of faith produces endurance, and let endurance have its perfect work that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

Perfect=Mature.

Can I get an amen?!?! Reading THAT verse for the first time changed my whole perspective on EVERYTHING. Very easily I could have been bitter and wished to never have prayed for maturity, but thankfully I was oddly comforted by it (as He does so well!) and haven’t ever wished differently. I was comforted in knowing the Lord answered my prayer, albeit an unexpected way. He still answered me, He heard me.

Tonight at The Gathering, an awesome brother, Bruce Davis, spoke on discerning the Lord’s will. It’s honestly something I usually don’t realize until it’s too late. More recently though, it’s been a struggle for me on why the Lord would let all 3 buoys align (you had to be there to understand…) only to take what He guided me to away. It’s also a struggle for me to decipher between spiritual warfare and conviction. Ugh!

As I was told I would, I got A LOT out of Bruce’s talk tonight. Here’s what I got…

1. Being tested is a privilege! Think of Job – the Lord knew Job was faithful and allowed satan to put him through a ridiculous amount of trials. And though Job was human, he still believed when everything was said and done. (I need to freshen up my Job knowledge, I’m starting it tonight!)

The Lord knew Job’s heart..the Lord knows my heart. Now, I’m not saying I have had trials as Job had trials..but I have experienced more trials than the average 22 year-old (or maybe I am just more aware when a trial is in play?) My point is, is this. At Winterblast 2008, one of the questions the leaders asked was some thing such as, “What could make you lose faith in the Lord?”. And as I said 2 years ago, I still say now – I can’t think of anything. My mind races through heartbreak, family deaths, debt, prison, torture, shunning, etc…and none of those things will tear my faith in Jesus.

I have full faith that no matter WHAT crappy, horrendous, heartbreaking thing happens…I know He will bring good out of it. It’s hard to see sometimes, but I know deep down it’s true.

2. I am very aware of conviction…if I don’t have peace with something, it is VERY hard for me to proceed. I know the implications conviction has on me (great weight-loss method!!!)

So when the 3 buoys aligned (1. Word of God. 2. Sovereign Circumstances. 3. Peace and love of God.)  and I took the leap of faith…only for the Lord to take everything away a short time later, I was ooberly confused. Heck, I still am. But ya know, as horrible and heart-wrenching as it was to do, maybe the Lord wanted to see if we’d make the sacrifice and do as He says.

3. I’m still curious as to the difference between Spiritual warfare and conviction…sometimes the affect they have on us are the same. What are your thoughts? I’m thinking it has something to do with the fruits of the spirit vs. the flesh.

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