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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

This summer!

This has been the most challenging summer ever!  God has been working on my heart in so many different ways.  I read this quote in a book the other day.  It describes my summer perfectly!
" you get to know your heavenly Father, you'll get to know your own heart as well.  As you develop your relationship with him, it will change you.  Or more specifically, he will change you.  Real change is at the heart level...As you develop your relationship with your heavenly Father, you'll change.  You'll discover nests of cynicism, pride, and self-will in your heart.  You will be unmasked."
I have been unmasked this summer!  I have been forced to choose.  Do I become cynical, prideful and selfish? I get to know my Maker and allow Him to change me from the inside out?  The transformation has been extremely painful.  I mean EXTREMELY!! Don't get me wrong, I am still in the process and it hurts.  It hurts to see your life being turned upside down.  But then I look at it again through the lens of my Heavenly Father and I begin to see my life being turned right side up.  For the first time I am sensing the Lord doing a work in my life that is bringing about significant change and healing.  There are times that I fight it!  It feels abnormal!  It feels like I am out of control! And then I am reminded....I AM NOT IN CONTROL!!! 

I am learning patience, humility, forgiveness, grace, mercy, love.  All these things I would have been able to explain to you and even given examples of how God has been faithful through out every circumstance in my life to teach me such sweet things.  But this summer the Lord took it to a new level.  A circumstance where I could choose to be bitter, angry, resentful, prideful, unloving, vindictive.  A battle I still struggle with today!

But I know truth!!!  I know the grace I have been extended.  I know where I have come from and where God has brought me.  He brought me out of the miry pit and into a sweet relationship with Him. 
 Another quote from the same book....
"A thankful heart is constantly extending grace because it has received grace.  Love and grace are uneven.  God poured out on his own son the criticism I deserve.  Now he invites me to pour out undeserving grace on someone who has hurt me .  Grace begets grace."
I am invited to live a gospel life.  Christ's life, death and resurrection!  I get to reenact the gospel! It is so hard in the midst of great suffering and pain but it is what Christ has called me to.
"Consequently, gospel stories always have suffering in them.  American Christianity has an allergic reaction to this part of the gospel.  We'd love to hear about God's love for us, but suffering doesn't mesh with our right to 'the pursuit of happiness.'  So we pray to escape a gospel story, when that is the best gift the Father can give us."
Living a gospel story is painful because it exposes us and calls us to a higher calling.  It exposes our idols and reminds us of the only True Love---Our Heavenly Father! 
My life is being transformed!  My heart is growing closer to the Father and becoming more like His!  He is weaving a pattern throughout my life and as I step back to view things from a greater perspective I can see Him doing amazing things. 
"Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever."  ~Ephesians 3:20-21
My prayer is that through my life others would see our Mighty God!  A picture is worth a thousand words.  As you look at the pictures below remember that we are all in process of becoming more like our Heavenly Father.  This summer has been hard for our family in a lot of ways....but in the midst of it all we can say...We have a Mighty God and our hope and faith is in Him!!

Here is some of the lyrics from the song What Faith Can Do by Kutless
A song that has been a huge encouragement for me this summer!

Everybody falls sometimes
Gotta find the strength to rise
From the ashes and make a new beginning
Anyone can feel the ache
You think it’s more than you can take
But you're stronger, stronger than you know
Don’t you give up now
The sun will soon be shining
You gotta face the clouds
To find the silver lining

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do

It doesn’t matter what you’ve heard
Impossible is not a word
It’s just a reason for someone not to try
Everybody’s scared to death
When they decide to take that step
Out on the water
It’ll be alright
Life is so much more
Than what your eyes are seeing
You will find your way
If you keep believing